30 March 2006
While I don't particularly mind, were I to be a car-owner, I would be somewhat upset, as they took out upwards of 8-10 (perhaps even a dozen?) parking spots with their construction. This, in an area where parking was not easy anyways, now makes it all the much more difficult. Again, I count my lucky stars I do not own a car in Manhattan.
27 March 2006
25 March 2006
I've realized that for both dating purposes and professional(?) purposes, it is better not to leave some areas of my life untouched on this blog. Therefore, I have purged - or, at least, have tried to purge - my dating posts as well as some of the more "touchy" posts. So, I apologize now for anybody who was trying to look at back posts regarding these items, but they have now vanished.
So that leads me to my next point - my change in direction in both this blog and in my life: whither? While I certainly see my blog lasting, at the longest, two years more, it may meet its demise much sooner. Furthermore, if I want to present myself as a future rabbi rather than merely as a student, I should also blog as one. This last point, however, strikes me as a haughty one: that I should conduct myself as if I were already a rabbi, which might be construed as arrogant. That's a "toughy".
I'm going to try to work on sounding more rabbinic or something on my blog - or at least blog about things that aren't so non-rabbinic. Okay, let's face it, I'm having a hard time identifying my status and outlook at the moment.
I'm done with this post, but not finished with the idea - very not finished.
Props to Shira for voluntarily suggesting edits to this post.
22 March 2006
21 March 2006
1) Tonight, I bought my first ever digital song online (and, for that matter, my second) [from iTunes].
2) The last few days have seen a lot of me working on my Rabbinic Sleep Ethics paper, as I have been revising my paper after I sent it to Professor Elman and he had some comments to add, plus what's making it somewhat laborious, aside from having found a whole bunch of material to consider (a whole book on sleep in antiquity, plus an article on sleep in Israel for the Talmudic sages), but, to top that all off, I am trying to inject some conceptualization into the paper, as well. I look forward to finishing it in the next day....
3) Our review for Rabbi Katz' class involves going through all of the Tosafosos that we have done in the tenth chapter of Pesahim and to do stuff - I will be posting the fruits of my labor tomorrow after I turn it in.
4) I'll be spending my last shabbas in the Heights for a month this shabbas. I will be elsewhere in the meantime.
19 March 2006
One thing that's interesting about it is getting somewhat of a picture of Jewish youth thirty years ago, as well as of general culture.
The excerpt which had initially struck me was the following (to be found on the third of the four pages):
The raison d’être of BBYO, for example, is that the movement represents specific standards of ethical and moral conduct, that the joiner enters into a contract with the movement to make its values his/her own values. Aleph Zadik Aleph was envisaged by its pioneers as an institution for character building through the interaction of the membership under the guidance of model leaders. The process by which a task was accomplished was considered as important as the task itself. Grand Aleph G’dolim, in their Shofar columns and oral messages to the membership, reveled in stories of exemplary conduct by individual members.
However, there were some other good quotes about the Jewish people in general, as well:
Our concern is whether Jewish commitment and identity represent simply affiliation with a people or active involvement with its aspirations and internalization of its values. Organizations of Jews must not only be task-oriented assemblages of Jews. They must stand for the values that have made the Jewish people a distinctive force in the history of humankind. They must act out, not simply profess belief in these values. The leadership of Jewish organizations, both lay and professional, must serve as role models for the members. The process of decision-making must reflect the highest ideals of Judaic thought, not those of the market place.
He also has the following to say on Jewish education:
Jewish education must embrace the cognitive and the visceral – knowledge and emotion. They are equally important aspects of Jewish commitment. Basic Jewish knowledge, when we find it in a youth, is nurtured in the home and in the Jewish school – institutions which hold the child for major blocks of time. However most young Jewish people emerge from these experiences with abysmal ignorance of Jewish life and thought. Chanukah, for example, means no more than a Jewish holiday held at the same time as Christmas, with an exchange of gifts and the lighting of candles. There is no cure for Jewish illiteracy in homes without Jewish books, Jewish music, Jewish art, or Jewishly knowledgeable parents. There is no cure for Jewish illiteracy in Jewish schools without qualified teachers, meaningful curricula, and students old enough to understand that undergirding the battles of the Maccabees was the never-ending struggle between Hellenism and Judaism, tyranny and liberty.I hope people use his words well.
Tags: BBYO, Jewish youth, Jewish people, Jewish education, Max Baer, Max F. Baer, Dr. Max F. Baer
17 March 2006
-Ancoli-Israel, Sonia. "Sleep Disorders in the Bible." Jewish Bible Quarterly 31, no. 3 (July-September 2003): 143-152.
