Friday, February 28, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: Manchester Beis Din supports Beth's campaign

update - 2nd page of above letter  Help Beth - Manchester Beth Din Letter
Whilst, as stated above, our influence on the judicial system in Austria is extremely limited, we do feel however that there needs to be a wakeup call to the Jewish Community in Vienna who have abandoned Beth and shattered her expectations of what a community ought to provide for those experiencing difficulties. I knew Beth prior to her marriage and know that her hopes and desires were to set up a Torah true Jewish home. The fact that this was not possible with Dr Schlesinger is hard enough for her to bear, but the fact that she equally hoped to be a staunch member of an Orthodox community and now feels totally bereft and lacking any meaningful support, is something which she finds even more concerning.
It is the sincere hope of Manchester Beth Din that the community will see Beth for what she is, a true heroine and devoted mother, who could bring so much happiness to her children and ensure their proper development. The community is asked to support her in every conceivable way and to ensure that the obvious miscarriage of justice is rectified at the earliest opportunity thereby enabling her to relate properly and meaningfully with her children.

Yours sincerely

Y Brodie


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: An aspect of the debate between Rabbi Kennard and Rabbi Schochet

Guest Post:

There is currently a debate taking place from opposite sides of the globe between Rabbi Kennard ( ), the Principal of Mount Scopus Memorial College in Melbourne, Australia, and Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet ( ), Rabbi of the Mill Hill Synagogue in London.

The discussion started when Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence announced his returning to London thereby leaving his post at the Great Synagogue in Sydney, the largest of its kind and one of the biggest shuls in Australia. Rabbi Kennard wrote a piece in the Australian Jewish News encouraging the decision-makers the Great Synagogue to consider non-Chabad Modern Orthodox Rabbis for this position.

Rabbi Schochet took it upon himself to respond to this article and wrote how Chabad Rabbis take on their community "akin to marriage":
This prompted Rabbi Kennard to respond with his article titled "Chabad is not the only way" and noted the silence from every Chabad Rabbi around the world with regard to the "custody case in a European city where the Chabad director insists on remaining neutral in a conflict that pits good against evil" (The Schlesinger twins in Vienna).

Rabbi Schochet in turn responded with an accusation of misinterpreting the facts, which Rabbi Kennard denies and provides the sources. It is interesting to note that Rabbi Schochet omitted to refer to the aforementioned custody case.< The debate has reached a standstill in that Rabbi Schochet has refused to contribute to the AJN because he accuses them of bias ( ), yet I have tried to comment on the colive debate but have been moderated. Looking at the one-sided nature of the comments on both of those articles, it looks like many other people have been moderated on colive too.< I encourage Daas Torah to bring this discussion to the fore and for everyone to read both sides of this discussion at:

I believe the Daas Torah blog to be totally unbiased in its moderation of comments and look forward to reading people's thoughts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pursuing goyim with possible Jewish ancestors Michael Freund

JPost   It behooves Israel to take notice of this and to consider making its own historic gestures, particularly to the Bnei Anusim, the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were compelled to convert to Catholicism in the 14th and 15th centuries.

At great risk to themselves and their families, many of the Bnei Anusim continued to practice Judaism covertly despite the Inquisition, carefully passing down their hidden identity from one generation to the next. Their descendants can be found in every corner of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world, and their numbers are estimated to be in the millions.

At Shavei Israel, the organization I chair, we have seen a huge increase in recent years in the number of Bnei Anusim looking to reaffirm or reclaim their Jewish identity, in places as far afield as northern Portugal, Chile, El Salvador, Sicily and Colombia.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, in a recent speech in Ashdod, took note of this phenomenon, correctly arguing that it is time for the State of Israel to “ease the way for their return.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The Bnei Anusim are our brethren and, through no fault of their own, their ancestors were torn away from us under duress. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to strengthen the bonds between us and bring back to the Jewish people as many of them as possible.

Steps should be taken to address the myriad bureaucratic and religious issues that stand in their way so that the door of return for the Bnei Anusim can finally swing open.

After all, if Spain, which cast their ancestors out, is seeking ways to reconcile with the descendants of Iberian Jewry, then isn’t it time for Israel to do the same?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A proposal for childless couples who want children named after them and for kadish to be said after 120 years

The following was sent to me as a serious proposal by someone I know. It is clearly acceptable according to halacha as well as the spiritual and psychological dimensions. Being childless is a very difficult situation to live with in our community, but the lack of children to carry on one's name as well as to say kaddish is at least as distressing.
People are constantly looking for chessed opportunities while others are preoccupied with the shidduch crisis. I believe I have an idea which is ,as they say,a win/win situation that can address both issues simultaneously. 
Unfortunately there are people ,especially those who have devoted their lives to chinuch,who are simply overwhelmed by the costs of marrying off their children. This is particularly stressful (if not worse) for those who live in Israel and must deal with the reality of funding an apartment. While one may criticize the system  it is not a changin’ and one muust do what they need to do. As they say in Yiddish A Breira Hust Du (do you have a choice? 
I propose that a creative soul might want to search for couples who unfortunately  do not have children (and are of the age that probably won’t) but who have the means to help parents who lack the means. In return the young couple will name some of their children after the magnanimous benefactors and will see that Kaddish is recited after their 120.
I believe this is an example of a 360 degree chessed for all involved. 
Would love to hear some thoughts on this and hearty souls willing to shadchan such a partnership.

Montessori Schools infiltrate Jewish education

NY Times   In the boys’ classroom at Lamplighters Yeshivah in the Hasidic Jewish stronghold of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Montessori number-counting boards and decimal beads share space with Hebrew-learning materials. A colorful timeline on the wall shows two strands of world history in parallel: secular on the left, Jewish on the right. A photo of the grand rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement hangs above a list of tasks that children perform individually: make a fractions poster, practice cursive, learn about the moon’s phases.

Into the classroom on a recent morning came Rivkah Schack, one of the school’s principals, holding a tool whose form, if not its content, would be familiar to any Montessori teacher: a small nomenclature booklet in which the students were to write words from the Bible by hand and illustrate them. In secular Montessori, the booklets might be used to teach botanical terms; here, they were for Hebrew.
“Not to mix our metaphors, but that’s our holy grail,” said Ami Petter-Lipstein, the director of the Jewish Montessori Society, based in Highland Park, N.J., as Ms. Schack gathered a few pupils around her on the rug for a group Hebrew lesson.

For an educational movement trying to use a century-old pedagogical method developed by an Italian Catholic, Maria Montessori, to teach Jewish tenets, mixing metaphors is the point. Arguing that the traditional Jewish day-school model they grew up with is outmoded and too clannish for 21st-century Judaism, a new generation of parents and educators are flocking to Montessori preschools and elementary schools that combine secular studies with Torah and Hebrew lessons.

Daniel Septimus, who attended a modern Orthodox school but now identifies as a traditional egalitarian Jew, said the schools he had attended were “purposely insular.”

“We knew there was a big, wide world out there where people did different things, but it was kind of scary, and we were supposed to have limited contact with it,” he said.

His son Lev, 3, attends Luria Academy in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, a Montessori school that proudly advertises the religious diversity of its students. “I think this is just more realistic,” Mr. Septimus said. “Ultimately, our kids are going to live in diverse and multicultural communities.”

