Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Reform Judaism and feminism achieved a union of perfect moral bankruptcy

Since Rav Hirsch opposed reform Judaism and feminism, I post the following. Note, even as he advocated for traditional roles for men and women, his writings inspired Sarah Schneirer to start the Beis Yaakov movement. She employed Rav Hirsch's writings - with rabbinical help - as her guide. The entire Beis Yaakov movement has been credit by such gadolim as R' Aaron Kotler zt'l  and  Rav Yaakov Kamenestky zt'l as saving all of klal Yisroel. What inspired Sarah Schneirer were Rav Hirsch's depictions of the nobility and accomplishments of the Imahos. He very much believed in the potential for greatness in every woman and believed as well that this greatness is achieved only through the traditional role as described by the Torah and Chazal. And in his genius, he laid the groundwork for an educational program for women all the while keeping in line with traditional Torah sensibilities. So he opposed what we know today as radical feminism but was very much a supporter of women. 

On this day in 2019, Reform Judaism and feminism achieved a union of perfect moral bankruptcy. The Israeli web news site, The Times of Israel published an article that sang the praises of one Dr. Sara Imershein of Falls Church, Virginia. Dr. Imershein is a physician who has made it her life's work to perform abortions. She said

"abortion empowers women to have the families women want" 
You heard that right. Not to save the life of the mother but to go shopping, to give women "what they want." Buy this dress, throw that one in the garbage. Cut the other one up to make it shorter. It's all about making the woman so, so happy. Empowerment of women is the idol of the day. Empower them in every way possible. As abortions are also performed on female babies, this empowerment only applies to females over a certain age. The others are served up as child sacrifices on the idol of feminism.

Here is another gem from her, “I always said as a physician, when I grow up and retire, I’m going to do abortions because it was a way to use my techniques to alleviate suffering.” 

She rips living, heart-beating, blood-circulating, grasping, kicking, nervous system owning fetuses to pieces and claims that this alleviates suffering. 

These could be the most twisted, narcissistic, and selfish comments that I have ever heard a human being utter. She is intelligent enough to get through medical school and as stupid as only a person with higher intelligence can be. Simpler minds cannot invent such demonic logic and present it as idealistic. 

Imershein, a Jewish woman, bases her rationalizations on a misreading of the Talmud. She says, “Somewhere along the line, I learned the Talmud and Genesis back up the Jewish philosophy, that it is not when someone is conceived, but it’s a matter of when someone becomes human, and that’s clearly defined by the Talmud when the head is born, or the greater part, the nefesh becomes ensouled.”  
In other words, she is perfectly comfortable killing a fetus in the last day of his or her 9th month during birth as long as the majority of the head has not emerged. In other words, she is comfortable killing a baby. 

She bases this on a total misreading of the Talmud which defines the parameters for abortion when necessary to save the life of the mother.  Otherwise, it is prohibited according to nearly all poskim. A handful of contemporary poskim permit abortion in the early weeks of the pregnancy in the case of extreme birth defects such as Tay-Sachs due to the inevitable suffering of the baby. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach only permitted with the first 6 weeks for a fetus diagnosed with Tay-Sachs (Nishmat Avraham CM 425) and prohibited even testing for it after the first trimester. 

According to the great majority of authorities such as Tosafos (Sanhedrin 59a; Chullin 33a), Maharam Schick (YD 155), and more recently the world renowned gadol Rav Chaim Ozer Grodensky zt'l (1863-1940) abortion is a Biblical injunction as described explicitly by Tosafos (12th-14th centuries) as being encompassed under the Noachide laws (ie. laws for gentiles). 

Rebbe Ishmael (Sanhedrin 57b) derives the Noachidic prohibition from the wording of Genesis 9: 6. 

שֹׁפֵךְ֙ דַּ֣ם הָֽאָדָ֔ם בָּֽאָדָ֖ם דָּמ֣וֹ יִשָּׁפֵ֑ךְ כִּ֚י בְּצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹהִ֔ים עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָֽם:"Whoever sheds the blood of man through man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man."

He translates this verse as "Whoso sheddeth the blood of man within man shall his blood be shed." R. Ishmael says, "Who
is a man within a man? . . . A fetus within the womb of the
mother." As Tosafos explain (Sanhedrin 59a), Jews are not permitted what is prohibited for gentiles. R' Ishmael's view is the normative halacha.

