Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hirsch's Nineteen Letters- A Model of Honest Kiruv - Pt II

Now, back for Part II of this short series. I got several comments to part one. Notably, most were just re-discovering that Rav Hirsch was quite a personality, not just another deceased rabbi quoted every 43 pages in the Artscroll chumash.

Most of you seem curious what Rav Hirsch's response will be to this hard-hitting letter. For that, I will probably just refer you to the book. That's because the "answers" are not really answers. They come more in the form of bible quotes with explanations of how the quotes demonstrate we as Jews really have such a lofty role to play as a nation of priests and so on. I think this was sort of more focused on establishing Jewish pride in the times of true Jewish self-hate being focused on the practice of Judaism. Again, I leave it to you to be impressed or not. It didn't have a real effect on me, since it sidestepped all the foundational questions of why listen to this text to begin with, since I didn't believe it to be divine.


So, here's the rest of the skeptic's first letter, entitled "Complaint":

And what effect does this Law have on our emotional life? The broad principles of universal morality are narrowed into anxious scruples about insignificant trifles. [How can anyone respond to this indictment in particular? How many mind-numbing, hair-splitting dialogues about halacha do we have to hirhurim, er I mean do we have to hear before it goes the way of the dodo? There was a guy in my BT yeshiva who told me how his grandmother's recollection of Shabbos in the old days was everyone sitting around debating "can we do this or that?" You know, can you eat the fish from the bones or dunk the tea bag or wipe up a stain, or some other melacha-related topic. All this hair-splitting is responsible for Jews losing site of their mission in life, not the arguments of atheists].
Nothing in life is taught except to fear God. Every petty detail of life is referred directly to the Creator of the Universe. Life becomes a continuous round of monastic service, nothing but prayers and ceremonies. Study the book which is put into our hands as the Path of Life [Orach Chaim]. What else does it teach except praying and fasting and the keeping of holidays? Where is there one word about the busy, active life around us? Why, it is absolutely impossible to observe these laws, for they were intended for an entirely different time. What limitation in travel, what embarrassment in our associations with gentiles, what difficulties in business!

I recently saw a young rabbi who, whenever he travels, in simple-minded piety, contents himself with bread and water. When one visits him at home, one may still find him poring over the folios of the Talmud. He is even seriously concerned about some of the members of his congregation who are so far advanced in their enlightened views that they do not close their places of business on the Sabbath.

What shall become of us, dear Naphtali? I am about to marry, but when I think of the duties of fatherhood that might possibly devolve upon me, I tremble.

Excuse me for having spoken so freely and unreservedly, although I know that you revere all this very much. I suppose you must, as a Rabbi; your position demands it. Still, I am confident that you have so much affection left for me from former days that you will, in your answer, forget your office. Farewell."

The "duties of fatherhood" line above probably is the most compelling thing for me. Were I single, I wouldn't worry so much. But the last thing I want to do is throw the "baby out with the bathwater." I know Judaism's traditions and to some extent its structure, have much to offer, but I just can't go through the motions davening, talking to a god that doesn't talk back, that I don't believe exists at all. And haven't for a long while. The hair-splitting is also too much to take. It would be nice to hear Jews focused on purpose in the world, rather than just kiruv as an end in itself, or nitpicking halachos.

Thoughts?

59 Comments:

Blogger chardal said...

BTA,

make up your mind. If you truly don't believe in G-d what do you care if Jews are "focused on purpose in the world"?

Why bother? have a good time and forget morality. If I didn't believe in G-d, I know I would be a totally selfish being.

It almost seems like you don't reject belief in G-d. Rather you reject a type of belief in G-d. If I am wrong, then why would you get so worked up about what other people do or believe?

11/26/2005 10:45 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

I'm not a BT nor am I married, so I can't completely relate to your predicament. Having said that, I would suggest you just focus on the stuff that you find meaningful and for now ignore the rest. I I'm not sure if this is feasible for you since I'm not in your situation. I would also suggest studying Tanach and getting inspiration from the prophets. They didn't seem to get caught up in the trivial details like the later Rabbinic authorities did.

11/26/2005 10:49 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"It almost seems like you don't reject belief in G-d."

No, I do. However, I do still have strong moral feelings and an attachment to the Jewish people and an appreciation for a lot of our traditions.

