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Monday, February 28, 2005


JTA reports about a Vancouver woman, Aviel Barclay, who is about to finish writing a Sefer Torah. It states flat out:

Jewish law does not expressly forbid women to become scribes, but it is a role that traditionally has been filled by men.

Here's her article about her travails (from 2003).

Here's a rabbi who said that it would not be Halachicly acceptable for a woman to write a Sefer Torah, but nevertheless commissioned her to write a Megilat Esther.

Here's Jewschool's post about it (also, see comments).

Here and here are her websites. Here, she goes into a halachic discussion about it.

Here's a Mail-Jewish post that seems to contradict her conclusion of the view of the Sha'agat Aryeh.

What do I think? I think that feminism and halacha are a bad mix. This is especially true when feminits try to bend halacha to fit their views.
Women should not be writing Sifrei Torah, as it says in the Shulhan Aruch. For women to write a Megilat Esther may be different though. Ask your LOR.
For Sifrei Torah, do everyone a favor - stick w/ Sofrim.

Update: I just looked up the halacha in Shulhan Aruch. It's black and white (Y"D 281:3). Even the Shach quoted in her "proof" seems to agree that women cannot write sifrei torah. Her only nail to hang on is the drisha, but following the Klalim of paskening, in the end, she has nothing to stand on. I feel for her, but halacha cannot bend toward foreign ideology.

Shabbat in Iraq

From Arutz Sheva:

The Iraqi government’s decision to make Saturday a day off has sparked much protest as Iraqis object to the observance of what they call “the Zionist holiday.”

The Iraqi government decided last week that in order to make up for the additional day off, the traditional six-hour Iraqi workday would be extended.

Many Iraqis went to work on Saturday anyway, saying they did not want to rest on the day when the Jews rest. They are demanding that the additional day off be Thursday instead.A statement released by the student union at Baghdad’s Mustansariyah University described the government order as forcing “the Zionist holiday” upon Iraqis.

The statement also said the decision had been made by an interim Iraqi government, and not the permanent one. "We declare a general strike in the University of Mustansariyah to reject this decision and any decision aimed at depriving Iraqis of their identity," the statement said.

In Samarra, one of the four Islamic holy cities, almost 80 miles north of Baghdad, a group of armed men forced the Mutawakal high school to open, threatening to kill the school’s teachers if they took the day off.

Students chanting "We don't want Saturday, it's a Jewish holiday" marched through the town of Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad.

This is interesting coming smack between 2 Parshiot that talk about Shabbat and the punishment of not keeping it.
Living in the USA, do you wish to protest getting off on Sunday? I never heard people saying, "I'd rather get a day off on Thursday and work on Sunday". Did you? (Well, maybe Friday - especially winter time.)

Terror Attack in Tel Aviv

5 Neshamot.
Over 50 injured.
IsraellyCool breaks down the situation as he does best.
Let's hope this is the last of the Hevlei Mashiah.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Interesting News Items Today from Arutz Sheva

Bush Asks Putin To Return Chabad Texts

Rabbis Call for World Jewry to Stop Disengagement

Minister Herzog Pushing Conservative Judaism

Kiryat Arba Yeshiva Moving to Shomron Community Slated For Destruction

Non-Hareidi Books Removed

OK, everyone. Follow these steps:
  1. Click here
  2. On the menu on the right, click on "Editions and pricelist"
  3. Now, click on "The Bnei Torah Edition"
  4. Read the content of the box
  5. Place hands on face and shake head

It's too bad that they don't have a "Non-Bnei Torah Edition". They'd probably be making a fortune on it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Siyum Hashas

Daf Yomi - be a part of it!
Well, if you can't be a part of it, at least be a part of the Siyum Hashas on March 1st. Chances are that there's a location near you (See here and scroll down for a list of cities). I remember the last one 7½ years ago. It was an incredible experience. Here are some nice words about the Siyum Hashas by Rabbi Pinchos Lipshutz.
(Hat tip: FrumActress)

Natalie Portman at the Kotel

The Jerusalem Post reports that Natalie Portman (aka Natalie Hershlag) was embracing and kissing Israeli actor Aki Avni at the Kotel for a new film that they're shooting.

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers angrily confronted actress Natalie Portman and her co-star, objecting to scenes of the couple kissing during the filming of a movie scene beside Jerusalem's Western Wall, police said.

The incident Tuesday evening underlined the sensitivity of the site, a remnant of the biblical Jewish temples, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

The site is controlled by strictly observant Jews. Male and female worshippers are separated by a barrier perpendicular to the wall, following Orthodox Jewish rules forbidding casual contact between the sexes.

Police said they had to step in when worshippers spotted Portman and Israeli actor Aki Avni embracing and kissing as part of a scene in their film, "Free Zone." The daily Yediot Ahronot said ultra-Orthodox Jews charged the actors, shouting ,"Immoral, immoral!"

Police said they asked the actors to leave and return later, and they agreed.

