Saturday, November 19, 2005

Would the World be a better Place if Einstein had been a Rosh Yeshiva Instead?

This post flows from a discussion I had with a much frummer guy than I over Shabbos. The topic was learning- how much I don't like it, but how we both acknowledge that it is a fundamental element of those who "stay Jewish" and whose descendents do as well.

I said to him, "Ok, I can see how important learning is to keeping traditions alive, but it sure seems like a waste of brainpower to have all these smart folks learning talmud all day when they could be finding the cure for cancer."

To that he said, "We should leave all the secular learning to the goyim. Our job is to learn Torah. Einstein could have been a Rosh Yeshiva and a non-Jew would have come along with relativity eventually. Why is it so important for him to do it, to show the world how smart Jews are?!"

I flatly responded that it would have been a tremendous waste for Einstein to have been a Rosh Yeshiva. I asked him, "what's so great about the Chazon Ish or Moshe Feinstein, any 'giant' rabbi of modern times? Of course they were very accomplished and raised frum families of note [Feinstein, not Chazon who apparently had a miserable marriage and no kids]. Their halachic opinions aren't binding per se, and if learning is what keeps Jews "Jewish," there's plenty to study rather than Igros Moshe or Igros Chazon Ish."

So, I put it to you in the olam ha blog- while it clearly depends on your perspective; what's your opinion? And don't use the cop out that studying science, etc is "all Torah."

Would it really be better if all the Jews in universities studying Science, Math, Medicine and the like were instead studying in yeshivas?

61 Comments:

Blogger Ezzie said...

No. It would also be completely unfair to assert the reverse. It's more fair to say that some who are in universities and the like would serve the world better learning Torah, and that many of those learning Torah full time should go to university or learn a trade, etc.

You'd be surprised at how much secular knowledge and/or ability many Rabbonim had over the centuries. OTOH, to say Einstein could have served the world better if he were in Yeshiva is somewhat stupid and completely without basis.

11/20/2005 4:43 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

They used to tell me that no one remembers the Apikores and that once you leave, you will never be remembered no matter what you think you've accomplished. Now that is strange to hear because every single one of us knows about Spinoza. In fact, the whole world knows about Spinoza. There are Spinoza societies, books clubs, web forums, and Spinoza is taught in almost every university on the planet! Where exactly is the Mishneh Brurah taught outside of yeshivas?

(Spinoza was a major influence on Einstein's thinking.)

I would say that if you wish to be remembered, and not just on your yahrtzeit or Yom Kipur, you might want to think about leaving Judaism. Make some noise on the way out.

I know that I won;t be remembered for anythign remarkable. We are all forgotten eventually, and that is o.k. The need to be remembered isn't one of my goals, otherwise I might end up being as codependent to others as some others are to someone else. Blech. Who wants that? It's no way to live.

Kol Tuv

11/20/2005 12:17 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

similiar to what ezzie said above, obvously we have a lot of people in post yeshiva programs who dont belong there.
They are "kvetching the bank".
I had a rosh hayshiva who would go to boys who obviously were not accomplishing in learning (and not because they didnt have the brains) and told them go out and earn a living in the world.

He was being honest.

Learning is not about brain power, its about ameilus. The ntziv was not a genius. he simply worked hard at it.

It also a fact that if you work hard at learning, it will increase your capacity to learn, anything, period.

Neuroscientists call this phenomonon nueroplasticity. (that is why the gemera says that if you have a 4oz cup capacity to learn, hashem will give you overflowing capabilities if you work at it.)

The talmud requires a tremedous exercising of brain power.

The Rambam was a doctor. There are hundreds of examples of gdolim who were experts in their fields.
Rav Pam was a teacher in brooklyn college.
Youre supposition that it needs to be black and white is wrong.
We should have both, those who have the ability to learn should stay, so we have rabbonim who can lead us, and those who dont have that calling, should go to college and be productive that way, while still connecting to yiddishkeit, by setting time to learn. and it will also improve your ability to do your job.

11/20/2005 12:44 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

one other point.
It kind of comes across that youre questioning wether Judiasm itself is worth perpetuating.

if the premise is that it is, then R' Moshe didnt just raise a frum family.
He had an impact on thousands of people lives and was a significant contributing factor to perpetuating Judiasm.