I wouldn't just go off and be selfish. A, because I've been there and it's unfulfilling, and B, because I'm committed to living a somewhat traditional jewish life because I find it fulfilling.

I don't sit around all day with a shotgun in my mouth, if that's how it seems from my posts! I'm actually quite happy. This is my forum to vent and try to find a better way. I also want to do the right thing in raising my kids. I don't want to deprive them of something like growing up more yeshivish if that's the right way to go, but I don't want to teach them hypocrisy or lies.

11/26/2005 11:46 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

B. Spin- I think you're right. I know I need to "learn" something, but I get nothing out of chumash with Rashi either. It all goes back to these fantastic midrashim and talmudic "insights".

11/26/2005 11:47 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

bta,

How I would LOVE to have a chavrusa with you!

The midrashim we would learn ... The mysticism I would be forced to defend ... but alas, we live in blogworld were every idea must be summed up in a 1000 words or less.

11/26/2005 11:55 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

BTA,

forget Rashi. Learn the complete tanach (not just chumash)in Hebrew (if possible) and try to soak in the the inspirational and poetic words of the prophets. You will notice the amazing personalities that they had and the power and force of their words. Torah should inspire you, it should not just be an intellectual challenge

11/27/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

I I'm not sure if this is feasible for you since I'm not in your situation. I would also suggest studying Tanach and getting inspiration from the prophets. They didn't seem to get caught up in the trivial details like the later Rabbinic authorities did.

I get inspiration from other sources as well. The words of Dostoyevsky and Keats and Frost and Ellis inspire me too. I don't think going with "Ooh this inspires me so it must tell me how to live my life is a very good standard." As a side grouse, have you read Jewish "literature" recently? It's heartbreaking.

11/27/2005 1:06 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

BTA,

I'm single and I dread fatherhood. The "letter writer" is isngle is he not?

Of course if I actually had children this would be far worse. I would hate to have them witness their have an existsential crisis.

11/27/2005 1:09 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>have you read Jewish "literature" recently? It's heartbreaking.

what do you mean by Jewish literature?

11/27/2005 1:10 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

> I don't think going with "Ooh this inspires me so it must tell me how to live my life is a very good standard."

no book will tell you how to live your life, but they could help you make your own decisions. Besides Tanach also has many moral lessons, I didn't mean to suggest that it should only be enjoyed as good poetry. Although good poetry often has good lessons too

11/27/2005 1:15 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

I'm pretty sure the last Artscroll book I read was the Goridan Knot. After I finished, pale faced, I closed it and vowed never to read anything published by Artscroll. That's Jewish fiction.

no book will tell you how to live your life, but they could help you make your own decisions. Besides Tanach also has many moral lessons, I didn't mean to suggest that it should only be enjoyed as good poetry. Although good poetry often has good lessons too

So where does that leave us, does Tanakh have no special place? I think that a well reasoned document, unlike Tanakh, would impart a better lesson.

11/27/2005 1:38 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

BTA - In fairness, I think it would be a good idea to post the response as well. Perhaps we'll see something in there that you didn't/disagreed with/chose not to see...

BSpinoza/R2JB/BTA: Out of curiousity, why wouldn't the happiness/fulfillment in the way of life be enough on its own? Granted, it's not ideal; granted, it doesn't answer questions. But (acc to BTA) if one were not 'frum', those issues would be on the table as well. Meanwhile, the fulfillment in the way of life is far more than the alternative.

Same Q, 2 answers: Is it the best way of life? No, it's not perfect. Major flaws. But is it the best way of life? Yes; it's better than all the others.

11/27/2005 1:55 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

Out of curiousity, why wouldn't the happiness/fulfillment in the way of life be enough on its own? Granted, it's not ideal; granted, it doesn't answer questions. But (acc to BTA) if one were not 'frum', those issues would be on the table as well. Meanwhile, the fulfillment in the way of life is far more than the alternative.

That happiness I do find on this planet has little or nothing to do with Judaism. Most of the unhappiness I experience is. And before you call me a hedonist, I am not refering to wine and women.

Same Q, 2 answers: Is it the best way of life? No, it's not perfect. Major flaws. But is it the best way of life? Yes; it's better than all the others.

That's a heck of a categorical statement there buddy. How do you know it's better than all others? When it comes to pleasing religious lifestyles, Mormonism whips Judaism every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

11/27/2005 2:44 AM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

BTA
I agree with Ezzie.
You were supposed to post the response, given that you stated the purpose was to show a good kiruv approach.
All you showed, self satisfactorly, is a good kashya approach.

