When the Mafia Asks You to Clean Up After Them: A Halachic Analysis

(Thursday, October 8th, 2015) hat tip Ba By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times As of this writing, about 145,000 have seen it on Youtube [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixxd5DUW5VM] and probably several million have seen it on television. His name is Shneur Freeman and he is a 31 year old carpet cleaner. He attended Yeshiva in Crown Heights. He answered a call for an estimate and asks for a name. The Italian man answering says that he prefers no names. They show him a huge red stain on a carpet and ask if he can clean the carpet without telling anyone. Shneur asks what it is. One Italian answers red wine. Another answer Marinara sauce. Then they ask him if he can entirely get rid of another carpet. It is rolled up and there are shoes sticking out from the middle of the rolled up carpet.They slip him money, saying, “Dis is fer youse.” He answers that he can do

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Following on from Rabbi Genende’s critique of Noah and love of Abraham’s open flimsy tent …

I noticed a fan wrote a populist but sourceless response in the Jewish News. They say where there is a Rabbinic will there is a Halachic Way. In that spirit, I bring you some more open tents of Abraham as per the simile of Rabbi Genende, [Hat tip anonymous] What I’d like the Caulfield Board and/or Rabbi Genende to answer is whether they see themselves as affiliated with the RCV or the Open Orthodox breakaway of Chovevei Tzion. I know the president of Caulfield reads my blog. I’d love a clear answer. I believe this is a reasonable and respectful question to ask. Hevre, As this email reaches your inbox, Dr. Elsie Stern, our vice president for academic affairs here at RRC, is notifying our rabbinical students that on September 21, 2015, RRC’s faculty voted to no longer bar qualified applicants with non-Jewish partners from admission to RRC, and to no longer ban RRC students in good standing from graduating

read more Following on from Rabbi Genende’s critique of Noah and love of Abraham’s open flimsy tent …

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Rabbis with integrity. That ought to be a pleonasm, but sadly as we know, it is not

[Hat tip BA] Of course in Melbourne, we have solved this problem with Super Rabbis, able to clear halachic practice with a single huff and puff. We need more Rabbi Aryeh Sterns around the world. Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Amar has recently refused to implement a proposal designed to reduce corruption in the arena of kashrut supervision in the capital, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Severe questions have been raised about the integrity and reliability of the kashrut supervision provided by the Jerusalem rabbinate in recent months, with concerns that some kashrut supervisors do not properly execute their supervisory duties. One problem in particular is a phenomenon in which supervisors are awarded supervision over more restaurants and food businesses than they can physically supervise in one day. Kashrut supervisors get paid either directly by the businesses they supervise, or in some instances by a manpower organization that provides the supervisors to the different businesses. The more establishments a

read more Rabbis with integrity. That ought to be a pleonasm, but sadly as we know, it is not

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P’shat in Shelo Ya’alu Choma

The non halachic oaths that are the hallmark of the philosophy of the holy Samar Rebbe, R’ Yoel, included the injunction that we don’t “aggravate the nations of the world” a loose translation of שלא יעלו חומה Strictly speaking, this is talking about aggravating entities like the UN by forming a homeland for the Jewish people. Consider now the inevitable population explosion and the resultant aggravation and all that goes with it occurring in the preferred proxy to the land of Israel for Satmars, the (holy) United States of America. This is the latest, below. You can see the original from the Times of Israel here MONROE, New York — When the Town of Monroe voted to allow Kiryas Joel, a densely populated Satmar Hasidic village located 55 miles from New York City to annex 164 acres of its land to alleviate a housing shortage, it wasn’t a surprise. But neither was the Orange County Legislature’s reaction: to join nine

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Who said this?

Background: it is a critique of Chabad seeking to put Tefillin on soldiers, or any Yidden who haven’t worn them on that day … “I’m only saying this, because this [putting on tefillin] became a fad. The frauds and the evil ones’ have attached themselves to this particular mitzvah to advertise to the world, “I’m wearing Tefillin.” I don’t believe any of this [that this made anyone frum], and even if it should be true, ….. Shabsai Tzvi made Baalei Teshuves in the tens of thousands … It is brought down from the books of Reb Yaakov M’emdin and others, that there were Jews that distributed their total wealth and went to Shul to learn and they said “Moshiach is already here” and they did Teshuvah!