One point about reform is that they fail in the basic task of carrying on judiasm to their children

I know someone who is friends with a reform guy, who is frum reform.
But his children intermarried.

That is probably becoming the norm.

11/20/2005 12:55 PM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

You'd be surprised at how much secular knowledge and/or ability many Rabbonim had over the centuries.

Those days, with very few excpetions, and even then you have to be wary of charlatans, are long over.

The most knowledgable rabbi I know, who could wipe the floor with any "enlightened" rabbi I knew in Yeshiva (i.e., one who blathered on about Watchmakers), clearly defers to scientists in any matter outside of halakha. He recognizes the limitations of his trade and is careful to stay within his bounds.

11/20/2005 1:37 PM  
Blogger Menuval said...

This is the way a friend put it to me: "if you see a goyishe Nobel Prize winner, you make a bracha, as he is truly using his God-given brainpower in it's intended manner. But there would be no bracha upon seeing Einstein, because he wasn't supposed to be learning physics to begin with!"

The supposition is a stupid one. How does anybody know that Gemarah would have captured his imagination the way physics did? He might have just been another sleeping bachur at the back of the beis medrash.

11/20/2005 1:42 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

I'll leave the question alone, and note the today's "Talmud learning is for everyone" attitude is new thing. Historically, most Jews knew enough Hebrew to read a bit of a siddur, and that's it. Pre-WW2, even the largest yeshivas were tiny. The culture of an imagined ideal where every Jew is a Talmudist is an anachronism. As to why this is so, the reason won't fit in a blog comment.

11/20/2005 1:48 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

To Ezz and menuval, the question is a hypothetical one, not whether Einstein personally would have liked it or would have been bored. Of course he would have been bored.

But the point is what if guys like Einstein raised in the "right" frum home in those days would have stuck in the frum world and done their best. Even then, is it better or worse?

Assume Einstein would have been the next Chazon Ish, or whomever you think was the smartest Rabbi of the 20th century.

I think this comes to Happy's point, which is it's not all about smarts.

But Einstein had some pretty good middos, being a peacenik and philosopher for the last half of his life. I don't think he got the shalom bayis thing down too good though. But again, let's not get biographical...

Very interesting posts though.

11/20/2005 1:51 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"I would say that if you wish to be remembered, and not just on your yahrtzeit or Yom Kipur, you might want to think about leaving Judaism."

Not so sure about that, SL. I mean, take Menken, a half-wit kiruv rabbi. He's now known throughout the country and has published a book that makes Madonna's children's books look like Tolstoy!

Or even Slifkin. Despite the gedolim's opposition, Slifkin's books are all apologetics and nonsense as well. The fact that he addresses such big questions as "was there really a frog big enough to eat an entire town?" seriously puts him in the "low-functioning"department along with Menken.

Judaism has made tons of intellectually insignificant people famous, sometimes just for having the right father. Just look at all the rebbes.

11/20/2005 1:59 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

"The fact that he addresses such big questions as "was there really a frog big enough to eat an entire town?" seriously puts him in the "low-functioning"department along with Menken."

ROTFLMAO!

11/20/2005 2:03 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

However, SL, there is another aspect of what you bring up that really rings true.

Judaism has no place for creativity in its innermost circles. Everything is sourced, and if you bring up some new insight to the torah hasn't been put out anywhere before, it's rejected.

I heard a story about R. Soleveitchik where he gave a shuir, and months later called all the bochrim to a session where he said a statement he made was wrong (about something not havning been discussed in the sources) and that he should have known somewhere in the sources it was discussed. It was a hasgafic point of his.

But OMG- how stultifyingly boring!

11/20/2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

That is funny.

11/20/2005 2:05 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

"Everything is sourced, and if you bring up some new insight to the torah hasn't been put out anywhere before, it's rejected."

Once again, an anachronism.

11/20/2005 2:09 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"The culture of an imagined ideal where every Jew is a Talmudist is an anachronism."

It's interesting that you bring up the exact point that came up in the conversation by his wife (a well-established, gung-ho Jewish speaker). I said what you said, that 10% of jews were learning at most throughout history. It was like getting into harvard. the rest of the people were the am ha'artzim.