RTJB
"not talking about wine or women"
How about pot? ; )

chardal
maybe we can have a Instant messenger, google talk or other service that supports audio over the internet for free.
Its still anonymous, (we wouldnt have video), and it will save us from carpal tunnel.

11/27/2005 8:08 AM  
Blogger YS said...

As to grandmothers reminicing about no-no's... Rabbi David Aaron (Isralight) tells a story of a girl who's response to an offer of a religious Shabbat was: "You mean like when you don't tear toilet paper?!!"

Here is someone for whom Shabbat was(/is) all about the don't and the no-no's. I think this is the same as RTJB's "most of the unhappiness is [related to Judaism]". It's seems not uncommon to have people for whom being Jewish is all about the no. Or maybe knowing the no.

I'm fairly sure it's no meant to be that way. I have a few thoughts to expound on this but I have an exam in the morning. Anyone who has suggestions on avoiding this (for ourselves of towards chinuch) please share.
G'Night chaps.

11/27/2005 9:50 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>Out of curiousity, why wouldn't the happiness/fulfillment in the way of life be enough on its own? Granted, it's not ideal; granted, it doesn't answer questions. But (acc to BTA) if one were not 'frum', those issues would be on the table as well. Meanwhile, the fulfillment in the way of life is far more than the alternative.

Ezzie, nobody is saying to give up a way of life that they find fulfilling. We are just discussing what should a person do if they don't find the mental life of orthodxy fulfilling. A person can follow the lifestyle, while at the same time, explore other ways of finding meaning in a Jewish mental framework. in other words he can follow the path of Orthoprax.

11/27/2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Ezzie and Happy- the first letter is 2 pages, the responses are over 100 pages. Sorry, but I won't be typing those in!

In essence, he takes the letter and breaks it down into 18 categories or tainas on judaism and then responds.

Sorry, you've got to read the book for the responses.

11/27/2005 11:41 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Chardal- you can send me an email about possibly learning something. There are lots of people who learn over the phone, etc. Maybe we can work something out. Email me.

11/27/2005 11:43 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>That happiness I do find on this planet has little or nothing to do with Judaism. Most of the unhappiness I experience is. And before you call me a hedonist, I am not refering to wine and women.

do you find anything fulfilling with keeping an Orthodox lifestyle? Why, if you don't mind me asking, do you practice it?

11/27/2005 11:43 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Mormonism whips Judaism every day of the week and twice on Sundays."

Yes, but it has even more crazy theology, which would make it all the more unpleasant for me.

I would have no problem with practicing OJ if I thought it made sense, all these "divine" commandments, e.g. the melachas and all their infinite subcategories. (Like the toilet paper example, ys!)

And who wants to be around people that you know haven't bathed or brushed their teeth for 1, 2 or sometimes 3 days (when a 2 day yom tov goes into shabbos)?!

11/27/2005 11:46 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>So where does that leave us, does Tanakh have no special place?

sure it does it, is the foundation of the modern western moral structure

I would recommend studying modern scholarship to understand it on a more intellectual level in addition to just an emotional level. Sarna's Understanding Genesis is a good start

11/27/2005 11:47 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>And who wants to be around people that you know haven't bathed or brushed their teeth for 1, 2 or sometimes 3 days (when a 2 day yom tov goes into shabbos)?!

when I was in Yeshivah people took showers on Yom Tov

11/27/2005 11:49 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

R2JB & B. Spinoza - I was specifically referring to BTA and similar, who stated above that he does enjoy the lifestyle that much more. Sorry that was not clear...

BTA - Fair enough. I thought it would be about the same length.

11/27/2005 11:55 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

do you find anything fulfilling with keeping an Orthodox lifestyle? Why, if you don't mind me asking, do you practice it?

I don't. I enjoy going to shul because it's good to be among my own, but the annoying rites keep getting in the way.

I practice it because it was drilled into my head. The cheeseburger is repulsive only because I was taught it was repulsive for 15+ years. You can't beat 15 years of socialization.

Don't worry, practice by rote is on your side.

