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

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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

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It’s a girl!

With thanks to Hashem we are happy to announce on Chai Av*, the birth of our new granddaughter to Rabbi Zalman and Talya Bassin (née Balbin), a sister to brother Jackie (יעקב מאיר נ״י ). Grandparents: Isaac & Leonie Balbin; Vicki Bassin (Sydney); and Pinchas Bassin  Great Grandparents Elka Balbin; Ivan & Ursula Cher; Trudy Schneider (Sydney); and Nora Bassin (Sydney) יום הילולא של מורי ורבי הרה”ג איש החסד מו״ר הרב ברוך אברנוק זצ״ל

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Same gender group in the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

I am implacably against anyone hurling vitriol or discriminating against someone because of sexual proclivity/preference, but my take on such a council as the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) is that groups with sub-philosophies within Judaism are members representing a given approach within a broader philosophic cum cultural definition of Judaism. For example, Bund, Orthodox, Sephardim, Conservative, Reform, Secular Zionist etc I don’t know how sexual preference defines a sub culture or philosophy of Jews or Judaism per se given it crosses all groups anyway. They should be afforded full support by the JCCV and indeed the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (COSV) in the face of issues which they face, and pastoral/other assistance but their membership extends across the existing sub groups, I would have thought. Services to assist I fully understand and support, but I don’t understand a grouping that defines itself by its sexual preference. For this reason I don’t understand why they need or

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More on T’cheles from Mori V’Rabbi Rav Schachter

By chance I came across this. I had written another piece here. I haven’t heard of anyone who ties their tzitzis this way. I had asked one of Rav Schachter’s sons but he hadn’t got back to me. His father just went on a Heritage Tour of Morocco where he gave six shiurim on Morocco depending on where they visited. Unbelievable. I will have to find time to listen! Here is the video. Enjoy. Enjoy

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The Australian Labor Party and Israel

We are in Australia. We don’t live the life of an Israeli. It was reported yesterday that the majority of Israelis were and are against the previous evacuation of Gush Katif (Aza or Gaza). Are we, as Jews not living there going to tell them they are wrong, while we lounge in the relative comfort of Melbourne? And so, I will confine my views to those emanating from the Australian political landscape, I am friendly with Michael Danby, a stalwart within the Labor Party and a shining star. Mark Dreyfus or his office never respond to my communication. At the end of the day, to talk about a two state solution as observers in Australia is complete and utter baloney, and grossly misses the point. There is currently NO PARTNER FOR PEACE. I do not think it is necessary to justify such a fact. It is self-evident and is the view of the Israeli Government. IF AND ONLY IF there

read more The Australian Labor Party and Israel

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matos masei 

After Jewish men illegally consorted with Midianite women, we find a strange offer from the sinners. Instead of the usual animal or flour/incense based sacrifices, they suggest that atonement for their sins should be granted by bringing the jewellery and concealed body ornaments proudly adorning the Midianite women and used to cajole them to a sordid bed of iniquity. This is a most strange and irregular “sacrifice”. From whence did they assume that such a notion would be acceptable? The sons of Aaron died for bringing a “strange fire” as a sacrifice! There was no Torah precedent for this style of offering to atone for the injunction against iniquitous cohabitation. Precious Jewellery represents the enticement embodied by the physical being. Man and Woman are attracted to beauty. This, in of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, without appreciation of such, there might be no procreation. The danger is born when physicality alone conceals and constricts the spiritual essence and

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T’cheles (likely authentic blue) Tzitzis

The Shulchan Aruch includes a disagreement between the Mechaber (R Yosef Karo) and the (Ashkenazi) Ramo. The Mechaber’s view is that the strings should be the same colour as the four cornered garment they are attached to. In that vein someone wearing a Kapote which is black and has four square edges, would need to wear black Tzitzis. That’s my understanding of the Mechaber. The Ramo states that Minhag Ashkenazim is different. Ashkenazim don’t look at the colour of the garment as determinant, rather they always wear white. Undoubtedly this is not a Minhag from the time immemorial. Rather, when the Jews had preserved the tradition of Tcheles from generation to generation it is reasonable to conclude that the strings were not all white. Indeed, we see even amongst Sefardim like the Rambam, and others such as the Ra’avad and Tosfos different ways to utilise and incorporate the Techeles string. The tradition of Identifying/finding Techeles was lost. There is the

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Kashrus and a higher level

The following is from Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, Dean, Machon Tzomet. The mind boggles in regards those who approve the lowest level AND run it as an entrepreneurial private business with closed books, wealth accumulation and a dishonest attempt to work with Halal on the grounds that they might imagine they are the ‘authority’ to represent the majority of kosher consumers, most of whom reject such supervision. A hearing will soon take place in the Supreme Court in Israel on a request for an injunction by some restaurant owners in Jerusalem against the Chief Rabbinate, which fined them based on the Kashrut Fraud Prevention Law that gives the Rabbinate (and the IDF) exclusive control over the concept of “kashrut” in Israel. These restaurants are “approved by the community” in the framework of “private supervision,” headed by Rabbi Aharon Leibowitz, who is challenging the local Rabbinates and the Chief Rabbinate. The approval certificates are worded in a sophisticated way, in order to

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This is Rabbinic scholarship?

Meir Gershon (don’t forget the middle name) Rabi has responded to my post about his business transmogrifying Wrigleys into ‘it’s okay’ by describing the post and learned comments that followed as  ‘Brainless Judaism’ He even failed the detect sarcasm test. I won’t stoop to calling him names or describing his learned decisions with invective. He craves this publicity. As we say in Australia, I will let this ball through to the keeper. He’s been smashed for so many sixes, the opposing side has declared at 0/1000 What a sad story this private business has become

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Win some, lose some. Chabadnik dons Tefillin on ex-Charedi lady

Some find this funny. For me it epitomises גלות. Here we have a well-meaning boy, who is trying to ignite a spark within Jews. His mode, is that of his Rebbe זי’’ע and that includes igniting the Neshoma through a Mitzvah, the Mitzvah of Hanochas Tefillin. The only problem is, in this case it was a woman. She had buzzed hair, and to top it off had a strong Charedi broken English accent, full of the usual errors. She obviously enjoyed her moment in the sun of egalitarianism. I feel sad that she obviously hates her heritage so much, that she is ready to mislead this well-meaning בחור. She’s no daughter of Rashi. אוי מה היה לנו Woe unto what we have become

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Rav Druckman on the Rav Riskin controversy

Someone I know well had an opportunity to speak with Rav Druckman about his view on the Rabbi Riskin and Chief Rabbinate disagreement. I have written about it here, here and here. I have also written about my great displeasure that Rav Druckman supported Rav Elon here. I have not changed my mind one iota on the Rav Elon issue. He was found to have perpetrated inappropriate contact with some men/boys. I have expressed my negative view about Rav Druckman’s judgement on that issue and I continue to stand by it. They did not ask Rav Druckman directly about his support for Rav Elon, but Rav Druckman’s aid, expressed the view that they had all begged Rav Druckman not to show any support for Rav Elon. It seems Rav Elon had come to Rav Druckman, crying and saying that he was not guilty of what some had claimed and that he gave Rav Druckman a promise that he would not even get close to such situations

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He’s really doing us a favour, truly altruistic!

So, all the treyf gelatin that has been around for ages is suddenly acceptable! The company that makes the Gelatin have never been interested in Kashrus. Look at the list from “It’s kosher?” PK®Blue Mint Hubba Bubba®Strawberry Original Extra® Peppermint Spearmint Strawberry, EXTRA® Active™ Peppermint Spearmint ECLIPSE® Peppermint Spearmint Cool Breeze Berry ECLIPSE® Chewy mints Spearmint Fruit Trio Peppermint Watermelon & Strawberry EXTRA® Professional Lemon Lime Bubblemint Peppermint AIRWAVES® Menthol Eucalyptus 5gum® Cobalt (peppermint) Electro (spearmint) Tempest (watermelon) Strawberry. SKITTLES® Fruits Sours and Tropical Now what I want to see is Each overseas Posek, who he likes to be photographed with happily munching on these based on his authoritative Psak His wife and children doing likewise. Forget about either. It’s a business. Those who eat out, also follow this “authority”. Open your books and stop taking the community on a rodeo. The bottom line: if they still have a taste after 3 minutes, they are trayf.

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The internet and the streets simply must open up the world to Charedim

Here is a fascinating story of the grandson of the Satmar Rebbe who joined the Israeli army. Yes, it’s true, that there is no family that is immune from a child taking a different direction. This is a fact of life. I don’t like the word blame in the context. I prefer to think that the concept where ‘one size fits all’ and clueless teachers and/or parents cause much of this reality. חנוך על פי דרכו teach according to their acuities, is something harder to achieve in a “my way or the highway” approach. You should read the article HERE [hat time CMW] Another article, of interest, describes what appears to be a growing phenomenon is from the Huffington Post, and reproduced here [Hat tip Krakower] I Escaped Hasidic Judaism and Went From Living on the Streets to Being a Hollywood Actor In June 2008, exactly three years after I got married, I decided to get a divorce. I didn’t fall out of

read more The internet and the streets simply must open up the world to Charedim

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Shabbos clean up

I saw this cute story on Rav Aviner’s web post: There was once a young couple who was very close to the Bostoner Rebbe and Rebbetzin. The couple was also close to Ha-Rav Yosef Solovietchik, who was Rav in Boston, along with teaching at Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan. The couple was once invited to Rav Soloveitchik’s home for a Shabbat meal. The Bostoner Rebbetzin asked the young woman: What did you see there? She answered: It was quite similar to what you do but there was one difference: They use disposable utensils. The reason is that Rav Soloveitchik’s wife wants to participate in her husband’s Motzaei Shabbat class, and if she needed to wash dishes, she wouldn’t be able to do so. The Bostoner Rebbetzin went to her husband and told him this practice of Rav and Rebbetzin Solovietchik and asked: I am willing to eat on China every meal, but we have 30-40 guests every Shabbat and I wash

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More on the Rav Riskin Conversion issue

Rav Riskin has suggestions about making it easier for giyur because of the problem with the volumes of non Jewish Russians in Israel. He has written these in a book. This is the way of Torah. He has conditioned his suggestions on the agreement of other major poskim. The information that I have is that he has not actually acted on any of his proposals with respect to Giyur, although, as I mentioned in a previous post, there are a myriad of instances where Charedi Batei Din do quicky conversions which are quite obviously based on marriage considerations! One of the issues with Rabbi Gil Student’s post is that he doesn’t deal with the suggestions that Rav Riskin puts forward. Instead of arguing with his suggestions some rabbis prefer to just silence him. I’m aware that Rabbi Yoram Ullman of the Sydney Beth Din, did deal with some of the proposals, however, I was not in a state to be at his

read more More on the Rav Riskin Conversion issue

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