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Leadership, Arrogance, Dairy Vodka and Tomato Sauce‏

February 26, 2013 – 12:19 pm129 Comments
Penn & Teller

Penn & teller, creators of the video linked to in this article.

By Rabbi Meir Rabi
We are driven and commanded, as practising Jews, to constantly answer the question asked by Moses: What is it that Gd asks of you? [Devarim 10:12] The Gemara is puzzled, the question makes it appear as though it is but a small thing that Gd is asking of us.

Is Gd asking us to trust, to blindly trust, our spiritual and Jewish community leaders and thus declare our allegiance to Gd? Is it a case of when being told to jump, we simply ask, “How high?”

Modern life has subdivided and sub-subdivided into numerous arenas of expertise. Be it medicine, accounting, law or fishing, cycling or mountain-climbing; expertise appears to be progressing endlessly and at ever faster rate. From my perspective, I am inclined to observe that there is no end to Gd’s greatness and we are only beginning to appreciate this.

Jewish Law is following the same trend. When I celebrated my BarMitzvah it was common to receive, amongst all the other presents, a set of Mishnah Berurah. This is a 6 volume set of the Laws of Daily Life compiled by the Chafets Chayim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan. We never saw this as a set that we will “conquer”, that was something that only the experts managed. We saw it as a mountain that was un-scalable by ordinary mortals. Today that same set is expanded to at least double the size, 12 volumes. It is easier to learn, with re-typeset un-smudged print, vocalisation is printed [the dots], pictures and diagrams illustrate and explain, and charts display the flow chart for Halachic decision-making. This should bring Halacha closer to the ordinary person in the street. This is driven to a great extent by the advent of ArtScrol, Talmud and the rest, which brings Torah to our door and even right into our home.

But there is an opposite re-action which is quite possibly not equal but even greater, whose purpose is to ensure that we do not consider that we now have the tools or information that enables us to make sound accurate Halachic decisions. And so the new Mishnah Berurah also includes notes from many later Halachic experts which in fact make up the bulk of these new editions. These notes cloud the issues and create confusion and uncertainty: engineering the stupendous feat of persuading that we must always consult our “local orthodox rabbi”, a catch-phrase now so common in its usage that it is compressed to, consult your LOR and one must assume will soon be CYLOR.

Every English Halacha Sefer that I have seen carries with it the dire warning that it is not to be used to make Halachic decisions. So the purpose of these books is not to educate but to drive us into believing that we require expert assistance: in other words to inform us of the bewildering complexity of Halacha and rob us of our independence and more dramatically to rob us of our relationship with Gd. Because Gd wants us to engage in the Halachic process. Gd does not want us to go to obedience school to become brainbusted. How well I remember the sermon that included the story about an inventor who developed a machine for giving automated haircuts. He dismissed a colleague’s warning that people’s heads were different shapes and sizes; “That’s only a problem the first time.”

Kashrus is also swayed by similar considerations. We are bombarded with warnings about how difficult and complicated kashrus can be. We are warned that without expertise, it is impossible to keep Kosher. And we are terrified by irresponsible announcements that declare in no uncertain terms (without suggesting that others disagree) that Tomato Sauce brand X is Dairy, Vodka brand Y is Dairy.

But those who make these declarations, perhaps with the most noble of intentions, are either driving people away from Kashrus because the claims are just ridiculous, or driving people to think, “Wow, we must be so grateful for our experts. Who ever would have thought that Tomato Sauce could be Dairy.” This can be seen as a plan to perpetuate the existence of those providing the advice, a rather baleful perspective, I admit. But here is the problem; every other field of expertise that I mentioned earlier is empiric by definition. Either the mountain climber scales the mountain or he falls off; either the doctor heals people or not; either the investment advisor profits or loses etc etc.

However, in the arena of Kashrus, in spite of many suggesting that rabbis are spiritual doctors, tending to our spiritual needs, nothing of what they define, describe and rule is subject to any empiric evaluation. In fact it is not subject to any external independent evaluation. The Kosher world is replete with “stories”, things that have been heard by so and so who is very close to a certain rabbi, the rabbi’s sexton. Perhaps it is more accurate to compare rabbis providing Kashrus guidance to alternative medical practitioners.

One rabbi expert who works for a well known Kosher agency has proclaimed that
“it is mandatory for kosher agencies to have customized software, which includes a database of hundreds of thousands of ingredients and formulas. There is often a full time person maintaining this software as it is not only a major expense but could also take years to develop. Even the most knowledgeable Rabbi in the world would find it impossible to run a Kashrus agency without a sufficient support staff and the proper software.” http://www.crcweb.org/kosher_articles/reliability_of_agencies.php

He also claims, and I have communicated with him about his ridiculous claims,

“But perhaps the primary reason for the blanket dismissal of these agencies is that they simply do not visit their plants on a regular basis. Today, food production facilities can work so quickly that an ingredient can be in and out of the plant in days!”

I asked this rabbi, “in that case how often does your agency inspect the factories that it certifies? Would that be 2 or 3 times every week?”

I will tell you what hurts most, that such rubbish can be published and that people will read it and not Laugh Out Loud. If such nonsense was printed in any respectable publication, it would be thought of a weak April Fool’s day prank. These articles belong to the genre of, “Israel distributes children’s toys that are toxic or explosive.”

And this rabbi also provides us with a vital “eyewitness” story,

“The supervising agent, not from the cRc, assumed that the health drink was produced in a machine that previously had been cleaned and properly kashered from non-kosher beef broth. The cRc Rabbi pointed out that the rest of the machinery was not kashered properly.The agency quickly remedied the situation, but damage had been done. By being unfamiliar with the internal workings of the machinery, the Supervisor was inadvertently putting his agency’s kosher symbol on a drink that was definitely not kosher.”

If anyone even believe this fairy tale, we should still need to hear what the other rabbi/agency says. They may well have considered that those parts of the machine do nor require kashering.

Reb Moshe Feinstein writes in his responsa that the single Rov Kashrus agency is more reliable than the large organisation agencies. He writes, “it is the way of the world that people tend to automatically trust the larger agencies without really checking their operations whereas the individual Rov is constantly queried and investigated.” I guess Reb Moshe forgot to consult with this Kashrus agency before writing his Teshuva. I guess that after he wrote this Teshuva, this rabbi and his Kashrus agency forgot to write to Reb Moshe to correct him about his grave errors.

The tragedy of where this type of Kashrus extremism is taking us is painfully described by Rabbi Moshe Dovid Gutnick, Rabbinic administrator of KAS (Kashrut Authority Sydney) in a published letter,

·   The Torah was given to bring peace to the world – yet kashrus has too often been used to create machloket. Judaism has become a competition – who is frumer than who [sic].

·   Rabbi Twerski explained that he does not keep a popular Chumrah because he doesn’t want to add another brick to the walls of disrespect we’ve built to hurt one another.

·   Frumkeit is now measured by how many homes one doesn’t eat from.

·   Why should I and the KA [KAS Kashrut Authorit Sydney] rule strictly (just to follow KAM [Kosher Australia Melbourne]) – when I can find absolutely no basis in Shulchan Aruch for doing so?

We ought to be asking relentlessly, can a Kosher organisation promote itself as being open and transparent when only selected questions are answered. In many “meet the rabbi” Q&A forums, all questions must be submitted in advance. [We’ve had them here in Melbourne, too]

At the same time we must ask, “What are the guidelines and the particular arrangements employed in order to ensure that substitutions do not occur in Australian eateries which do not have full time Kosher supervision?” This is of particular concern regarding products that can be substituted with far cheaper, indistinguishable non-Kosher varieties, meat and yellow hard cheese for example.
This is a simple question. It was asked in a public forum and elicited the following private response – we are members of organisation X and follow their guidelines. This was not released for public consumption but sent privately via email, a copy of which was forwarded to me. Compare this to http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lotfries.html

And thus Moses asks, “What is it that Gd asks of you? [Devarim 10:12]”

The politics of Kashrus is without question the largest component of people’s decision making: “Will my friends still be my friends if I use THAT Hechsher? Will they look down on me? Will they eat in my home? Will their kids come to the party I make for my children?”

Is this perhaps what Gd wants?

You may wish to view the following video regarding marketing hype and consumer gullibility which applies equally if not more to Kosher – but I must warn that the language is extremely crude.

If some rabbis argue that a particular food is not Kosher, as when KAM ruled that NutriGrain was “100% not Kosher” were those who ate it inflicting spiritual damage upon their soul in spite of other rabbis ruling it “100% Kosher”?

Perhaps, it’s time for kashrus to be more factual and less emotional and it’s time for Yidden and Yiddishkeit to be more respectful and accepting and less pompous and divisive. It’s time to ask, “What is it that Gd wants of us?” and recognise that it is as the Gemara suggests, quite a simple and easy ask.

Rabbi Meir Rabi is the principal of KVY (It’s Kosher) Kashrut Agency.

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129 Comments »

  • Seraphya says:

    What is most worrying is that in a time where the population is getting more educated, the responsa are getting shorter and hidden. We have things like Sh”ut SMS, where you send text messages and get back questions and with a simple yes and no, and e-mails from rabbinic councils that claim they are backed by two world renown Rabbis but refuse to divulge who they are.

    Experts think that if they explain themselves, the mystique will be lost and that they will lose their supreme authority. Rabbis are not the only group that is guilty of this. Until recently the medical field and doctors hated people using the internet to assist diagnosis and treatment. Now, however individual doctors and government programs are finding ways of adding transparency and increase communication, and crowdsourcing is taking off. The problem is that, unlike in the medical arena where you are encouraged to get a second opinion, Halakha binds you to the psak from the Rabbi that you ask. This could easily be solved if Rabbis published their opinions and their explanations more widely so that you would know which Rabbi to approach. This would be a rabbi who not only has the same Hashkafa(World outlook) as you do but also has a similar understanding of the halakhic system and meta-halakha that you do. So why do you need a Rabbi if you can just look it up yourself?

    The way Rabbis are still relevant are:
    1) They have learnt many more pages of gemara (facts) than the average person. In today’s internet world where everything is searchable that is still relevant because they can make connections from separate places.
    2) They have spent more time researching halakhic decisions and have the skills to find the relevant information in a much more efficient manner than you do and they are less likely to miss important sources
    3) Rabbis realize that their decisions are setting guidelines for the community and have a public policy role to play in the continuation and evolution in Halakha to fit our changing world.

    The only reason that a Rabbi should think twice about fully disclosing their Halakhic opinions is that it may compromise the identity of the questioner, but this can be easily dealt with by anonymizing the questioner just like in medical case studies.

