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Friday, February 08, 2008

Ezzie's Blog Roundup, 2/8

Upcoming posts, some of which may not actually be posted, but some which definitely will...
  • Apple & Ezzie's Great Adventure, including Breslov Chassidim, shady taxi repair shops, and bite-sized "hamburgers".
  • Moshe & SerandEz's amazingly fun time at Stam & Chico's wedding, including guest appearances by, in no particular order: Elianna... Esther Ed (not related to Special Ed)... Mirrac... and, of course, the definition of sketchy. Or sketch. Or something.
  • SerandEz's desire to go to more weddings where STF & TDH*'s beautiful wedding was. Included guest appearances by way too many people to name (and/or out), and the added reminder that way too many people read this blog. I have yet to understand why.
* TDH = If you can figure it out, you're probably female.

As for posts that actually exist... here are some good ones other people wrote: (excerpts by hitting expand)
  • A fantastic and interesting post about Moshe's path from secular young man to leader of the Jewish people, comparing it to the path of a typical BT among other things.
    So Moses has lived straddling two worlds, neither of which is truly his “home.” He’s a double exile. After killing the Egyptian, and abandoning Egypt, Moses enters his third level of exile: he’s now a Jewish Egyptian Prince in an alien land: he’s lost the protection of his comfortable life, and he’s disillusioned: it seems that justice doesn’t pay in this world: he’s an outlaw with a price on his head, and he had no gratitude from the man whose life he’d saved, or the people of the man he’d saved. Despite the disillusionment though, he persists in doing what’s right, because it is right. In essence he’s dropped out of the dominant culture, as a significant number of secular Jews have long done. After his third act of justice though, by defending the women at the well, he’s offered one as his bride, and he accepts. Maybe justice is rewarded in this life, he now thinks, maybe now I can have a comfortable life. And like a typical secular Jew, he’s met a nice gentile girl, and only subsequently presumably persuades her to convert (although her conversion isn’t documented in the text.) He settles down and builds a conventionally successful life amongst strangers.
  • JoeSettler posts at the Muqata about something I've never really seen before at this level: A $1,000,000 offer to anyone who can give enough information to truly get Olmert out of office and into jail.

    "I am more interested in the ideology than the jackpot," the businessman replied.

    "Then you are better than I thought," the investigator said. "I wanted to interest you in both the jackpot and the ideology. I am trying to find material in all different places; that Olmert received bribes, that he deceived."

    "How much parnasa [livelihood] is involved?" the businessman asked.

    "If we did a good job, one million dollars," the investigator said, and explained what a good job would be: "If we caused someone in the state prosecution or the police or the media to say: 'With this we're bringing him down,' Olmert is going down, he's going home - that's good enough."

  • The Shaq trade. Liking it (or linking to anyway) and not so much. I'm with the latter.
  • A really interesting piece demonstrating the differences in how a lot of people understood Rav Soloveichik's interest in secular studies and philosophy. I'm actually curious if those differences played a role in determining the hashkafah of Lander College for Men (seemingly yes, based on R' Bronspigel's statement and Lander's Torah U'Parnassah motto).
    R. Abba Bronspiegel, pp. 79-80:
    A point should be made regarding the content on which the Rav lectured: he never publicly discussed secular education or Torah u-Madda on an ideological level. Privately, the Rav told several students to further their higher education; he advised me to attend Harvard for graduate school where I could study with his son-in-law, Dr. Isadore Twersky. It is true that the Rav promoted the notion of becoming a highly educated person for purposes of reaching a certain occupational plateau, but I never heard him speak specifically about Torah u-Madda or secular education...

    It is true that there were a few times when the Rav was asked to deliver a shiur at a secular university or someplace of the sort and would aim those shiurim at college students or irreligious people. It was in this setting that the Rav spoke a different language from the one more familiar to his students. On such occasions, the Rav would put down his Talmudic texts and review philosophies and the sciences he had learned during his training at the University of Berlin.
    I find that last part interesting; it is implying that Rav Soloveichik felt it important to be well-versed when in front of outside audiences, but not quite as much when staying within the walls of the Jewish world. This is meant to back the statement that the studies have no inherent value, so to speak - which would then mean that it's not something everyone needs to study but rather is useful for those who will be needing it only.
  • Nephtuli has yet another interesting post discussing the importance of information, in this case regarding Israel, terrorism, and more.
  • ProfK (Conversations in Klal) has a good post about what should be taught in every Jewish high school - Lifeskills 101 & 102.
    Students can give you the square root of pi, explaing the importance of the Battle of Hastings and dissect the character of Macbeth, but they can't balance a checkbook, figure the actual interest on their credit cards or do a cost benefit analysis when comparing possible insurance policies.

    What we need to do is to require classes for all high school graduates along the lines of Lifeskills 101 and 102. No one should be allowed to get a diploma until they pass these courses. I'll go on record as saying that a whole slew of the problems that are now extant in a large swathe of the frum population would recede, if not disappear altogether.

    And perhaps the course should begin with a clear discussion of the difference between wants and needs, luxuries and necessities. And perhaps it is also time to dispel the myth that two can live as cheaply as one--not if you are frum.
  • Ari (via S) answers a question I've often wondered: How did people know when to light for Shabbos before good clocks? Answer: They didn't!
  • Finally, an interesting letter at MysticalPaths that the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote a few decades ago about what one calls the Land of Israel.
    Assume one were to raise an additional point: suppose a new title for the land were necessary. Such an addition weakens the claim and ownership of the Nation of Israel over the Land of Israel, including even the confined area which was liberated in 1948, because:

    i. a new name gives the entire entity the appearance of being something novel, which was only born in 1948. Thus, inevitably, Jewish claim and ownership over the land also began only then.
Oh, and just because the WSJ has been so darned good the last couple of days - I think people of all political leanings will find these articles fascinating. Hit expand to see.
  • How Obama has been exposing Hillary's health care plan;
  • The need for conservatives to get behind McCain, whether they like him or not...
  • ...helped along by Romney pulling out and allowing for that to happen...
  • [ironically making the 'divisive' GOP campaign, which was far more issues-based, into a united one, while the Democratic campaign is now an ugly one about rhetoric more than policy]
  • ...and what McCain needs to do to get those conservatives to buy it, which is going to be really necessary because...
  • if Obama beats Hillary, he's going to be really hard to criticize without coming across wrong.
  • Oh, and this piece on Bill Gates and a lesson in economics was really great.

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