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Alcohol vs Simcha

I have to admit to liking a drop. Strangely however I’ve never been able to take part in the rather heavy “straight to the head on an empty stomach” that occurs on Shemini Atzeres during or before Hakofos. I don’t know why, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say I appreciate that people have been generous, but the “barn like” atmosphere affects half of me.  the Brisker side, and not the Amshinover side. That’s speculation. I don’t really know. My disposition on Simchas Torah is laboured. I tend to look at the Sefer Torah and find it harder as I get older to muster Simcha because the older I get the more I realise that there is much more that I don’t know than I do know. I tend to stand, and look in a Sefer, and probably appears (unintentionally) pompous or remote. It’s my issue. I heard I nice vort today from Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner

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But what about “counsellors?”

[Hat tip BA] From the Herald Sun. CHURCHES and religious organisations would lose millions of dollars in tax breaks, concessions and hand outs under a radical plan to force priests, rabbis and imams to sign up to a national faith register. Under the bold proposal clergy would for the first time be forced to undergo government-specified training and security checks and would be monitored by a national body, or risk losing government funding. Former premier Ted Baillieu has backed the plan that has been put to federal and state leaders including the Prime Minister’s office, and Premier Daniel Andrews. It is understood a number of high-profile politicians have also privately backed the proposed reforms saying ministers of religion should be subject to more stringent compliance. The proposals have been tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse amid concerns about the lack of scrutiny of some religious institutions. The proposals would see clergy accredited in the

read more But what about “counsellors?”

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Rabbi Genende’s Drasha on Rosh Hashono

I must admit not hearing about it, but it flew across my desk, and I feel it requires some comments. I reproduce it below, adding my comments. And every day the world grabs you by the hand and says: “This is important” and “this is important.” “This is where you should be putting your energy” and “This is where you should be directing your priorities.” No it is the Torah that yanks you by the hand and gives direction to your heart and your hands about what you prioritise and how And every day you’ve got to yank your hand back and put it up against your heart and say – “No this is important, this is what really counts! I will be guided by my heart, directed by my principles, driven by my faith.” Actually, it is Shulchan Aruch which does that. In the rare cases, where one doesn’t see how the Shulchan Aruch should direct him, man does

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What’s wrong with trusting Rav Ya’akov Emden?

I was discussing a topic at Shule concerning why I wasn’t a regular purchaser of Hamodia. He asked me what I didn’t like. I suggested that I always felt like I was reading Disneyland when I read Hamodia’s description of any living or departed “Gadol” from yesteryear. Sure, I’m known to be a cynic. That’s different from being cycnical per se and is probably the wrong word in context. Being a cynic is probably a precursor or post effect from being a scientist of sorts. I have found that I see or notice things some do not. That’s unlikely to be a brain thing, but rather a training thing. I’ve been taught for so many years to dissect each word and scrutinise what’s written it’s invaded by mode of processing information. It’s a good invasion. Consequently, when I read all the incredible stories about Great Rabonim and the occasional Rebbetzin? I am left with a feeling that “between the lines” there is much missing. What

read more What’s wrong with trusting Rav Ya’akov Emden?

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So how many Rebbetzens are there?

Check out this article. While we have the politically correct, Orthodox incorrect group of “Rabbis” or whatever pseudonym they want to be called (I specifically exclude the anti-feminist Yoatzot Halacha who don’t seek non Jewish politically correct equality), we now have a non Jewish court in Portland Oregon telling us who can say what and who is what. Mind spinning. A Female Rabbi? Just Don’t Call Her That 7 SEPT 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT By Noah Feldman Is what you tell the rabbi’s wife a secret that she can’t be required to reveal in court? The Haredi Jewish newspaper Yated Ne’eman has reported on a fascinating decision by a judge in Portland, Oregon, holding that the answer is yes. The twist is that the women who successfully asserted the privilege were members of a branch of Orthodox Judaism known as “yeshivish,” which staunchly denies that women can be rabbis or even rabbinic advisers. Their argument was that the rabbi’s wife is,

read more So how many Rebbetzens are there?

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Move over Sodom and Gemora

We have enough lying fakers in our midst. Out them and stuff their “holy” surnames and moralistic bull-dust. See here for some distasteful reality. Warning. If you are sincerely frum, better you don’t look Of course there are enough pathetic men and women who fool nobody except their fake “holy” names and it’s not a female phenomenon by any stretch.