11/27/2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

from
http://www.revisionisthistory.org/wire1.html

March, 2003

ADL Attacks Talmud Exposé
by Michael A. Hoffman II

Copyright (c) 2003 by hoffman-info.com

The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith knows that the book Judaism's Strange Gods is winning converts to our Cause from around the globe, including formerly "frum" Jewish persons who find personal liberation in being set free of the evil Talmudic micro-management that oppresses every moment and detail of their lives.

BTA
seems this guy is claiming to be the cause of you and other skeptics disowning of the talmud.

11/28/2005 1:19 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>The cheeseburger is repulsive only because I was taught it was repulsive for 15+ years. You can't beat 15 years of socialization.

You may be the first Orthodox person I've come across who thought that cheeseburgers would be repulsive.

11/28/2005 1:21 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

Make that two.
I couldnt even think of eating a cheeseburger (real or fake), shrimp and lobster look like insects, nor could i eat rabbit or pig, eel and octupus are out, ink or no ink.

I do have a taaveh for peter luger steak. Does the kosher aged steak sold by better butchers come even close?

11/28/2005 1:31 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"seems this guy is claiming to be the cause of you and other skeptics disowning of the talmud."

the person on that website is a nut because he thinks just because something's in the talmud, it therefore becomes the teaching of modern-day Jews. The ADL, and apparently Gil Student, try to explain certain infamous passages away, but they know they really can't do that. Of course Jesus is slammed in the talmud and why not? Of course they say his death was justified, since he was a false prophet in their eyes and the penalty is death in the Torah itself.

ALso, the Torah and Tanach have many many statements that non-Jews are abhorrent to Jews, and the like. He can't attack the "Old Testament" because it's incorporated by reference to the New Testament.

Dennis Prager, who has a few choice quotes I like despite his jellyfish like nature, says it best:

Don't judge a religion by its sacred texts or by what was done in the name of that religion hundreds of years ago. Rather, focus on how that religion is put into practice NOW. It's quite clear that Christianity is not a violent religion anymore.

Islam is. It doesn't have to be, but is due to the wahabbi leaders in vogue today. Also, Islam is a bit different than christianity or judaism, since it explicitly speaks of destroying those of other faiths whereever they are.

If Half-man was really honest, he'd go after Islam long before Jews.

11/28/2005 2:12 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

make that three. I don't eat cheeseburgers or shrimp.

11/28/2005 2:20 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

BTA
Like the half man thing.

But i disagree with your other points.
see this link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeshu

there are disagreements about how the stuff about jesus in the talmud actually came about.

And I need to reiterate, you may not think that R' Gil does a good job or not, but that doesnt make it not so. RSRH also made some of these points. Christian talmudist have defended the morality of the talmud as well.

P.S. on a lighter side, re hamburger with cheese discussion, can you tell those of us who never tasted the difference, if non kosher high quality aged meat is in different league than the best quality kosher aged meat out there?
(I know some people prefer kosher franks, so thats not an issue)

11/28/2005 2:22 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Happy,

I meant to respond to that but got a phone call.

I have had steaks that are JUST AS GOOD! Don't listen to those who complain complain. Have you been to prime grill in nyc? I haven't, but hear it's great.

The one thing you can't get is fillet mingon, which I like, but most kosher joints don't have it because it's very pricey. Most kosher shected cattle, the hindquarters are send to non-kosher processors. The filet requires removal of the sciatic nerve which is apparently very tricky and time-consuming and thus not worthwhile.

I heard a very good rabbi speak about gourmet food and Judaism once. He made the point that Jews, even frum Jews, put a premium on getting "the best" this or that, and food is no exception. Yet, he felt that it's really part of Judaism not to think of food as "sport." Food is nourishment. And yes, it should be delightful at times, especially on shabbos/yom tov.

It's interesting that of all the words and languages available to chazzal to really name a heretic, the one they went with most of all was "apikorus." Of course, apikorus is a translation into aramaic of the greek word for epicurean- the followers of the hedonistic philosophy of epicurious.

It seems chazal found hedonism and delight in this world characterized by the saying "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die," it truly antithetical to true judaism.

I think that's the case- there was a bit of a dark ages mentality in chazal that almost no one in OJ has today, save perhaps for certain charedim in Bnei brak, measharim, etc.

Perhaps that's why the word used by the gedolim these days is "kofer." A straight word for heretic, without the epicurean overtones.

Pleasure in this world is a big difficulty for OJ, since it diminishes the desire for the "next world." THus, all people are left with is a desire for eternal life and to be united with the dead, and to hope for divine justice for the wicked who seem to really be enjoying themselves in this world.

