Jan 21, 2010

Interesting Posts #129

1. Joe Settler profiles MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari..

2. Rabbi Fink is proud of the Jewish and Israeli response to the tragedy in Haiti..

3. Voice from the Wilderness suggests an alternative way of looking at the Jewish response to the tragedy in Haiti..

4. The Living Torah has a nice story about a stowaway with a first class ticket, with a lesson...

5. Modern Uberdox on "niskatnu ha'doros"


  1. This is so frustrating Rafi! I've not been linked in weeks! I need to work harder I suppose... :)

  2. sorry N. I didnt understand a few of your more recent posts..

  3. Re "Voice from the Wilderness" (he won't let me post this comment there)

    Two additional ideas:

    1) In Shirat Hayam and Sefer Yehoshua, it says that the Canaanites as well as Jews heard about the plagues, and were afraid, presumably that was part of the Divine plan.

    2) In Sdom and Nineveh, non-Jews were punished (or almost punished) for their evil. Amos chapter 1 says the same thing about other ancient peoples. Reward and punishment apply to them regardless of Israel's reaction to it.

    These explanations are complementary, not mutually exclusive, to yours. Our job is certainly to react as you say, but we should not think that the non-Jews are just tools to help our own spiritual development.

  4. To Shlomo:
    Don't feel discriminated against. No comments are allowed by anyone. period.

    Regarding your counter-examples, I don't think they are valid for the following reasons (even if they don't negate my point as you say):

    1) The fear of the Cananites only served one purpose--to soften their resistance to the Israelite conquest. They did NOT repent as a result! So Rashi's generalization about the futility of threatening punishment to non-Jews to get them to change their ways, holds.

    2) God's punishment for past evil is not the same as punishment to induce repentance in the future to correct past evil. This is what Rashi was talking about.
    Non-Jews as a rule, only get the former, Jews get the former AND the latter.

    But you are right about one thing: The response of Ninveh with repentance to the threat of punishment is an excellent counter-example and I think it is actually a problem for the Rashi I cited.

    Well done. I will have to look more into that.


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