She strenuously objected, saying even the local cobbler would have been a godol, etc. I asked her what historical books or evidence she had for that. I think the cricket chirping outside the windon was louder than her response.

11/20/2005 2:11 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

the "window" not windon

11/20/2005 2:11 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

"She strenuously objected, saying even the local cobbler would have been a godol, etc."

Thank you Artscroll!

11/20/2005 2:13 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"As to why this is so, the reason won't fit in a blog comment."

Sounds like fertile material for *dah-duh-da-daaaa-du-daaah* a guest post from Mis-nagid. Whaddyasay?

11/20/2005 2:14 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

To be honest, it wouldn't fit in a post either.

11/20/2005 2:15 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"As to why this is so, the reason won't fit in a blog comment. "

I'll take a stab at it, as it's alluded to in the initial post. That is, the pull of secularity and enlightenment is so strong, while anti-semitism is so benign compared to the pogroms and ghettos of the past, the only way to resist most Jews freiing out is to have them sequestered in monastic settings until their singular focus in life is doing what's right according to chazal and their personal rabbi.

11/20/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Your supposition that it needs to be black and white is wrong."

Happy- it's not my supposition, actually, it's all the rabbi's and litvaks I run into whose simple proof is that science isn't one of the three pillars of judaism [that the world stands on three things, torah study, gemilus chassodim/good deeds and avodah/prayer.]

Of course, you could argue that science and medicine in particular would fall into the good deeds category since they benefit so many people.

And that is notwithstanding the fact that you don't order the world's priorities based on a single statement in the mesora!

11/20/2005 2:26 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Once again, an anachronism. "

Mis-nagid, I think one would be hard to point out things in OJ that aren't anachronistic.

11/20/2005 2:27 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

The story in lakewood goes that Rabbi Kotler decided to build his yeshivah this way instead of the European model is that nobody in America at the time had any slightest interest in Judaism so the only hope was to try to get everyone learning as much as possible in order to save Judaism and produce at least a couple of American Gedolim. I don't know if this is true or not, but that's the story they tell in Lakewood

11/20/2005 2:29 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

"Mis-nagid, I think one would be hard to point out things in OJ that aren't anachronistic."

That's a major exaggeration. I'd say that most of what makes OJ Orthodox are anachronisms. OJ didn't invent Pesach or Tefillin you know.

11/20/2005 2:33 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"OJ didn't invent Pesach or Tefillin you know."

Not so sure you're right about the tefillin part...

11/20/2005 4:25 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"I don't know if this is true or not, but that's the story they tell in Lakewood"

BSpin-I think that's pretty historically accurate. Without lakewood and torah v'das, etc there would be very few frummies in america.

What you point out is very important. Namely, history should be considered as well. Without the american yeshivos, it's possible there'd be little or now OJ's today.

Thus even I would say that it was more important for R. Kotler to have been a rosh yeshiva than a physicist.

Maybe this post is just dumb. Hmm.

11/20/2005 4:29 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

"Not so sure you're right about the tefillin part... "

Are you joking?!

11/20/2005 5:34 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

bta
yes, hmmmmmmm.....
by the way, even the litvish recognize that it was actually Satmer that saved yiddishkeit in america.

The satmer rebbe used to say, the reform build big temples and small yeshivas. I will build big yeshivas and lots of shtieblich.

He had a strategy. and it was brilliantly succesful. Take an extreem postition, so that the rest of jewry is forced to move in his direction.

Unfortunately, satmer has fallen into chaos.

11/20/2005 6:25 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

""Not so sure you're right about the tefillin part... "

Are you joking?!"

Let's make sure we're talking about the same thing. I consider OJ to be the heritage of the Pharisees. I do not think that tefillin as we see from phariseeic tradition are what totofos in the torah is speaking of.

I'm aware even Essenes (dead sea sect) had some form of tefillin, and I'm not up on whether saducees did. However, the details and the box itself are not persuasive to me. I think it's an ancient tradition, but probably came very close to the first temple period.