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Time for Mechila: nobody is perfect

This statement most certainly includes me. When writing my blog posts, I’ve occasionally unintentionally upset someone or have been misunderstood given the fact that perhaps I unwisely tend not to spend too much time actually writing my posts or proof-reading them. Sometimes people send me a private email, and I act on it. Other times they send me a fake comment and when I try to reply, it bounces because there is no such address. Given that it’s Erev Yom Kippur, if there is a current or past post that you feel is unfair or has stepped over a halachic boundary, I ask you sincerely to email me, and most certainly, if it is a real email address and doesn’t bounce, I will reply accordingly. I chanced across a comment about two? years ago where someone said I had it in for Rav Beck of Adass. Let me be very clear. Rav Beck is a holy man, a Yirei Shomayim,

read more Time for Mechila: nobody is perfect

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Rabby Benny Lau on LGBT

Rabbi Benny Lau, a cousin of the more famous Lau family, has written an article in the Jerusalem Post which has two glaringly obvious errors. a) He claims that if a person has a Gay sexual proclivity that this person has no free choice. This is arrant nonsense. The Rambam opens up with people who have “tendencies” inborn and what they should do about them. Never does he claim they have no choice. He suggests didn’t activities. b) Proclivity does not mean imperative. They are different words with different meanings c) The Shulchan Aruch clearly PROHIBITS Yichud between two men where there is a high chance of hanky panky. I do not understand how Rabbi Lau didn’t folliow Shulchan Aruch when he proposed “Couple Partnerships” – the Clayton’s Marriage. Does he not see this is Lifnei Iver or Mesayeah L’idvar Aveyroh as well. d) I do agree that these people should not be subject to any ridicule. At the same

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Remembering Shira Banky הי’’ד

To refresh memories, this unfortunate 16 year old girl was murdered because she attended a rally. It is true that the rally’s agenda was against the ethic and laws of the Torah, without any question. This is to my knowledge the position of all Orthodox Movements. I would imagine the more right-wing Conservative and Conservadox movements (such as Shira Chadasha) also share this view. Reform of course don’t believe the Torah was the word of God, dictated to Moshe, let alone the primacy of Mesora through Tannoim, Amoraim, Geonim, Rishonim and now Acharonim so it’s undoubtedly not an issue for them. Shira Banky attended the rally to support the views of a friend. She was 16. I might not agree with Shira’s views and condemn those views with vigour, but the minute feelings translate to violence and in this case an unnecessary murder which created nothing more than more hatred for Orthodoxy, especially Ultra Orthodoxy is there anything more that Orthodox Jews

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The sordid affair(s) of Malka Leifer

Removed immediately at the request of the poor girl who had to suffer this HELL I was SO incensed by the lies revealed by the judge from so called frum yidden, that I initially just cut and pasted. That was a mistake; poor judgement due to my disgust at the “Klei Kodesh” and the “Askonim” and then forgetting there was a name in there as well. If Rabbi Telsner resigned, there are PLENTY at Adass/Beis HaTalmud who should also resign immediately. They won’t, is my bet. To think there are schools who have “teachers” who aren’t registered with VIT is outrageous. This is not the 1700’s and neither are the kids from that era. Get your qualifications and THEN teach. There is more to it than translating Chumash and Rashi. If you don’t like it, go to Israel, the country you love to hate. And how do they get around דינא דמלכותא דינא here in Australia? Through lies and games? Thanks to

read more The sordid affair(s) of Malka Leifer

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The ‘anti Jewish’ News and Rabbi Telsner

It’s not just the anti-Jewish News otherwise known as the AJN that is guilty of poor journalism. I won’t expand on that. What I will say is the following (and these are my personal views) Rabbi Telsner is highly versed in Torah Rabbi Telsner and his wife have worked tirelessly often behind the scenes to help anyone in a rut Rabbi Telsner and his wife have a home which supports people who don’t have a place to sleep or eat, any time any day Rabbi Telsner and his wife have no car, and walk by foot to perform outstanding pastoral care at all times of the day and night Rabbi Telsner was born to be either a Rosh Yeshivah or Rosh Kollel, I am not sure why he didn’t go down those lines. Rabbi Telsner is NOT the Rabbi of the Shule. He was appointed as a Dayan (Judge). I don’t know the Beth Din, but that’s the title. There are many Shules at