-Isbell, Charles David. "Sleep From the Eyes, Slumber From the Eyelids." Jewish Bible Quarterly 34, no. 1 (January-March 2006): 39-46.
-Kaplan, Drew. "In Your Lying Down and In Your Rising Up: A Biblical Sleep Ethic." Jewish Bible Quarterly 34, no. 1 (January-March 2006): 47-50.
-Kaplan, Drew. "Talmud Sleep Ethics" (we'll see if this title sticks or not...). Milin Havivin 2 (2006): forthcoming.
-McAlpine, Thomas. Sleep, Divine & Human in the Old Testament. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1987.
-Thomson, J.G.S.S. "Sleep: An Aspect of Jewish Anthropology." Vetus Testamentum 4 (1955): 421-433.
-Tovar, Sofia Torallas. "Philo of Alexandria on Sleep." In Sleep, edited by Thomas Wiedemann and Ken Dowden. Bari, Italy: Levante Editori, 2003. (41-52)
Also, while running a RAMBI search last night, I came across two articles in Hebrew - the first, which seems rather significant, was done by Joshua Schwartz, published in 2004 in a volume called רצף ותמורה, running from pages 197 - 209. Another work, written by Yizhak Shaz, came out nine years ago on a prayer said after waking up. I hope to look at both of these on Sunday.
As to whether or not Sofia Torallas Tovar's article knocks my idea of writing about Philo's views on sleep, I doubt it, as she didn't cover the topic extensively. Nevertheless, I haven't been productive lately [at all], though I hope to make Sunday a productive day.
Tags: sleep, Judaism
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Evonne Marzouk
March 17, 2006 703-868-5356
“Spring Forward in Hillside:
A Fresh Look at the Environment Through the Lens of Halacha”
Successful Environmental Shabbaton in Orthodox Jewish Community of Elizabeth, NJ
ELIZABETH, NJ—Canfei Nesharim (“The Wings of Eagles”), an organization dedicated to educating the Orthodox Jewish community about protecting the environment from the perspective of Torah and Jewish law, held its third annual Orthodox Environmental Shabbaton, March 10-12, 2006, at JEC- Adath Israel in Hillside, New Jersey.
Entitled, “Spring Forward in Hillside: A Fresh Look at the Environment through the Lens of Halacha,” the Shabbaton included an afternoon shiur from Rabbi and VT Maple Syrup Farmer, Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz; a community lunch with Canfei Nesharim Associate Director Ora Sheinson speaking on “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”; a Friday-night program for high school students; a melava malka with Torah learning on environmental issues; and a Nature Walk with a shiur from Evonne Marzouk, the organization’s new professional Executive Director.
The event also included kosher organic food and eco-friendly paper goods at the meals, educating the Elizabeth community on simple actions that can protect the environment. Through its activities this weekend, Canfei Nesharim reached approximately 180 Orthodox Jews with its message of the Torah responsibility to protect the environment. The community also expressed interest in organizing future events related to environmental education.
“The event was an opportunity for us to share our work with the community, while bringing together Orthodox Jews from around the world, who are already concerned about the environment,” said Marzouk. Jews from Canada and England attended the event.
Canfei Nesharim is guided by a Science Advisory Board and a Rabbinic Advisory Board that includes well-known scholars such as Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Rabbi Barry Freundel, Rabbi Michael Skobac and Rabbi Jonathan Rietti. International in scope, the organization’s steering committee has members in Canada, England, Israel and the United States.
This event was supported by a mini-grant from Hazon and the New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride. Canfei Nesharim benefits from support from Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas, a project of JESNA, UJC, and the Kaminer Family.
For more information about the Shabbaton and Canfei Nesharim, please go to www.canfeinesharim.org.
Tags: Canfei Nesharim, Canfei Nesharim shabbaton, Jewish environmentalism, environmentalism
16 March 2006
15 March 2006
12 March 2006
It was a mixture of meals and presentations. The food was good, having been catered, so no complaints there. The two most significant talks were given after lunch on shabbas day, the first given by Ora Sheinson on "Am I My Brother's Keeper?", a talk on the need to be concerned with one's neighbors, from a perspective borne out of Jewish texts, a concern that's especially relevant in today's continually growing global world. The other was "Environmentalism min haTorah minayin?" (Where is Environmentalism to be found in the Torah?), given by Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz, which dealt with, among other topics, how one weighs up Torah values and environmental values when they conflict - his answer was that they don't.