11/20/2005 8:40 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

See these karaite sites for a breakdown of the arguments against actual tefillin being used.

http://www.karaite-korner.org/tefillin.shtml#table1

http://www.karaites.org.uk/phylacteries.shtml

of course, I never learned the Rashbam's (Rashi's grandson's) explanation that they site here, namely that tefillin were symbollic.

However, they are kind of bizarre. Especially when you think of people who walk around the old city wearing them all day, that that's how a lot of people used to wear tefillin- all day.

11/20/2005 8:49 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Happy:
"bta yes, hmmmmmmm....."

LOL!

It's not though, since it's led to some stimulating comments, and what else would you do, talk about Hillary Clinton at dovbear's site?

11/20/2005 8:54 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

I doubt anyone litvish would agree with what you said about satmyrs. They are corrupt as hell and a bunch of nuts, other than that I've never heard much good about them. Frumteens isn't such a good spokesman either.

Clearly, chabad would get much more credit if the measurement is in how many BT's they're responsible for, etc.

11/20/2005 8:56 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

bta
speak to someone litvish who was around back then. Not the idiots of today.
I have spoken to both litvish and chassidish who were around, and its not even a question that Satmer was the major factor in yiddishkeit growing in america.
Im not saying that the agudah and litvish did nothing, but without satmer, they wouldnt of grown the way they did.

As far as them being all corrupt and all nuts, i do take exception, since i have a lot of family that is satmer.
There are plenty of nuts there, but there are also plenty of honest and sane ones as well (unless you mean that anyone who could be a chassid and anti zionist is a nut)

11/20/2005 11:35 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

oh and re chabad and BT,
Chabad is nuts! no, they really are!
I really cant understand that phenomonon.
I know some chabad guys and they believe the rebbe is moshiach.

That is nuts!

11/20/2005 11:37 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

I'm with you there, but that's a well-trodden path. Failedmessiah.com has that pretty covered. ;)

The satmyr rebbe btw is well known for being a very big talmud chacham, and no gedolim ever came out against them, so don't get me wrong there.

I just think they come off corrupt with the hillary clinton pardon vote scam and the fervent defense of metzisa baal peh. They are aliens to me. the anti zionist part makes a lot of sense. the satmyr rav was right on about what israel would become in terms of anti-semitism.

11/21/2005 12:32 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

You have to expect a kehilla that takes the Chasam Sofer quite seriously, maybe even too much so, to be quite stubborn and insulated. I spent a lot of time in on Marcy Ave, back in my day, making the trip in my father's work truck or by bus down Kingston Ave. The Satmar suffer from the same malady that ALL frumme Yidden suffer from. They think they are right and everyone else is wrong. They imagine their yehsivas being the best the everyone elses producing baalei gaava and am ha'aratzim.

I moved around a good deal in chinuch to get a flavor for each derech halimud and hashkafa. With the exception of Stolin (my father o'h was a Stoliner) and Breslov, most yeshivos treat other yeshivos with some disdain.

Now believe it or not, that goes on in the secular world as well.

"What you're going to THAT college? That is a horrible school."

"How do you know? Have you been there?"

"No, but I've heard their teachers are substandard."

"Where did you hear this?"

"Around."

In the yeshiva veldt it's more than just a healthy school rivalry. These guys really think that God prefers them above all others.

11/21/2005 6:49 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>See these karaite sites for a breakdown of the arguments against actual tefillin being used.

Interestingly, there's actually some discussion among Karaites today about the signifigance of the ancient tefillin found and whether it indicates that ot/ totafotreally shouldn't be understood metaphorically after all.

11/21/2005 8:35 AM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

SLA

Re Satmer,
Its true that the Hasam Sofer is considered chassidish by them eventhough ironically he davened ashkenaz and said that anyone who davens ashkenaz is assur from switching to nusach sfard.
That said, you make insular seem like a bad thing. Its a derech. You dont like that derech, then its not for you. But please propose a derech that works to ensure the continuation of our nation.

I read some letters between R. Samson Rafael Hirsh and another orthodox rabbi regarding the issue of their times, remaining or seceding from the reform khal.
Id not that first of the term orthodox was a reform word to deridingly refer to religious torah true jews.

Second,it corroborated my feelings that a critical success factor for a jew is wether his children remain jewish and pass it on to theirs.