    It is also a problem that many Rabbis are afraid to voice their opinions because of fear of what others may say of them, but that is another problem altogether.

    Some articles about medical crowdsourcing:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2010/10/the_doctors_will_see_you_now.single.html
    http://dailycrowdsource.com/20-resources/projects/427-crowdsourcing-helps-the-medical-community
    http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/299845/why-doctors-should-crowdsource-your-medical-diagnosis

  • Daniel Levy says:

    There is a certain degree of irony in the linked video being Penn and Teller. Great stuff, keep it up.

    Rabbi Rabi, do you hold this one in the same esteem? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLaTMaKjdY

  • Seraphya says:

    Daniel,

    Its not as funny, but it is still quite good at casting doubt on certain fundamentalist christian denominations. Many christian denominations would have no problem with the points raised by that video, and no part of Judaism should really have any problem with anything raised in that video.

    It is ridiculous that Christians still have such a huge hang-up on homosexuality, but Judaism takes niddah seriously as well. Still no reason to condemn homosexuality or even homosexual acts any more than what 99% of Jews do on a regular basis without people going crazy. I would even say any Jew who singles out homosexuality, is probably doing some kind of chukat ha’goyim type thing.

  • Daniel,

    P&T are V entertaining, I would love to see more of them but can only do so with the sound muted.

    The criticisms about the authenticity and accuracy of the AT [Authentic Testament] have been many and varied. The defences have also been many and varied. I dont see this changing in any dramatic manner in the foreseeable future.

    I dont think there is any point in elaborating – its all been said before and the opinions dont really change, nor the position of those following the debate.

    What emerges is that the debate does not encompass the issues which seem to drive the significant proportion of the population who do believe. We need to ask WHY do people WANT to believe? And why do they NOT WANT to believe.

    Science does not attempt to answer WHY music is beautiful and moving, WHY people want to make crazy sacrifices for various things, etc. etc.

    Reading the mystical, romantic, philosophical musings of many great scientists, as they struggle to define the indefinable, is like following abstract art, or cloud gazing; wherein there is an endless and eternal struggle to capture with tangibles the ultimate intangibles that form the superstructure of our meaningful life.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Rabbi Rabi, I don’t want to derail the whole conversation. I fundamentally agree with you that the orthodox community has been acting like a cowardly pack of schoolyard bullies to you, and you have an absolute right to be outraged and incensed.

    I merely thought it ironic, however, that you would use a tv series which slams religion on so many occasions. They’ve done “Bullshit” episodes on circumcision, and there’s even this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toRWai-66b0

    And I must say, your last two paragraphs were some of the most beautiful white noise I’ve ever heard.

    Unfortunately, it was all only white noise. None of your speculation or strawmanning holds water.

    Yes, science DOES attempt to understand why music is beautiful. http://boingboing.net/2009/12/14/the-biology-of-music.html

    We understand that people make crazy sacrifices for various things because we understand from psychiatry (another scientific study) that there are lots of crazy people.

    I don’t think you understand how science works…

  • Hmmm, Daniel,

    Firstly thank you.
    I cannot/will not do justice in trying to paraphrase Chief Rabbi Sacks’ book, The Great Partnership. I think he tries, and on the whole succeeds, to navigate a path that bridges these disparate disciplines, or perhaps I should say pathways that ultimately are reaching for a similar destination, even though each one may identify it with a different name.

    I do not disagree with you about science attempting to unravel the mysteries we speak of, but I think that on the whole there is agreement that these are in their very early stages of research. And many do not think that there is a light at the end of this scientific tunnel.

    Max Planck said [and I freely admit that this quote proves nothing other than that he said this at that time], “Science demands also the believing spirit. Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye Must Have Faith. It is a quality which the scientists cannot dispense with.”

    I am fairly sure that Planck does not mean faith in Gd, but I am pretty sure that he is not uncomfortable in describing this as a type of religious faith.

    I often describe it thus: if you enter a stranger’s house and are looking for the TV remote, where do you look? In the freezer? in the dishwasher? Of course not. You look on the TV or the flat screen shelf. If that fails you look under the couch or between the couch cushions. And WHY do you look in these locations? Because YOU KNOW HUMAN NATURE. It is not much different to our own, we too are human. So wherever we would put it, that is likely where the other fellow would put it.

    And if we entered the house of a Martian? Where would you look? If there was a couch there we might imagine that the Martian might also share our characteristics, but we would be far from sure.

    When a scientist attempts a postulate to explain the phenomena observed in this world, what an act of faith it is to proceed with confidence. Did not one of the great physicists say, Gd is a mathematician.

    Planck says the scientist, “must have an imaginative picture of the law that he is pursuing. …… This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here.”

    quotes from Ken Wilbur’s Quantum Questions, New Science Library 1985.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    I think this sentiment underpins the entirety of the flaws of your argument: “When a scientist attempts a postulate to explain the phenomena observed in this world, what an act of faith it is to proceed with confidence.”

    This is patently untrue, and reveals how little you understand of the discipline. Theories which lack the appropriate evidence/data and whose predictions fail are promptly discarded and superseded by new theories which better fit the knowledge we have, and the reality we know.

    As a contrast, religion constantly must keep up with reality, because it is pure fantasy. I’m glad that you and Seraphya so aggressively disavow the disgusting things the old testament has to say about homosexuality.

    But it says them. Why? Because it was created by fearful goatherders, not an all-loving god like the one you believe exists.

    Scientists are happy to say “we don’t know” and “I was wrong”. No amount of evidence could ever get you to change your sloppy guess that Judaism is correct, and the Jewish god exists. That is why it is such an irrational and absurd position. You have no more evidence that your god exists than I do that Harry Potter exists.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Daniel Levy

    …it all depends how you conceive the notion of G-d !!!

    …and I shall let the good Rabbi to take it on from here…..

  • Yaron says:

    Daniel,
    While I would (and have) disagreed with you on other occasions, I think you are moving the discussion too far from the crux of the issue.

    I am sure there will be other occasions to discuss the evils of organised religion.

    As to the article…

    1. The rabbis have a lot to answer for, but it is also the communities they lead who do not want to hear from a lenient rabbi who must bear some responsibility. Many of these rabbis derive their legitimacy from their ability to show how they can make milchig vodka, because of how much gemara they know.

    2. ArtScroll is far more culpable regarding this phenomenon than you have suggested.

    Until now they have cornered the market with their books advocating excessive chumras and pushing an anti-scientific, anti-modern society agenda onto the frum world (including the modern-Orthodox community).

    They are seen by many as THE authorities and if they bring a ridiculous stringency from their ultra-Hareidi world they can sometimes convince the broader frum community that this is the way a good Jew should act.

    This excessive drive to chumra leaves people feeling inadequate if they follow legitimate leniencies, even if the stringency is fundamentally ridiculous and harmful.

  • frosh says:

    Daniel, I imagine that whenever you visit your parents as soon as they greet you in the doorway, a conversation starts off
    “Why have you still got this ridiculous mezuza on your front doorway? Idiots!”
    “Now Daniel, we go over this every week when you visit. As we say to you everytime, we accept that you don’t have a mezuza on your door, you ought to accept that we have a mezuzah on this doorway.”

    After about 15 minutes, you all agree to move on. Then you get to the next doorway inside the house, see another mezuzah, and the conversations starts again…

    And so on. That’s what it’s like for regular readers of Galus.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    This is hilarious, and really speaks to the general insecurity of religious people in this increasingly more sensible and rational world. My original comment was very on point. I mused on a detail of the article, noting the hypocrisy of Rabbi Rabi’s convenient use of skepticism only when it bolstered his arguments. Rabbi Rabi took 5 paragraphs to go on a rant about science vs. religion (an argument I did not try to make) and I responded.

    But because I’m the only one here not drinking the kool-aid, naturally it should be me with the blame for sending us off-topic, not the original poster who actually sent his own article off-topic.

    Lol

  • Seraphya says:

    Now is not the place for this, but:
    Daniel, “You have no more evidence that your god exists than I do that Harry Potter exists.” Well it depends on what you mean by Harry Potter, there are quite a few people named Harry Potter that do exist, but that is not what you meant which is why all modern philosophy is linguistics. Anyway, what you said is true, but I do have more proof that Harry Potter does not exist than than you have proof that God does not exist. I can point to the person who made up Harry Potter as a fictional character. God may be provable/disprovable, just like 4+ dimensions may one day scientifically tested. There are reasons people would like there to be a specific number of dimensions, such as it makes the math and the theories simpler and neater, which to me often seems like a religious desire for there to be a God. But, somehow those theorists are clearly different than ghost-chasers and psychics, the question of where you put faith and God along that spectrum is a matter of personal ideology that I think very few people would be able to fully articulate why they classify it as one or the other. Anyway, Judaism isn’t about belief but about action and I quite enjoy debunking the ridiculous elements of everything.

    I think you also are showing a deep misunderstanding of how scientific progress is made.
    “Theories which lack the appropriate evidence/data and whose predictions fail are promptly discarded and superseded by new theories which better fit the knowledge we have, and the reality we know”
    That very rarely happens. Often orthodoxies are maintained and consensus takes a while and for years or even decades people disproving previous theories are marginalized.

    Science also has many postulates that it follows and each discipline and field have different assumptions that are not even questioned. There are real criticisms of inductive reasoning and logical empiricism/positivism, but when I am practicing science I am working within the framework of science and don’t get distracted by that. Similarly, when I think halakha and Judaism I work within the framework of assuming there is a God, as otherwise it is just too distracting and you go in circles and miss the interesting bits. You could easily claim that accepting Science the way science is actually practiced is as much act of faith as deciding that God exists when discussing Judaism. I do not conflate the two because my view of science is that “truth” is not what is important and what is important is that a model is able to predict useful currently untested results. However, the philosophy of science is about as complicated as the philosophy of religion, so it doesn’t matter what I think, because there are millions of religious people and scientists who think differently and they are no more “right” than I am.

    So, leave this alone and lets get on making Judaism better by getting rid of what we both agree are the problems instead of focusing on where we disagree

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Seraphya:

    “I can point to the person who made up Harry Potter as a fictional character.”

    And to you I say that contemporary scholars have long since concluded that the old testament was written by numerous *people*.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Bible#Torah

    If you want to believe your fairy stories, you believe Moses did it on Mount Sinai. If you adhere to reality, you realise it was composed over centuries by primitives. The J.K. Rowlings of their time in millennia past.

    “There are reasons people would like there to be a specific number of dimensions, such as it makes the math and the theories simpler and neater, which to me often seems like a religious desire for there to be a God.”