There were a couple of other programs, but I felt that this wasn't so much of a conference on Jewish environmentalism as it was a gathering of Orthodox Jews concerned about the environment. Not equally concerned, mind you, as there were varying levels, but I didn't sense that anybody was super-crazy radical environmentalist, but trying to be sensical about it.
An interesting thing was what we used with the food. Although we used recycled paper plates - nothing special there, we also used potato starch utensils and sugarcane leaf cups. Definitely neat stuff (I think they got it from www.greenhome.com, but the link doesn't seem to be working at this time.).
Tags: Canfei Nesharim, Canfei Nesharim shabbaton, Jewish environmentalism, environmentalism, Jewish Orthodox environmentalism
09 March 2006
However, this morning, it stopped powering up. While in the past month or two, it has been a little tricky getting it to power up, this morning was it - so I brought in my computer to get fixed. And so I await.
08 March 2006
As you may or may not know, I haven't jogged since my knee started bothering me again. At first, I had trouble walking. But then, I was - and still am - able to walk finely (not as much as a comfortable full range of motion, but pretty well, nonetheless), and gradually felt I could maybe jog. While I have jogged across a street to dodge cars, I haven't fully jogged out of fear that I would properly injure myself again. This fear is not unfounded. Three years ago, after initially injuring my knee, it got better in a matter of weeks and I was jogging again. However, my first time back (after a week of spring break at home) to campus, I was playing basketball and my knee started bothering me terribly (and I was only jogging down the court when it happened), which is when I went to see a doctor and then had arthroscopic surgery.
So last night, I jogged a little - twenty blocks to be exact (a friend tells me that equals one mile). It was great, even if not cardiovascular. I'll have to work on that.
However, that's not the whole story - I lifted before I went jogging. While my knee doesn't stop me from lifting, I've been lazy in 2006 - I lifted twice the first week of January and then once shortly after my knee injury, and not at all in February. Thus, I have hardly exercised at all in 2006, and thus, have been getting fat(ter) of late. While this is bad enough, it is also psychologically been bad for me.
After having Dr. Robert Barris come yesterday to come to speak to our first-year pastoral counseling class on Jewish meditation, he mentioned spirituality and how many Jews are seeking etc. (he didn't need to back up this statement as the number of JuBus can attest). I realized that while I'm not much of a spiritual person, I am being VERY held back in experiencing spirituality or spiritual experiences due to my lack of exercise/proper health. I couldn't pass up last night going without exercising. And so I exercised. :) Yay! Now I just have to keep it up....
06 March 2006
The first two came about when Rabbi Aryeh Ben David came to the yeshiva to speak. The first of those two was a minor point. He said that daf yomi is largely just zooming through and not really facing the text and learning it. However, for those who are preparing and giving it, they often do. This was minorly significant as I didn't feel so bad for missing daf yomi most days, except when I'm giving it, which I mainly stopped going to it in the fall. The second huge point he made was to distinguish between academic study of Talmud and the personal study of Talmud. He said that the academic study of Talmud sees its study as being apart from the person, whereas the latter is more of seeing how the person (student) relates to the text. I found this wildly interesting as I have been perceiving it more in terms of the former than the latter, and am trying to see my study of the Talmud in terms of the latter.
A third development has been coming through my class with Professor Elman. Two or three weeks ago, I am not quite sure what realization I had, but it was something along the lines of getting my academic fix there, taking care of it and being able to learn at yeshiva. However, this isn't enough on its own, as they are bound to merge. I think what really did it for me was that there are often various theories bounced around, some of which get debunked, some of which are yet to be debunked, some are merely tentative, etc., encouraging me to just learn.... There will be more on this class, I know.
The last thing is when I saw the varying positions on prayer that I realized if I were in the redactor's position of the Talmud, how would I deal with the contradictory texts? I would figure out some way of resolving it, which is what the redactor did. I then realized that that must be the way - instead of simply being skeptical about the redactor's (or redactors') moves to resolve contradictions, I should try to see it from his/their perspective(s) to gain a better appreciation of what and how they are dealing with the סוגיא (pericope).
Tags: Talmud, Talmud study
Hopefully, in the future, there will be more of a connection between what we're doing in the yeshiva and what will go on afterwards. I assume that it's merely because I'm in the first year, where we're developing and focusing on developing our textual skills, that we have only barely begun to get the more practical rabbinic stuff.