The rabbi in charge of the site, Shmuel Rabinovitch, said that codes of conduct under religious and state law prohibit acting or romantic interaction near the wall. "That code was not followed," he said.

The Israeli-born Portman has been studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in recent months.

My questions:
  1. Don't these film directors have researchers that would have told them in advance that such an incident was likely? (I see Miriam asked the same question)
  2. Why are some bloggers more concerned about the reaction of the Hareidim than the obvious stupidity of filming Peritzut at the Mekom Hamikdash? I don't condone what was done (if the reports are accurate) because Deracheha Darchei No'am, but this incident should never have occurred in the first place.
  3. Why did the police say to come back later? When? When there are only people saying Tikkun Hatzot?
  4. What's a nice Jewish girl doing in a film like this?

Rav Aryeh Carmel writes on Slifkin Issues

Rabbi Gil Student of Hirhurim links to an excellent essay by Rabbi Aryeh Carmel that deals with all the Slifkin issues (without mentioning Rabbi Slifkin or any other contemporary rabbi by name).

For background on the Slifkin affair, read this excellent(Part 1 Part 2) chronology of events by Bnei Levi.
Also, read the response by Rabbi Slifkin himself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sharon's Disengagement Plan

This is the topic of the year. I respect Sarah's views on the matter. However, I'm much more aligned with David from IsraellyCool's views.

[I'm even more impressed that he quoted the views of the Rishon Letzion Rav Ovadiah Yosef, for whom I have tremendous respect (despite what others may say). "Et Hashem Elokecha Tira" - Lerabot Talmidei Hachamim]

Court cases in Adar

You know the Gemara in Ta'anit (the top of the page) which says (more-or-less) that the best time for a Jew to have a court case is Adar?

Well, I took that gemara a wee bit too seriously today, when I got caught speeding (47 in a 30) on Purim Katan no less! My court date is on Ta'anit Esther.

Now that I'm thinking about it, is this a good date or not? My guess is that it is since Ta'anit Esther is the most minor of fasts, and does not commemorate any particular day of mourning.

I'm kind of mad at myself, but as we say, "Kapara la'avonot".

Heartwarming story from Nahal Hareidi

Arutz Sheva brings us this nice story:

Soldiers Fly U.S. Mom To Son's Army Ceremony 03:20 Feb 23, '05 / 14 Adar 5765
( Soldiers secretly raised money for the mother of an American IDF soldier to attend her son's ceremony marking his completion of a medic's course. Eliyahu Gislick's mother substituted for the commander to fasten the medic symbol on his uniform.Gislick had completed the course in a Nahal Haredi unit and was shocked when the commander announced his mother had come from Chicago for the ceremony. Although he was standing at attention, he broke ranks and hugged his mother as his unit applauded.His unit's commander, who is not observant, had phoned Gislick's mother to inform her of the ceremony. When she said she did not have the money for the air fare, the officer raised the money from soldiers on the base.

Daaaaat's Niiiiiiice! (insert Southern drawl)

Religious Zionism having second thoughts?

Three interesting articles/posts regarding whether the State of Israel as it is today is disappointing to the Religious Zionist community:

Rabbi Shlomo Crandall

Batya Medad

Devorah Chaya (my personal favorite)

New Hareidi party in Israel?

According to Arutz Sheva, there will be attempt to start a new Hareidi party in Israel.
Eichler Aims For Ashkenazi-Sephardi Party
15:41 Feb 21, '05 / 12 Adar 5765

( Israel Eichler resigned from the Knesset today and announced he will try to start a joint Ashkenazi-Sephardic Haredi party. Eichler left his United Torah Judaism seat in the Knesset as part of a rotational agreement. Rabbi Shmuel Halpert replaced him as of 2 p.m. today.

He said he thought about a new political party following a phone call from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in which the Shas Sephardi leader praised Eichler for his political efforts. Eichler also said he will work to try to fight against the negative image of the Haredi community.

If this is in the name of Ahdut, then it sounds good on paper. But, will this solve the problems that caused the Shas party to be created in the first place?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


BE"H. Ok. Here's my first blog post.
There, I started. Whew.

I feel that I need to explain the title of the blog. I want this blog to be a place where I can post links to news items that I feel important enough, but may not be well-known enough, to the j-blogosphere. I will try to give some sort of opinion about the news item, even though I'm not a very opinionated guy (although, that may change).

That's where Yeranen Yaakov comes in.

First of all, my name is Yaakov, but you can call me "Yaak". Knowledge of my full name will be on a need-to-know basis.

"Yeranen" comes from the word "Leranen", which has a double-meaning:

  1. To sing praises, as in Tehillim 59:17
  2. To speak of rumors, as in "Meranenim" in Bava Metzia 87a (5th wide line)

I will do both.

However, I will, to the best of my ability, blog the second meaning only within the letter and spirit of the laws of Leshon Hara. If someone catches me on this, let me know ASAP, and I will modify my post ASAP. Got it?

OK. Now that we got that clear, I think I can go on now.

Stay tuned!