Come up with a derech that can meet that success measure, and you will have a derech that will be popular. Until you do, (and ive read some of your blog) i think you should stop complaining about the horribleness of the current derech. (my humble opinion)

11/21/2005 10:38 AM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

BTA
Wow, you ascribe to theory that Israel increased antisemitism? Interesting, since you linked to a abuse blog site, and attack purported abusers, yet here you seem to believe the victim is at fault.

11/21/2005 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Jobber said...

There is always a need for Chidushei Torah, and periodically someone comes along who is truly inspiring. Why so many learn and spend time like that is another issue but what you are proposing is dopey, and I happen to like your blog and basic concepts.

11/21/2005 12:18 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Interestingly, there's actually some discussion among Karaites today"

Miss. Fred- not sure if you mean 1 or 2 people when you say "karaites today". Particularly if you look at the second link I have above, he specifically says that if the essenes really all wore tefillin, you would expect to find much more than a few scraps of tefillin.

Also, tefillin is a very ancient practice. But it's highly dubious to have been what the torah meant just looking at all the psukim he brings as proofs in that article.

Also, why spend so much time explaining how to build the tabernacle or about this sacrifice or that, if they were put into practice for such a short portion of our history?

There are many irrelevant passages (e.g., how much this guy or that girl is worth in shekels) that could instead have had one or two lines about the tefillin boxes and when to wear them.

Also, I have a question for you in the mencken post's comments.

11/21/2005 3:08 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"what you are proposing is dopey,"

I didn't propose anything.

11/21/2005 3:12 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

The question is what you mean by "Would the World be a better Place".

Do you really feel like science has improved the moral state of the world. Did Einstein? You might argue that since the CI is unknown to the vast majority of the world (or even Jews) that his Torah didn't morally improve the world either. To the mystical minded like myself, however, the "light" that comes into the world through the study of Torah is the main way to help lead the world towards perfection. See my post on of Rav Kook's approaches to Torah study here.

If you look at world history, you will see that there is a general parallel between advances in secular knowledge and advances in Torah thought. Perhaps at certain times in history, Hashem allows into the world large amounts of “intellectual energy” We can choose how we apply this energy. Towards the physical or spiritual worlds. I tend to agree with your friend, since our nation is the only one equipped to deal with the spiritual world in a complete way, we should leave (most) of the scientific research to the Gentiles.

11/21/2005 6:17 PM  
Anonymous me said...

"not Chazon who apparently had a miserable marriage and no kids"

He had no kids. But where do you get this bit about a miserable marriage??????

11/21/2005 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rav Pam was a teacher in brooklyn college. "'

He WAS? What did he teach?

I didn't know he even had a college degree himself. I guess it's possible, but I doubt he did.

11/21/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"Do you really feel like science has improved the moral state of the world."

I could ask the same of OJ. Look at the entire chareidi towns in Israel and Brooklyn and Lakewood filled with parasites on welfare banning common sense understandings of the world.

That's morality?

The torah is a great moral document? Where children are sex-slaves, slavery and plural marriage are rampant and war and genocide are justified by settlement of some piece of the desert?

I know, I know, there's the chofetz chaim, a great tzadik and great guy. How much of his understandings of loshon hora are followed by gedolim these days?

Look at these fools, hailed as geniuses- from Elyashev to Sternbuch to Mattisyahu Salomon. A bunch of thugs.

And the satmyrs and the lubavitchers and on and on. These are such moral people?

Now, I'm biased and I admit it. But you can't have a reality-based conversation while assumig that OJ's are somehow morally elevated about the rest of the world just because. They must be judged on their merits or demerits.

Also, you have chosen to frame the conversation in moral terms only. I would clarify "better" for the world as moving the world in a positive direction.

Science clearly does that. When a kid is born with diabetes today, he lives. Yesterday, he dies. We have technology which leads to the free flow of any ideas. If talmudic thoughts are superior, they too can be transmitted to previously unknown reaches of the world.

I think that the thoughts themselves don't seem to withstand scrutiny unscathed, thus the thoughts are banned by our moral leaders.

11/21/2005 7:54 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

I will not respond to your attacks on Gedolei Yisrael; even the ones whom I do not follow. The rest of you response however, is a bit off the mark.