    I get a real kick out of watching religious people wax lyrical about theoretical physics. It’s like watching a little child make up a lie on the spot. It’s a hilarious train wreck full of bald-faced fallacies and daring distortions of the truth. What you have written here is some of the most uneducated tripe imaginable. Let me give you a small primer:

    1) The number of dimensions in the known universe is one of the most hotly debated topics in physics today. And no, none of these physicists are heralding their work as the “one true theory”.

    2) There is no “desire” for a set number of dimensions. There is a desire to understand our universe and how many dimensions occupy it.

    3) Contrary to your complete ignorance, the math works perfectly with *infinite dimensions*. See: Hilbert Space. It’s the observations and the reality that doesn’t.

    Our laws of quantum mechanics would not work in an infinite dimension universe. Every time you use your phone’s GPS (an technology based on predictions from Quantum Mechanics), I want it to remind you how utterly absurd and wrong what you wrote was.

    Now, despite the fact that the math for M-theory (with a set number of dimensions) works well, the major criticism of M-theory is its lack of predictive power. That’s why it hasn’t taken root in any meaningful way as accepted scientific theory, because it (like god) is proving very difficult to test. Thus, theoretical physicists are scratching their heads harder than ever to come up with models that we can actually test. Or else waiting for technology to catch up to them to do some extremely high energy experiments for a few of the predictions that it does make.

    4) There is also the postulate that we are one universe in an infinite number of universes, each with different laws of Physics, and some of these very well could have infinite dimensions. Ours, however, has been shown to be incompatible with infinite numbers of dimensions thanks in large part to quantum mechanics.

    5) Are you mad that I don’t care that we don’t yet know which postulate is true? Because I don’t need to guess. I’m happy to be excited when we actually discover the truth, rather than haphazardly guess and hope I’m right (hello judaism and every other religion ever).

    Your later metaphysical blathering is just the worst kind of pseudo-intellectual babble that merits no response (beyond a snort of derision).

    “God may be provable/disprovable, just like 4+ dimensions may one day scientifically tested.”

    By definition, god is an untestable phenomenon. The judeo-christian god is defined as supernatural. He supposedly exists outside the natural laws of our universe. By that very definition, you cannot test for such a thing. This is the weakest type of hypothesis and is well parodied by Russell’s teapot and the flying spaghetti monster. Any elementary student of science will tell you you cannot test the god hypothesis with science. It is by its definition an unfalsifiable claim.

    4+ dimensions, as I outlined above, makes PREDICTIONS which can be TESTED.

    But let’s say that once again (lol) the texts are wrong, and god is not completely supernatural. Let’s say he will show himself to us in this universe. There are things he can do to prove he’s a god. He could change the dials on the universal constants, for one (although maybe there are natural ways to achieve this that we are yet to discover). The point is, there is an amount of evidence that scientists would accept to convince them that god is real.

    With the copout of “you can’t disprove me, therefore I’m possibly right!” a religious person can remain brainwashed for the rest of his life, believing in his fantasies until death do he part. Because it is impossible for the natural to transcend the supernatural, and for us to examine that space for a god, you’ll always be able to delude yourself into thinking “ha, god is always outside science’s grasp because he’s so awesome and almighty!”

    You’ll never have any proof, you’ll never have any real justification, but at least you know in your heart of hearts that you’re right. And anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t seen the light! And, really, neither have you. But you’ll always claim you have.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    btw frosh, do you often think of me and imagine me going about my daily life? I’m flattered, if not a little bit creeped out.

  • Yaron says:

    I give up.
    Daniel started this with a minor swipe at religion and then no one is willing to let it go. And the discussion has now been moved from a potentially interesting topic to the same tedious back and forth.

    Wake me up when you are done.

  • It appears that even our Kosher community that is particular about Kashrus and expends much effort to maintain Kashrus, is poorly served and has become acclimatised to such service, and also anaesthetised and mesmerised by the established system.

  • letters in the age says:

    Frosh,

    Great analogy.

    Lol!!

    Fascinating to read about the Rabbis thoughts…never ceases to amaze me how people think from the other side!

    Thanks for sharing your lovely wisdom to the wider community

    It breaks down barriers and ignorance for many people.

    Bless!!

  • letters in the age says:

    Think of Daniel as gen y Catherine Denevy Heeb style if that makes sense….

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Frosh – laughed out loud.

    Daniel- I think it could be interesting if you responded to what Serraphya actually said. As is, it’s not really a discussion just a rant by the only agnostic in the village.

  • letters in the age says:

    Daniel,

    Howard Stern was funnier and had wit along with Mr Jon Stewart today.

    Cheers

  • Bishloma says:

    How right were Chazal when they said:

    מסכת סנהדרין דף לח -ודע מה שתשיב לאפיקורוס.
    אמר רבי יוחנן: לא שנו אלא אפיקורוס נכרי,
    אבל אפיקורוס ישראל –
    כל שכן דפקר טפי

    Pity that Rabbi Rabi doesn’t observe this dictum.

    Stop wasting your valuable time on Daniel, who no doubt qualifies as a 24 carat “Apikores Yisroel”

    And Frosh, your Mezuzah parable is brilliant!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Careful people, Daniel Levy wants attention and then carries on attacking all that is written adressed to him, even if , G-d forbid, someone agrees with him. There are a variety of names for the phenomenon and all shall be revealed here by all contributors….. just watch !!!

    I reckon he’s having fun and so am I, but hillul HaShem is not part of it.

  • letters in the age says:

    Attention deficit disorder with too much time on their hands with a sprinkle of self entitlement and narcissism….

    Uncle Tom jews unite everywhere

  • letters in the age says:

    Wit with intelligence Otto…

    Got it?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Seriously now.
    Daniel in his point 3 has a point. Russell in his brief treaty on logic and superstition does define the infinite, if one can define it, in maths in a manner conducive, indeed, to deligitimising religion. Further, his good mate Wittgenstein went further and discarded almost ANY conventional term attemptimg at definig phenomena other than mathematically proven ones. Richard Dawkins, who is not (yet) mentioned by Daniel is far more aggressive, vulgar and dismissive of religion, in the very same manner OUR Daniel spills his mantra here.
    The estimation of ethics in Judaism in the same manner, methods as scientific praxis is POSSIBLE, “dear” Daniel , with its varieties of chumot, Yoram,as Judaism is quite CAPABLE of demonstrating the NECESSITY of ethical discourses. Daniel will jump and say, ” Discourses, shmilcourses” because he is still with Dawkins who looks fantastic on the TV shows, particularly when posited against…..Aussie politicians , as in his latest ABC Q&A, but a well trained and well intended Rabbi will wax the floor with the brittle Brit. Why, simply because, as even Russell admitted, we cannot live by numbers alone, otherwise, as Frosh alluded to, Daniel’s free dinners at Mum’s and Dad’s will turn to a groisse gurnischt. Which brings me to the old sayig ” There is nothing wrong ( Daniel ) with being a groisse Moishe, but don’t overdue it !!! “

  • Daniel Levy says:

    @Mandi,

    I agree. There was just so much pseudo-intellectual drek in Seraphya’s comment that I couldn’t respond to it all. You may be referring to what I simply dismissed as “metaphysical babble”

    You’re welcome to believe that the desk on which your computer rests is a whale, but if you discard empiricism you cannot actually proceed anywhere meaningfully because you cannot make any assumptions at all. David Hume and other sane philosophers did away with solipsism quite a while ago.

    But humour me, which of Seraphya’s points did you actually want me to elaborate on?

    @letters

    Shockingly poor form. Do you often try to make fun of mental illness? Imagine that I really did struggle with ADD. If galus actually has a readership, then statistically someone with ADD will have read you hurl out ADD as an insult. Any care and concern for those people? Now tell me which of us is really the unempathetic narcissist.

    @Otto

    Your programmatic specificity bores me.

  • I encourage all contributors to maintain a dignified and honourable tone that displays respect for all contributors. Perhaps it may appear, as it is now, to be more entertaining, but I strongly suspect that readers who peek at the discussion, lose interest in what could very likely be a most interesting and edifying discussion

  • Ian Grinblat says:

    As a religious community we have moved a long way from the model we were originally “given”. That is to be expected of course over such a long period of time but there is a profound difference between the ancient “don’t eat x, y & z” and today’s “only eat what has a (reliable) stamp”.
    I think that the shift is driven by tthree factors: neurosis, as in “Tell me the rules, hold nothing back, make it as tough as you can”; the natural tendency of Rabbis as a class to consolidation and boost their authority. (Their title refers to their original role as teachers, but with the loss of the Temple and the function of the Cohanim, the Rabbis picked up the ball and they are still running with it.); and finally, the growth in properity in the modern world which facilitates compliance of strict observance.

  • Ian,
    I think I know what you mean, but I can’t agree with your, “Tell me the rules, hold nothing back, make it as tough as you can”.
    If only they would merely tell the rules, we would have few problems. Our problems begin when The Rules are no longer founded upon a sound Halachic framework and foundation.

    As I mentioned in my piece, the loyalty expressed to Gd via our adherence to Gd’s commands has become somewhat distorted. And I ask you Ian, WHY is it that there is such a mentality, that of NO PAIN – NO GAIN? Our loyalty to Gd is not a demand for pain which is accepted as pleasure.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “Modern life has subdivided and sub-subdivided into numerous arenas of expertise. Be it medicine, accounting, law or fishing, cycling or mountain-climbing; expertise appears to be progressing endlessly and at ever faster rate.”

    “Every English Halacha Sefer that I have seen carries with it the dire warning that it is not to be used to make Halachic decisions. So the purpose of these books is not to educate but to drive us into believing that we require expert assistance”

    with the rapid advancement of the internet & information age, I no longer need a qualified mechanic to work on my car, consult a doctor or better still surgeon for medical needs or seek qualified legal advice…because I could either down load all the relevant information from the internet or buy a book with really fancy pictures and diagrams….

  • letters in the age says:

    With the utmost respect I have doctors in the family and mentall illness isnt a stigma at all…..

    It should be a sense of achievement if one does suffer from a disorder and be out and proud about it!!

    It wasnt meant to offend…its an analysis mate with all good intentions for gen y and their stereotypes…

    Chill….

    Lol!

    ;)

  • Daniel Levy says:

    @letters, so some of your best friends are the mentally ill? Where have I heard that defense before…

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-poQXeXRb0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    This one is for you Daniel ,

    Chill out with Matisyahu
    Sunshine

    Great live performance .

    Respect to the Rabbi and this great Jewish artist!!

    Cheers

    ,;)

    ;)

  • letters in the age says:

    Hi again,

    Matisyahu is an interesting guy and his journey all the more complex with reggae music and his search for his true jewish identity

    Theres a lot to learn about him and the power of music to unite the wider community with his own evolution as a modern day Jew

    Kinda cool me thinks..