In Brooklyn, whose more than 600,000 Jews include secular Jews in brownstone Brooklyn and Hasidic Jews in Borough Park and Williamsburg, four Montessori schools have opened in the last decade. Each is tailored to a different group: one is for Hasidic girls in Borough Park, another for Hasidic boys in Midwood; Lamplighters’ students are mainly Chabad-Lubavitchers, while Luria’s students range from secular to Hasidic. [...]

Meeting in Lakewood regarding the Torah Approach to Marriage

WHAT? Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn, a Talmid of Gedolim HaGaon Amiti HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l, Posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, and Posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, will speak to a group of men about marriage.

The crisis of divorce and broken families will also be addressed. Rabbi Eidensohn will also present his program of Shalom Bayis Beth Dins, which could greatly reduce the number of broken marriages, agunoth, and coerced Gittin. This program has already been approved by leading Poskim in Gittin and experts in family law.

WHEN? Thursday, March 6, 2014 @ 2:10 PM.

Lakewood Township Municipal Building, 231 3rd Street, Second Floor Room C. Parking available at Municipal Parking Lot.

No cost.

One who seeks solutions for the above.

What marriage or KIDDUSHIN means and why we must not destroy it. How a Shalom Bayis Beth Din can improve and save marriages. The halochos of coercing a GET when the husband refuses to give a GET. Why the vast majority of coerced Gittin are invalid.

You may call Rabbi Eidensohn at 1-845-578-19171-845-578-1917

 HaGadol HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l wrote in his haskomo for Rabbi Eidensohn’s first sefer in halacha, “The Rav HaGaon is already known to me for many years as one who delves deeply to clarify complex halochos.” YB”L HaGadol HaGaon HaRav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner of Bnei Braq wrote in his haskomo, “A Talmid Chochom deserves very much credit. Words of truth are recognized, and words proceed from the heart and are written lishmo.”

Denying that our ancestors sinned - Theology versus Chazal

There has been a major discussion going on in the comments sections  click here regarding whether one can say that Dovid sinned or that in general our Biblical ancestors - including the Avos - literally sinned the way they are described in Tanach and Chazal. For example while it says in Shabbos (55b) that whoever says that Dovid sinned is mistaken, but Chazal also say in Avoda Zara (4b), that G-d forced the Jews to worship the Golden Calf and forced Dovid to have a sinful relationship with Batsheva in order to encourage repentance. It basically comes down to whether there is a metarule that they were free from real sin - that overrides all evidence presented by both the literal meaning of Tanach as well as explicit statements in Chazal, Rishonim and Achronim. It is also clear that there are disagreements in Chazal and Rishonim regarding what sins were done - however I don't see that they had a rule to reinterpret events to eliminate sins or to say that the sin was only relative to their exalted stature. [see Rav Yonason Eibschuetz below who notes a gemora which indicated that Yehuda sinned with Tamar - while Ramban and others considered it a mitzva.]

The Chazon Ish discusses this issue regarding the view of the Baalei Mussar that the Jews who came out of Egypt were contrary to strong evidence in Chazal and Chumash - tzadikim on a very high level. He says you can't ignore the words of the Torah and Chazal to accept such a view. A good example of the Mussar approach is Rav Dessler (Michtav M'Eliyah 1:161). I haven't found this discussed in non-Mussar works, haven't found it in Chazal, or Rishonim such as Rashi or Ramban. Can't find an example in Maharal (In fact aside from the Mussar approach it seems assumed that when a sin is mentioned it means a sin in the absolute sense).

update: The earliest example of the Mussar approach is from the Ramchal in his discussion of Agadta.

רמח"ל (מאמר על אגדות חז"ל - הקדמה לעין יעקב) "...וזה מפני כלל שבידם שבמעשה הצדיקים כל מה שיש לדרוש לשבח צריך לדרוש לשבח. וברשעים להיפך שכך היא הקבלה שכוונתו של הבי"ת במלות שהכתיב היתה לרמוז על כל פרטי הרשע של הרשעים ולבאר כל חלקי גנותם. ולהפך בצדיקים. ולהעלים כל מש שאפשר שיהיה בהם מהגנאי ולבאר כל מה שבשבחם...."
Chazon Ish (Letters I:208) responded to the assertion that the Jews in Egypt were on the highest level in Torah, Mitzvos, faith and piety. The assertion was based upon the medrashism which said that the righteous women went to the fields and gave birth and left their children and there were many miracles done for them…The deduction being that surely because of these righteous women and these miracles – the entire Jewish people must of have been totally devoted to G-d and his mitvos. A further foundation of this assertion was the medrash which states that the Jews were only enslaved for 86 years and that this is insufficient time to become significantly dissolute and debased. The Chazon Ish said that these deduction have no basis since they are all against what Chazal themselves say on the subject.   He concludes that the assertion that it was impossible for the Jews to become ruined since they saw miracles is not valid. In fact the Jews saw miracles when they were redeemed from Egypt and at the Sea, as well as the Maan and at the giving of the Torah – and yet they made the Golden Calf. Furthermore there were 10 miracles at the Beis HaMikdash and many miracles and wonders done by the Prophets – nevertheless this did not prevent them from having free will to serve idols. one should not interpret the early generations in such a way that it is impossible for us to comprehend and learn from them. In fact they had free will and this is main thing in avodas HaShem.
Chazon Ish (Letters I:209) states a rule that for major widely stated facts one should should not interpret them significantly from the clear simple meaning. Only isolated things can be occasionally explained differently then their simple meaning. In the Torah we see much effort to save the Jews from deserting the entire Torah and running instead after idol worship something which according to our present condition where the Yetzer harah has been killed is totally incomprehensible.The reality of the desire for idol worship is really beyond our comprehension is the same way a blind person can’t comprehend colors

A similar assertion is made by the Leshem regarding why Chazal tell us  that Yosef really was on the verge of an adulterous relationship  - despite that fact not being explicit in the Torah. He rejects the idea that Chazal used a metaprinciple that we always explain  things so that Tzadikim are understood to do good things and the wicked do wicked things. He says that Chazal say what they said because they know it to be true through ruach hakodesh - including the nature of their sins.
Leshem(Shaarei Leshem 2:4:19): The critical point is that every Jew is obligated to believe with perfect faith that all which is found in the words of our Talmudic Sages - both in halacha, Talmudic agada and medrashim - are in their entirety the words of the living G‑d. That is because everything that they say is with ruach hakodesh (Sanhedrin 48:). This includes even that which isn’t relevant to halacha and deed…Also all their decrees and statutes are not the product of human intellect at all but rather are the result of ruach hakodesh in which G‑d has expressed Himself through them. This is the great sound that doesn’t end (Devarim 5:19) of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and it expresses itself in the Oral Torah…. Thus, the Sages are just like messengers in what they say…. This is why the Baal Halachos Gedolos includes the Rabbinic mitzvos with the Torah mitzvos since all of them were given by G‑d (Chagiga 3b)…We can conclude from all this that anyone who tries to analyze the words of the Sages in order to establish the nature of their truth places himself in great danger. That is because man’s intellect cannot properly comprehend this matter and thus a person can come to heresy from the endeavor. This is what Koheles (7:16) states: Don’t make yourself too wise - why destroy yourself? A person who gets involved in this matter will find it very difficult to resist following his human understanding. He will end up going back and forth between the view of the Torah and that of his own understanding…. The righteous person lives by his faith because that is the foundation of the entire Torah….
 update: Regarding Dovid HaMelech see Shabbos (56a), Avoda Zara 4b) and other places

