Disposable Women

Rabbi Gil Student has a post on a troublesome mishna:

The Mishnah in Horiyos (13a) states: A man comes before a woman in matters of life (le-hachayos) and to return a lost item, and a woman comes before a man for clothing and redemption from captivity.

The implication of the first item is that if a man and woman are drowning, one should save the man first and then the woman.

Rabbi Student then goes on to cite two rabbis who recently found ways to get out of this:

R. Moshe Feinstein (Iggeros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat vol. 4
… writes that the rule of the Mishnah only applies when
all other things are [absolutely] equal.…

R. Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 18:1) notes that the rule of the Mishnah is not mentioned in Mishneh Torah, Tur, and Shulchan Arukh. Why? To answer this, he proposes a new interpretation of the Mishnah. He suggests that "matters of life (le-hachayos)"
refers to feeding from charitable funds. Of course, he writes, when
there is a literal case of life and death then we do not differentiate
between people.…

Aplogetics aside, the intent of the mishna seems clear. When the ship sinks, save the men first. Why would this be? let me suggest the following answer. Men either were or had the potential to be Torah scholars; women did not. Therefore, the rabbis ruled that men – i.e., the Torah – must be saved first.

So why ransom women first? Why not ransom men first? Because, in that case, women had the real possiblity of being raped and abused. While men also needed to fear this, the threat was, I would think, lower for us than for women. Therefore, the case is not equal, and the threat to women is higher than the threat men; therefore, women come first in this case.

But what about clothing? Why should women get their clothing first? I would think, in part, because there a many areas of a woman’s body that must, under Jewish law, be clothed; the same is not true for men. Further, who is seen to be damaged by a woman who is underdressed or naked? Men. So, giving women clothing comes first.

This leaves the case of the lost object. Why return a lost object to a male first, rather than a female? Because women had inferior property rights and were seen as extentions of their husbands or fathers.

In short, remove the apolgetics and you have discriminatory misogynistic halakha. On the bright side, the halakha is not cited in the Mishneh Torah, Tur, and Shulchan Arukh. Why?

Not, I think, for the reason citied in Rabbi Waldengerg’s, ztz"l, name. I think this halakha was too much for the people to take and too open for attack from the outside, so, in order to preserve the rabbinic order (remember, Karaite and Muslim theology were both major threats in those days) the rabbis simply ignored it in theory. In practice, in the unlikely event that a case came before them based on this law, I would think they ruled narrowly.

Aplogetics aside, women go down with the ship. How can this be justified? Should it be justified?

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47 Comments

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47 responses to “Disposable Women

  1. Anonymous

    Mishnahs are many times very cryptic and not to be taken literally. The Rambam, Tur, and Yosef Caro were men of integrity who followed and promulgated the halachot they beleived to be correct, regardless of their difficult implications. If they didn’t mention this literal interpretation of the mishna, its because they believed it had a different meaning.

  2. Oxymoron

    While I can’t argue on your logic, who is to say that the reasoning the Mishna is because of the financial reponsibility of the man.

    In the times of the Mishna, if man died it may be impossible for the wife to shoulder the responsibility of supporting a family. The same may be true with regard to a lost object, since a mans loss may effect the rest of his family he hsa priority. The womens item most likely not being relied upon for family support.

    The Mishna goes even further. if a man and a women are held captive, based on what was taught till now, I would think the man is needed more and let free him. The Mishna has to tell us that since the women has an added risk we will put aside the financial responsibility factor (I wonder if the capitivity has a high risk of death would the Mishnah have the same opinion)

  3. kramer

    I can picture you on a date using this to start a conversation with a nice Jewish girl. I never saw how much of a feminist you were based on your other post. How progressive of you. By the way how is your dating life?

  4. Jim the Catholic

    In lifeguard duty if you are trying to save someone & a wave comes to hurl you against some rocks what do you do? Position your body to take the blow or that of your charge to protect yourself?
    Well if you take the blow & are knocked unconscious you both drown. The answer is the later. Logically since men are physically stronger you would save the men first so they may assist in rescue operations. That could ahve been the reasoning. That just seems elementary. So I reject your characterization of the Mishna.

  5. Jim –

    That would make sense. However, the mishna is not explained in that way, and that is not the philisophical underpinnings of it.

  6. gross

    In this context, who cares what might be implied by halacha, thousands of years ago. At least the more contemporary scholars you’ve mentioned adapted the halachas to reality. Isn’t that what is supposed to make us happy?