I guess it is a matter of what you want to see in the communities. To me, it is not a question that the Torah world is morally superior to other societies. I grew up in secular Israel and spent much time in secular USA as well.

There is no question in my mind regarding the moral superiority of the Dati Leumi and Chareidi societies to the secular ones. The very fact that there are objective standards of morality and that morality is something that is discussed in the educational system is in and of itself a level above that which exists in other societies. When you add to that the level of sensitivities that are taught in these communities, I don't think it is even close. You can come up with a long list of exceptions to this rule. My personal experience as someone who has lived in both communities, however, is that secular morality is bankrupt beyond belief.

Even if you were right however, you totally missed the point of what I was trying to say. I don't believe that the effects of Torah study can be measured like Scientific advancement.

The act of learning is no less than the act of connecting Heaven to Earth. The effects of such a connection are not always testable nor can they always be sensed by those who are not sensitive to them.

Science only deals with the physical world and as such is neither moral or immoral. Scientific advancement can be used to save babies or they can be used to devise cruel weapons of destruction. They can heal and they can hurt. They can connect people who are far and isolate people from their surroundings. They are totally morally neutral. It would be hard to argue that our technological and scientific advances have made us happier people. Quite the opposite, although there are time-saving devices, people have less free time. Although there have been advances in communication, our ability to communicate has decreased. I just look at the letter my grandparents' generation used to write each other and see immediately a level of refinement that is unheard of nowadays.

Happiness is much more a function of spiritual direction than of scientific knowledge and it is Gedolim such as the CI, CC, and Rav Moshe that increase the refinement of Torah learning which leads to greater spiritual abilities.

If the Jewish people were to abandon our task of spreading the light of Torah. If there would be a disconnect between Heaven and Earth, then a darkness would descend upon the world that I do not even wish to ponder.

There is much more but I suggest you learn more of the thought of Rav Kook in order to better grasp the spiritual mission of our nation in this world and especially in this generation.

11/21/2005 8:53 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

I appreciate your comments, but we fundamentally disagree. I say there is no such thing as a "spiritual world" or "spiritual mission."

That goes for R. Kook or budda or the hare krishnas.

They all have books. And interesting books at that, I'm certain.

11/21/2005 9:42 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

I think that if you really didn't believe in a "spiritual world" or a "spiritual mission, then you wouldn't be wasting all your time on this blog for what would be the point.

11/21/2005 9:47 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Did the diaspora rabbis in Bavil just after the 2nd temple was destroyed make use of the death penalty?

>I assume they were given full jurisdiction over their own people and that included criminal jurisdiction.

They were not given the right to mete out the death penalty by the Sassanians.

However, IIRC, there are some strands of evidence in rabbinic literature that may indicate that the death penalty was meted out at time--although most decidedly NOT as a continuation of Torah law, since the Babylonian rabbis themselves (volunatirily) affirmed that in Bavel they lacked the authority.

However, it was the resh galutha that actually wielded the secular power in Babylon, and as I said, there are some indications that death sentences might have on occasion been carried out.

11/21/2005 10:15 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Also, I have a question for you in the mencken post's comments.

Feel free to email me anytime. My address is on my blog.

11/21/2005 11:00 PM  
Blogger Hayim said...

BTA,

this is right up your alley in your cruisage against Kiruv Clowns.

As you know (I suppose), Mark Perakh wrote a rebuttal of Gerald Schroeder's books on Talk Reason. Schroeder never acknowledged it.

Now, it seems that a certain Daniel Rowe, from Aish Hatorah UK, asked him what he thinks of Perakh's critique, and he got an answer from Schroeder.

Rowe sent it to Perakh, who took it apart on Talk Reason. See his post from yesterday here :

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/reply_to_Schroeder.cfm

11/22/2005 6:13 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Thanks Hayim. My response to you never posted. Schroeder's a real clown. His typing is so sad, but still pretty good compared to his physics. The guy is so dishonest and so unscientific in his approach.

Yet, his sole appeal is that he supposedly brings some "science" to the table.

There is not a single professional physicist who agrees with his wild hypotheses.