Any references in Torah literature to a fetus not being human until born mean not on the same level of human. The difference is very subtle. The Talmud often identifies nuances that it uses sometimes for halacha and sometimes for haskafa. People who are unfamiliar with Talmudic methodology can misunderstand and misuse. For example, there are different levels in the kiddushah of Eretz Yisroel depending on the time and place. Jerusalem has more holiness than the Galil. Does that mean the Galil isn't holy? Of course not. Kohanim are said to have more kiddushah that Yisraelim. Does that mean that Yisroelim are not holy? Of course not. According to Tosafos, the fetus is human enough that destroying it is prohibited if not done to save the life of the mother.  One has to know how to read the Talmud and understand its nuances. While allowing for abortion of a fetus to save the life of the mother, we are enjoined to violate Shabbos to save a fetus that is not presenting such a danger (the usual case). (Erchin 7a-b)

We recall the Talmudic statement "Anyone who teaches his daughter Torah teaches her tiflus" (Sotah 21b) According to Rashi, the word tiflus means lewdness or promiscuity, meaning such study leads a woman to sin. Bingo. 

A rabbi once explained to me that there are two problems with women studying the Talmud particularly if done with the intent of deciding halacha. The first is that they don't study in thoroughly. This applies to any person but it's a bigger issue with women who generally aren't so inclined to study it thoroughly and whose role doesn't afford them the time. The second is that their logic gets twisted by their emotions. This can happen to any person but is a bigger issue by women generally, even though many men today are excessively emotional. 

The great Talmudist and posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, ruled that abortion except to save the life of the mother is prohibited even to prevent birth of a baby with birth defects. (Iggros Moshe- Choshen Mishpat- 2:69) Furthermore, he ruled that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion. Reb Moshe viewed abortion as murder. Myriad poskim share his view. Other contemporary giants include Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk and Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinksy (Teshuvot Achi'ezer, Wilno, 5699, III, 65, sec. 14.) According to R. Meir Simchah of Dvinsk (1843–1926), abortion is punishable by death at the hands of heaven. (Meshekh Chokhmah, Exodus 35:2)

Rav Chaim Ozer Grodensky

Rav Moshe Feinstein

Rav Eliyahu Mizrachi (1455 - 1525) as explained by R'  J. David Bleich says:
Most interesting is the sharply contested view advanced by R. Elijah Mizrachi in his commentary on Exodus 21: 12 that in principle feticide and murder are indistinguishable. The Biblical ban on murder extends equally to all human life, including, he claims, any fetal life which, unmolested, would develop into a viable human being. In theory, continues Mizrachi, feticide should be punishable by death since the majority of all fetuses will indeed develop into viable human beings. In practice it is technically impossible to impose the death penalty because punishment may be inflicted by the Bet Din only if the crime is preceded by a formal admonition. Since some fetuses will never develop fully, a definite admonition cannot be administered because it cannot be established with certainty that any particular fetus would develop in this manner. Noahides, on the other hand, require no such admonition. Therefore, since the major number of fetuses are viable feticide is to be punished by death under the Noachidic dispensation. (R'  J. David Bleich, "Abortion in Halachkic Literature, Tradition)
According to the world renown posek Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910-1995) the violation is committed not only by the physician but by the woman who hires the physician and makes herself available for the abortion. (Nishmat Avraham O.H. 656:1 at p. 92.) The woman also violates the Torah prohibition of "putting a stumbling block before the blind."

As Rabbi Bleich tells us, some authorities (a small minority according to Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz), consider abortion a rabbinic prohibition, but still very much prohibited. This doesn't mean that the Torah doesn't mind it but that for technical reasons it left it for the Sages to prohibit. Says R' Bleich, "Each of the diverse authorities heretofore cited considers the essence of the prohibition to be closely akin to that of homicide." A few consider it subsumed under other prohibitions such as wasting seed. a severe prohibition that is deemed by the Zohar to be one of the most severe sins.  

Shlomo Brody, the online editor for the Tradition journal blog wrote in the Jerusalem Post: "Judaism abhors the termination of any life, including that of a fetus. Procreation represents a definitive commandment and the notion that an abortion is simply a woman’s prerogative, advocated in some 'pro-choice' circles, is entirely absent from traditional Jewish sources."