Yoma (22b):R. Huna said: How little does he whom the Lord supports need to grieve or trouble himself! Saul sinned once and it brought [calamity] upon him, David sinned twice and it did not bring evil upon him — What was the one sin of Saul? The affair with Agag.19 But there was also the matter with Nob,20 the city of the priests? — [Still] it was because of what happened with Agag that Scripture says: It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king.21 What were the two sins of David? — The sin against Uriah22 and that [of counting the people to which] he was enticed.23 But there was also the matter of Bathsheba?[Rashi says because he had sexual relations with her] 24 — For that he was punished, as it is written, And he shall restore the lamb fourfold:25 the child, Amnon, Tamar and Absalom.26 But for the other sin he was also punished as it is written: So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed?27 — There his own body was not punished — But in the former case, too, his own body was not punished either?28 Not indeed? He was punished on his own body, for Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: For six months David was smitten with leprosy, the Sanhedrin removed from him, and the Shechinah departed from him, as it is written: Let those that fear Thee return unto me, and they that know Thy testimonies,29 and it is also written: Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.30 But Rab said that David also listened to evil talk?31 — We hold like Samuel [who says] that David did not do so. And even according to Rab, who says that David listened to calumny, was he not punished for it? For Rab Judah said in the name of Rab. At the time when David said to Mephibosheth: I say: Thou and Ziba divide the land,32 a heavenly voice came forth to say to him: Rehoboam and Jeroboam will divide the Kingdom. [...] Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: Why did the kingdom of Saul not endure? Because no reproach rested on him,38 for R. Johanan had said in the name of R. Simeon b. Jehozadak: One should not appoint any one administrator of a community, unless he carries a basket of reptiles on his back, so that if he became arrogant, one could tell him: Turn around!39

[Rashi understands the above as meaning that Shaul did not have a degrading family tree while Dovid did.]

Yaaros Devash (1:15): Why does Yoma (22b) consider Dovid’s descent from Tamar to be degrading? Isn’t it a fact that at that time — before the Giving of the Torah — it was considered normal for the father of the deceased to marry the widow? It was only after the Giving of the Torah that the widow was restricted to a marriage with a brother‑in‑law? See Ramban (Bereishis 38:8) and Abarbanel who agree that Yehuda fulfilled the mitzva of yibum by marrying Tamar. Therefore why was it considered a degradation — the opposite seems true because Yehuda was fulfilling the mitzva of levirate marriage?

update: Rav S. R. Hirsch(Bereishis 12: 10 – 13):.  The Torah does not seek to portray our great men  as perfectly ideal figures; it deifies no man. It says of no one: “Here you  have the ideal; in this man the Divine assumes human form!” It does  not set before us the life of any one person as the model from which  we might learn what is good and right, what we must do and what we  must refrain from doing. When the Torah wishes to put before us a  model to emulate, it does not present a man, who is born of dust.  Rather, God presents Himself as the model, saying: “Look upon Me!  Emulate Me! Walk in My ways!” We are never to say: “This must be  good and right, because so-and-so did it.” The Torah is not an “anthology  of good deeds.” It relates events not because they are necessarily  worthy of emulation, but because they took place.    The Torah does not hide from us the faults, errors, and weaknesses  of our great men, and this is precisely what gives its stories credibility.  The knowledge given us of their faults and weaknesses does not detract  from the stature of our great men; on the contrary, it adds to their  stature and makes their life stories even more instructive. Had they  been portrayed to us as shining models of perfection, flawless and  unblemished, we would have assumed that they had been endowed  with a higher nature, not given to us to attain. Had they been portrayed  free of passions and inner conflicts, their virtues would have seemed  to us as merely the consequence of their loftier nature, not acquired  by personal merit, and certainly no model we could ever hope to  emulate.

We also find criticism of the Avos in Chazal such as this medrash which said they erred in chinuch.

SHEMOTH RABBAH (1:1):  NOW THESE ARE THE NAMES OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL, WHO CAME INTO EGYPT WITH JACOB; EVERY MAN CAME WITH HIS HOUSEHOLD (EX. I, 1): Thus we read: He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Prov. XIII, 24). Ordinarily, if a man's friend says to him: ' So-and-so, smite your son,’ he is ready even to deprive him of his livelihood.l Then why ’He that spareth his rod hateth his son’?2 To teach you that anyone who refrains from chastising his son causes him to fall into evil ways and thus comes to hate him. This is what we find in the case of Ishmael who behaved wickedly before Abraham his father, but he did not chastise him, with the result that he fell into evil ways, so that he despised him and cast him forth empty-handed from his house. What did Ishmael do? When he was fifteen years old, he commenced to bring idols from the street, toyed with them and worshipped them as he had seen others3 do. So when Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport (Gen. XXI, 9)- (the word mezahek being always used of idolatry as in And they rose up to make merry (Ex. XXXII, 6)4)-she immediately said unto Abraham: Cast out this bondwoman and her son (Gen. XXI, 10) lest my son learn of his ways. [see rest of medrash]

Friday, February 21, 2014

Men also suffer from Sexism

Atlantic    Can men be victims of sexism? 

An NPR Morning Edition report this week suggests strongly that the answer is "yes." As Jennifer Ludden reports, after divorce men can face burdensome alimony payments even in situations where their ex-wives are capable of working and earning a substantial income. Even in cases where temporary alimony makes sense—as when a spouse has quit a job to raise the children—it's hard to understand the need for lifetime alimony payments, given women's current levels of workforce participation. As one alimony-paying ex-husband says, "The theory behind this was fine back in the '50s, when everybody was a housewife and stayed home." But today, it looks like an antiquated perpetuation of retrograde gender roles—a perpetuation which, disproportionately, harms men.

This isn't the only case in which men can suffer from gender discrimination. David Benatar, in his 2012 monograph The Second Sexism discusses a whole range of other ways in which men as men are disadvantaged. Men, for example, receive custody of children in only about 10 percent of divorce cases in the United States. Men also, as Benatar writes, are subject to "a long history of social and legal fight in war" —pressures which women do not generally experience in the same way. Along the same lines, physical violence against men is often minimized or seen as normal. Benatar refers to the history of corporal punishment, which has much more often been inflicted on boys than girls. Society's scandalous tolerance of rape in prison seems like it is also related to a general indifference to, or even amusement at, sexual violence committed against men. [...]

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shorshei HaYam- Beriat Olam and Sod Elokut by Rav Yaakov Hillel

Is Lack of Intellectual Honesty causing a crisis in Chareidi world?

There has been an intensive and heated discussion going on in the comments section to the post -  Psychology of everyday life
I am moving part of it here so it gets the attention it deserves. I picked the comments of Ploni as the starting point. Katche-lab's cogent rebuttal is in the comments section
Ploni writes:
Eddie - I think the issue of intellectual dishonesty that seems to bother you IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. I’ll go as far as to say that you haven’t been vociferous enough in advancing THIS issue.

You write: “not only did the Gra hold that a student can argue with his Rebbe, he can also be right”.