However, the Torah didn't even bother to mention the afterlife. I've heard explanations for why, of course, but I'm not so sure people of those days really would have bought into it.

They were too busy surviving, and only kings had "the good life."

11/28/2005 2:47 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"And I need to reiterate, you may not think that R' Gil does a good job or not, but that doesnt make it not so."

I din't read Gil. I'm just reading the ADL's statement, and I think it's well done, particularly where it points out that a lot has changed in judaism since those statements are made, so who really cares what is said?

It's clear that half-man never learned gemara. He represents the best argument that the gemara shouldn't have been translated. I really believe that. First of all, it's so easy to thumb through an artscroll and find choice quotes that make judaism look quite bad. I've done that myself and found it quite discouraging.

"Christian talmudists have defended the morality of the talmud as well."

Absolutely the talmud has tons of morality in it! I never said it didn't. It has both moral and immoral (in my view) statements.

But again, I go back to how judaism is practiced today and how orthodox rabbis really think and behave.

In large part, the more learned rabbis and yes, even many of the gedolim, are huge saints compared to the rest of us and the rest of the secular world.

The problem is that they need for their world to be hermetically sealed to stay saintly.

I don't know how to resolve the two (that is, the "real world" and the Torah world), but I think it's impossible without absolute belief in what the gedolim, etc believe.

I actually don't put much stock in modern orthodoxy, such as it is. To me they have the worst of both worlds- little faith and saintliness (or priestlyness if you prefer) and lots of secular activities and viewpoints.

To me, the gedlim's view is the torah true view, and even Rambam and the rationalists were "off the mark."

Yet, I just don't believe the fundamentals, as I've said over and over. Or else, I'd be chareidi too.

11/28/2005 2:57 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>make that three. I don't eat cheeseburgers or shrimp.

I don't eat them either, but not because I find them repulsive.

11/28/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Oh, btw, happy- get grass fed beef or order frozen bison steaks online. They have a real non-kosher steak taste, although they aren't gourmet. Bison is great and quite healthy. and you cook it rare. mmmmm

11/28/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Also, I used to LOVE shrimp and lobster and crab. I truly don't ahve a yen for these things.

I love sushi and used to eat the treif stuff like uni (sea urchin). But I'm fine without that stuff. I just wish I could follow that rabbi's (Abadi?) psak that you linked to without being frowned upon in my community.

If I could go to regular sushi places and not feel like I'm betraying everyone, I'd be happy as a clam- er fish.

11/28/2005 3:03 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"I don't eat them either, but not because I find them repulsive."

Right, but I'd like to see how many OJ's would become vegetarian in the name of halacha.

When you consider the lack of real supervision of kosher meat raising and processing and the fact that tortuous pain is an everyday reality for animals, many would realize that vegetarianism is an OJ obligation.

Yet, it's considered flaky. In reality, it's HARD!

11/28/2005 3:06 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"many would realize that vegetarianism is an OJ obligation."

I meant, in today's factory farm setting. And rubashkin was just the tip of the iceberg. They only went after him because he was OU supervised and large scale. He was terrible and there are much worse- and we're all eating the product of tzar ballei chaim. Even eggs and milk come from horrible factory settings.

11/28/2005 3:08 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>I meant, in today's factory farm setting. And rubashkin was just the tip of the iceberg. They only went after him because he was OU supervised and large scale. He was terrible and there are much worse- and we're all eating the product of tzar ballei chaim. Even eggs and milk come from horrible factory settings.

Maybe. I will admit that I mainly pursue a don't-ask-don't-tell-don't-wanna-know policy, think what you will of me, although I don't eat veal. I'm a carnivore and don't know how I'd stop.

11/28/2005 3:15 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

in truth, you don't have to stop, but (and I've asked this of OU top dogs) why isn't pain a factor in assessing whether the meat is kosher?

If we demand it, it will become so. Most people don't think about what happens in transportation or slaughter/processing, but if they did, they'd demand changes.

I make small changes like eating verifiable cage free, organic eggs, and no milk. I'd use milk if it were grass fed, free range, no bovine growth hormones or antibiotics, i.e., organic.

I wish people would think half as much about this as "loshon hora". The torah is filled with concern for animals. I'm sure the talmud is as well. It's an ideal that anyone can appreciate, except for sociopaths.