Meanwhile, calling herself "religious" and "a woman of faith," Dr. Imershein studied - if you can call it that - with equally ignorant and lost people in the Reform Jewish movement.

Question: What drives a mind to such foolishness? Answer: Chutzpah. 

The Talmud says (Beitzah 25b) the Jews are "the most brazen of nations."

How can this be? Doesn't the Gemara say in Yevamos 79a that David HaMelech prohibited the Nesinim from marrying into the Jewish people because they failed to display the three signs characteristic of the Jewish people:  mercy, bashfulness (bushah), and kindliness?

The Maharal (Nesiv ha'Bushah 1) explains that the attribute of kindliness comes from Avraham, mercy from Yaakov, and bashfulness from Yitzchok who specialized in the attribute of yirah (fear and awe) from which bashfulness comes.

However, there are two types of Bushah. One type comes from a lack of motivation and assertiveness. This type results in the person who is easily discouraged from taking initiative.

The other type stems from a recognition that something is greater than you. This type results in submission to it.

The brazenness of the Jewish people corresponds to the first type of Bushah which they lack. The Jewish people have a great degree of initiative and assertiveness.

The Jewish people (meaning the truly religious ones) excel in the second type of bushah. They recognize the greatness of Hashem (G-d) and their own insignificance before Hashem. And so they submit to him. Dovid rejected the Nisinim because they lacked this bushah.  (Source: Insights into the Daily Daf, Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim)

In other words, chutzpah needs to be challenged properly. It cannot operate unbridled, unyoked. It needs to be paired with humility before Hashem and His Torah as taught by His great scholars. This crazy woman is the poster child of this Gemara. She possesses little of the proper bushah and is busting with the kind that needs to be kept in check by the proper kind. Her natural idealism, compassion, intelligence, and boldness have all been twisted into any ugly mess. Her kindness is cruelty. The yetzer hara has completed tricked her and now rules her life. All her strengths have become weaknesses.

Go ahead and read the entire article and ruin your day as I have just ruined mine. This is all the end destination of the haskalah, that is the so-called "enlightenment" and the departure from Torah life. It started off making a few changes to tradition and continues to the point where we don't even know what we are looking at. As upset as I am by the thought of this woman shredding babies to pieces, I am upset by how a Jewish woman can reach such a level of perversity. The haskalah, the reform movement, and feminism are all acts of rebellion against the Almighty, the Creator of life and justice. Every year, the rebels get more selfish and more twisted. In this crazy woman, it goes further than I ever though it could go. But the Times of Israel, a Zionistic Israeli news source, writes about her like she is some kind of heroic saint, so she is not an isolated nutcase. She is representative of an entire swath of the Jewish people today. The State of Israel in particular has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Their heads are drunk with a potion of wild self-indulgence catalyzed with a sprinkling of misplaced idealism. Up is down, down is up, left is right, right is left, and wrong is right.

We mourn for the babies and we mourn for the souls of the lost and wicked people who kill them. May Hashem lead this woman to repentance. 

The baby can be seen rubbing his or her face with its left hand while the right one rests beside the ear, with one finger poking up in the air

Side note, on the other extreme are the abortion laws in El Salvador which ban abortion under any conditions even to save the life of the mother. In a recent case, a woman who became pregnant via rape was sentenced to 30 years in prison when her pregnancy ended. She claims it ended by itself. Prosecutors claimed she performed an abortion on herself. The high court exonerated her after she served 33 months in prison. This case is as shocking as the one we just talked about, but in a different way. Like in the USA and especially the State of Israel, the abortion laws in El Salvador contradict those of the Torah. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Shavuous Challah

Ashkenaz custom, a challah with the design of a ladder in it. For Shavuous.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Except for Acher

You likely have heard of Acher, the tanna who went off the derech and the Gemara that tells the story of how he heard a bas kol that said, "Return all my children, except Acher." His real name was  Elisha ben Avuya but he came to be called Acher, "meaning something" else or "outside".

So I heard a clever thought from the Shela that Acher should have invoked the rule of guests who must obey all orders of the baal habayis except for an order to leave the house. He should have said, "Hashem you cannot kick me out of your house."

