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Jun 28, 2006

Not so bad

We learned in daf yomi last night about a conversation between R’ Yehuda and Eliyahu Hanavi. The topic under discussion is that it was common to stay up all night chanting the Torah so as to keep the Kohen Gadol awake, and they would find other innovative methods as well to keep the Kohen awake. I do not remember the exact discussion, but R’ Yehuda said in Neharda’a (a town in Babylonia that was a bastion of Babylonian Jewry) they would also stay up all night learning Torah, despite the fact that as a result it would cause in inappropriate mix of guys and girls hanging out together which would lead to inappropriate sexual relations (no kidding, it really says that is what would happen!).

We like to harp on our generation (or our kids generation) about how bad things have gotten and how we have to make sure there is no contact between the sexes, no contact between people of different types, our kids can’t be in contact with kids from other schools even, because of the bad influence that might affect them and result in sin. We complain how things have gotten so much worse than they used to be.

“Olam K’Minhago Nohaig” – The world revolves on its axis. What goes around comes around. The world goes according to its customs. There is nothing new under the sun.

We are not that bad. People do things that are inappropriate, just like they always did and always will do. People are just human beings and nobody is infallible. That is the way of the world. But we are no worse than other previous generations. Look what they did – on Yom Kippur night they stayed up learning Torah all night, and it led to immoral sex. On Yom Kippur! Yet, they would not cancel the idea of staying up learning just because it led to such behavior.

19 comments:

  1. So interesting. Them learning all nt lead to the talking of guys and girls? They did that then too? Nice to know.

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  2. The idea that people and life is the same as it was ties in well with our previous conversations regarding the inffallability of the Rabbis/Sanhedrin. We can view our historical figures as figures or we can examine them as people taking their wisdom and thoughts and attaching the appropriate levels of merit to individual arguments rather then wholesale dogmatic acceptance.

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  3. should be workingJune 28, 2006 9:24 PM

    Why is it that whenever you learn daf yomi you end up talking about sex...Well as they say - in Judaism there is something for everyone - lag baomer for pyros - sukkos for nature lovers and umm daf yomi for nymphos?

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  4. social - I do not know if "nice" is the right word, but yes, they were just as susceptible to that kind of stuff as we are, it seems, maybe even worse.. Of course some commentaries find ways to explain it as a metaphore meaning something else and God forbid to say they did anything like that, but I think there is nothing wrong with taking it as it is written and learning lessons that way..

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  5. Dan - yes, we see many stories in the gemora about how the Rabbis did things wrong. You can take them at face vaalue, as some do. The other school of thought (those who say God forbid to say Rabbis did these kind of things) is to say these are not to be taken at face value but are only being said to teach a lesson. Seems kind of shaky to me, and I see nothing wrong with saying Rabbis erred. After all, they are human just like anybody else. Everybody sins, at least occassionally (some of us more than others), and there is no getting around that..
    If you want to read fuller discussions and debates on that specific topic, you should read Dov Bears blog and (not the) Gadol Hador's blog. They can both be found in my blogroll on the right hand side of my blog. Both have in depth discussions on the very specific topic.

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  6. should be - yes, sex comes up a lot. No matter how you cut it, the gemora talks about it alot. This was not even an off topic discussion! It was right there in the gemora!!

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  7. Funny. I just had a discussion with my wife about the backyard camp our almost 4 yr old daughter is in. It seems they have separate swimming in the kiddie pool. I guess this might be future blog topic for someone else.

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  8. Due to your honesty, and incorrupt approach to teaching the truths of Torah and His people, we are simply going to have to put you in Cherem.

    We cannot tolerate such textual honesty and academic integrity in our neigborhood.

    In fact, due to your Daf Yomi shiur last night, we may have to burn several garbage bins and graffiti certain walls.

    Get ready for the next and newest chumra: Seperate hours for men and women to walk the streets of RBS.

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  9. Neil - just don't let it get too out of hand! Those 4 year olds can get into big trouble!

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  10. anonymous - I thought you were going to say we need to burn the gemoras for making people think the Rabbis actually were human.

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  11. anonymous - you almost had it - soon we are going to require seperate computers for mens blogs and womens blogs.....(which are already assur acc. to some)

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  12. Yeah I know nice is not the word to use maybe interesting. I shouldn't be surprised that whatever we have now they have. Just that learning torah is supposed to bring to better choices so why would that lead them to do this kind of behavior?

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  13. I have been reading the above comments and I agree that separating the sexes has gone to extremes.
    I believe in the 'Bnei Akiva' youth group ways, of going on tiyulim, boys and girls, of having group events including both sexes, just in slightly more supervised, structured and controlled situations. Both sexes need to learn about and understand each other.
    I hear about so many problems with spouse abuse and terrible 'unpreparedness' to deal with the opposite sex, which could be prevented and avoided this way.
    I can really relate to Anonymous & Shaya G. who said sarcastically that blogging would probably be considered 'assur' by the 'Rabbanim' as would walking down the same street at the same time (a form of this is already happening where I live, btw!).
    ah, for that matter we should ALL be put in
    CHEREM!

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  14. Lady - a certain amount of separation is necessary. too much closeness between sexes can and does lead to too much promiscuity. The question is how much. I am not sure what the appropriate line to draw is, but I know it has gotten out of hand with completely separating weddings and even a private affair in my own house has to be competely separate or people won't come! It has gotten out of hand and as Harry Maryles writes in his blog, that possibly is the cause of many of our societal problems, specificaly with shidduchim. We have gotten rid of all possible meeting points between men and women so now they have no way to meet and get to know each other other than through a spuerficial shadchan who is just trying to make a buck and does nto really care what happens to them (often, not always)..

    where do you live that a form of that is already happening? I am intrigued by your last statement...

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  15. Rafi - no need to ask where lady is - we had it ourselves. Our yeshiva assured us from being "on Devon Ave" on Fridays or at the pizza store at all because G-d forbid we see/run into a girl. The mashgiach pulled me into his office and said "you were seen on devon last friday, why?" I told him for years we ran errands for our mother and we weren't stopping now.

    Shules are being built with seperate kiddush rooms, entrances, and simchas even have seperate entrances for getting into the wedding area. I was at a bbq for what I thought were more normal people, and geuss what - there was seperate seating for 7 couples b/c 2 of them didn't think it was right to be mixed.

    all this goes back to one of your previous blogs. we've reached the point in Judaism where we are simply making stuff up. People today are the frummest am haratzim in our history. black hats, sits and shuckles till there's a wind current, daf yomi, etc... but no real halacha.
    tznius tangent - try not wearing a white shirt on shabbos - with a suit esp. people are nuts. OMG it's not right - it's not tznius - it's not shabbosdik!!!! I look at them and say "huh?" where does it say shabbos is white shirts, black suits only? We've all gotten crazy!

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  16. and on that note, take a look here for the new line of begdei shabbos.. http://www.cafepress.com/shabbos

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  17. Funny I looked at the insane sight. Wonder if anyone really buys that junk.

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  18. I know you guys addressed this issue but whatever.

    I always get a kick out of it when the gemoro says stories like this and then people say it's a "kabbalsitic" metaphor or what not. They get really creative.

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  19. I find some information here.

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