I was thinking that the one guy I'd like to debunk is Akiva Tatz the south african "doctor." Did he ever have a patient? How many years (or months) do south africans have to spend in medical school anyway? The state of medicine in south africa is one step above voodoo, so I for one am NOT impressed.

Anyway, I realized I can't really debunk him as a kiruv clown, since all he really is doing is giving OJ answers to various questions.

I certainly find his approach dishonest and specious. But it's all based on talmudic and rabbinical sources.

I wouldn't spend a blog calling rabbis of the gemara kiruv clowns, or rambam, etc. They really actually believe this stuff...

11/22/2005 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTA, can you answer this:

me said...

"not Chazon who apparently had a miserable marriage and no kids"

He had no kids. But where do you get this bit about a miserable marriage??????


You did write it after all.

11/22/2005 9:50 PM  
Blogger happywithhislot said...

anony
i will verify the facts re rav pam, but i understood he was a professor in brooklyn college.

11/22/2005 11:03 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

"You did write it after all."

What, am I a frickin' journalist over here?!

I heard it from a scholarly rabbi in israel. He said he refused to divorce her for some halachic reason I don't recall. I believe I've seen something about this as well.

I'll poke around and do what every good journalist does- factchecking after writing the story.

Anyway just reading his writings, and considereing he probably learned and wrote all day just about every day, and considering they had no kids, it's hard to imagine what that marriage could have been like.

11/23/2005 12:51 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

"I found the eye for eye thing enlightening,"

me too. I'd like to see Miss. Fred write it up, since I haven't seen it on a blog.

"you ended up doing a mitzvah because i actually learned something today!"

Well, you got me there!

11/23/2005 1:04 AM  
Blogger YS said...

BTA, your comment of "What, am I a frickin' journalist over here?!" is (I feel) inappropriate. If you were writing an innocuous blog with no impact on people and society it would be fine. But, understand - you have a large number of people reading this blog and with that comes a responsibility. Yes, even a journalistic responsibility. Please, before you write something, check it out. Make sure it really happened. Otherwise it's slander.

11/23/2005 2:05 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

"BTA, your comment of "What, am I a frickin' journalist over here?!" is (I feel) inappropriate. "

You never saw austin powers, that's all. It was said in jest.

As for your comment about the blog, I heard it from a top chareidi rav in Jerusalem. That's enough for me. If someone finds a biography of CI, that isn't written by the author of "Tales from the Soul" then perhaps this will be in there. Also, this is a blog and is not held out as the NY TImes, I think you're stretching a bit there.

As for this being slander, it's safe to say that by your standards, this entire blog is slanderous.

Thus, I suggest ignoring the slander or ignoring the blog.

11/23/2005 2:21 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Your post makes me a little sad. I haven't read any of the comments above yet, so I may be somewhat repetetive.
You have a GREAT point when you suggest that so many smart Jews learning Torah could also be finding cures, etc. That is probably very true. But it is also true that the world would crumble and somehow self destruct if torah learning was not around. Those who choose to learn torah full time, part time - whatever are, in fact, creating cures, etc, as their learning is keeping the rest of us lazy bums (or at least my lazy self) around. Thank g-d there are still many many Jews out there IN the sciences and maths - and a lot of those people are also frum. We all have our purpose and strenghts, and if someone wants to learn torah, or at least put his major amount of brainpower in the learning of it (in addition to oliving a Torah lifestyle, one hopes), than I have no issue with that. I think it's a beautiful thing.

Naomi

11/23/2005 11:53 PM  
Blogger Zeh Sefer Toldot Adam said...

"get the goyim to do it" is such a typical religious attitude.. whether it is said with regard to army service in israel, earning a parnassah to provide for their parasite ways or with regards to any secular endeavour, such as saving the environment or fighting poverty or getting a job... the only frum thing to do is to learn torah everything else is gashmiyut.


This is the ethic of irresponsibility offered by much of UO Judaism today, and it stinks. Get someone else to do it, whilst I am purifying my own soul with learning.

11/27/2005 7:12 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

True Sefer, but in reality the guy with whom I discussed this was quite wealthy and has businesses. He learns an hour or two in the mornings. I'm sure he spends quite a lot of time with the schnoorers, so perhaps that's how he justifies it.

11/28/2005 1:54 AM  

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