  7. They really have not. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein said, all things being exactly equal, save the man first. The Tzitz Eliezer says the mishna does not apply to real life-saving, only to the free food, etc., given the needy, in which case, the woman gets last, if at all.

  8. GarnelIronheart

    Your logic is flawed. First you decided was “l’hachayos” means, implying you know so much better than the Tzitz Eliezer and the Igros Moshe what Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi meant (or is he a mythical figure too?), then you condmen the mishnah for not meeting the warped standard of post-modern 21st century secular liberalism. In addition, you dismiss the efforts of two major poskim who try to explain the mishnah in a way that is not misogynistic. I don’t doubt that if you had found a posek who wrote “Damn straight we let the broads go down with the ship” you’d have shown great glee in saying “See, and they believe it too!” but when these other poskim interpret the mishnah in an un-offensive and non-hateful way, they can safely be ignored. Just what can a religious Jew do that you won’t condemn?

  9. Both tried to “explain it away,” but neither were able to. My point is that the basis of this misna is a misogynistic understanding of the world. Now, it is true that misogynistic understanding may have been (I stres “may”) better than the surrounding cultures, but it is by no means egalitarian.

  10. Jim the Catholic

    Shmarya,
    You are merely assuming without concret proof a misogynistic understanding of this text you have not provided a context to prove your assumption. Thus I still have no compeling reason to accept your characterization.

  11. The normative understaning in Jewish law is that the man comes first because he is a man. that is how the rishonim who write on this understand it. Men are obligated in more mitzvot than women, therefore they have priority over women. Jewish law is full of this type of accounting, which is why, if you were drowning and a Jew was drowning, and a Jew on the shore could only save one of you, he must save the drowning Jew. Worse yet, if it is Shabbat, and you alone are drowning, the Jew is not supposed to save you.

    In reality, Orthodoxy now says that would apply only if the gentile drowning were with certainty a pagan or a polytheist. And it also posits that, for the sake of peace, the gentile should be saved.

    But, make no mistake about it. The roots of this are xenophobic and misogynistic.

  12. Shalom

    Shmarya, its very irresponsible of you to just briefly comment ” …for the sake of peace, the gentile should be saved” without giving the entire background to this ruling. There are three commandments that Jews cannot break, even under penalty of death. These are: murdering an innocent person, having forbidden sexual relations, and idolatry. Breaking one of these three in the presence of witnesses could lead to execution by the sanhedrin, in accordance with torah law in ancient times (although rabbi akiva was quoted as saying that if he were on the sanhedrin, he would have ensured no one would be executed). Breaking Shabbat is the another torah commandment that carried the death penalty if warned by witnesses who testify to the sanhedrin in ancient times. Whereas idolatry, sexual immorality, and murdering an innocent person are commandments that cannot be broken under any account, Shabbat has one special clause in halacha. If a Jew (who is required by the torah to keep shabbat) were to be drowning on the shabbat, one must save him even if it means breaking all the laws of shabbat. The idea is that one must break the shabbat so that the saved Jew can fulfill many more shabbatot in the future. This was a special rule that allowed one to break a commandment that normally carries the death penalty.

    In a perfect world, where all nations understood Jews and Jewish law, they would know that a Jew can only break the shabbat to save a fellow Jew so that he can fulfill many more shabbatot in the future. Breaking shabbat to save someone who is not required to keep the shabbat is not allowed, just as one cannot have immoral sexual relations to save a non Jew (or a Jew). In a perfect world, the nations of the world would understand that Jews under any other circumstances would do everything they could to save a non Jew’s life, however they cannot break these four commandments in the torah (including the shabbat)whose penalty is death. In today’s world though, most people don’t understand this, and just speaking about it causes an uproar. Therefore, because this ruling can and would lead to Jews’ lives being put in danger, the rule applies that one must break the shabbat to save anyone, Jew or non Jew, in order to prevent violence and bloodshed against Jews. I would imagine that only in the messianic times, when Jews and non Jews live in peace, and the torah’s laws are fully understood, would this prohibition of breaking the shabbat to save a non Jew apply (although perhaps in messianic times, there will be no more situations arising in which a jew would have to break the torah). But again to make it clear, in practical application of the law today, a jew must break the laws of shabbat in order to save any Jew or non Jew’s life, period.

  13. Shalom

    “Jewish law is full of this type of accounting, which is why, if you were drowning and a Jew was drowning, and a Jew on the shore could only save one of you, he must save the drowning Jew.”