I have some news for you – the source isn’t the Gr”a – it’s the Gemara in סנהדרין ז, among many other places…

אמר ר' יהושע בן לוי עשרה שיושבין בדין קולר תלוי בצואר כולן פשיטא לא צריכא אלא לתלמיד היושב לפני רבו
פרש"י: קולר תלוי. עונשה של הטייה: לתלמיד היושב לפני רבו. ובא דין לפני רבו והוא לא נזקק לדבר. נענש אם שתק והוא מבין ברבו שטועה:

SHULCHAN ARUCH also clearly states the talmid’s obligation:
יו"ד רמ"ב-כ"ב רָאָה רַבּוֹ עוֹבֵר עַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה, אוֹמֵר לוֹ: לִמַּדְתַּנִי רַבֵּנוּ כָּךְ וְכָךְ. הגה: וְאִם רָצָה לַעֲבֹר רַק עַל אִסּוּר דְּרַבָּנָן, אֲפִלּוּ הָכֵי צָרִיךְ לִמְחוֹת בְּיָדוֹ. (ת''ה סִימָן מ''ג) . הָרוֹאֶה רַבּוֹ עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה, וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַקְשׁוֹת עַל זֶה, אִם הוּא אִסּוּר דְּאוֹרַיְתָא יַקְשֶׁה לוֹ קֹדֶם הַמַּעֲשֶׂה, וְאִם הוּא אִסּוּר דְּרַבָּנָן, יַנִּיחוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת הַמַּעֲשֶׂה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַקְשֶׁה לוֹ, הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ וַדַּאי שֶׁעוֹבֵר, אֶלָּא שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לְהַקְשׁוֹת עַל זֶה (תא''ו נָתִיב ב') .

Likewise, SHULCHAN ARUCH also clearly states the Rebbe’s obligation to SUPPLY REASONS for his Psak:

יו"ד רמ"ב-י' יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁכָּתַב שֶׁאָסוּר לְחָכָם לְהַתִּיר דָּבָר (יב) הַתָּמוּהַּ שֶׁנִּרְאֶה לָרַבִּים שֶׁהִתִּיר אֶת הָאָסוּר. באר היטב (יב) התמוה. כתב הש''ך נראה דהיינו דוקא אם מתיר בסתם אבל אם אומר לשואל טעם בדבר ומראה לו פנים או שמביא ראיות מתוך הספר מותר:

But why do I think THESE סעיפים in S”A are SO important; after all, aren’t there unfortunately so many neglected סעיפים in שלחן ערוך???


I’ll try to iy”h explain why in my next post

Katche - What I think is Eddie's REAL issue, in which he has a strong argument, is THE LACK OF INTELLECTUAL HONESTY SO RAMPANT IN OUR CIRCLES. In my last post I mentioned a little bit about the sources stating that TRUTH is of paramount importance in Judaism. Here I want to try to elaborate a bit on WHY:

I think practically every Jew agrees that the core beliefs of our religion are encapsulated in Kria Shema. These are the Pesukim that every Jew says several times every single day … these are the Pasukim that countless Jews have said in the last few moments of their worldly existence, as they stood ready to sacrifice their lives – regardless of whether they were Chareidi or MO .. Sefardi or Ashkenazi …..

What are our intentions supposed to be, when we utter these hallowed words … again and again? Listen to what the רשב"א says in ח"ה ס' נ"ה (while I’m only quoting a small piece, I think the entire תשובה should be required reading for everybody).

In essence, the Rashba seems to advance several startling concepts: a) We are OBLIGATED to engage in what he calls חקירה – which is typically assumed to be one and the same as searching for TRUTH and also the same as INTELLECTUAL HONESTY, b) this חקירה includes השמיעה והלימוד וחיקור היטב אם יש ראיה סותרת ח"ו – searching for contradictions to our beliefs, c) we need to continue to engage in such חקירה until we reach the point of what we might call “moral absolutism” - the OPPOSITE of moral relativism - שהחקירה תביא לדעת שאין עוד זולתו אדון בשמים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת אין עוד – certitude in our beliefs.

The Rashba doesn’t mince words on WHY this is so important: He says that we are obligated to engage in introspection so as to understand that our religion is not based on habit - מצות אנשים מלומדה שהלימוד שלימדהו והרגילוהו עליו יביאהו להאמין ככה שלא הונח על חקירת דעתו. Our religion is NOT something that contradicts and / or discredits the most intelligent person’s sensibilities - וחכמתו יחויב בהפך. And although it’s not proper to say in our politically correct world of tolerance where everybody is free to believe in anything but nobody has a right to REALLY believe in anything – we stand apart from other religions, which וחכמתו יחויב בהפך כאשר יקרה לרוב האמונות. (An example of PC’ess – the recent decision in the “enlightened” Danish govt. that “animal rights come before religion”. (Just google it for more).

Here’s the Rashba, see it for yourself:

אודות החיוב לחקור - דברי הרשב"א בשו"ת ח"ה ס' נ"ה: ענין פרשת קר"ש... יש לכל בעל דעה לדעת כי היא פרשה מיוחדת לנו כוללת ... יסודות כל הבנין אשר בית ישראל נכון עליהם ... ועוד צריכין אנו להתבונן שאין אמונתו וייחודו מצות אנשים מלומדה שהלימוד שלימדהו והרגילוהו עליו יביאהו להאמין ככה שלא הונח על חקירת דעתו, וחכמתו יחויב בהפך כאשר יקרה לרוב האמונות, רק אנחנו חייבים לשמוע ולחקור אחר השמיעה והחקירה שהחקירה האמיתית תחויב ותכריע על ככה, והוא אומרו שמע ישראל שמלת שמע כולל ג' ענינים ... שמיעת האזן... והושאלה לדעת... והושאלה גם לקבלה והאמונה... וכאן ר"ל ... (ו)אחרי השמיעה והלימוד וחיקור היטב אם יש ראיה סותרת ח"ו, ... תביאנו החקירה ותכריחנו הכרח אמתי לקבל ולהאמין כי הוא יתברך נמצא וכן הוא משגיח על פרטי מעשנו ... שהחקירה תביא לדעת שאין עוד זולתו אדון בשמים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת אין עוד, ואחר שנדע ונסכים על זה אז באמת ראוי לאהוב אותו בכל לבבנו ובכל נפשנו ובכל מאודנו כי משלו הכל ומשלו נתן לו ... ע"כ.

The Rashba is far from the only one who endorses this stance. I think it’s pretty much universal among Rishonim like the חובת הלבבות (הקדמה, שער עבודת אלקים פ"ג), רבינו בחיי (עה"פ אשר לא ידעת אתה ואבותיך דברים י"ג-ד), רבינו סעדיה גאון באמונת ודעות (הקדמה), etc. It just seems more surprising for the Rashba, when one notes that this is the same Rashba who was in the FOREFRONT of the חרם AGAINST חכמות חיצוניות – see ח"א ס' תי"ג וכו'.

Part 2:

So far, we know that the benefit of this חקירה is “moral absolutism”. Rav Saadya Gaon elaborates on the benefits of the search for TRUTH, when he explains why he wrote his Sefer. He seems to say that besides the obvious “religious” benefits obtained by having the CERTITUDE of truth - namely the necessary confidence while successfully engaging non-believers, grace of G-d, etc. – there are many other potential gains: a) Happiness, b) authenticity, c) heartfelt prayer, d) honest business dealings, e) less envy, jealousy & resentment of others.