11/28/2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>I don't eat them either, but not because I find them repulsive.

I meant I don't eat them because I do not find them appealing. I do eat unkosher beef and chicken

11/28/2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>I wish people would think half as much about this as "loshon hora". The torah is filled with concern for animals. I'm sure the talmud is as well. It's an ideal that anyone can appreciate, except for sociopaths.

I agree with you.

However, there is a psychological barrier to overcome for what may or may not be obvious reasons. Bringing up Nazis may be greeted with cries of "Godwin's Law" online, but in the real world the collective Jewish memory recalls assaults on shechita by fois-gras consuming countries and it recalls the Nazi's legal mercy for animals and mercilessness for Jews. Sure, you may say, one has nothing to do with the other. But it's a formidable psychological hurdle to overcome.

11/28/2005 3:33 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"But it's a formidable psychological hurdle to overcome."

Excellent point, but we overcome this by overcompensating ourselves. It seems only reform and conservative types do this. See, e.g. their involvement in Darfur genocide or other "tikkun olam" efforts in animal welfare.

Perhaps what OJ's are really aftraid of is that, once you look into how hard it is to reform the kosher meat industry, you realize halachically that you really SHOULD be vegetarian! WHich brings us back to your intitial "don't ask, don't tell" point.

Only OJ's can have the integrity to do that from a halachic stance.

There are a few notable kosher veggies, like R. Shaar Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa. But another one who kept his vegetarianism to himself for years is none other than Rabbi Jonathan Sacks- the former Chief Rabbi of England. He doesn't write on the topic really at all, but it is a confirmed fact that I know from Richard Schwartz's newsletter. He's the author of judaism and vegetarianism and some other books and he has the kosherveg.com website. He's nice, and very modern, but orthodox. He gets tangled up with a lot of nuts because the most important thing to him and them is vegetarianism, a religion in itself to some.

11/28/2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Btw, Rabbi Sacks specifically gave permission to Richard Schwartz to reveal that he's vegetarian.

He held back for years only because he felt it might publicly seem to conflict with his role as supervisor of kashrus in England, considering there are lots of anti-semite and anti-arabs who use protesting schecita (and the arabs' very cruel methods) as a way of getting arabs and Jews out of england.

11/28/2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

Leave it to a discussion of food to generate a flood of comments.

Bta
Why do you need to eat sushi in a trief place, there are good sushi places that are kosher.
Sushi metzuyan, haikara.
All Ny of course.
Reading rav abadi I'm not sure its clear how easy to eat sushi in treif place. There is the issue of the rice, the soy sauce made with wine, the nori with sea horses.

Re meat, us the fact our meat is salted ruin it?
Does the blood add taste?

Re cruelty to animals:I guess shcita was humane when its not done in a factory mass production setting.
But if you compare mass production settings us kosher worse?
Also, I can't become upset over every wrong in this world, we have enough of our own tzuris.

11/28/2005 4:30 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

I forgot to add that I make excellent sushi myself.
I buy the salmon or tuna, sushi grade, and use brown or white rice, toast my sesame seeds, use some rice vinegar, a great rice cooker from samsung, and voila, sushi.
Its better than any resteraunt.

11/28/2005 4:31 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

note:
"us" is "is". Its my blackberry messing me up.

11/28/2005 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Holy Hyrax said...

www.grandin.com

She's a pro on the discussion of humane slaughter of animals and talks about specific designs of facilities to help in an effort to cause less pain to the hamburg....er, animals.

11/28/2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

Holy
sounds like she made a business out of it.
Has anyone done a cost benefit analysis of the cost per pound using her system vs others?

All you guys who complain about rubashkin, would you fork over your money to modernize the plant? how much is it worth it to you to save a cow a few seconds of pain? is there an upper limit to your sympathy?

11/28/2005 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Holy Hyrax said...

Temple Grandin is a world authority that has been often invited to different plants to inspect their treatments of the animals. Saying she makes a business out of it, rather diminishes the good work she tries to do.

But anyways, asking how much is it worth it is besides the point. If Jews have an obligation not to cause unneccasary harm to an animal, than that obligation must be met.

11/29/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

well said, especially for an animal with only one, er... make that no kosher simanim.

11/29/2005 3:28 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

"how much is it worth it to you to save a cow a few seconds of pain? is there an upper limit to your sympathy?"