    This too must be understood in context. When it comes down to it, this is a worse case scenario with no easy answers. It would be similar to being asked that if only one of your family members could be saved from drowning, G-d forbid, which would you choose. Or if your daughter was drowning, and some other little girl was drowning, and you could only save one, what would you do? Can anyone blame you for choosing to save your daughter and not the other girl? If a Jew is drowning, he is part of your religion and thus part of your family, so you must save him first. It just makes sense. I would imagine that other religions would look at it in a similar way with regards to their fellow christians, moslems, hindus etc. Its not an easy answer, but logically, you have an obligation to your family first.

  14. This halacha is in the shulchan aruch.
    Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 252:8
    The commentaries there are very clear that this is because men have more commandments to perform than do women. Similarly a cohen is saved before a yisroel, etc.

    All the other answers are apologetics. If women’s roles are important even with less miztvos, there should be no gender-based criteria. Acc. to the above poster who thinks it is because drowning men are going to go save the women then, that is a silly explanation. In that case, just save the better swimmer first, regardless of gender. Or save the thinner person first because you are most likely to save them than someone who is very heavy, etc. That line of apologetics can go on forever. It is just a halacha that reflects the social attitudes of the times it was written in. And you can’t really judge it by today’s standards. All you can do is just change it. But oops, I think that makes me conservative.

    http://onionsoupmix.livejournal.com/24588.html

  15. me

    Sholom,

    I wanna ask you a question. Since your so brilliant. i’ve all heard these apologetics written before hand, about the supposed racism of judaism, and of the Talmud. All of which have been disproven, to me, thanks to Gil Student. HOWEVER! You are aware though, and this is not a lie, that there is outright HATRED, and dehumanizing of non-jews in jewish literature, especially mysticism, such as the Tanya, and other kabbalistic writings… for example, now you can’t tell me that i’m misquoting. Can you be so kind to explain me that?

  16. Moshe

    The reason why men are given priority is clear from the Mishnayos,Talmud & commentaries because men are considered more sanctified than women because they are oligated in more Mitzvohs. For that reason, the Mishnah continues that A Cohen comes before a Levi & A levi comes before a Yisroel. This has nothing to do with hatred for women any more than there being hatred for all those whose who are not Kohanim.

  17. Anonymous

    Shmarya, once again they have proved you right, hatred, xenophobic and misogynistic is still part of the course.

    I find it immoral tnat the practice of a ritual would be more important than the saving any human life (even though supposedly god created all in his image, if one believes that nonsense), the saving of a mother or child must be put aside for what, a ritual, how disgraceful.
    I never understood why anyone should be made to accept these beliefs some of these nut heads follow, if it was to be this way why did god never did proclaim this to all the nations, there are only ancient jewish text (torah), apart from the numerous contradiction it is filled with obscenities and atrocities .

    Nonetheless i am going to copy the above posted statements and make them do the rounds, it is shameful and disgraceful that in todays day and age there still exist people who would defend these primitive and barbaic concepts, and as gods word on top of that, if there is a god tnis would certainly be of great offence to him.

    This surely confirms judaism low conceptions of true morality, paganism looks good next type of belief system.

  18. D

    AplogeticsAplogeticsAplogeticsAplogeticsAplogeticsAplogetics.

  19. Yochanan Lavie

    Moshe did not come down from Har Sinai with a set of mishnayot. The oral law, if there is such a thing, is not necessarilty every bigoted statement mouthed by some “rabbi” and transcribed later. I’m not saying we should relegate talmud to the dustbin of history. However, it should be demoted to being one book of interpretation, amoung many. Meanwhile, gain the linguistic skills and read Tanach for yourself. (Commentators are interesting, and should be consulted, but not given infaillible Papal authority.)

    As for Tanya, kabbalah, etc. Very poetic and all, but not in Tanach. It’s a jumble of Hellenistic and Persian influences.

  20. chief doofis

    It may not be easy, but it is necessary to unscramble the Talmud and winnow through it. There is an Oral Law, but it is entangled with thousands of years worth of personal interpretation and opinion. Where the personal opinion is beneficial or harmless, we should keep it. Where it is deleterious to Judaism, it shoul dbe carefully discarded.

    Anyone, for example, who would rescue a drowning Talmid Chacham who is not related to him, but abandon his own wife or daughter, needs serious therapy.