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    I just down loaded an instruction manuel on how to perform a lobotomy. I’m now an expert and happy to perform the procedure for people here as a service to our community

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Daniel Levy
    If I were in a generous mood and wanting to pay you a compliment I’d say that you are boring. Your disposition deserves better, but I shall keep it decent.
    Here’s some attention you don’t deserve, simply because you are not intellectually honest, but residually provocative, vulgar in your speculative incursions and aggressive without a respectable armoury of arguments.
    Here’s something you plunged into without being aware that you do NOT posess the respectable academic vantage point of keeping an argument decent.
    You aduce Russells argument on the function of philosophy versus logic. Here is what Bertrand Russell says on the matter:

    “… a philosophical proposition… must be a priori.
    A philosophical proposition must be such as can be neither proved nor disproved by empirical evidence”
    Bertrand Russell “Mysticism and Logic” pp.107, Pelican Books, 1953.
    Lecture VI, ” On Scientific Method in Philosophy.”

    Now, we all are aware that you wallow in useless arguments and when reffering to the inexpensive plucking you indulge in, hooking on to “popular” musings found in all kind of readily available wikipedia sources , you reckon that you have attained some vantage points by extrapolating one thing or another. This makes for the type of latter day pseudo intellectual and may be a reliable sinecure for your serious condition, but comes a time ( or two ) when your bluff is called and most those witnessing your stuff warn you politely that your use by date is long overdue, or, like me, inpatiently call you all kind of names most suitable for your impudence, hoping that electric shocks may work. But they do not and, to be honest, it don’t worry me, simply bcs you are not my main – or any degree – concern and if you happy to carry on like this, why not, you are not hurting nobody, just like those annoying one-tune baskers standing in Bondi Junction mall oblivious of their lack of impact on the world while the immediate “spectators” rush away avoiding the presence of the Daniel Levys impervious to their insignificance/cum irritant.

  • frosh says:

    Levi,

    You seem to want to deal in absolutes, but reality is not absolutes.

    People accomplish all sorts of tasks (that otherwise would have required them to hire a costly expert) by researching it themselves.

    Do you seriously never do this? You must spend a fortune in consultants, engineers, tradespeople, etc to undertake even the most simple tasks.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    It is interesting that, for once, Otto was mildly articulate.

    I never said that Russell was somebody I believed to be 100% correct about all things, nor did I make any statements about philosophical arguments resting solely on empiricism.

    Your entire rant is therefore a strawman. But good to see you’ve sharpened your prose. Try better with the substance next time, old chap?

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Frosh, only the sith deal in absolutes.

  • letters in the age says:

    You should create your own think tank

    Reminds me of those guys on The Drum

    Frosh is spot on…and Otto

    They engage in absolutes as well
    play nice

    ;)

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Daniel Levy

    I am an optimist. I reckon that in time you may arrive at a respectable mental morphology. It is, however, ( let’s be nice ) presumptous of you, a well known…………….. to attempt to over-ride let’s say a reasonably well established Nobel Prize laureat. I feel obliged to defend against you Bertrand Russell at least because my own Son is teaching these days at his old Cambridge College, Trinity.
    So, to be clear, you are, somewhere up there, getting involved in the controversy of science vs philosophy, or so it seemed.
    Now you are attempting to sneak out of the embarassing constant rattle you hv been regaling us with, and move towards a respectable exit, trying to formulate on the run (!!) something that, you hope, may trump dedicated logicians .
    And thus, you turn out to be , finallly ( I hope ) entertaining, not that I had problems laughing – the kinda of LOL – at everything else you ventured into to date.
    And don’t tell me that I carry on, rants and all. It’s a lovely siesta in the hills of Valencia and I got tonns of time to kill, not to mention those “funny” comments I alluded to………..

  • letters in the age says:

    Otto….

    Congrats on your sons achievements.

    Hope the weather is splendid!!

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Otto, I’m so glad you have found joy in living vicariously through your son’s achievements. I fail to see what they have to do with this debate, though.

    Pointing out that your entire argument is a strawman is not “sneaking” out of anything. Maybe you could put your son on and I could debate someone who has real substance to their writing?

  • letters in the age says:

    Why dont you become an Oxbridge grad Dan??

    Its a really hard degree mate…

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Letters, the sky is blue.

  • letters in the age says:

    Whatever….

    ;)

  • letters in the age says:

    Snots are boring…secular,agnostic or not mate especially on blogs like this

    Go and listen to Matisyahu….

    ;)

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Lettres, thanks, and all I want is to bring a more realistic, humane, dimension to what our Daniel is trying to turn constantly into a relentless dialectic which, to his intent, must lead to some nebulous egocentric torment. Me lad has to o with the above only to the extent that one retains intellectual respect by being careful with one’s output, that’s why I reffered earlier that the profile so far pencilled by Daniel of himself here is one of erratic punching in all direction, unlike the intellectual discpline found in certain learning places. Daniel is quitesmart and articulate( patronising, yes mate !!!) and draws this cute delight in provoking anyone willing to partake in his little game, quite a distinct time killer from the stuff my son, for instance, does, but he does bring up matters worth discussing, otherwise I would forever enjoy tha caminatte along the local surroundsevoid of little controversial chats, as you, Lettres also seem to enjoy.
    And thus Daniel, once again, proffits from this perpetual carpe diem at no real cost to me, or, I hope anyone else…

    TACHLES:
    In Spain:
    1 Kg. tomatoes – 0.60 Euro (E)
    1 doz. eggs -E 1.20
    1 can Budweisser E 0.47
    1 decaf cappuccino with toast – E 1.80
    1 kg bananas E 1.00 – Qld floods included
    1 bus trip any dist. E 1.45
    1 kg fresh salmon E 5.00

    all little flavoured yoghurts we pay up to AUD2.00, here E1.90 for pack of SIX.

    cheeses we pay up to AUD32.oo/kg, here max E 8.00/kg.

    that’s because they are telling us at Coles that their prices are goin’……………..where !!!???

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Frosh,

    Suggesting that one can do without engineers, qualified tradespeople, etc with no shades of grey in between…is not dwelling on absolute statement at all…

    Not exactly sure if one would appoint a qualufied engineers etc to perform a “simple task”, but then again I never said anything about simple tasks

  • letters in the age says:

    Great food in Spain….

    Thats not really controversial

    Dan,Dan is a snarky Heebish shit stirrer

    All fun and games….

    Shalom

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Daniel Levy

    you deserve much better

    It does not matter what made me realise that you are RIGHT in what you are seeking here and ALL those objecting to you are WRONG !!!

    I feel humbled by the genuine quest you display for a decent, substantive exchange on the matters you consider worth debating.
    My critical cimments cum smart lines peppered with invectives must be considered wrong and ill intended. I am not being cynical nor would I go into patronising someone who in a dilligent manner is involved in asserting articulate opinions.
    You are right in attempting to infuse cerebral involvement in subjects that are treated in fora such as this in a casual misinformed, fasely intelligent and, most of all, in an egocentric, vane and irrelevant manner.
    Palming off with pedesrian “witticism” your intention in developing a higher level of dscussion cannot be considered above your genuine effort of crating an athmosphere of congenial intelligent dialectics. I fully agree with you that SUBSTANCE matters (!!) not assrtions of smart speriority.
    Frosh was both right and wrong with his cute comment about the persistance of “mezuzatic” formal logic in a dialectical place that requires consistent, acceptable response. Frosh was promoting the virtues of formal logic, something not completely foreign to yor approach, difference being that you were willing to go “all the way” and that is precisely WHY you deserve my apologies.
    I feel bad about being dismissive without the substance you are demanding, of being impudent when faced with the invitation to an elevation of status of disscussion.
    I feellike letting down my own Son, whom I have encouraged for as long as I could engage in discussions/arguments, to do PRECISELY what you are practicing here.You deserve the respect afforded to anyone seeking relevance and at once refuting vulgar interjections, of which I supplied more than what a decent mond would tollerate.

    You are a most decent bloke, the kind of Yidishe kopf we should encourage and cultivate.

    In concrete terms, just a bit back to the current discussion here, I would only observe, countering your objection to the value of religious discourses, that analytical propositions are necessary and certain.The reason why they cannot be confuted in experienceis that they o not make make any assertion about the empirical world. They simply record our determination to use words in a certain fashion.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Frosh, only the sith deal in absolutes.

    – good call. :)

  • frosh says:

    Thanks Sadducee,

    Obi-Wan Kenobi has long been my favourite character from the SW films :-)

  • letters in the age says:

    Glad people find themselves and kindred spirits on blogs like this

    Otto and Levy are living vicarously through each others comments…..

    Wow!

  • letters in the age says:

    Frosh,

    I really would like to see a Jewish sociologist write an article….

    It would be refreshing!!

  • What is the feeling about Planck’s comments re the pure rationalist having no place within the halls of science?

    That scientists, “must have an imaginative picture of the law that he is pursuing. …… This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here.”

    I did not read through all the clutter in the posts, but my quick scan seemed to indicate that these observations of Plack [and quite a few other eminent scientists] seem to have been conveniently ignored.

  • I have had a private discussion in which the following queries/observations emerged.

    Why are we so hung up on processes? Our main concern ought to be that our food is kosher; why are we hypnotised by Kosher Stamps and the minutia at the extreme end of questionable high performance Kosher?

    1. Hard cheese – We want to know that the cheese has no animal product. Why is it insufficient to rely on the government regulations and authority? Why are we focused on the dispute between the Shach and the Taz if Kosher participation is required for Kosher cheese production?

    2. Chalav Yisrael – As above, we are focused on the legitimacy of using a government authority to give a ‘hechsher’ rather than looking at the milk in the carton which we know to be 100% kosher milk.

    3. Matzot – what energises the Haredi group to look at hand made matzah as preferable, since the process is what is important. Why should we care so long as the bread we are eating is not chametz?

    4. Shechita/ Mashgiach – Here, too we want meat that has been shechted properly or the food from the caterer to be kosher. Instead we are hung up about who is involved in the process and whether they have a beard, or are male, or some other requirement.

    I understand that some process is necessary. For example, preventing an atheist from acting as a mashgiach is logical, and having the rules of Chalav Yisrael would make sense in a location where government regulations are not too stringent. But why do we go to this extent?

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Rabbi Rabi, I invite you to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

    Merely stating a quote by Planck and saying “omg a scientist said this so it must be true” is a horrendous logical fallacy.

    It’s also a strawman argument that has only tangential relation to the topic at hand. Planck was talking about the process of scientific discovery, and that it requires an imaginative element. To say that this invalidates rationalism is so ridiculous I cannot even believe you would try to make that argument.