You clearly never watched the peta video- there were cows writhing on the floor for 5-6 minutes after having their throats slit and esophogi ripped out (by a gentile nonetheless).

11/29/2005 3:30 AM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

bta
first of all, im not a world authority on cruelty to animals. I honestly never thought too much about it, so im feeling my way around this. so what i say take with a grain of salt.

could the concept of cruelty to animals refer to a individual torturing an animal for pleasure?
or does it mean, that you have to spend unlimited funds to ensure that a animal feels no pain even if the intent is not getting pleasure out of that pain.
(yea, i know, we eat that delicious steak, but you know what i mean)

or is there a concept of reasonable effort.
Slaughtering in mass is going to be a very messy business.
Besides, im a very suspect of PETA.
There was a penn and teller expose on PETA on their shotime show Bullsh*t!
Go get that episode and see how looney PETA is. (And P&T are no conservatives!)

Holy
it is business for her. she sells equipment to prevent cruelty.

11/29/2005 7:40 AM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

I was reminded of the last episode of curb, where Larry thinks the Korean stole jeffs dog oscar to use for a bbq.
There is also an ongoing plot with orthodox charachters, as well as reform, conservative, and the Jewish center in la.

11/29/2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>it is business for her. she sells equipment to prevent cruelty.

She's an utistic academic, not exactly a craven businesswomen. She is in this field because she loves animals, possesses the ncessary expertise AND she is not opposed to animal slaughter for food and has specifically complimentary things to say about shechita in particular. She is definitely not acting with any sort of agenda. Of course she is in business. It's her livelihood, but her words on the subject is worth more than most people who are nogeah be-davar one way or another--abnd anyone who is concerned with the issue is a nogeah be-davar.

11/29/2005 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Larry Lennhoff said...

The very best kosher steak I ever had (the non-glatt and now unavailable mail order kosher steaks from Omaha steaks) were worthy of comparison to the best non-kosher steaks. They weren't as good, but it wasn't simply laughable to compare them. I've eaten at the Prime Grill, and at LeMarais, and the steaks there simply don't compare with top of the line treif steaks.

My suspicion is that the salting and soaking destroy the quality of the meat. The reverse is true for poultry - most kosher poultry is top notch, probably because the salting and soaking is equvalent to the 'brining' process they urge you to do to turkeys around Thanksgiving time.

That said, I've been treif free since 2001 and I'm astonished at how easy it has been.

11/29/2005 2:42 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

Larry
B'taavon!

Miss.
Ok, as carlbach would say, she's mamesh a tzaddik.

Bta
Just learned eruven 55a where gemera discusses cities whose edge is shaped like the Greek letter gamma.
It got me thinking, they know gamma but not pi? Me thinks not.
The next daf gets into astronomy, and even with the artscroll I'm lost.
Need to get my rebbi to teach it to me. Hey, maybe chardal can do a presentation live.

11/29/2005 7:02 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

I reiterate my recommendation for Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone". Everything I have cooked in it is delicious. Take your wife to the store to see if the recipes are doable for Shabbos and holidays. (Assuming she does the cooking)
You will be flabbergasted to know that Rabbi Weinberg of Aish Hatorah agrees with you. At a sheva brachos I attended he said, "My students tell me, "Look at what is happening in the Sudan! Isn't that dreadful?" Then I say, "What are you going to do about it?" Nobody says, "What am I supposed to do about it?" Everyone says, "What can I do?" Because they know that if you can do something about it, and you don't, you are the lowest of the low. [Editorializing: Kristof recommends savedarfur.org] They already have "The world was created for me" in one pocket." If the world was created for you, there is nothing wrong with trying to understand it, whether you believe that physical causes are real or not. This will help you with the "I am but dust and ashes" part.
These Nineteen Letters sound good. I have always liked Hirsch even from the Artscroll excerpts.

11/30/2005 11:27 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>It got me thinking, they know gamma but not pi? Me thinks not.

Please tell me you are joking.

"Pi" is a letter in the Greek alphabet used to represent the number in question. It isn't the number. I knew the letter "M" before I knew what it stood for in the equation E=MC^2.

11/30/2005 11:37 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Of course he was joking. Right...?

It would have been funnier though, if he said the Torah had the correct value of Pi. It was worth 5 shekels.

11/30/2005 12:59 PM  

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