    On the other hand, take a Rabbinic opinion, such as not eating Gebrokts. We don’t eat that on Pesach, although it definitely does NOT make my family any better than anyone else’s, PURELY A CUSTOM. But , we are not hurt by this custom, it’s harmless to us. So I honor my late parents and grandparents by keeping their custom, and that makes me feel good. I cannot see how any sane human being would “feel good” by abandoning his drowning spouse or daughter!!

  21. Shalom

    To “me”,

    Yes, there are a lot of harsh statements in the talmud and other Jewish writings regarding the actions of non Jews. And if you look at Jewish history, much of it is arguably justified. Up until around the enlightenment period in europe–when attitudes and laws towards Jews started becoming somewhat humane in parts of the world–jewish people suffered horrendously at the hands of all the nations amongst whom they were living. They suffered pogroms, libels, expulsions and attmepted genocide wherever they turned, with no place to run, and none to help them. Understandably, this was refelected in Jewish attitudes toward the nations of the world as a whole. However, we do see examples of great men throughout Jewish history who emphasized showing kindness to non jews. The Rambam even went so far as to state that we have an obligation for the spiritual welfare of non Jews, ensuring that they live life as good, moral people connected to G-d (not to mention our obligation for their physical welfare too, of course). He himself lived at a time when the Almohades (forerunners to al qaeda) sect of islam was breaking out in the moslem world. Yet he spent his nights giving advice on life, medicine, and spirituality to both jews and non jews (mainly Moslems, as he was living in Egypt as the doctor of the Sultan Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi). This was how he spent his life, and this was the philosophy he lived by.

    As for kabala and its ideas towards non jews, I too was bothered at first, particularly from certain statements from the tanya that expound kabalisitc teachings about the spiritual state of non jews. These works claim that by being a member of the jewish people (which almost any non jew could potentially convert to), you have a special connection to G-d, referred to as a “G-dly soul”, a connection that only jews have. What i learned though, is that the vast majority of jews do not utilize and reveal this G-dly soul. What’s more, you see that non jews like mother theresa can accomplish amazing amounts of good, and help thousands, if not millions of people without this “G-dly soul.” So from a practical point of view, having the G-dly soul does not decide whether you are to be righteous or wicked. Furthermore, many religions claim that they are so special and above others, that if you are not part of their religion, chances are you are doomed to hell for eternity (unlike Judaism which teaches that those non jews who live a moral life have a guaranteed place in heaven). I would say that eternal damnation is a lot harder to swallow than the idea that Jews have a G-dly soul which can give them an extra impetus and strength to do good and connect to hashem (G-d). If you think about the laws in the torah, Jewish people have many more mitzvot (commandments) to keep than non Jews. This means that they have a much greater potential for reward, and unfortunately, a much greater potential for punishment. So every member of the Jewish people needs this extra boost that a G-dly soul can provide to help navigate them during life.
    There is also the idea in kabala that there is a part of the soul referred to as the “animal soul” of which there are two types: those that stem from “klipa noga” and those that stem from the “shelosh klippot hatemeiot.” All Jews and some non Jews have an animal soul that stems from klipa noga, which has the potential to be elevated to good, or to be degraded to evil. This soul is the source for the traits of true compassion and benevolence. There is also the animal soul of most non Jews, which is from the “three wholly impure forces” ( shelosh klipot hatemeot). These non Jews are capable of logically understanding why kindness makes sense and how it will ultimately contribute to a better society. They can become very moral people through their understanding of morality and develop a feeling of compassion for others . But their acts of kindness are for the most part motivated by the thought of reward, and not out of love for their fellow man. When they see no reward in doing good, their benevolence towards others many times is lacking. The potential to do acts of kindness with no thought of any reward is available to those Jews and non Jews who utilize their klipa noga for good. This is not to say that Jews don’t also perform acts of kindness at times out of selfishness with motives other than kindness; in fact, a true good deed performed lishmah (solely for the sake of goodness with no thought of reward) is considered a very elevated level for anyone (and at times very rare). I would imagine that this characterization would have made a lot of sense in the past,when the jews had no allies, and were persecuted and killed by almost every non jewish nation they lived with. It would seem that every german, french, russian and other european that supported, participated or simply didn’t care about the holocaust happening in their backyard, could be characterized as having the three wholly unclean klipot animal soul. Any nation in history that tried to destroy the jews, and whose policies were generally immoral and cruel usually showed their animal soul for what it was. These wrongdoers didnt have that natural feeling of compassion that the klipa noga can elicit (although compassion can and of course should be learned and developed by them). I believe that those of us in the US are particular bothered by this concept, because we know and hear about so many kind non jews who love the jewish people, and who do their absolute best to promote love and kindness among mankind. It is my belief that the US most likely has the highest concentration of non Jews with animal souls stemming from klipa noga (the soul with the potential to be elevated to good). It is also logical that those who are taught the morals of the bible and truly understand them will behave on a more elevated level than those who have not learned them, as history has shown.