    You are extremely out of your depth in this conversation. You have demonstrated that you are happy to talk very confidently on scientific topics about which you clearly know nothing about (see my first comment addressing your ignorance on biology and psychology)

    This is quite frankly emblematic of the general ignorance of the religious about science. Truly saddening that this is your level of education. You are extremely ignorant of basic facts and seemingly proud of it.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Love that last para – keep up the good work Dan.

  • Even though the discussion does not relate to dairy tomato sauce, nor vodka, I will provide some light entertainment.

    I noted when first quoting Planck, that it proves nothing other than that he said those words. I offered a reasonable expansion of what Planck meant. Although those words of Planck and my expansion were rubbished, the rubbishers failed to actually explain their reasoning. Until now; finally we have an attempt to interpret Planck such that his words can satisfy those who wish not to hear what he appears to be saying.

    It is now suggested that Planck was talking about the process of scientific discovery, and that it requires an imaginative element. That’s not a bad effort but it fails because Plack does not say IMAGINATIVE but uses the word FAITH.

    We did not suggest that Planck invalidates rationalism, Planck says the PURE RATIONALIST has no place in scientific research. And as I am fairly sure you already know, Planck provides some examples to illustrate his meaning, in which he who has less research facilities and facts but has FAITH, is far better than he who has great research facilities and facts but no faith.

    It is surely a sign of weakness when ones position is distorted in order to be attacked.

  • to address the issues of
    Why are we so hung up on processes? Our main concern ought to be that our food is kosher; why are we hypnotised by Kosher Stamps and the minutia at the extreme end of questionable high performance Kosher?

    It appears that insisting on a particular process is a very important part of the atmosphere of Kosher or the cosmetics of Kosher. It is not much different from suggesting we alter the football jumper of our favourite team. An outsider might well say Much ado about nothing. But for the insiders it is a matter of great importance. Kashrus, as are many other aspects of our embrace of Yiddishkeit, is a declaration of allegiance. Although we all pledge allegiance to Gd, the manner, style and fashion of our pledge varies from congregation to congregation. All players pledge allegiance to their football code but each club, displays, promotes and develops its own identity, its own brand and its own tribal customs.

    1. Hard cheese – We want to know that the cheese has no animal product. Why is it insufficient to rely on the government regulations and authority? Why are we focused on the dispute between the Shach and the Taz if Kosher participation is required for Kosher cheese production?

    Cheese requires by Rabbinic decree, some Kosher participation in its manufacture. According to the Taz it participation is not required but supervision. Both however agree that this decre is not just to ensure that non-Kosher is not included in the cheese. The main driver behind the decree is maintaining ethnic social isolation.

    2. Chalav Yisrael – As above, we are focused on the legitimacy of using a government authority to give a ‘hechsher’ rather than looking at the milk in the carton which we know to be 100% kosher milk.

    This touches upon the ruling of Reb Moshe. Again the predominant tendency towards requiring independent Kosher monitoring is not driven by allegiance to Gd but to one’s support for own one’s own club who are using the Halacha as a device to build their own unique tribal customs.

    3. Matzot – what energises the Haredi group to look at hand made matzah as preferable, since the process is what is important. Why should we care so long as the bread we are eating is not chametz?

    The Halachic theory is that Matza – at least for fulfilling the Mitzvah on the first night must be made for that purpose. The question is, can a machine provide this type of intent?

    4. Shechita/ Mashgiach – Here, too we want meat that has been shechted properly or the food from the caterer to be kosher. Instead we are hung up about who is involved in the process and whether they have a beard, or are male, or some other requirement.

    As per the above – tribalism
    I understand that some process is necessary. For example, preventing an atheist from acting as a mashgiach is logical, and having the rules of Chalav Yisrael would make sense in a location where government regulations are not too stringent. But why do we go to this extent?

    As per the above – tribalism

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Rabbi Rabi, you cannot make claims in one post that are contradicted by you in the next and expect to be taken seriously.

    You offered your Max Planck quote as an argument for religious faith. Religious faith, by its very definition, negates rationalism. They do not co-exist. Rationalism requires proof or supporting evidence. Religious faith thrives on providing neither.

    The faith Planck is referring to is really a built up trust in your skills as a scientist to proceed with a line of inquisition, and see it out until its very end. That even though you may not be able to rationally deduce from the outset that this hypothesis is likely, by testing it out and playing around with it, you may find the supporting evidence. Not all hypotheses are initially the most rational, and some of the best breakthroughs in science have come from those kinds of guesses. But to conflate this idea with religious faith is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.

    It’s not a faith in a higher power, it’s a faith that the natural laws of the universe are discoverable. That is the underpinning of the fundamental assumption of science. That the universe exists and that we can learn things about it through reproducible experiments (empiricism).

    In your (seemingly) infinite credulity, you succumbed to basic confirmation bias and shoehorned this quote into your worldview. I have no doubt that this has settled the cognitive dissonance you used to (and I hope, still) feel about the struggle between science and religion.

  • Max Planck said [and I freely admit that this quote proves nothing other than that he said this at that time], “Science demands also the believing spirit. Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye Must Have Faith. It is a quality which the scientists cannot dispense with.”

    I am fairly sure that Planck does not mean faith in Gd, but I am pretty sure that he is not uncomfortable in describing this as a type of religious faith.

    I did not quote Max Planck to prove or support an argument for religious faith.
    People may offer their own definitions of Religious faith, but it is not helpful in a discussion to use ones own definition to question the opinion of those who see things differently.

    I agree that Rationalism requires proof or supporting evidence, which is precisely why Planck maintains that the Pure Rationalist can not be a good scientist. There is more to science than proof or supporting evidence. There is FAITH.

    Love, the arts as well as Planck’s view of science and Religious faith, thrives on providing neither proof nor supporting evidence.
    Planck says the scientist, “must have an imaginative picture of the law that he is pursuing. …… This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here.” quotes from Ken Wilbur’s Quantum Questions, New Science Library 1985.

    If some wish to re-name Planck’s FAITH as “built up trust in skills as a scientist to proceed with a line of inquisition, and see it out until its very end”, then at least be honest and say so. Suggest that you amongst many others disagree with Plack. Nothing wrong with that. It does not end the discussion. It does not prove or disprove anything. But not admitting this, proves something quite clearly.

    Some of the best breakthroughs in science have come from educated guesses. Yes indeed, but Planck names these educated guesses as FAITH. And as I stated earlier, Planck does not mean Religious Faith. It is faith that the natural laws of the universe are discoverable and understandable; that they can make sense to the finite limited human mind. This is the underpinning of the fundamental assumption of science. Indeed, what greater FAITH can there be. You are in the house of the Martian and you are confident that you can figure out what goes on in his home. You are confident that a Martian feels love and loyalty and hatred and betrayal as you do. So there is a common denominator a common Language. Such FAITH is really quite staggering, a wonderful act of FAITH

    I cant understand why some will insist on conflating Planck with religious faith. It may be due to an intense and illogical fear of the word FAITH and an intense sense of despair that in spite of wonderfully entertaining and rational erudite and articulate proponents, there are still far too many people who embrace religion and belief in Gd.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    @Daniel Levy

    you are spot on when you say that religious faith negates rationalism. But so do many traditional/mainstream scientific theories that have become accepted as nothing short of the “truth.” I would go as a far as to say that you have to be more religious to accept the latter as “truth.”

    I encourage you to visit the blog of prominent scientist Dr Arnie Gotfryd http://arniegotfryd.com/

    here is a brilliant quote from his blog demonstrating how it takes more faith to believe in half backed dogma disguised as acceptable mainstream science than in religious notions –

    “Another point for the “evolutionist” to consider – The Big Bang subsumes within it “Inflationary Theory” which requires to believe that the universe expanded from a tiny dot to a diameter of 100,000,000 light years in a mere trillionth of a second. And they say that we believe in miracles?”

    Hope you can explore his blog from an objective and open minded perspective, without your usual preconceived notions & prejudice.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Rabi, you keep moving the goalposts on me and changing your argument every post. When you want to have an intellectually honest discussion, we will continue. Until then, you have the entire body of what I previously wrote to understand at your own pace.

    @Levi, Arnie Gotfryd doesn’t even have a page on wikipedia. A prominent scientist? Hardly.

    What a prominent scientist to conflate evolutionary theory, which is a concept of Biology with the Big Bang, a concept of Physics. This tells me all I need to know about Gotfryd – he knows very little about anything.

    I guess what makes him dangerous is that people like you who know even less will just lap that up like it’s the second coming of christ.

  • well said, and I imagine that following our little sparring, a little recess might be quite in order.

  • And now, is there any interest in discussing my article, or is everyone in complete agreement?
    I do note that some noise-makers have chosen not to engage. Perhaps they have figured out that we are immune to the power of their imagined barbs, since they lack any substance or perhaps they have listened to what has been said and they too have agreed

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Rather than opt to actaully address the arguments that he puts forth on his blog you opt to for the easy way out & attack him for not having a Wikipedia page (among other things). Boo hoo. & you seem to to be overly hung up with semantics. Notice, that he employed scare quotes for “evolutionist”? Do you deny that the majority of today’s “evolutionists” also subscribe to the big bang theory and that the two theories are usually presented/taught in conjunction?

  • TheSadducee says:

    “I guess what makes him dangerous is that people like you who know even less will just lap that up like it’s the second coming of christ”

    lol. As Jews we’re waiting for the first coming Dan.

    Obviously the indoctrination didn’t harm you too much.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Interesting that while accussing someone of conflating two separate ideas he does the exact same thing…

  • I will try again, – do people feel that the rabbis and the rabbinate are trying to take control of their Jewish life?
    Do we feel that our liberty and the pleasure of being engaged with Gd and bearing the responsibility of determining our relationship with Gd, is being torn away from us?

    Rabbi Chayim Voloshiner, arguably the most famous of the Vilna Gaon’s students, writes the following to explain the Mishnah, first chapter Pirkey Avos which directs students to sit in or at the dust of the feet of their teachers.

    Although this suggests that students utterly submit themselves to their teachers, Rabbi Voloshiner argues the opposite. He explains that the reference to the dust of or at the feet refers to the imagery of people who are wrestling and raise the dust during their struggles. This is how the word is used in Bereishis where the Torah describes the wrestling match between Jacob and an unnamed person whilst Jacob is alone and clearing up after his family have already moved across the wadi.

    Rabbi Voloshiner explains that students must engage their teachers in battle. They must ask tough questions to ensure they understand what the teacher means.

    He concludes by stating that if the student remains with questions that the teacher cannot satisfactorily answer and explain then the students MUST NOT accept their teacher’s ruling and/or explanation.

