Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Daily updates? How very unlike me!

Dunno what it is, the new platform, my current circumstances, or maybe I’m just really bored at work lately, but I seem to be putting out a lot of posts lately!

What happened today that has me walking on cloud nine at the moment? A couple of things:

1) My little ones birthday today (Happy Birthday Yoav!) What can I say, the nursery school (kindergarten for those who use that other version of English…) teacher put on a great Birthday ring for him and it was a fun, happy occasion.

2) A week ago my ex decided to block access to the kids. Today her lawyer responded to our court application by agreeing not to oppose, agreed that all access would be reinstated, and would not oppose us getting a court order to enforce my rights to access.

But these two things got me thinking (and with me that is always dangerous- when I think I come up with bizarre and weird linkages. Not my fault, I have played Dungeon’s and Dragons for way too many years!) I gave one interpretation of the parsha in my previous post- but there is another viewpoint which sees Korach as good, but ultimately misguided. he and his followers all wanted to be Kohanim and Kohanim Gedolim (Priests and High Priests)- and indeed, in the time of Mashiach the Levi’im will serve with the Kohanim in the Temple. In some way, Korach was trying to force the ultimate redemption, trying to force the start of the Messianic age. Some things are not ours to force, but occur because Hashem has determined that it is time for it, that we merit to have such a time start. Thus Korach was ultimately wrong and paid the price for his actions. But, in the end an important result came out of it as well- there was no longer any doubt from the Nation about Moses right to pasken (explain and expound) the Torah or of the right of Aharon and his descendants to be the Kohanim.

So, how does this relate to my personal situation? Only by REALLY stretching things. In some way, ny ex must have expected to achieve some positive outcome (don’t ask me what- the kids have virtually been in tears everytime I have spoken to them this week and asking when they can see me. Their suffering is what has been really bugging me this week) but in the end she was ultimately wrong, and the overall result is that in the long run her position has weakened. It is now clear that there can no longer be a discussion about my rights to access or reduction in access- in the end, what was the situation before is now clear, and no longer subject to debate, question or discussion.

(Yeah, I know- hubris and all that in comparing myself and my ex to Moses and Korach. Lets just be clear- I don’t for a minute think that either of us are in any way analogous to those two, just that the one situation is reflective of the other!)

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Other Torah, Parshah, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Finally something new… And some ranting about a recent incedent

So, finally all the posts I want to keep are transferred (so sue me for not transferring the ones I didn’t like!) Now to post something new, and hopefully interesting (and undoubtedly controversial)!

Life in forums/newsgroups is interesting. You get all kinds, and all kinds of accusations being thrown about. Recently I have been accused of being “anti-gentile” and anti the Catholic Church in particular. What brought this about- somebody posting distortions of the Jewish law in order to create hatred took offense at me 1) showing how he was lying and distorting Judaism 2) pointing out that this has been a tactic of anti-Semites for centuries and 3) that anti-Semitism is rife in the Catholic Church- from the writings of the early Church Fathers (particularly those of John Chrysostom – especially his eight sermons aimed at the Judaizers where he calls shuls whorehouse, places of devil worship and worse) right through to the modern era (last year the most senior Catholic clergyman in the USA repeated the standard anti-Semitic charge that the Talmud attacks Jesus even though Jesus is not actually mentioned in the Talmud at all!)

The response of the other poster: to start ranting about how I support racism, hate Christianity and the Catholic Church, and then went on to compare the Talmud to Nazi literature. So, after his little tirades, I pointed out his anti-Semitism and then got the standard response that Jews accuse everyone who says things they don’t like of being an anti-Semite. And here I was thinking that anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews and their works- and attacking the Talmud by lying about it and comparing it to Nazi literature pretty much fits that definition! Ah well, guess some people miss the good ol’ days when Jews could be shut up by burning them alive or expelling them if they got too uppity.

So, am I anti-Gentile or the Catholic church? Nope, why would I be? The vast majority of non-Jews, of all persuasions and religions, are decent people who live their lives and just get on with living it. Why should I hate people who have never done anything to me or acted against me? On the contrary, I enjoy interacting with people from different backgrounds and discussing different ideas and understanding of things. What/whom do I hate? Well, at the top of the list are those who hate me and attack me because of my religion. It makes no difference if it is a Cardinal in the Catholic Church, an Imam in the Gaza strip or an apostate Jew lying about Judaism to ingratiate himself to those he wants to get in with. You attack me and mine, you get the same back.

June 24, 2008 Posted by | Random, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Burning Messianic tracts aimed at conversion -Orignially posted June 10, 2008

OK, so this one is going to be controversial, and undoubtedly will be unpopular, particularly because of the conclusions I come to in it. But hey, whats life without controversy?

A while back a few questions were asked on Yahoo! Answers about the burning of the Brit Chadashah and other Messianic tracts, containing the shem hameforash in Hebrew, in Israel. At the time I said I wondered what the halachic implications would be: if the law to burn items involved in Avodah Zara overruled the inherent holiness of the shem in Hebrew.

So, unable to find an answer, I have continued to look- and on Shavuot I asked Rabbi Hirsh Rosenblum, who was a student of Rav Moshe and also learnt from Rav Komentsky. His answer was simple: The Rambam states that we burn a Torah written by an apikoros. Now, if a Torah that is kosher in all ways except for by whom it was written by is burnt because of its connection to Avoda Zara, how much more so we are required to destroy any Messianic tracts whose purpose is to draw Jews into Avodah Zara, regardless of what they contain!

June 24, 2008 Posted by | Messianic, Uncategorized | 8 Comments