    Today when people first learn of all this, many mistakenly say that it is a form a racism, and some go so far as to try and compare it to the nazis yemach shmemum. But in reality, not all people are created completely equal in talents, scholarship, physical build and all other aspects. Some are stronger than others. Some are more driven to G-d than others. These blessings are from G-d, and are not to be used to control and oppress others. Nor are they meant to create a feeling of elitism or arrogance; they are unearned gifts. Rather they are to be used to make this world a better place, and help as many people as possible, both physically and spiritually . And again, you can see that regardless of the source of souls, you can have a non jew who becomes mother theresa, and a jew, with a G-dly soul and klipa noga, who unfortunately becomes Bugsy Segal.

  22. anon

    Oy vey. Will the apologetics stop! If todays geonim are racist is it a leap to say previous generations were racist!

  23. D

    “If todays geonim are racist is it a leap to say previous generations were racist!”

    Considering that racism has only become popularly taboo within the last 2-3 centuries of human history I am inclined to say “big deal”. With misogynistic sexism it is only within the last 60 years!

    Rashi clearly says, in commentary on Ki Thavo, that if Israel goes in the ways of G-d then their children will be born white instead of swarthy. Just a product of his times? Just telling it over in a construct readily grasped by the masses? I bet yes.

  24. Neo-Conservaguy

    On the other hand, Rashi also implies that the reason Miriam had to be removed from the camp with tsa’arath was that she called Moshe’s wife a nigger.

  25. D

    “Rashi also implies that the reason Miriam had to be removed from the camp with tsa’arath was that she called Moshe’s wife a nigger.”

    Not exactly. Rashi mentions that Moshe had previously married an Ethiopian woman who he later divorced. The implication being that Miriam had no business relating that story regardless of her intentions whether laudatory or derogatory. LH is LH, Period.

    Also, A “Cushite” woman = All agreed she was beautiful just as all believe an Ethiopian woman is black. Also the Gematrios for “Cushis” and “beautiful woman” are the same.

  26. The Monsey Tzadik

    Spin this one !!!!

    הרמב”ם גם פוסק, כי יהודי האונס ילדה קטנה גויה, הורגים את הילדה הנאנסת, מפני שגרמה ליהודי לחטוא.

    רמב”ם הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יב

    [ט] גוי הבא על בת ישראל–אם אשת איש היא, נהרג עליה; ואם פנויה היא, אינו נהרג. [י] אבל ישראל שבא על הגויה–בין קטנה בת שלוש שנים ויום אחד בין גדולה, בין פנויה בין אשת איש, ואפילו היה קטן בן תשע שנים ויום אחד–כיון שבא על הגויה בזדון, הרי זו נהרגת: מפני שבאת לישראל תקלה על ידיה, כבהמה. ודבר זה מפורש בתורה, שנאמר ”הן הנה היו לבני ישראל . . . וכל אישה, יודעת איש למשכב זכר–הרוגו”

  27. Yochanan Lavie

    Sometimes we need our oral tradition to make the tanach liveable in real life (NB: i wrote “tradition” not “law”). Sometimes we should let the miqra speak for itself, and ignore the crochety rabbis. And we need not be ultra-literal, either. The default linguistic gender is male in Hebrew, so a reasonable interpretation of certain psukim is that they apply to all human beings. I respect Rashi, the Rambam, etc., but they are not infaillible authorities. They were human beings with faults and prejudices.

  28. Jim the Catholic

    >Shmarya, once again they have proved you right, hatred, xenophobic and misogynistic is still part of the course.

    I reply: That’s totally stupid. If I saw the Pope & Shmarya where drowning well sorry about that Shmarya, but you are screwed son. That doesn’t mean I’m an anti-Semite & I resent ANYONE here who tries to claim otherwise.

  29. And? What if you saw a Jew and a Catholic drowing? The Jew is a good man and the Catholic rapes children? You’d save the Jew, right?