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    the idea that rabbi’s etc are trying to take control of judiasm and the idea that everyone can be their own authority, is as old as judiasm itself. It probably started with korach who preached “equality” – ie that all jews were kohanim…but really used that as a guise to push his own agenda (ie to wage a personal vendetta.) If we can do without a rabbinic authority, become our own authority, then in addition to disbanding the beis din etc we can also disband kosher v yosher.

  • frosh says:

    Hi R’Rabi,

    In resposne to your question,

    Do people feel that the rabbis and the rabbinate are trying to take control of their Jewish life?

    The feeling is yes, certainly amongst many people I mix with.

    Here’s a comment from a thread on Facebook about Pesach kashrut (for those with an inability to detect sarcasm, the first sentence below is sarcastic).

    The KA Pesach list 2013 is intelligent as usual. Some of the highlights include coriander seed, linseed, flaxseed, snow peas – and they are just some of the ones included as definite kitniyot (not in the according to custom category!)

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Frosh

    you are picking on the good Rabbi with half baked “arguments” and you must know it. If you would have used a ( very old ) past tense I would have been inclined to say a mild “maybe”, but in today’s world, of free agency and prosperous “survival” of ANY Jew outside the immediate confines of the “gheto”,the job of a Rabbi, an intelligent one, mind you, is to submit himself to the raw and cruel laws of MARKETING. Careless Rabbis may attempt these days in ANY type of congregation to IMPOSE and the vey casual reference you made abt yr friends deriding the strategy of domineering Rabbis is testimony of why a clever lader of any congregation would not like to be the but of that very comment. To this extent what our current and present Rabbi alluded to, the submission of theological rationale to the mind of the dialectical purveyor REGARDLESS of station, holds water. In other words, a real REBBE is as good as his word cum wisdom and NOT his vanity !!!!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Daniel

    You must know that Plank was almost ridiculously casual in the use of terms such as “faith” in an otherwise much more serious domain of epistemology than you allude to and, in fact, pin your arguments on.

    There are much more relevant sources of dialectics, such as Popper and, to boot and admire, Adorno that merit your attention, not to mention comparatively soft “homelies” by Russell and Ayer on the same.

    I trust you to get stuck into that class of argument !

  • Daniel Levy says:

    @Otto, I can only work with the paltry material that Rabi has to offer.

    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely he will have read anything that even closely resembles a critical interpretation of the issue.

    @Levi, whoooooooooooooooooosh.

  • letters in the age says:

    The Sth African Jews who live where we reside have moved wayyyy out here to get away from that intrusion…

    Bagel belt but just a distant and lovely memory

    No ,

    They feel free and organic…….

  • Dismantle KVY?!?!?!

    Not a bad idea but a little premature. When we have educated everyone and they know and feel confident – that will be the time that KVY no longer has a purpose, may that day soon be upon us.

    In truth I do not propose that there should be no BD and no rabbis. But there is a significant gap between institutions that provide guidance and are answerable to queries from the public, and a ruling class that is not transparent and not answerable.

    In traditional orthodox commentary on the Chumash based on Gemara and Medrash, Korach is driven by envy. And the moral Mussar lesson is that even great people such as Korach, for he was truly great and one of a very small group selected to carry the Holy Ark; but nevertheless allowed trivial matters to spark a conflagration within himself that drove him to foolish conclusions. His arguments were all superficial and transparently stupid.

    The traditions we need to look for, and which are plentiful, are that open vigorous debate was the standard that was promoted throughout Talmudic and post Talmudic culture. And that it was common to have different rabbis running their own jurisdictions that had varying customs and laws and that was quite acceptable.

    To what extent can the individual assert a legitimate right to rule Halacha for themselves? But this happens all the time and is unstoppable. It is only where the community and the individual intersect that there is a need to make these type of decisions. The power to intervene in an individual’s life and home exists in the legislation but I think that without a living tradition of how this is actually implemented, we have no idea how this functions. Does the BD have the right and more importantly, the obligation and the desire to investigate what goes on in the privacy of people’s lives? I don’t think anyone has any way to prove and we will all speculate according to our own preferences.

    So the general question is, will the government run by Moshiach be a despotic invasive one or a benign accommodating persuasive educative leadership? We pray and hope that we soon face that very question.

    Re Kitniyos, some argue that watermelon seeds are Kitniyos – and that’s why we now have seedless watermelons, its all a Haredi plot.

    never mind coffee beans and cacao beans, and the rabbi who wanted to include potatoes in the ban.

    But we must still consider the value of Rabbinic intervention; I suspect that the decrees that limited interaction and promoted social isolation were a key factor in ensuring the continuation of Jews and Jewish identity throughout our long and difficult exiles. And many would add, and I dont think they can be lightly dismissed that even with our own State, our identity is still threatened and not just by physical attack but in the religious cultural sense.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Premature? Your opinion piece doesn’t suggest that @ all.

    “In truth I do not propose that there should be no BD and no rabbis”

    Why not? I can just open up an english version of a mishna berurah or go online to find what i need?

    @Daniel Levy,
    The “whoosh” sound was by far the most remotely intelligent noise that has come out from your end. Where is the “like” button when you need it most, darn it!

  • Of course you can always open a Mishne Berurah, but there will always be variations in circumstances and these will always require some perspective that can only be gained by those who are seasoned in the Halachic traditions and have a close feel for the subtleties that are at the heart of Halacha.

    And how does one deal with the rulings of the Mishne Berurah that appear to be inconsistent with one another? BD’s job is to help navigate through difficult interpretations and provide guidance for those who do not feel confident or ought not feel confident to open a Mishne Berurah.

  • and as I wrote before,
    When we have educated everyone and they know and feel confident – that will be the time that KVY no longer has a purpose, may that day soon be upon us.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    You just contradicted yourself

  • Levi,
    you may be right but I need help finding the contradiction you found

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    “Every English Halacha Sefer that I have seen carries with it the dire warning that it is not to be used to make Halachic decisions. So the purpose of these books is not to educate but to drive us into believing that we require expert assistance: in other words to inform us of the bewildering complexity of Halacha and rob us of our independence and more dramatically to rob us of our relationship with Gd. ”

    “Of course you can always open a Mishne Berurah, but there will always be variations in circumstances and these will always require some perspective that can only be gained by those who are seasoned in the Halachic traditions and have a close feel for the subtleties that are at the heart of Halacha.

    And how does one deal with the rulings of the Mishne Berurah that appear to be inconsistent with one another? BD’s job is to help navigate through difficult interpretations and provide guidance for those who do not feel confident or ought not feel confident to open a Mishne Berurah.”

  • Thank you but I think there is a misunderstanding.

    “Every English Halacha Sefer that I have seen carries with it the dire warning that it is not to be used to make Halachic decisions. So the purpose of these books is not to educate but to drive us into believing that we require expert assistance: in other words to inform us of the bewildering complexity of Halacha and rob us of our independence and more dramatically to rob us of our relationship with Gd. ”

    Perhaps you misunderstood, or perhaps I was careless in my wording and structure. I mean to say that I condemn this trend. This trend is determined to rob us of our heritage and responsibility. It tries to make us believe that we should not be deciding Halacha for ourselves.

    “Of course you can always open a Mishne Berurah, but there will always be variations in circumstances and these will always require some perspective that can only be gained by those who are seasoned in the Halachic traditions and have a close feel for the subtleties that are at the heart of Halacha.

    And how does one deal with the rulings of the Mishne Berurah’s by that appear to be inconsistent with one another? BD’s job is to help navigate through difficult interpretations and provide guidance for those who d my bo not feel confident or ought not feel confident to open a Mishne Berurah.”

    Of course, the decision to be responsible for one’s relationship with HKBH does not mean that one can make all decisions themselves. In fact any great scientist, researcher or investigator will readily admit that consulting with others is a critical requirement for gaining clarity and new perspectives. However, in seeking such assistance we are not looking for a final decision but for explanations and discussions that will expand our horizons and appreciation for Halacha.

    This is a two way street; we must want to learn and must also want to teach. When we prefer just to get instructions – do what needs to be done – and get on with our life, then we are more guilty than the rabbis and the establishment that wants to grab power.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    The whole lets take on the “mighty establishment” and those “power grabbing rabbis” etc, etc has been well and truly over done on this forum. It’s over blown & become very old & tired.

  • So you agree there is no contradiction in what I said.

    Anyway, I am not Krechtzing about the rabbis and the establishment, I am troubled by our meekness, the ordinary people. We allow ourselves to be led. We do not pursue with enough vigour our duties and our pleasures, those pleasures that are enduring. Pleasures for which we have been placed in this world to seek and relate to Gd.

    Our religious emotional life is superficial and begging for sustenance and enthusiasm.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Maybe Levi would like to consider the vast divide between the vicarous Xtian escathology and the individually “delegated” Judaic version. Mishne Berurah allows precisely the practice of contadiction as a vehicle to the almost (!!!) ideal of PERFECTION. And that means also reason. I am reminded constantly not by a rabbinical authority , but by a non rabbinical exeget, Gershom Scholem, that we have been granted the freedom of applying our intellect in a manner not atypical to what proto Hellenic philosophers described as the individual universe of each individual human. To this extent, the attempts at exercising decisive and non reducible authority by certain individuals called Rabbi as a purely incidental appelation, as Rabbi Rabi alludes to, runs counter to the Judaism he wants to see, the type MB DOES encourage, you , Levi, take, in principle and obvious practice full advantage of and I also gladly subscribe to.
    So there, obviously, is a sign on Rabbi Rabi’s dialectical door saying “Contradictions Wellcome ” .

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    no actually i still stand by what i said. You have totally contradicted yourself. Sorry.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Levi, where is the “contradiction” in what I said, that is if you addressed to me yr last comment !!??

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    you otto? Never ;) i was addressing R Rabi

  • Levi,
    you may be right but I need help finding the contradiction you found. Did I not resolve the issues you raised?

  • JerryC says:

    Hey Rabbi, Where’s the laffa matzah this year? Haven’t seen any promotion of it. Gone outta business?