Here’s the רב סעדי' גאון, see it for yourself:

(הקדמת הרב סעדי' גאון לספר האמונה והדעות, פרק א-ב): הריני מקדים לספר זה אשר בכוונתי לחברו: הודעת גורמי השיבושים לבני אדם ... ועל דרכי סילוקן ... ויגיע בו דורשו אל הצדק והאמת ... מפני שראיתי ... מי שכבר הגיע אל האמת ויש לו בו ספקות ואינו ברור לו ואינו מחזיק בו, ... ומהם מי שכבר אימת את השווא מתוך דמיון שהוא האמת, והרי הוא מחזיק בשווא ועוזב את הישר, ... ומהם מי [ש]נבוך בתהפוכות כל ימיו ... ותהמה נפשי לאומתנו בני ישראל ... ואין אמודאי שיעלם ממעמקיהם ... וביכולתי ממה שחננני מה שאסמכם בו, וראיתי שחובה עלי לעזרם בכך ... וכאשר ינהג החכם והתלמיד בספר בדרך זו, יוסיף דורש האמת להגיע אל האמת, ויוסר מן המסופק ספקו, ומי שהיה סומך על אחרים באמונתו יהיה מאמין מתוך עיון ותבונה, וייאלם המטעה מהטעאותיו, ויבוש המתנגד העקש, וישמחו הצדיקים והישרים ... ובכך יוכשרו מצפוני בני אדם כברם, ותהיה תפלתם בלב שלם כאשר יהיה להם בלבם דבר המרתיעם מן החטא, והמעוררם אל הנכון, וכמו שאמר החסיד: בלבי צפנתי אמרתך למען לא אחטא לך. ותהיה נאמנותם שלמה במשאם ומתנם, ותמעט קנאתם זה בזה על עניני העולם, ותהיה מגמת פני כולם אל בעל החכמה, ולא יסורו אל זולתו, ויהיה להם לישע ורחמים וטובה ...

I found this to be a REAL eye-opener, since Rav Saadya’s list of benefits seems to point to a solution to many of the major issues that our communities currently suffer from, as his list of benefits is pretty much the diametrical opposite of many of the contemporary “hot button” issues: Depression, anxiety, empty aimless & wasted lives, dishonesty & the resultant Chilul Hashem, envy, jealousy & resentment……

I think that it’s fair to say that the MO crowd can accept the concept of חקירה much more easily than we Chareidim….

Correct me if I’m wrong, Eddie – does this mesh with your condemnation of Chareidim as unthinking and unpractical folks?< However, this post SUPPORTING what seems to be a positive aspect of the MO lifestyle over that Chareidi one is NOT so simple… (I’m sure you knew this would be coming – after all, I’m biased, right)?< Eddie wrote: “I think Saadya, Rambam, and apparently Ibn Ezra take a very rational approach to this - which is simply neglected today”. This is precisely the subject I’d like to touch on, IY”H beginning from this post. The issue of חקירה also seems to breed lots of confusion. In our Chareidi circles, being a חקרן is akin to being a “freethinker” – a word usually said in the same breath as some VERY negative terms, such as; Atheists, Secularists, Freethinkers, Rationalists and Humanists. Is this just one of Chareidiasm’s biases? Or is there any valid reason to attach a negative connotation to the terms חקירה and חקרן?< Putting aside contemporary Chareidi sensibilities for a minute, the positive exhortation to engage in חקירה and השמיעה והלימוד וחיקור היטב אם יש ראיה סותרת ח"ו raises some important questions of its own…. How could the Rashba obligate חקירה, when even the Rambam, מחבר of the Moreh, etc. writes in הל' ע"ז פ"ב ה"ג that we are PROHIBITED to “bring up” or focus on any thought that could cause us to weaken any of the עיקרי התורה, as he writes: רמב"ם פ"ג ה"ג: ... שלא יפנה אחר עבודת כוכבים ... ולא עבודת כוכבים בלבד הוא שאסור להפנות אחריה במחשבה אלא כל מחשבה שהוא גורם לו לאדם לעקור עיקר מעיקרי התורה מוזהרין אנו שלא להעלותה על לבנו ולא נסיח דעתנו לכך ונחשוב ונמשך אחר הרהורי הלב ... פעמים יתור אחר עבודת כוכבים ופעמים יחשוב ביחוד הבורא שמא הוא שמא אינו. מה למעלה ומה למטה מה לפנים ומה לאחור. ופעמים בנבואה שמא היא אמת שמא היא אינה. ופעמים בתורה שמא היא מן השמים שמא אינה. ... ועל ענין זה הזהירה תורה ונאמר בה (במדבר טו-לט) ''ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם אשר אתם זונים''. .... כך אמרו חכמים (גמרא ברכות יב-ב) ''אחרי לבבכם זו מינות'' ואחרי עיניכם זו זנות. ולאו זה אע''פ שהוא גורם לאדם לטרדו מן העולם הבא אין בו מלקות:< So the Rashba - who led the Cherem against חכמות חיצוניות - is telling us to search השמיעה והלימוד וחיקור היטב אם יש ראיה סותרת ח"ו, while the RAMBAM – author of the מורה נבוכים – is telling us כל מחשבה שהוא גורם לו לאדם לעקור עיקר מעיקרי התורה מוזהרין אנו שלא להעלותה על לבנו. Huh????? But even worse – how are we supposed to reach the CERTITUDE that רב סעדיה גאון tells us is so important and beneficial, if we can’t even THINK of the possibility of the different options??? The answer can be found in רב סעדיה גאון –הקדמה, פרק ו', where he himself raises the issue that חז"ל seem to PROHIBIT חקירה, while he is encouraging the same…

Rav Saadya Gaon makes it clear that the חקירה he is endorsing does NOT START with rationality (def: based on or in accordance with reason or logic), and he also explains WHY it CAN NOT.

ואם יאמר הרי גדולי חכמי ישראל הזהירו מזה ... והוא אמרם כל המסתכל בארבעה דברים רתוי לו כאלו לא בא לעולם, מה למטה מה למעלה מה לפנים מה לאחור? נאמר בעזרת הרחמן, כי העיון האמיתי לא יתכן שימנעונו ממנו, והרי בוראנו כבר צוונו עליו עם המסורת האמיתית. כאומרו: ... הלא הבינותם מוסדות הארץ, ואמרו החסידים זה לזה: משפט נבחרה לצו נדעה בינינו מה טוב ... אבל מנעו מלהניח ספרי הנביאים בצד, ולהחזיק במה שייראה לכל אחד ואחד מדעת עצמו, בהעלותו במחשבתו עניני ראשית המקום והזמן ... אבל חוקרים אנו קהל בני ישראל ומעיינים שלא בדרך הזו, והיא אשר אזכירה ואבארה בעזרת הרחמן ... כי מה שאנחנו חוקרים ומעיינים בענייני אמונתנו הוא ... כדי שיתאמת לנו בפועל מה שידענו מפי נביאי ה' בידיעה ... כי ה' יתברך ויתעלה לימדנו כל מה שנחוץ לנו בענייני אמונתנו באמצעות נביאיו ... צונו שנדע אותם העניינים ונשמרם. והודיעם כי כאשר אנו מעיינים וחוקרים, יוציא לנו העיון האמיתי השלם בכל דבר ככל אשר הודיענו בדברי שליחיו, ונתן לנו בטחון שלא יתכן שתהא נגדנו הוכחה מצד המכחישים את דתנו, ולא טענה מצד המפקפקים באמונתנו ... ועל דרך זו ... אנו מעיינים וחוקרים כדי להוציא אל הפועל את אשר הודיענו בוראנו בדרך הודעה.