Tags: Rabbinical student, rabbi, YCT, rabbinical school
05 March 2006
I’ll begin right before shabbas, where I had to drop off a DVD of 24 (fourth season – yes, I’m back from my brief 24 hiatus) at Blockbuster, then rushed to
For both meals, the food was good (catered by L’Chaim, located on Broadway, which, for its old sign (from several decades ago), it was surprisingly good), and I sat next to Steg (another blogger, Romach, was also in attendance). During Friday night dinner, President Joel spoke on Orthodoxy, and during Saturday evening, he spoke on a similar topic (yes, my memory is now failing me), and also opened up the floor for a Q&A.
I found President Joel to be a man of humility as well as humorous, which was noticeable from his opening, where he jested, "And now for my conclusion." Additionally, I found him to be a good orator and a visionary, with good ideas and perspectives.
One of these was last evening, where he responded to someone who was asking about "Centrist" Orthodoxy, which was the invention of President Joel's predecessor, Rabbi Dr. Lamm, President Joel (henceforth referred to as PRJ) responded that he doesn't care much for adjectives, such as Centrist Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, or ichveis Open Orthodoxy. For him, he sees it as Orthodoxy, what need is there for adjectives?
An interesting point he made was that back in the day, Yiddish was a shared language between Jews from wherever they lived, but now we don't have that - however, he said, the new Yiddish is our shared story. I found that a wildly fascinating concept. An instance of this was in his creation of Birthright Israel, where it's more than just travelling to Israel, but sharing something Jewish. Additionally, another part of this was that he is a believer in day schools for non-Orthodox kids, because there they will at least be aware of, and speaking the language, of Judaism (e.g., "Shabbat shalom").
Another was that as great as it is that Orthodox Jews often clump together (e.g. Teaneck, etc.), and they have kosher eateries, etc., they often only see that the Jews around them are like them - Orthodox, keep kosher, shabbas, etc. However, most Jews are not like that - maybe a tenth of American Jews are Orthodox, so it is not sensible to be triumphalistic about Orthodoxy when 90% of American Jewry are not.
Furthermore, he said that Orthodox Jews are more learned - both Jewishly and generally - than are their non-Orthodox brethren and that that is something that we could use....
When someone inquired of him if YU was looking for non-Orthodox students, he said that he was bound by NY law to say that [blah, blah, blah], but that anybody who is not Orthodox will probably find it not to be where they would like to be, although they are, for the new Mechina program, trying to recruit people who are not as knowledgeable, recruiting from NCSY and even BBYO.
An interesting move that PRJ was to suggest that the young community here in the Heights, which in the last few years has grown a lot, is also a community of people who don't stay for long, that they should try to build more of a community up and stay even after they get married.
I realize that I am omitting much of what PRJ spoke on Friday night, but
I assure that it is not done intentionally, it's just with the passing of time, so, too, does my memory. With a blend of stories and humor, I found him to be inspiring (which is largely surprising as I have gotten to a place of criticalness, and am seldom inspired), and realized that he and Rabbi Wein are two of the most inspiring Jewish leaders and speakers at this time.
Also, a fellow by the name of Chaim from Maryland had said he reads my blog, so I thought I should give him a little shout-out here.
Tags: Richard Joel, YU, Yeshiva University, Mt. Sinai synagogue, centrist orthodoxy, Orthodox Judaism, modern orthodoxy, Yiddish
04 March 2006
03 March 2006
Upon rising from my morning nap, I went with Yonah to set up our booth and then we got lunch with the other presentors, which was rather tasty. Following lunch, we manned our booth for over two hours, while college students went around. As there weren't so many Orthodox students to begin with, let alone guys, and of them, those that were interested in rabbinical school, we didn't recruit many students, but hopefully, we represented the school well.
The highlight of the Student Opportunities Fair was that I got to see people I knew from before: there were some I had known from IU (i.e., Jen Gubitz, Jen Krause, Erielle Reshef), from BBYO (i.e. Jen Krause, Jason Benkendorf), some college students who had been at BBYO summer programs when I staffed it, even someone who had staffed my first summer program (ILTC 1998), and an ex-gf of a roommate from when I was in Israel during college who is now married.