  • Jerry,
    dont you like surprises?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Levi

    I am more than confident that you have identified since childhood the vast distinction between the theistic idiom and the secular vernacular.
    Thus, there are also just as vast, if not even a larger divide, in methodology of rational trajectories.
    I , for one, have been subservient for all my academic life to the secular, not least because my first five years of university were carried out within a Marxist environment. Having encountered later the realm of methaphisics, as it is regularly defined, and implicitely Judaism, juxtaposed to the previous intellectual approach, I realised at once that a vast hiatus exists between what has acquired solid institutional modern respectability at the EXPENSE of an unjustified abandonmnet of what used to be the principal function of tertiary education, indeed methaphisics. The even greater, more pleasing finding was that Judaism, quite intentionally, has been delving in “secular” matters with such aplomb, mind you within the same, unaltered, most seductive, mode of intellectual approach, that, untill the destructive emergence of Haskala, it provided a most comprehensive UTILITARIAN – almost as in the strictness of the Hume type – means of perpetuation of an existential complexity called even today Jewish Identity.
    This could be precisely why both you and Rabbi Rabi canvas the same issues, albeit in idioms that, in a mind of their own, refuse confluence. This is to say also that I , for one, cannot see why Rabbi Rabi, or any other dependable Jewish scholar, need be even familiar with Kant, Hegel, Plank etc., let alone peg their learning and dialectics on the utterings of a class with not obligatory tangents to their reliable pursuits. This is to confirm that Judaism has created an in-built system of apporachin reality that is SELF-DEPENDANT, even if in today’s circulation of ideas and exchanges of the same, one may desire to impress with size of knowledge regardless of the source, direction, meaning or relevance.
    To this extent, I invite you to have a look at Popper’s autobiography where, quite en passant, he makes some remarks about Judaism. A more primitive, ignorant and even anti Semitic paragraph hard to trump.

    I am in Granada and visited today Alhambra only to realise that what has been discarded for centuries is now regreted and – irretrievably- wished back.

  • JerryC says:

    I asked the Rabbi a simple question and all I get in response is a conspiratorial “don’t you like surprises”? Given the good Rabbi’s ongoing criticism of other rabbis for allegedly lacking transparency, the Rabbi’s response to my question is very much the pot calling the kettle black…

  • JerryC

    you can do better than that

  • JerryC says:

    “Perhaps, it’s time for kashrus to be more factual and less emotional and it’s time for Yidden and Yiddishkeit to be more respectful and accepting and less pompous and divisive”

    What about you, my dear Rabbi, having the courtesy to answer the very simple question I posed? Surely everyone should be treated with kavod habriyus, as you so rightly suggested?

    I cannot for the life of me see why you refuse to state whether or not your run of matzos will be available this year. What possible harm could it do for you to answer this simple question?!

  • Yaron says:

    JerryC,
    Your lack of logical process is breathtaking!

    Following your logic the kashrut authorities around the world are duty bound to be transparent and reveal the true (secret) ingredients of Coke.

    Surly you can see a difference between transparency in the halachic process and running his business as he sees fit?

  • letters in the age says:

    Eds: Comment removed as left on wrong thread

  • letters in the age says:

    sorry about that….

    Ouch.

    Noted!

  • “Perhaps, it’s time for Kashrus to be more factual and less emotional and it’s time for Yidden and Yiddishkeit to be more respectful and accepting and less pompous and divisive”

    I think it was Lucy who said that envy is the greatest form of praise. To be read, remembered and then quoted, I am KVELLING. So I am indebted to you JerryC.

    Anyway, any information you may wish to know regarding our Kashrus work and our Kashrus policies, please feel free to ask and I will do my very best to provide you with full answers based on fact not emotion, and with respect and dignity.

  • Elijah says:

    What is Kosher?
    Preventing cruelty to fauna that we eat.
    Not eating fauna that might make us sick.
    Provision of fauna and flora to specification for ritual covenants.
    Protecting the environment and thus the flora and fauna that we eat.
    Providing fauna and flora to our levitical priestly clan for services.

    I just made another trip to Australia and this time to Perth.
    In the grounds of the synagogue is a kosher food shop.
    Does this private business pay market rent?
    The price differential for food sourced in Melbourne cannot be explained by freight and handling.
    An example: Chicken breast in Perth $29/kg – Melbourne $20/kg

    Why are Bagels 50% more expensive in Perth than in Melbourne?
    However, in Perth, if you wish to buy, day-old frozen Bagels the price goes from $1.20 to $0.80c. In Melbourne, day-old Bagels are donated to charity. Maybe in Perth, economic sense has not made it across the wide brown land. Instead of having large commercial freezers full of day-old Bagels, they could sell their entire daily production at a reasonable $0.80c a Bagel.

    A synagogue that has a food business located within it’s property should at a minimum, ensure that food stables are affordable. It just appears that the synagogue is the recipient of farmisht gelt.

  • JerryC says:

    “Anyway, any information you may wish to know regarding our Kashrus work and our Kashrus policies, please feel free to ask and I will do my very best to provide you with full answers based on fact not emotion, and with respect and dignity.”

    OK Rabbi, no emotion. The question that I require a factual answer to is the following: Will your laffa matza be available this year?

    Please answer a simple yes or no. No prevaricating or emotional one-liners are allowed.

  • JerryC says:

    Yaron, what does Coca Cola have to do with my asking the rabbi if his laffa matzos are available? Surely you can see the simplicity of this question and the sheer illogicality of the rabbi refusing to reply?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Can I elevate the standards by relating once more to the organic realtionship between Judaism and science, pls !!!
    I am now in Cordoba, Rambam’s birthplace. Just visited the only recognised synagogue in Cordoba, one of only three such in the whole of Spain. It is placed in Juderia and only a few metres from the Maimonides Plaza, adorned with Rambam’s statue errected, indeed , by the Spanish.
    It was Rambam, as we know, that allowed mathematics and even medicine to be expressed in Judaic philosophical terms, by expanding understanding of Torah through the rationale of scientific precision.

    Now, back to the price of matzos……………

  • TheSadducee says:

    “Will your laffa matza be available this year?”

    Who cares? Surely Hashem doesn’t care about this sort of trivia?

    Why don’t we focus on the important issues like making the Jewish people a great people and example to others through our education, values, personal behaviour and conduct (eg. charity, humility, enlightened leadership) – instead of worrying about soft matza?

    Bizarre and completely wrong-headed in my opinion.

  • Well, HKBH is concerned about all things, what appears to us to be trivial is often of major concern to HKBH, and the reverse is also true.

    and JerryC, suspense is also an important part of life, no?

    RaMBaM was a great ambassador for, proponent of, and innovator within Judaism and I think it is fair to say that he was not the first and the beginning of what we call scientific analysis of Yiddishkeit and the one who opened the doors of Yiddishkeit to science. I think there is evidence of this in the Gemara, i.e. science is not an add on to the Gemara but a natural ally of Torah – in pursuit of truth.

    It is also true to note that generally speaking, science has some strong reservations about alternative views of medicine and other spheres dominated by scientific methodologies. Take face recognition for example and voice recognition; there is a deep seated belief that these can be measured and eventually match and even surpass the human ability. Computers can certainly process info faster, but there is good reason to also believe that the human mind and consciousness does have a perception that our tools cannot measure nor even discern. The ability of schools of fish and flocks of birds to move together and not crash etc.

    There are doctors, and I mean people with degrees in medicine from prestigious universities, who [also or mainly] diagnose all types of diseases, by detecting the aroma of various body fluids. Again, there is a BELIEF amongst some, that science will eventually catch up and even overtake these diagnostics.

    If we did not treat these discussion as opportunities to be gladiators and fight to the death, we might be making more progress.

  • I am very sorry to inform you that due to malfunction of our special barrier film bag production, we cannot supply Exodus Soft Matza this year.

    LeShaNa HaBaA in Jerusalem

  • JerryC says:

    good excuse. the fact that the product was banned in Sydney and that Victorian rabbonim spoke out against it had no impact at all on the decision?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rabbi

    I hope that I managed to convey that my opinion is that Judaism is permanently anchored in all relevant realities, science included. What I consider less relevant and not worthy of Judaic introspection cum study are philosophical speculations that delve into the ethics of religion and promote musings which quite intentionally at times intend to discredit Judaism per se. 19th century in particular has seen a plethora of such ideas most deemed redundant while still in their formative stages. Sociological and psychological excursions were and some still carry the same mantra of manipulative speculations some more commercial than of any scientific interest.
    These make for endless discussions even on places such as this one………..

  • Not really connected to the article but peripherally to some of the Posters

    Rice and Corn May be Eaten for the Entire Day of Erev Pesach

    I have indicated that the Halacha permits consumption of Kitniyos [read Soho Sushi] all day Erev Pesach, just as we may consume potatoes all day Erev Pesach.

    A rabbi has offered his learned opinion in response, and I thank him for his contribution to this discussion. I have emailed him my response for his benefit and for the benefit of those who have seen his comments.

    Rabbi K writes that, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets” and may therefore not be consumed on Erev Pesach in the same way and during the same times that Chamets is prohibited.

    Now, this is clearly an exaggeration. You see, unlike Chamets, we may keep Kitniyos in our home during Pesach. The RaMa is the master of Minhag Ashkenaz and the source for our Minhag of not consuming Kitniyos during Pesach, Shulchan Aruch OCh 453:1. RaMa declares without reservation that unlike Chamets, Kitniyos need not be sold. In fact Kitniyos may be kept in our “Pesach kitchen”. Clearly, it is not true to say that “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    So, although the Minhag of Kitniyos is driven by concerns that it can be easily confused with Chamets, as Rabbi K explained, it is nevertheless also clear in and from the Halacha that this Minhag did not ever suggest that Kitniyos ought to be handled and categorised as Chamets. So it is misguided and illogical to suggest that Kitniyos are prohibited on Erev Pesach in the same way and at the same times that Chamets is prohibited because, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”.

    Here is another important difference between Kitniyos and Chamets. Chamets which becomes inadvertently mixed into Pesach food BEFORE Pesach, will be deemed insignificant at our standard Halachic proportion of 1 to 60. This is not true however with regard to Kitniyos inadvertently mixed into Pesach food [even if this occurs DURING Pesach] Kitniyos is deemed to be insignificant as long as it is less than half of the volume of the mixture. So, even though one can easily discern the taste and flavour of the rice flour in the Pesach Cholent, it is Kosher and may be eaten by Ashkenasi Jews during Pesach. [Mishneh Berurah 453:9] Clearly, it is not true to say that “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    BTW, according to the Halacha we have just discussed, we may eat regular non KLP chocolate that contains lecithin, and drink regular non KLP juices and lemonades that use Kitniyos sweeteners, since these contain Kitniyos that are less than 50% of the mixture and the Kitniyos are not readily visible to the unaided eye. Foods containing 49% Kitniyos, that are not specifically manufactured for Jews to consume during Pesach, have the same status as foods that are specifically manufactured for Jews to consume during Pesach into which 49% Kitniyos were inadvertently mixed.