read more The ‘anti Jewish’ News and Rabbi Telsner

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Rabbi Telsner resigns

He has made a few mistakes, and it makes interesting reading seeing the different reports from the Age Newspaper versus the Sun. They obviously have different sources whispering in their ears. The anti-Jewish News will have the story just in time to splash on the front page and triumphantly blow its horn as the harbinger of morality (sic). The Yeshivah Centre is undergoing change, no doubt. However, I’m not going to say any thing on the Rabbi Telsner issue because if I do, some will certainly misunderstand my words and it will make no different how I state them. I am sure Rabbi Telsner has learned from this, and will contribute in a way using the gifts God gave him. Rabbi Telsner is a card carrying Meshichist, as is his brother in law, R’ Chaim Tzvi Groner. There is no place in a Shule for screaming signs that no longer belong. There is no Mesora for placards in Shules, and it’s also a failure of Maimonides 13

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Is it a Mitzvah vs a meritorious act to say Kaddish?

Most kids are only too quick to grab the Yerusha (inheritance) from their parent(s). It’s not a Mtizvah to do so, but if you do, then you must give Tzedaka from it (that’s a Mitzvah). They take Shiva (SEVEN days) and convert it to one minyan or two. That’s not seven days mourning. Don’t worry, they will take seven or six or five figure inheritance without asking the Rabbi much quicker. It’s just “too much” to sit for seven days and mourn the loss of a parent etc With this in mind, I noticed the Jewish News had an advertisement stating it was a MITZVAH to say Kaddish. I’m not learned, but I don’t know of any Mitzvah to say Kaddish. It’s a well known Minhag to say it at least once a day. I don’t like the idea of taking money for Kaddish when that doesn’t also include trying to educate and carry out the idea that Shiva and Shloshim are

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On the history of Mattersdorf

[Please note that much of this was written for a non Jewish audience. It is the copyright of R’ Meir Deutsch, a learned reader and commentator on the pitputim blog. We thank Meir for giving his permission to republish] Meir Deutsch, of Jerusalem, Israel, is the first to provide such a list… and an unusual list it is! He had a copy of the Mattersdorf Jewish court ruling dividing up, among the Jewish households of Mattersdorf, the “Tolerance Tax” to be paid to Prince Esterházy for the year 1880. You might ask why Meir has such a document… the answer is that Mattersdorf is where his father, Josef, was born, and the Jewish judge who signed the ruling was his great-grandfather, Gottlieb Deutsch. Mattersdorf now goes by name Mattersburg but, Meir tells me, it consisted of two independent townships in 1880, the Markt and the Judenstadt. It would not be until 1902 that the townships were officially merged and 1924 before the name was changed

read more On the history of Mattersdorf

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Manipulation of elderly Rabbis

Thanks to the Internet we have all witnessed the disgraceful use and abuse of holy Rabbis who sit all day learning and can barely walk or talk while being cajoled to make statements which are blown out of all proportion by those who seek their approbation.These Rabbis often have no idea what they are getting into. They are being used. We saw this with Rav Elyashiv. We see this with Rav Kanievsky. We saw this with Rav Steinman, although despite his age, the latter has seen through the political chutzpah of many who have tried to manipulate his words. His words of Ga’avah, Ga’avah, Ga’avah Were very powerful and showed he was a compassionate man who understood that those who had come to him were not the real McCoy but haughty people with Hats and  Peyos. Be very wary when the best someone can do is quote an elderly Rabbi far removed from the world, but someone who can quote every saying

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R’ Meir Rabi, Ben Pekuah Commercial Kashrus Venture and Mori V’Rabbi Rav Schachter

I am not here to discuss the laws of a Ben Pekuah. Look in Shulchan Aruch. Those who do not know about it (I’ve found it rather gross personally), let alone a commercialised farm of these, should discuss a commercialisation venture directly with their Rav who I expect will likely speak to a world-renowned kashrus expert. I have mentioned R’ Rabi’s trips to various Rabbonim around the world, where he seeks their agreement to commercial projects he and his investors are involved in. I have mentioned that the renowned world posek Mori V’Rabbi R’ Hershel Schachter, Chief Posek of the OU (with Rav Belsky) was displeased when I showed him a picture of himself and R’ Rabi from the day before, disbursed via the internet, as he had asked this not to be distributed via the net. There is a danger that people would conclude that Rav Schachter was endorsing in any way R’ Rabi’s commercial kashrus projects or his stature. Rav Schachter is too nice a man to refuse

read more R’ Meir Rabi, Ben Pekuah Commercial Kashrus Venture and Mori V’Rabbi Rav Schachter