    If an Orthodox Jew is confronted with that exact situation, he save the child rapist Jew first.

    That’s the problem.

  30. me again,

    Sholom, all that is fine and good. And it refreshing to see someone who is at least somewhat sensitised enough to at least OFFER an apolegetic. And I appreciate you taking the time out. HOWEVER, your mother theresa analogy, holds no water. I don’t know if your that familiar with the tanya, but the tanya, even goes ahead and predisposes a sort of spiritual handicap on all non-jews, that “any GOOD that a non-jew DOES DO,” is only to promote his own honor. This by the way, it seems is a suscribtion to ALL non-jews.

    And so, it is not at all surprising that Baruch Goldstein was able to go into a mosque and merclessly mow down a group of innocent arabs. Goldstein belonging to lubavitch, and lubavitch of course disseminates the tanya… If it’s easy to pull the trigger on people that you’ve come to perceive as lowly animals.

    And I think we CAN make a comparison with Nazis, YOU tell ME what’s the difference?

    Regarding Bugsy Segal, isn’t there kabbalistic teaching that says a says “the worst of jews, don’t come even come CLOSE to the best of non-jews.”

    Regarding, gentiles that do convert, according to Israel Shahak:

    “…Nor can one find in the numerous English-language ‘Jewish histories’ the elementary facts about the attitude of Jewish mysticism (so fashionable at present in certain quarters) to non-Jews: that they are considered to be, literally, limbs of Satan, and that the few non-satanic individuals among them (that is, those who convert to Judaism) are in reality ‘Jewish souls’ who got lost when Satan violated the Holy Lady (Shekhinah or Matronit, one of the female components of the Godhead, sister and wife of the younger male God according to the cabbala) in her heavenly abode. The great authorities, such as Gershom Scholem, have lent their authority to a system of deceptions in all the ‘sensitive’ areas, the more popular ones being the most dishonest and misleading.”

    So REALLY we’re back to square one!

    I think I’m speaking the truth when I say “no jews never sacrificed non-jews for there blood.. this is a myth” but “jews do infact think non-jews as being as worthy as all the lowly creatures of the world”.. You will not find one true orthodox rabbi who does not think so.

  31. Yochanan Lavie

    I guess Modern Orthodox rabbis are not “true” Orthodox, because most of them don’t think so. All that mystical stuff you cite is pagan, and not in the torah. Mystical fundamentalism is the problem. Religious humanism is the solution (yes, there is such a thing).

  32. Bava Kama Sutra

    MT,

    This is one of the most disturbing things I ever read.

    There are only two options:
    If this is an authentic Judaism, then the people in StormFront have a point
    If this is not authentic Judaism then Conservative and Reform Judaism have a point.

    Does someone can get Rabbi Student to answer this?

    Maybe Shmaria can put it as a top post

    Very disturbing stuff indeed

    I Would not dare to translate it to English, maybe Ed can do

  33. me again

    yeah, I know, BavaKama it’s SCARY!

    Yochanan, modern orthodox, is only a diluted watered-down form of orthodoxy. It’s not pagan, it’s tanya. Which is considered a very serious work amongst jews.

    If not, then why hasn’t it, and other kabbalistic work been condemed in orthodox circles.

  34. me yet a third time

    “religious humanism”??? That’s an oxymoron.

  35. Shalom

    Me, pleeease dont quote me Israel Shahak. From what I’ve read about him he was one of the biggest jew haters in our times (and hes a jew!). I wouldnt take anything he says as the truth. I have come across a number of places in his writings in which he purposefully distorted the teachings of the torah and certain rabbis to make them look as bad as possible(or perhaps he was just too full of hate to do the research).

    I know that Wikipedia isnt 100% accurate all the time but it says the following about Shahak

    “Criticism

    Shahak’s books and articles have been controversial; his critics have accused him of fabricating incidents, “blaming the victim”, distorting the normative meaning of Jewish texts, and misrepresenting Jewish belief and law. [17] [4] [7] [18] The Anti-Defamation League listed Shahak as one of four authors of polemics in its paper The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics, [19] and Edward Alexander stated that Shahak “was a disturbed mind who made a career out of recycling Nazi propaganda about Jews and Judaism.” [20] Paul Bogdanor accused Shahak of “recycling Soviet antisemitic propaganda”,[21] and claimed that Shahak “regaled his audience with a stream of outrageous libels, ludicrous fabrications, and transparent hoaxes. As each successive allegation was exposed and discredited, he would simply proceed to a new invention.”[22] Steven Plaut and the Conservative Voice have described him as an “anti-semite”, [23] [24] while CAMERA asserted he was “one of the world’s leading anti-Semites.” [18]

  36. Shalom

    And me, if you look under the new “Schvartze” post, my response to your other ideas is included in that.

  37. Yochanan Lavie

    Religious humanism is not an oxymoron (although it appears to be at first glance). It rejects the arrogance of secualr humanism, which says there is no god, and man is measure of all things. It rejects the surrender of fundamentalism, where God is a cruel and whimisical taskmaster, and we have to abjectly obey him (think Wahabi Islam). Instead, God and humanity are creative partners, sharing a covenant for mutual benefit. God is seen as loving, and rejoicing in our arts and sciences (even if he despairs at our sina, which we are given freedom to commit). Man in turn, owes God gratitude and performs the mitzvot out of love. Religious humanism, in its Christian form, gave us the greatness of the Late Medieval Renaissance as well as the Early-modern Italian Renaissance. In Judaism, it flourished briefly in Spain.

    As for “Authenticity” Fiddler-on-the roof costumes and fanaticism do not determine that. Many MO Jews I know are as passionately commited to halacha as their black hat cousins. They just reject chumrot, and don’t think God gave them a brain just so they shouldn’t use it. If chareidism is the only true Orthodoxy, then the Amish are the only true Christians (although the Amish are harmless).

    As for kabbalah, one the reasons I myself can no longer call myself “orthodox” is that the rabbis haven’t condemned the more outrageous aspects of it. A so-called MO who looks over his right shoulder for approval is not authentically anything- he is a chareidi-lite.

  38. me

    Thanks Yochanan,

    Moshe, yes it is true that Shahak lied. But doesn’t the talmud say “that even the greatest lie has to have SOME TRUTH to it, otherwise it would cease to exist.”

    In his case, what he said chabad and kabbala and rav kook, was one hundred percent ON THE MONEY.

  39. Shalom

    Monsey tzaddik, from what I’ve found this isn’t quoted or mentioned in the shulchan aruch at all. I think it maybe was more of an exaggeration, along the lines of “kol haover al divre chachamim chayav misa.”

  40. Jim the Catholic

    >And? What if you saw a Jew and a Catholic drowing? The Jew is a good man and the Catholic rapes children? You’d save the Jew, right?

    I reply: Maybe not. If the Catholic Rapist dies he goes to Hell & assuming the Jew is a non-believer by negation & a follower of the light G_d gave him he would go to Heaven. Well it could be argued it’s worst to lose a soul to Hell than a life. If the catholic rapist lives he might repent.

    BTW daidn’t Gil Student once show that you may save a righteous gentile from drowning even on the Sabbath? I remeber reading an article he wrote in regards to it.

  41. Jim the Catholic

    Shahak….Ah yes it was Gil who did the take down of that freak! This goy is NOT impressed by that Smeghead!

  42. The current halakha is that a Jew must save the non-Jew. Why? “For the sake of peace,” i.e., if Jews won’t save non-Jews, if Jewish doctors won’t treat non-Jews on Shabbat, etc., the “goyyim will kill Jews.”

    This hardly proves your point.

  43. Jim the Catholic

    Shmarya I wasn’t born yesterday. The Talmud doesn’t say “non-Jew” that’s just the English translation. What kind of “non-Jew” are we talking about here? A Cuthean(i.e. idolator)? a Righteous Gentile? A Noachide? or a Ger Toshav?

    So my point remains.

  44. Jim–

    Read what I wrote. The “current halakha,” not the Talmud. According to the Talmud, I’d have to let you die.

  45. Jim the Catholic

    >Read what I wrote. The “current halakha,” not the Talmud. According to the Talmud, I’d have to let you die.

    I reply: Dude I’m not a Cuthean I do in fact believe in only One God. So i don’t know here you get that “let you die nonsense”. That still doesn’t answer my question. I know the Talmud makes a distiction between the types of Gentiles & any Jew coming upon a drowning gentile doesn’t know if he is a righteous Gentile, a Pagan or whatever.

    If at minimum the guy is a Hindu Polytheist “current halakha,” makes it possible to save him. I doubt the hindu guy cares why.

  46. Dude –

    Process. If you’re not a ger toshav, you don’t get saved. Catholics are not ger toshavs.

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