And I was thinking how the word acher makes the Gemara relevant to all of us. We cannot do teshuvah if we are mentally outside the fold or even worse outside by way of halacha. I know people who are no longer frum who want to return but try to do it with a weak sentiment all the while staying outside. You can't really do teshuvah, meaningful teshuvah, if your only connection to Judaism is guilt or fear of punishment. It's like giving answers to a torturer. You'll tell them anything. But your heart isn't it. Your mind certainly isn't in it.

No, you have to find a place within Judaism and repent from there. That can take work. That can take thought and research.

I don't know if it matters which place, which path, but it has to be a real one, even if one you concoct. You have to be at home, feel at home, ie have a home to want to return to it. Perhaps, for some Torah Im Derech Eretz is the way, a way of being within Judaism, no longer an acher.

So Hashem, the baal habayis, cannot kick us out of His house. However, the house has to be a home for us so we are not acher. TIDE is the way for many.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rabbi Reuven Bauman ז"ל

The kevuro of Rabbi Reuven Bauman ז"ל will take place at approximately 4:00 this afternoon in King Solomon Cemetery in Passaic.

If you would like to honor the memory of Rabbi Bauman with a donation to KAJ, please click on Memorial Donation

People may listen to the levayo on the phone at 712-770-4160, access code 271789#.  

Rabbi Bauman, a rebbi in a day school and camp in Norfolk, Virginia, drowned last week Tuesday off the coast of nearby Sandbridge Beach, Virginia, (just south of Virginia Beach) while rescuing a camper who had been pulled into the surf by a massive current.

From Hamodia:

A colossal search effort was undertaken by the Coast Guard, local police and other authorities, and many volunteers and organizations from Jewish communities across the Northeast.
Chaveirim of Rockland, Misaskim of Maryland, Baltimore Shomrim, Achiezer, COMMSAR, Misaskim of Greater Washington and Chaveirim of Lakewood participated in the recovery operation, along with numerous individuals from the Norfolk Jewish community and beyond.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, Rabbi Bauman’s body was found at sea eight miles from where he had been swept under by a riptide, enabling him to be brought to kevuras Yisrael, and his family to mourn him by sitting shivah.
Rabbi Bauman, 35, who had dedicated his life to teaching Torah, was a source of monumental Kiddush Hashem in death, as locals marveled at how the Jewish community mobilized in the aftermath of the tragedy.
One woman, watching the volunteers on the beach, remarked, “I see you have a really strong community.”

Monday, July 8, 2019

Rabbi Yehuda (Leo) Levi z'l

Yehuda (Leo) Levi (January 15, 1926 – June 17, 2019) was a German-born American-Israeli Haredi rabbi, physicist, writer and educator. He was Rector and Professorof Electro-optics at the Jerusalem College of Technology. Levi was best known as the author of several books on Science and Judaism, and Judaism in contemporary society, as well as on physics.

Levi was born in Germany and was educated in the United States. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in electrical engineering from City CollegeN.Y. and his Ph.D in Physics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1964. He studied Talmud at Gur Aryeh Institute's kollel, and received semicha (Rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner and additionally from Rabbi Joseph Breuer.
In 1970 he settled in Jerusalem with his wife and three sons, where he founded the electro-optics department of the Jerusalem College of Technology. He served as Rector of the college from 1982 to 1990.
Levi was a Fellow of the Gur Aryeh Institute for Advanced Jewish Scholarship, has been president of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists [1], both in the U.S.A. and in Israel, and was the recipient of the Feder (Torah & Science) and Abramowitz-Zeitlin (Jewish literature) awards.
He was latterly part of the faculty at the Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Academy of Jewish Studies).[1] Levi died in June 2019 at the age of 93.[2]

(Wikipedia, which is public domain material)

Monday, July 1, 2019

To love God

"'To love' means to feel one's being only through and in the being of another. 'To love God' therefore, means to feel that one's own existence and activity are rendered possible and obtain value and significance only through God and in God. You exist and are something only through God; and therefore in all that you are and do, you have only to strive to reach God -- that is, to perform His will." 

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb, 9.

Please say a tefillah for the refuah sheleima of Dovid ben Deba Sarah.