After we took down our booth, we went to the session entitled "The 11th Commandment Your Rabbi Never Taught You: Thou Shall Teach Sex Ed," which featured three women. The first, Jennifer Heitel Yakush, of SIECUS, who was pretty decent and spoke pretty much against abstinence-only sex-ed programs in favor of comprehensive sexuality programs, and mainly spoke out this topic in the context of federal funding. Then came Rabbi Alana Suskin (and, yes, she is a blogger), who presented three Talmudical texts (Hagigah 5b, Berakhot 62a, and Kiddushin 29a & 30b) to try to get into some sort of understanding about what the rabbis had to say about the issue. I was pretty disappointed with her presentation of the texts. My first criticism is that she didn't break up the various layers of the texts - now, before you say that maybe she doesn't utilize the layering method towards Talmud study, she was, nevertheless, rather uncritical in breaking up the texts. My second criticism was that the third text wasn't that relevant (and if it was, maybe she could have tried to tie it in). My third criticism was that she didn't explain much from the texts - to me, as a rabbinical student, I can get a significant amount from them, but to the students that were present, I doubt they got hardly anything from it. Granted, it's possible that she was short on time and couldn't have done much more, but she didn't speak much on the texts.
Lastly, was Samantha Pohl, who might have had something to say, but she seemed to have only promoted the RAC. For the Q&A, the highlight was Yakush answering questions.
Following that session, I went to leave the hotel. On my way out, a YU guy, Aaron Steinberg, was also leaving - by car. He graciously offered me a ride to the Heights, and that was the end of the conference for me (yes, I returned safely).
Tags: Hillel Spitzer Forum, Spitzer Forum, Spitzer Forum 2006, sex ed
On the Lieberman CD, there are five variants: Oxford (366) Add. Fol. Opp. 23, Vatican 108, Munich 95, Soncino family's printed version, and the Vilna printed version. In addition to these, I am also going to include Rabbi Rabbinowicz' findings from his book Dikdukei Soferim.
My methodology of presentation here is going to present each separate statement from the section in Shabbas 108b-109a on its own from the five different versions starting with Shmuel's statement and ending with the beraisa of Rabbi Yose's. The order will follow that of the listing above.
אלא הכי אמ' שמואל טובה טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצת ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
אלא הכי א' שמו' טובה טיפת צונן בשחרית ורחיצת ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
אלא הכי אמ' שמואל טובה טפת צונן [שחרית] ורחיצת ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעול'
אלא הכי אמ' שמו' טוב' טיפת צונן שחרי' ורחיצת ידים ורגלים ?ב?חמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
אלא הכי אמר שמואל טובה טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצת ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
תניא נמי הכי ר' מונא אומ' משו' ר' יהודה טובה טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצת ידיםורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
תניא נמי הכי ר' מונא אמ' בשם ר' יהוד' טובה טיפת צונן בשחרית ורחיצת ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קלורין שבעולם
תניא נמי הכי ר' מתיה אמ' משום ר' יהודה טובה טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצ' ידים ורגלים בחמין ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
תני' נמי הכי אמ' ר' מינא משום ר' יהוד' טובת טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצת ידי' ורגלים ערבי' מכל קילורין שבעולם
תניא נמי הכי אמר רבי מונא משום רבי יהודה טובה טיפת צונן שחרית ורחיצת ידים ורגלים ערבית מכל קילורין שבעולם
T.N.H. Beraisa, part two (Rabbi Muna's statement):
הוא היה אומ' יד לעין תקצץ יד לחוטם תיקצץ יד לפה תיקצץ יד לאוזן תקצץ ידלחסירה תקצץ [יד לאמה תיקצץ] יד לפי טבעת תקצץ יד לגיגית תקצץ מפנישהיד מסמאה יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס
הוא היה או' יד לעין תיקצץ יד לחוטם תיקצץ יד לפה תיקצץ יד לאוזן תיקצץ יד לחסודה תיקצץ יד לאמה תיקצץ יד לפי טבעת תיקצץ יד לגיגית תיקצץ יד מסמא יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס
הוא היה או' יד לעין תקצץ יד לפה תקצץ יד לחוטם תקצץ יד לאזן תקצץ יד לחסודה תקצץ יד לפי טבעת תקצץ יד לגיגית תקצץ יד מסמא יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס
הו' היה או' יד לעין תיקצץ יד לחוטם תיקצץ יד לפה תיקצץ יד לאוזן תיקצץ יד לחסורה תיקצץ יד לאמה תיקצץ יד לפי טבעת תיקצץ יד לגיגית תיקצץ יד מסמא יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס
הוא היה אומר יד לעין תיקצץ יד לחוטם תיקצץ יד לפה תיקצץ יד לאוזן תיקצץ יד לחסודה תיקצץ יד לאמה תיקצץ יד לפי טבעת תיקצץ יד לגיגית תיקצץ יד מסמא יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס