Back and More Pissed Off Then Ever

Yes, I am back.  Hold your applause till after my entire post please.

So recently I have read some postings by a new blogger who calls himself “Mainstream Jew“.  This is he has proved in one very quick night to be completely false since he specifically said, there is no creator who is receiving your prayers”.  No matter if someone is Orthodox, Haredi, Reform, Conservative or any other sect the majority of Jews believe there is a G-d in heaven.  How to observe his laws is in question, but the actual existence of G-d? Mainstream Jews believe in Him. If you don’t believe in Him? Then don’t call yourself Jewish, because while you are to me (assuming you have a Jewish mother), technically to the world you are an atheist.

Second I he is just like DK, SJ, OTD and everyone else like them who hates religious correct Judaism.  We must be tolerant of their views, but ours? If they make Jews look crazy we must stop.  This is exactly what happened in Germany at the beginning of the Reform movement.  “Shut down Orthodoxy! (a term they came up with and as my friend Factual Basis points out should be a racist slur) Close their mikvahs! Close the kosher slaughterhouses! We Jews are just like the rest of you! Don’t pay attention to the freaks!”  It’s really crazy the double standards that we are subject to.  I’m honestly considering changing the name of the blog to double standards because most of posts point them out between them and us.

What evidence is there that he/she/it would want you to pray to him for three hours on a Saturday (and how do we know its actually Saturday and not Tuesday).

How long has it been since you have been to Shul MSJ?  My shabbat davening is 2 hours MAX and that’s on a bad weekend.  Next, personally I try and go to shul every single day of the week.  It’s not just saturday, the reason most people go then is because they don’t have work because of the shabbat.  The shabbaton is the 7th day of the week, hence Saturday.  Why not Sunday? Because its not.  The Jews for thousands of years had shabbaton on a Saturday because that’s the day G-d told us was the 7th day.  If its any other day how would they get the millions of Jews all to change the day? How? Wouldn’t there be sects that had it on the old day, that were left over from the old guard?

Which trasitions very nicely into my next point.

What evidence is there that the Torah is his rule and guidebook?

Because he told us.  Yes he told at least 1 million Jews that this is his rule.  This wasnt the 1990’s where someone could have pulled off the special effects or dupted everyone into “hearing” G-d’s voice.  And how to I know it happened? Because my father who was told by his father by his father by his father and so on and so on back to my relative who was at Mount Sinai.  There is someone I know who can literally trace their passing down of the Torah all the way back to Moses (not that he is related, but that he has an accurate line straight from the source of teaching the torah).  I’m waiting for the famous “but there is no archeological evidence” actually there is someone that perfectly correlates with some stuff on the book of prophets.  What about the Torah itself you ask?  Well if you know anything about archeology, you know the famous line “a lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack”.  Just because we haven’t found it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  All the stuff that has been found does not contradict (in fact most of it supports) stories in the torah.

Whats amazing is yet another double standard.  Everyone agrees there was a Hammurabi code of law.  This is based on very limited finds on the code itself.  However there is no debate as to its existence and place in history.  But the torah? Well it requires us to do something so we must apply a different standard!

The torah was given to our ancestors by G-d himself.  They were there.  The same way we know there was a Civil War, or a Roman Empire, or anything else we didn’t personally live through.  We have history both from first hand accounts and from finds.  While the exodus from egypt has yeilded limited finds its not surprising if you actually think about it.  No one knows their exact route, plus there haven’t been extensive tries to find results, and it’s the desert so digs are very hard especially when one doesnt know even a general 5 mile area to look.

As for your comment about woman equality? You have no idea how I feel on the matter, but of course all orthodox Jews are the same right? I will address my views on woman in Judaism in a post in the near future.

Yes, I’m back and better than ever.  I will keep fighting off these attacks on our people, you do your part and keep reading

Facts Shmacks

When arguing with certain people who beleive something without any real reason nothing will change their mind.  Nothing.  It doesn’t matter if they are Democrat/Republican, Frum/Secular, Jewish/Non-Jews, Male/Female, people who don’t use proof to back themselves up just cannot be convinced of the truth no matter what.

I have seen over and over again that the Kvetcher is one of these people.  He has time and time again been proved wrong on certain issues, but refuses to correct himself.

One issue DK has been harping on a lot in the last couple of months is circumcision.  Over and over again he talks about it as if it is child abuse and that the right wing nutjobs are forcing people to do it and that there are no real studies that prove that it helps anyone.  Its all the Jews fault.

Well, now there are.  TM of Jewlicious posted in a comment a study from the Wall Street Journal that says ,

The study, led by scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Uganda, relied on data from the same randomized control trials in Africa that already showed that circumcision cuts in half the risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can cause AIDS.

What now DK?  Im expecting some kind of rant about how the religious fundies run the WSJ, or that the study was conducted by people who had a vested interest in the result.

Either way it should be an entertaining response, albeit not an intellectual one.

So These Are the Arguments of the “Intellectuals”

Many times we have heard people who hate hassidic, yeshivish, and in general more religous people, argue that these groups are not “intellectual” and the only books they look at are the gemara so they obviously know nothing about a scholarly argument.

On that note I would like to point out what some people I have been arguing with have said after I wrecked them in an intellectual argument.

Half Sours:

You sir, are liar, liar pants on fire. And everyone knows it now. Another kiruvnik discredited. My work here is done.

DK:

Cheerer, have you considered dating a militant feminist? Because your whole, “That’s not funny!” refrain would go over quite well with those women.

DK after someone questioned his making holocaust jokes in the context of the Heeb Magazine Contest for fake holocaust stories

Liz: No matter how you want to spin it, Holocaust “jokes” are not funny.

DK:  Then don’t laugh.

And of course DK’s response to my argument based on his making a satirical posting about the OU giving a haskgacha to Zyklon B

Me: I will not be told that I “didn’t think” from someone who marginalizes the holocaust.

DK: I will not have one of my best satires marginalized by someone who connects issues that are not interrelated.

These are the people who claim there that frummies are “anti-intellectual”.

These are the people who are trying to stop kiruv.

These are the people who say religious people are stopping the advancement of the Jewish People

These are the people we fight for future of our people.

Don’t ever forget it.

Calling the Pot Black

I don’t take well to insults to my character.  Being called a liar? That has to be up there as one of the biggest insults to my character that someone can make.  Recently Kvetcher has called me a liar, and claimed I didn’t think when he mistook my intentions in one of my posts, and now (despite his own rules) says i’m “not very bright”.

So lets go through the times that DK has written with hyperbole just like I did, but I’m the bad person.

Here DK wrote,

I think for refusing to wear tefillin, the son should be publicly whipped, his apartment “donated” to a yeshiva, his secular whore of a girlfriend dragged by a mehadrin Egged-bus around town, and just for good measure, a Modern Orthodox girl should get bleached.

He was clearly trying to mock what some crazies did to some people who weren’t keeping up with their religious standard.  But by his rules we must believe he actually believes we should do those things.

Here it says,

And I am not going to shake hands with Eli anymore. Now I realize…he is just trying to cop a feel.

Well I should hope DK has not shaken Eli’s hand since that date, because then he is the liar.

On this page Kelsey posts a picture of Jim Jones who was the leader of the Jonestown cult where they killed a congressman and themselves.  So his implication is that NCSY will get you to kill yourself and members of congress.  I’m sure that wasn’t his point, but he “didnt think” when using someone like Jones to make a point.

In the same vein, here, Kvetcher has a picture of Stalin and actually has a tag saying that it is Rabbi Pinchas Stolper.  So we are to believe that Rabbi Stolper killed millions of people, ran communist Russia, helped defeat Nazi Germany after making a deal with them, and most importantly is dead.

So, were you trying to make a point with all these examples  (i have many more I just stuck with these), or did you mean for them to be taken literally? Did you think before posting them?

Fortunately, when dealing with people who hate religious people so much, you get used to the double standard.

It was Bound to Happen…

Well, it was bound to happen.  Sooner or later, despite the fact that DK applauded my disagreement with JSU, Kvetcher has attacked me.  He does this if you like kiruv, or in this case…logic, and the English language?

Let me explain.  If you look at the comment “war” that has been going on my last posting there has been a major disagreement between me, HS and DK.  The main reason I am being attacked on his page is my statement that,

rather then let it be at that (there are far worse traditions for people to attack in Judaism) people like DK attack this tradition (albeit not as the main focus of the posting) as if it also involves killing a human baby.

While there is a great more that we argue about this is what he took exception with.  He begins his post by claimingthat I did not

much success at countering my attacks on Big Kiruv.

Actually, I answered all of your attacks in the comments.  If anything, your post on your page is because you were so fed up with getting smacked around on my page that you figured you would use your own soapbox to try and make it look like you were winning.  Nice try.

My defense of the “killing babies” comment is based on the fact that I was using exaggeration to prove a point.  DK says i was lying.  I let you the public be the judge.  However, let me give you the following points to consider.

The American Heritage Dictionary says that an exaggeration is an intransitive verb which is defined as,

To make overstatements

But I think exaggeration was probably not the right word to use.  Rather I should have used Hyperbole which is defined as

a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated or extravagant statement to create a strong emotional response. As a figure of speech it is not intended to be taken literally.

Wow.  That’s amazing.  Anyone who actually read what DK wrote would know that he didnt actually say it was like killing a baby.  I  even linked to his article so that anyone could read it.  Now he may claim that people may not read it and so they wouldn’t know what he actually said.   Then my question would be: why did you use the exact same argument against someone who wanted you to speak of the different view on JSU?

Brad:  “I applaud your passion for this subject. But, you are clearly masking some aspects of the article for it to fit your agenda.”

DK: “And the article in its entirety is linked.”

Double standards? I think so. But typical DK, the facts won’t stop him.

I think that’s enough for everyone to stew on for a while.  If he continues his assault I will post a list of articles on his site that do EXACTLY what i did (here are two for a preview, one, two)  I used those two because they require no explanation.  All the others I have require an explanation  to understand.

I know I didnt hold up my end by posting the article about respecting other Jews like i said i would.  That will be soon, I had to address this first.

Attacking Those Who are Different

Many people are prone to attacking various Jewish traditions as “stupid” “superstitious” or “ridiculousness”.  One of these traditions (which I would like to put on the record I myself do not do) is called Capparot.  The basic idea is that one takes a chicken, waves it over their own head (not by the feet as many suspect but gently but the stomach), and it helps remove their sins.  But rather then let it be at that (there are far worse traditions for people to attack in Judaism) people like DK attack this tradition (albeit not as the main focus of the posting) as if it also involves killing a human baby.

Let me be clear.  I do not support what Face did, but using Jewish traditions such as this to make mainstream Judaism seem crazy and out of date is part of DK’s MO and that’s what bothers me.

In order to put this in perspective I am posting the famous study of the Nacirema.  For those of you who are aware of this study I ask that you not “ruin” it for everyone else who has not.  Just in case all comments will be held in moderation this week to prevent people from trying to ruin the effect of the article.

Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago, but the culture
of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Creel the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east….

Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which as evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion
of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.

The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is
to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the
powerful influences of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more
powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to
in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls.  While each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and
secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me.

The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts.  However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.

The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charmbox of the household shrine. As these
magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshipper.

Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows
his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution.
The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to
make the liquid ritually pure.

In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated “holy-mouth-men.” The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the
mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers
reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber.

The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.

In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners
have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man open the clients mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there age no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy–mouth-men year after year, despite the fact  that their teeth continue to decay.

It is to be hoped that, when a thorough  study of the Nacirema is made, there will  be careful inquiry into the personality  structure of these people. One has but to  watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-  mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an  exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain  amount of sadism is involved. If this can be  established, a very interesting pattern  emerges, for most of the population shows  definite masochistic tendencies. It was to  these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily  body ritual which is performed only by  men. This part of the rite involves scraping  and lacerating the surface of the face with a  sharp instrument. Special women’s rites are  performed only four times during each  lunar month, but what they lack in  frequency is made up in barbarity. As part  of this ceremony, women bake their heads  in small ovens for about an hour. The  theoretically interesting point is that what  seems to be a preponderantly masochistic  people have developed sadistic specialists.

The medicine men have an imposing  temple, or latipso, in every community of  any size. The more elaborate ceremonies  required to treat very sick patients can only  be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge  but a permanent group of vestal maidens  who move sedately about the temple  chambers in distinctive costume and head-  dress.

The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that  it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of  the really sick natives who enter the temple The concept of culture  ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been  known to resist attempts to take them to  the temple because “that is where you go to  die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not  only willing but eager to undergo the  protracted ritual purification, if they can  afford to do so. No matter how ill the  supplicant or how grave the emergency, the  guardians of many temples will not admit a  client if he cannot give a rich gift to the  custodian. Even after one has gained admission and survived the ceremonies, the  guardians will not permit the neophyte to  leave until he makes still another gift.

The supplicant entering the temple is  first stripped of all his or her clothes. In  everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure  of his body and its natural functions.  Bathing and excretory acts are performed  only in the secrecy of the household shrine,  where they are ritualized as part of the  body-rites. Psychological shock results  from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly  lost upon entry into the latipso. A man,  whose own wife has never seen him in an  excretory act, suddenly finds himself naked  and assisted by a vestal maiden while he  performs his natural functions into a sacred  vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is  necessitated by the fact that the excreta are  used by a diviner to ascertain the course  and nature of the client’s sickness. Female  clients, on the other hand, find their naked  bodies are subjected to the scrutiny,  manipulation and prodding of the medicine  men.

Few supplicants in the temple are well  enough to do anything but lie on their  hard  beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of  the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort  and torture. With ritual precision, the  vestals awaken their miserable charges each  dawn and roll them about on their beds of  pain while performing ablutions, in the  formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they  insert magic wands in the supplicant’s  mouth or force him to eat substances which  are supposed to be healing. From time to  time the medicine men come to their clients  and jab magically treated needles into their  flesh. The fact that these temple ceremonies  may not cure, and may even kill the  neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s  faith in the medicine men.

There remains one other kind of  practitioner, known as a “listener.” This  witchdoctor has the power to exorcise the  devils that lodge in the heads of people who  have been bewitched. The Nacirema  believe that parents bewitch their own  children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while  teaching them the secret body rituals. The  counter-magic of the witchdoctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “listener” all his troubles and  fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties  he can remember. The memory displayed  by the Nacirerna in these exorcism sessions  is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for  the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt  upon being weaned as a babe, and a few  individuals even see their troubles going  back to the traumatic effects of their own  birth.

In conclusion, mention must be made of  certain practices which have their base in  native esthetics but which depend upon the  pervasive aversion to the natural body and  its functions. There are ritual fasts to make  fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to  make thin people fat. Still other rites are  used to make women’s breasts larger if they  are small, and smaller if they are large.  General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human   variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hyper-mamrnary development are so idolized that they make a   handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.

Reference has already been made to the   fact that excretory functions are ritualized,   routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled as an act. Efforts are made to   avoid pregnancy by the use of magical   materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is   actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition.  Parturition takes place in secret, without   friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants.

Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a   magic-ridden people. It is hard to un-   derstand how they have managed to exist   so long under the burdens which they have   imposed upon themselves. But even such   exotic customs as these take on real   meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he   wrote:

“Looking from far and above, from our  high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not   have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization.”

What is your reaction to this strange culture’s behaviors?  Stranger then what is done in Judaism? About the same? Discuss…

My View on JSU

There is an organization that runs jewish clubs throughout the country called the Jewish Student Union or JSU Kvetcher, among others, have commented that they think that JSU is a part of NCSY and a way to trick public school kids into joining NCSY without their knowledge.

Let me start by saying the following: I think NCSY is great.  I think the work they do is great.  I think that every person who is not religious and is a teen should join NCSY and that NCSY people are doing the right thing by trying to get more and more teens to join so that they can make them religious.

However, the method of using JSU to “trick” kids into joining NCSY and becoming frum is not the answer.  If JSU was merely the name of the NCSY public school arm then I would have no problem with it.  But, the way it is described on the JSU site and everywhere else I have seen it is merely considered a partner group with NCSY. Except that Rabbi Burg (national director of NCSY) is also the “dean” of JSU.  Seems kinda shady to me.

So if I want as many public school kids to join NCSY, why do I have a problem with JSU?  Because it is a form of tricking kids.  If we (religious jews) really believe that observant Judaism is the correct way for a Jew to live his or her life, then why would we need to trick people to do the right thing?  If we truely believe that the Torah (all of it, including the Gemara and Mishna) are truth, then why does NCSY need to hide behind a false entity named JSU?  If we are truely doing G-d’s work then we don’t need to trick people into following us, G-d will open their minds to the words.

Moreover, if JSU truly does allow groups of other denominations into the clubs then these kids will get exposed to USY, NFTY and other groups who’s goals are the complete opposite of NCSY’s.  If i was a member of any Jewish group and they didn’t allow me into the clubs I would throw a hissy fit.  And if I was a NCSY member and they did allow these other groups in I would throw a hissy fit.  This is not ok.

We shouldn’t and cannot be tricking kids.  The reason most people go “off’ is because they don’t have a solid foundation in Juadism.  Either they just accepted whatever they were told and never used logic and reason to reach the conclusion that religious Judaism is correct, or they were tricked with reasoning that was flawed in its conception.  We must correctly educate those teens who aren’t religious so in 10 years when they question their faith they have the backing needed to stay religious.

By tricking kids they can come to resent religious Jews or Jews altogether.  This is not ok.  If Orthodox Judaism is true, then why lie to kids when teaching it?