He doesn’t leave any doubts about the point that חקירה does NOT start with rationality, reason & logic. He repeats it over and over - I think FIVE times - in this piece alone:

א) מנעו מלהניח ספרי הנביאים בצד, ב) שאנחנו חוקרים ומעיינים ... כדי שיתאמת לנו בפועל מה שידענו מפי נביאי ה' בידיעה ... ג) ה' יתברך ויתעלה לימדנו כל מה שנחוץ לנו בענייני אמונתנו באמצעות נביאיו ... ד) יוציא לנו העיון האמיתי השלם בכל דבר ככל אשר הודיענו בדברי שליחיו ... ה) אנו מעיינים וחוקרים כדי להוציא אל הפועל את אשר הודיענו בוראנו בדרך הודעה.

וכשם שיש לכל מלאכה מן המלאכות חלקים אשר אם יחדלו מלעשותם לפני השלמת המלאכה לא תיעשה אותה המלאכה, כגון הזריעה והבניין והאריגה ושאר המלאכות אשר אינן נשלמות אלא בסבלנות עושיהם עד סופם, כך מלאכת החכמה צריך להתחילה מראשיתה, וללכת בה פרק אחרי פרק עד סופה ... שהמעיין החל בדברים רבים מעורבבים, ולא חדל מלנפותם תשעה מתוך עשרה, ואחר כך שמונה מתשעה, ואחר כך שבעה משמונה, עד אשר זוקקו מן הבלבולים והספקות, ונשאר לו הצרוף המוחלט. ואם הפסיק מלעיין כאשר הגיע אל המצב החמישי או הרביעי או איזה שלב שהוא, הרי נסתלקו ממנו מן ספקות בשיעור השלבים אשר הניח מאחריו, ונשאר לו מהן שעור מה שנותר מן השלבים שעודם לפניו.

Therefore, he says, our חקירה ends up only SOMETIMES accurately reflecting truth, and but we often end up making mistakes. 2) Even if we DO eventually reach truth, the process is lengthy, leaving us without proper beliefs until that point in time. 3) Even after reaching truth we can “lose” it, because of a new false belief that pops up.

כי מי שמעיין בצופן זה, אפשר שיכווין אל האמת ואפשר שיטעה. ועד אשר ישיג את האמת הרי הוא ללא אמונה. ואפילו אם יגיע אל האמונה, אין בטחון שלא תעקר ממנו בגלל איזו טעות שתיראה לו ותפסיד לו דעותיו,

Part 5:

Furthermore, Rav Saadya (הקדמה-פ"ז) mentions eight beliefs & behaviors that hold people back from reaching the truth: 1) Admitting to the truth often results in certain obligations, and people don’t like obligations. 2) Foolishness often overwhelms reason. 3) Prurient biases cause us to avoid proper analyzation. 4) People tend to despise properly scrutinizing & deliberating matters. 5) Haughtiness causes people to assume expertise in matters that they don’t have sufficient knowledge about, 6) People are emotionally swayed by heresy that they heard, 7) In the past, they became accustomed to hearing weak arguments to defend faith, so they erroneously believe that stronger arguments don’t exist. 8) Somebody carries hatred towards a certain religious person, and therefore blames the religion.

He also points out that none of these beliefs & behaviors would ever be acceptable in matters pertaining to עוה"ז “worldly matters”.

So what we see now is that the basis for חקירה has to be Torah, because otherwise we’d never “make it” to truth on our own, and even if we do “make it”, we could easily “lose it”.

But this seems to bring up an obvious shortcoming in reaching the stated goal of חקירה – which is certitude. [...]

Part 6:

I see I’ve been badly misunderstood as to my comment about חקירה. I was actually heading in the OPPOSITE direction – my point is that the term חקירה used in the Rishonim is NOT the same as what many people think it is.

חקירה that the Rishonim talk about is NOT meant to be the REASON for why we are ready to put our lives on the line for Judaism. As the חסיד יעבץ writes, the philosophers in the period of the Spanish Inquisition had much less courage than the simple folk.

The חקירה that the Rishonim was meant to ADD CERTITUDE to the belief that we have in Torah, and WHICH PRECEDES it. The Rishonim obligate us to BE SURE about our religious beliefs, THEIR חקירה had this SOLE purpose.

The חובות הלבבות who wrote שער היחוד didn’t believe BECAUSE of שער היחוד, or he’d be contradicting what he himself writes in שער עבודת אלקים that ההערת התוריה MUST come first. The רס"ג and other Rishonim still OBLIGATE us to be עוסק in what THEY CALL חקירה – so that we become DEDICATED & PASSIONATE JEWS.

My point is – Torah and Truth are ONE & THE SAME. The minute we know that something is Torah – it IS true. We have CERTITUDE that our life is meaningful, because we are CERTAIN that we’re working for the Creator of the “whole wide world”. As the רס"ג says – this gives us שמחה, keeps us honest, etc. For the process to work - We MUST BE CERTAIN!

But often we DON’T know if something is Torah, or not, or we CAN’T be certain … what to do?

For this purpose, we need בעלי מסורה to explain Torah, since the Torah’s meanings are often חתום וסתום. The Gedolim of every generation are enlisted. They “give” us CERTAINTY.

However, as mentioned from ס' רמ"ב, these בעלי מסורה DON’T OWN TORAH, unless they follow the “due process” that is necessary for “finding” truth – only THEN are we CERTAIN.

In other words, the Gedolim’s mandate is limited to EXPLAIN Torah, by using the “due process” of how “Torah Truth” is to be found. Once they follow this mandate and we follow them, we are once again certain that our life is meaningful, because we are CERTAIN that we’re working for the Creator of the “whole wide world”.

What happens when our Gedolim DON’T seem to following “due process”?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Avoid saying NO by Allan Katz

Allan Katz [....] Parents often use the argument  -'  des pashts nishts ' with kids – it is not appropriate or our family does not do this type of thing. Generally, if parents show a passionate belief in what they say and offer explanations it might help, but sometimes the parents are forbidding something which is allowed according to the halacha – law ,but they hold by higher standards and the kid is not there with them.  And here Ha'rav Osher Weiss in an answer to a question from an  overseas  'anglo-saxon'  audience concerning certain  English literature for kids said -  sometimes saying NO has a worse impact than allowing a kid his request . It is not the message we teach - …..  , but the message kids learn is that their concerns are not taken seriously by us and ignored. This is the down side to the advice parents are given -  tell your kids NO a few times a day so they get used to hearing NO.

I prefer to avoid saying No . Saying No is essentially only one solution to a concern . Because the solution only addresses the parents concern we are using Plan A. – imposing Adult will.  I recommend 'Don’t stick your no’s in unnecessarily, try to say yes and don’t be rigid.'

I like the phrase - ' I am not saying No '

Of course this does not mean I am saying yes , it means ' I just want to hear your concerns , can you tell me more ?' Our purpose is to get a conversation going with the child mainly speaking and  we  listening. We need to gather information about the child's  concerns.

When our concerns are put on the table, we are in fact setting a limit, because our concerns will be addressed by the mutually satisfying solution.

Any solution must be mutually satisfactory addressing both concerns of the parent and child. Of course there will be times that a parent will insist on his way but the kid who has had his concerns taken seriously in the past is more likely to trust his parents when they insist on  their solution.