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HaGaon Rav Hershel Schachter and Chabad

I learned a little story this week. Mori V’Rabbi R’ Schachter is known to be prolific. His shiurim are an endless daily stream of wisdom and he is clear and wonderful to listen to (in my biased opinion of course). He was the youngest ever Rosh Kollel appointed at YU, and was and is known as a genius. Greater than his genius, are his Middos, as I’ve personally experienced. He is a humble, straight, man who has no tickets on himself. I’d say that the art of politics cum diplomacy are not his strengths, but that’s often a result of not having a level of English oratory, even though he speaks English fluently, having graduated from University. When Rav Schachter was five years old, his parents, including his well-known father Rav Melech Schachter ז’’ל, were upset and most disturbed. Any parent would be. Their little son Hershel, did not speak a single word. He was silent. He wasn’t stupid, but he would not talk.

read more HaGaon Rav Hershel Schachter and Chabad

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Honour to Rabonim

One of the things that has struck me between the generation of holocaust survivors, most of whom are in עולם האמת and the generation today is the distinct lack of כבוד for a Rav. Now, I can hear you saying, ah, but the Rabonim of today are not the Rabonim of yesteryear. I agree. It is also true of the generation before that and the generation before that. This is amplified to the extent that Babylonian Scholars of Talmudic academies were not referred to as Rabbi XYZ but Rav XYZ. Why? there was no Semicha in Bavel/Babylonia. Yet, we are also asked to make for ourselves a Rav. Even though someone become a Rav, he should still have his own Rav Hamuvhak (mentor Rabbi). There are many stories. Even someone as great as Rav Lichtenstein ז’’ל and Rav Nevenzahl used to look up to Rav Shlomo Zalman as their decisor on matters on the razor’s edge. There is a cute story that

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Meir Gershon Rabi has a huge GALL (and ego?)

Someone sent me a link about web surveillance of milk. On that link is a picture of Mori V’Rabbi R’ Hershel Schachter, Posek of the OU. Rav Schachter told me personally after meeting Meir Gershon the day before that he told Meir Gershon explicitly NOT to put his picture on Meir Gershon’s websites or the internet. I also have pictures with Rav Schachter. I just follow his instructions. Meir Gershon refuses to remove the pictures. Shades of the Dayan Abraham fiasco? The difference is that Rav Schachter is too big and respected to take any action against halachic ants, by comparison. What a disgrace and d’var sheker.

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Meir Gershon Rabi’s latest venture: From Flesh to Milk

I heard about this probably a year ago or longer. The concept is far from new and has appeared in many halachic issues. For example: Dinei Yichud (being alone with someone of the opposite gender (or indeed same gender for someone who is Gay!). First, an admission. In our family, we only drink mashgiach supervised Chalav Yisrael. Ditto for milk products, with the exception of a chocolate bar that is known to be from Milk powder (see Rav Frank in Har Tzvi, which is also accepted as normative in Israel by the Rabbinate). The reason my family does this now is because I did it for about 7 years before I got married. Why did it I do it then? It wasn’t because I was a frumak who had returned from learning overseas and overturned his parent’s house and insisted on them making a range of changes because things weren’t “up to scratch”. Absolutely not. I had and have no

read more Meir Gershon Rabi’s latest venture: From Flesh to Milk

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More on Same Gender issues

There is an interesting piece in Tablet Magazine where Rabbi Benny Lau, considered a moderate by many, makes a powerful speech. Like many, I am horrified that anyone should seek to murder another over this (or indeed any other reason except for self-defence). I wonder, though, what his speech would have been had nobody been murdered. He would have needed to “tip toe through the tulips”. Indeed, one wonders whether he would directly answer the question of whether such marches are appropriate in the Holiest City of Jerusalem? Would he approve of these at the Kotel or Har Habayis? Would he speak at a March there? Make no mistake. I do not conjure hatred or invoke enmity against those with disposition towards the same gender. At the same time, I am completely bound to the Torah prohibition regarding the actualisation of such a disposition. That is inescapable for any Orthodox Jew. Though Rabbi Benny Lau certainly agrees with that, I think he would

read more More on Same Gender issues

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