    It is worthwhile explaining at this point that the guidelines that shape the prohibition of eating Kitniyos during Pesach are not determined by the Laws of Kashrus. Thus when Kitniyos becomes inadvertently mixed into our foods we do not use the usual Kosher ratio of 1 part to 60. The reason being that this custom has its own set of guidelines which are determined by the Minhag itself, as explained by the Mishneh Berurah 453:8. Again we see the extraordinary qualities of leniency ascribed to Kitniyos that do not apply to Chamets. Clearly, it is not true to say that “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    Rabbi K also seeks proof from Siman 444.
    We must eat three meals every Shabbos. This is also true when Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos. However, on Erev Pesach we may not eat a bread meal after late morning. Must the third meal comprise bread and be eaten in the morning, or is “meat or fruit” adequate which can be consumed in the afternoon? See Shulchan Aruch OCh 444.

    The Shulchan Aruch does not provide a comprehensive “Kosher List” of acceptable foods for the Third Meal for Shabbos, but offers classifications – Category 1, bread; Category 2, meat; and Category 3, fruit. [Mishneh Berruah 444:8] There is no interest at this point nor any need to elaborate these categories as they are self-evident. Kitniyos are clearly less significant than meat. [apologies to my vegetarian friends] Suggesting that a proof can be fashioned from the Shulchan Aruch’s omission of Kitniyos as an acceptable option for a Shabbos meal, is not a sensible observation nor a credible argument.

    Rabbi K also quotes a number of Acharonim. For the time being I will not comment on these, other than saying that to the best of my knowledge they do not offer any proofs to support their suggestions.

    BTW, suggesting that something which is not explicitly permitted in the Shulchan Aruch must be prohibited, is a facile and infantile argument. We begin our interaction with Gd and Life with the premise that everything is permitted, other than that which is specifically prohibited. Our Sages take a very dim view of those who look for unnecessary stringencies and seek to reduce the enjoyment of those things that Gd created for us to enjoy.

    Wishing all Yidden a Kosher Pesach,
    May we all merit to hear and be participants in the cause of the sounding of the Shofar of Moshiach.

  • letters in the age says:

    Rabbi,

    You have lost me with all due respect……

    Shalom

  • Appreciate the respect, although it is entirely unnecessary,

    but I am simply saying eat corn, rice and other Kitniyos all day Erev Pesach – AND dont worry about crumbs of Kitniyos in the house, they are not a problem. Should make life much easier for many people, especially families with little kids

  • Enjoy Erev Yom Tov – RELAX

    Eat Sushi, rice, corn, rice cakes and corn cakes etc.
    All day Sunday and ALL day Monday
    WITHOUT fretting over the crumbs
    They ARE NOT Chamets

    Even if they fall into your Pesach food, it’s not a problem
    just remove what you can see and RELAX, your food is still KLP

    and if you find those Kitniyos crumbs in your food during Pesach,
    just remove what you can see and RELAX, your food is still KLP

  • Steven says:

    I would love to see a debate with a few Rabbis on this topic. I googled it a bit and everyone seems to in agreement that you cannot eat it erev pesach due to minhag.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    The prohibition on eating chometz in the afternoon of erev Pesach (when they slaughtered the korban Pesach) is Biblical, just like the prohibition on eating chometz during Pesach itself. This being the case I can’t imagine why the custom to refrain from eating kitniyos would distinguish between erev Pesach and Pesach itself. If we’re afraid of confusion on Pesach, we would also be afraid of confusion erev Pesach; if it’s common to find chometz in kitniyos on Pesach it will also be common erev Pesach; and so forth.

  • Joe seems to agree with Rabbi K, who writes that, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets” and may therefore not be consumed on Erev Pesach in the same way and during the same times that Chamets is prohibited.

    Now, to be polite, this is clearly an exaggeration. You see, unlike Chamets, we may keep Kitniyos in our home during Pesach. The RaMa is the master of Minhag Ashkenaz and the source for our Minhag of not consuming Kitniyos during Pesach, Shulchan Aruch OCh 453:1. RaMa declares without reservation that unlike Chamets, Kitniyos need not be sold. In fact Kitniyos may be kept in our “Pesach kitchen”. Clearly, it is not true to say that “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    So, although the Minhag of Kitniyos is driven by concerns that it can be easily confused with Chamets, as Rabbi K explained, it is nevertheless also clear in and from the Halacha that this Minhag did not ever suggest that Kitniyos ought to be handled and categorised as Chamets. So it is misguided and illogical to suggest that Kitniyos are prohibited on Erev Pesach in the same way and at the same times that Chamets is prohibited because, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”.

    Here is another important difference between Kitniyos and Chamets. Chamets which becomes inadvertently mixed into Pesach food BEFORE Pesach, will be deemed insignificant at our standard Halachic proportion of 1 to 60. This is not true however with regard to Kitniyos inadvertently mixed into Pesach food [even if this occurs DURING Pesach] Kitniyos is deemed to be insignificant as long as it is less than half of the volume of the mixture. So, even though one can easily discern the taste and flavour of the rice flour in the Pesach Cholent, it is Kosher and may be eaten by Ashkenasi Jews during Pesach. [Mishneh Berurah 453:9] Clearly, it is not true to say that “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    BTW, according to the Halacha we have just discussed, we may eat regular non KLP chocolate that contains lecithin, and drink regular non KLP juices and lemonades that use Kitniyos sweeteners, since these contain Kitniyos that are less than 50% of the mixture and the Kitniyos are not readily visible to the unaided eye. Foods containing 49% Kitniyos, that are not specifically manufactured for Jews to consume during Pesach, have the same status as foods that are specifically manufactured for Jews to consume during Pesach into which 49% Kitniyos were inadvertently mixed.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Joe seems to agree with Rabbi K, who writes that, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets”

    No. That’s not what I wrote. You’re attacking a straw man.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    For those enamoured with redundant arguments here are some relevant facts:
    For many years I celebrated all Seder feasts at my Sephardi in-laws. My late Father in Law, Isaac Abramino, would read Hebrew better than radio Kol Israel, yet he could not converse in Ivrit, but one could feel the Yidishe neshama in his voice.
    The athmosphere was as fantastic and funny as you can imagine, and some half the mishpuha were Ashkenazim, Polish and, of course yours trully, Romanian/Hungarian. The food was delicious, always the Sephardy kitchen and Kitnyos in abudance and the in-laws kept a strictly kosher household. As I said, the athmosphere was as fantastic and funny as you can imagine and the food….to die for……………..
    G-d, how I miss it !!!

  • Otto,
    Why do you miss the delicious Pesach foods? Are you no longer eating Kitniyos during Pesach?

    And BTW would you not rather kill than die, for delicious Kosher food?

  • Joe, Shalom to you. I paraphrase you – Eating Chometz is prohibited by the Torah from the afternoon of Erev Pesach and you can’t imagine why the ban on Kitniyos would not apply Erev Pesach since the reasons apply equally during Pesach and Erev Pesach.

    Well, Rabbi K says that, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets” and may therefore not be consumed on Erev Pesach in the same way and during the same times that Chamets is prohibited.

    How is what you are saying in any substantial manner different from what Rabbi says?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rabbi, now you’re talkin”
    Spoken like a Rabbi, Rabi.

    – now I do expect a ” what, wasn’t I talkin’ before, before you answered my talkin’ !!!??” -

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I haven’t seen Rabbi Krasnjansky’s opinion “inside” so I can’t comment on it, but I’m sure he didn’t mean that, e.g., ownership of kitniyos is forbidden on Pesach. If I knew what he had said then I would be able to tell you whether my position is the same as his, or not.

    In any event, I’m not comparing kitniyos to chometz; that was done by our ancestors. I’m saying that it would be very strange if the custom of forbidding the consumption of kitniyos would distinguish between the afternoon of erev Pesach and Pesach itself, when the laws forbidding the consumption of chometz make no such distinction.

  • Joe, I apologise for being repetitive, but you seem to be going around in circles.

    Joe, you are saying that you find it unacceptably strange to propose that consumption of Kitniyos differs from consumption of Chamets; i.e. that during the afternoon of Erev Pesach we are not permitted to eat Chamets but are permitted to eat Kitniyos.
    They are two very different issues, so you ought not be surprised.

    I provide a link, http://www.realmatza.com/kitniyos-erev-pesach-soho-sushi.html, so that Rabbi K’s piece can be read, it would be proper to avail yourself of this before making any comment and certainly before denying that you are not saying the same as Rabbi K.

    You are also surprisingly confident about what Rabbi K did or did not say or mean considering that you have not seen his piece. Again, Rabbi K says that, “for Ashkenasim, Kitniyos are as stringent as Chamets” and may therefore not be consumed on Erev Pesach in the same way and during the same times that Chamets is prohibited.

    How is what you are saying in any substantial manner different from what Rabbi K says; when you maintain that Eating Chometz is prohibited by the Torah from the afternoon of Erev Pesach and you can’t imagine why the ban on Kitniyos would not apply Erev Pesach since the reasons apply equally during Pesach and Erev Pesach?

  • Otto,
    I presume your comment, Rabbi, now you’re talkin”, Spoken like a Rabbi, Rabi – refers my comment, “would you rather not kill for that food than die for it?”

    Chag Sameach

    May all Gd’s and Israel’s enemies be granted strength to admit truth and embrace life

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rabbi

    my statement was comprehensive as I see you talkin’ like a Rabbi in ALL instances -statements – and let ME tell you that there is nothing wrong with that !!!!

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Meir, I don’t care for your tone when you say

    I provide a link, http://www.realmatza.com/kitniyos-erev-pesach-soho-sushi.html, so that Rabbi K’s piece can be read, it would be proper to avail yourself of this before making any comment and certainly before denying that you are not saying the same as Rabbi K.

    You asked you how my opinion differed from Rabbi Krasnjansky’s, when it had not been posted here. Actually, you asked me how it differed from “Rabbi K”‘s, presuming that I would somehow guess what you were talking about. I did not> deny that my opinion was the same as Rabbi Krasnjansky’s; I said that I didn’t know what his opinion was – as how could I, when you had neither identified him or posted the opinion?

    I don’t know whether your rejoinder was due to incomprehension or was an attempt to muddy the waters, but it seems to be a consistent pattern: you don’t respond to what people say, but what you wish they had said. Furthermore, I don’t care for your suggestion that I am “going around in circles”. On the contrary: I made my point, and rather than respond to it you have been faffing around as if Rabbi Krasnjansky’s agreement or disagreement could have any bearing on it.

    I think by now it is sufficiently clear that you have no halachic response to my point, or to the points of Rabbi Krasnjansky. I have no patience for more of your bluster. Any decent person would have retracted and apologised by now; I am surprised and a little shocked that you have not done so.

  • Thank you Otto.

    And to Joe, welcome back to the Joe we know

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