Try to talk things through and help your child connect with his true inner core so that the mutually satisfying solution is one that he feels is his own, meets his needs and an expression of who he is. The CPS - collaborative problem solving process Cp builds relationship , promotes life skills that will be needed when he goes out into the world and especially help with important relationships including marriage. The process also  supports his autonomy in a healthy way.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The All or Nothing Marriage: When it is good it is very good but when it is bad it is horrid

NY Times   ARE marriages today better or worse than they used to be?

This vexing question is usually answered in one of two ways. According to the marital decline camp, marriage has weakened: Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general. But according to the marital resilience camp, though marriage has experienced disruptive changes like higher divorce rates, such developments are a sign that the institution has evolved to better respect individual autonomy, particularly for women. The true harm, by these lights, would have been for marriage to remain as confining as it was half a century ago.

As a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, I would like to offer a third view. Over the past year I immersed myself in the scholarly literature on marriage: not just the psychological studies but also work from sociologists, economists and historians. Perhaps the most striking thing I learned is that the answer to whether today’s marriages are better or worse is “both”: The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.[...]

How and why did this divergence occur? In answering this question, I worked with the psychologists Chin Ming Hui, Kathleen L. Carswell and Grace M. Larson to develop a new theory of marriage, which we will publish later this year in a pair of articles in the journal Psychological Inquiry. Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.

Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.[...]

HERE lie both the great successes and great disappointments of modern marriage. Those individuals who can invest enough time and energy in their partnership are seeing unprecedented benefits. The sociologists Jeffrey Dew and W. Bradford Wilcox have demonstrated that spouses who spent “time alone with each other, talking, or sharing an activity” at least once per week were 3.5 times more likely to be very happy in their marriage than spouses who did so less frequently. The sociologist Paul R. Amato and colleagues have shown that spouses with a larger percentage of shared friends spent more time together and had better marriages.

But on average Americans are investing less in their marriages — to the detriment of those relationships. Professor Dew has shown that relative to Americans in 1975, Americans in 2003 spent much less time alone with their spouses. Among spouses without children, weekly spousal time declined to 26 hours per week from 35 hours, and much of this decline resulted from an increase in hours spent at work. Among spouses with children at home, spousal time declined to 9 hours per week from 13, and much of this decline resulted from an increase in time-intensive parenting.[...]

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Israelis write notes to traffic cops - and it helps sometimes

PRI    Valentine’s Day isn’t widely celebrated in Israel. But Israelis do write love notes year-round — and leave them on their cars.

They’re scribbled on scraps of paper and wedged in windows. Or, they’re typed out and propped up on dashboards. [...]

Since 2011, I have been taking pictures of what I call "Love Notes to Traffic Cops." So I showed Avraham some photos in my collection to see how he would respond to the notes if he were to see them on the job.

When a driver writes “I’m dropping off my kids at kindergarten, please don’t give me a ticket,” he doesn’t. Avraham said it’s not fair to ticket a parent when everyone’s dropping off kids and taking up all the parking spots.

But there are times, he said, when people try to pull rank, writing notes like, “I’m the pharmacist at such-and-such pharmacy.” Subtext: I’m important. Don’t give me a ticket. Avraham said he does.

Then there are the kinds of notes you can only find in Israel: Honorable cop, We are sitting shiva [mourning for someone who has died] at so-and-so’s house. Here’s the address. Please don’t give us a ticket.

“In a situation like this, we do not give a ticket,” Avraham said.

Every day, parking cops get a list of where families are observing the Jewish week of mourning, Avraham said. When parking spaces run out, and visitors park illegally, they don’t get ticketed.

So, there you have it. In Israel, you can, in fact, convince parking cops not to give you a ticket. But why are Israelis prone to negotiate their traffic violations?

Maharal's criticism of dayanim who only hear one side

Bluesteed wrote:

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

I  wanted to bring the following Maharal to the audience's attention, referring to dayanim who hear one side's story ex parte, and then write "conditional" one-sided piskei din based on their testimony, warning that the petitioner falls into "rasha arum" status and the dayan is responsible as his enabler: והנה איזה דיינים שעושים דבר במשפט ובדין ונראה בעיניהם the rest can be found here: Hebrew Books

Mendel Fish 'n beiner added:

Perhaps someone should send a few copies to some so-called "Gedolim", and also paste copies on the walls of their shuls & neighborhoods... For good measure, how about this other one: Maharal in גור ארי' on - Parshas Mishpotim Gur Aryeh thru Gur Aryeh

מהר"ל (ספר נתיבות עולם א - נתיב הדין - פרק ב( והנה איזה דיינים שעושים דבר במשפט ובדין ונראה בעיניהם שהוא דבר קל והוא דבר גדול מאוד מאוד, וזה כי מביא לו אחד מן בעלי דין משפטו ומסדר לו טענות שלו והרב יכתוב ויחתום לו באם כן הדברים, וכל זה חטא ואשמה גדולה מאד כדכתיב שמוע בין אחיכם, ואמרי' בפ' דיני ממונות שמוע בין אחיכם ושפטתם צדק אמר רבי חנינא אזהרה לדיין שלא ישמע דברי בעל דין קודם שיבא בעל דין חבירו ואזהרה לבעל דין שלא יטעים דבריו לדיין קודם שיבא בעל דין חבירו קרי ביה נמי שמע בין אחיכם, רב כהנא מלא תשא לא תשיא נפקא. ואין לומר דטעמא הוי משום שמשקר לו בעל דין וכדמשמע מפירש"י ז"ל, שאפילו היכא דמסדר לפניו דברים של אמת ואינו משקר כיון שמטעים דבריו לדיין נכנסו דבריו בדעתו לזכותו ומחפש לו זכותו, ואף אם ישיב אחר כך חבירו על דבריו כיון שדבריו כבר נכנסו באזני הדיין אינו מסלק דעתו מהם. ומכל שכן כאשר יכתוב פסק דין על פי דברי אחד מן בעלי דינין ואע"ג שיכתוב בא"כ, סוף סוף כיון שבעל דין היה מטעים דבריו לדיין אינו רואה זכות האחר כלל ומחפש תמיד למצא זכותו של זה שהיה מטעים דבריו אליו. ודבר זה אין צריך ראיה, והרי אמרו בסוטה איזה רשע ערום זה המטעים דבריו לדיין קודם שיבא בעל דין חבירו ע"כ. והרי אין לך מטעים דבריו לדיין יותר מזה ואיך יעשה לו דבר זה שיתן לו פסק דין והרי מכשיל את בעל הדין עד שהוא רשע ערום ועובר בלאו והדיין עובר בלאו. ואם היה מקבל ממון בשביל זה, דבר זה באיסור לא תקח שוחד כי איך לא יהיה דעתו נוטה אחריו מאחר שאינו מקבל רק מאחד, דקרנא הוי שקיל אסתרא מזכאי ואסתרא מחייב ודאין להו דינא והיה אגר בטילה דמוכח זה שרי, אבל בכהאי גוונא דשקיל מאחד ולא שייך לומר דהוה אגר בטילה דמוכח דכיון דאינו מקבל משניהם בשוה, ומכל שכן דאגר בטילה אי אפשר שיהיה הרבה אלא דבר מועט, אבל אם לוקח הרבה וכי שייך בזה אגר בטילה דמוכח אין זה רק באיסור לא תקח שוחד, וכדאי הוא דבר זה בלבד להעמיד ירושלים בחורבתה וישראל בגלותם:

;גור אריה שמות כא

כשאויבינו פלילים כו'. דקרא (ר' דברים לב, כט) הכי קאמר "לו חכמו יבינו לאחריתם" שלא מידם היתה זאת מה שהם מושלים בנו, אלא מה' היתה זאת, כי ה' מכרם וה' הסגירם (שם שם ל), שהרי האומות מודים ש"לא כצורנו צורם" (שם שם לא), שאינו שוה צורם לצורינו, ואפילו הכי "אויבינו פלילים" (שם), ולמה היה זה, אלא כי צורם מכרם. ומזה תשמע אם היה צורם שוה חס ושלום לצורינו, ראוי שיהיו אויבינו פלילים, כי בדין כך הוא, אחר שצורם שוה לצורינו, ראוי שיהיו אויבינו פלילים. ואם כן המביא דין בערכאות שלהם מייקר שם עבודה זרה, לומר חס ושלום כי צורם וכו'. וטעם זה ידוע, כי המשפט הוא לאלהים, כדכתיב (דברים א, יז) "כי המשפט לאלהים הוא". ועוד כתיב (ר' מ"ב יז, פו) "ולא ידעו משפט אלהי הארץ", הרי כי המשפט תולה באלהות. ועוד, כי עובדי עבודה זרה אומרים כי המשפטים הוא לאלהות שלהם, כי כל אלהות יש לו משפט, ולעולם הולכין אחר בית דין יפה וחשוב יותר (סנהדרין לב:), נמצא ההולך לפני דין שלהם מייקר שם עבודה זרה להחשיב משפט אלהיהם.
ובקצת ארצות ובקצת קהילות שמים ללענה משפט ראשונה, הקימו להם מציבות למנות להם מקצת ראשים בורים, לא ידעו לשון משפט ומהו הדין, ודרשו המקרא לגנאי לפני הדיוטות דווקא, שלא די שמנו ראשים בורים מכל, אלא נטלו המשפט מיודעי דבר המשפט ונתנו אותו לבורים, עד שהיודעים ותלמידים - בעיניהם רואים עוות משפט ודין גזל ועושק על מקצת ראשים בורים, ואין לאל ידיהם להושיע אף ליתום ולאלמנה. והנה עוברים כל שעה על "לא תטע לך אשירה אצל מזבח ה' אלהיך" (ר' דברים טז, כא), כמו שאמרו חז"ל (סנהדרין ז:) הממנה דיין שאינו הגון כאילו נוטע אשרה אצל מזבח ה'. ואולי רמז עליו בתורה "לא תטע לך אשרה אשר שנא ה' אלהיך" (ר' דברים טז, כא), כי אותיות "אשרה" 'הראש', "אשר שנא ה'" קאי על האשרה, הוא הראש ששנא ה' אלהיך, ואלהיך שונא אותו גם כן. וחכמי הדור אין להם להתאונן על כבוד התורה, כי דיו לעבד שיהיה כמו רבו (ברכות נח:), הרי הם מחללים שם שמים ומייקרים שם עבודה זרה, עבירה גוררת עבירה (אבות פ"ד מ"ב), דורשים 'לפני הדיוטות' דוקא, עד שבאו לדרוש 'לפני ערכאות' דוקא, עד שאין פונים עוד למשפטי התורה. ואין לך דבר אהוב לפני השם יתברך כמו משפט אמת, וכמו שאמרו ז"ל (שבת י.) היושב ודן דין אמת לאמתו נעשה שותף להקב"ה במעשה בראשית. והם משליכים אמת ארצה, עד כי אין משפטי אמת. ונמשך עוד כמעט חס ושלום שאין תורה ודת, כי אין ביד החכמים לגדור פרצות הדור, כי יאמר הראש וחביריו, והדומה לו, אין אתה אב בית דין לנו שאנחנו חייבים לשמוע לך. ויותר קשה לסבול עולם מעול מלכות, שמפני שאין הכבוד נאה לו, והוא אינו נאה לכבוד, [ו] כאשר יחשוב שאין אחד נוהג כבוד בו, ולא ירצה להיות כפוף תחתיו - מכניע אותו ומציר לו ורודף אותו בכל הרדפה, וכן לשפלותו הוא מגרה באנשים חשובים ותלמידי חכמים, שיסבור כי אין החשובים והתלמידי חכמים רוצים להיות נכנעים תחתיו, ולכן הוא דורך על במתי החשובים והנכבדים ביותר להשפיל אותם. אוי ואבוי להם מאותה חרפה ומאותה בושה ומאותה כלימה. אך נתקררה רוחי ונכבה אש יקוד לבי הבוערת, כי דבר בם ראיתי כי אין יוצא מאתם לא נין ולא נכד, עד שהעניות שולטת, [ואין להם] זרע שיהיה לו שם בחכמים ושאר בתלמידים.

ואני אומר כי ירא אלהים יחוש לו ואל יעמוד לפניהם למשפט, והרי אמרו ז"ל (סנהדרין ז:) "לא תעשו אתי אלהי כסף ואלהי זהב" (ר' לעיל כ, כ), זה דיין הבא בשביל כסף וזהב. ולפיכך נאמר "לא תעשו אתי", כי הדיין הוא עם השם יתברך, כדכתיב (תהלים פב, א) "אלהים נצב בעדת אל", ומי שהוא עומד לדין לפני דיין הממונה בעבור עשרו, הרי עושה אלהי כסף ואלהי זהב עם השם יתברך, אשר "נצב בעדת אל בקרב אלהים ישפוט" (שם). ומצוה להקל בכבודם, כמו שכתב בחושן משפט. ובירושלמי בסוף ביכורים (פ"ג ה"ג) רבי מני מקיל לאילין דמתמנין בכסף. רבי אמי קרי עליהן "אלהי כסף". ובאלו שנתמנו בשביל עשרם יש בהם הכל ועל הכל, כי הידים ידי עשו סמכו אותם. אמנם נמצאו גם כן בקצת קהילות נאמני רוח, כונתם לשם שמים, לא להשתורר על הציבור בגאוה, על אלו נאמר העוסקים עם הצבור לשם שמים צדקתם עומדת לעד, ועל האחרים נאמר (ישעיה א, כה - כו) "ואשיבה ידי עליך ואצרוף כבור סיגיך ואסירה כל בדיליך ואשיבה שופטיך כבראשונה

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn

As a follow up to the chilling Maharal you shared with your readers, I would also like to point out the following Peirush HaGR"A on Esther 1:7, in the "al derech remez" portion on the left. There, the Vilna Gaon writes regarding the famous Gemara in Sotah that in the days leading to Mashiach there will be an abundance of chutzpa, " בעקבות משיחא חוצפא יסגי," because the dayanim appointed will be corrupt and "einam mehuganim," therefore "nearim pney zekeynim yalbinu," the young will embarass and challenge the elders-- and the Vilna Gaon concludes that chutzpah will be so prevalent that it will exist even in the elders, "in all of them including the gedoley hador."

דבעקבות משיחא חוצפא יסגי, והענין של החוצפא ההיא כי מעמידין דיין ופרנס שאינו הגון, ואמרו (סנהדרין ז׳) כל המעמיד דיין שאינו הגון כאילו נוטע אשירה כו׳, ובירושלמי קראם אלהי כסף ואלהי זהב (ע״ש במהרש״א) ולכך נערים פני זקנים ילבינו, אבל זקנים יעמדו מפני נערים מי הכריחן לכך, אלא שגברה החוצפא והוא אף בזקנים ובכולם גם בגדולי הדור.״