Jun 30, 2020

Picture of the Day



photo credit: Reuven Castro
HatTip: Dov Lipman



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women soon to tbe allowed to take semicha tests, but not for semicha

Six+ years ago a group of women asked to be granted the right to take the Rabbanut tests for semicha. They said they were not seeking semicha certification, but wanted to be able to take the tests to confirm their knowledge.

A little over a year ago a group of women and some organizations petitioned the Supreme Court to force the Rabbanut to let women take the tests - nothing about granting certification for semicha, just take the tests. Rabbanut legal counsel then said that it supports letting the women take the tests and recommended alternate tracks be established for testing women.

It seems that the women also argued that testing only men is discriminatory, as the certification of the Rabbanut qualifies men for higher salaries in State-paid positions, and is also accredited as a BA equivalent, qualifying holders for positions unavailable to the women. Thus, they explain, the testing of men only is discriminatory.

According to JPost, the State's Attorney's office has said that the AG, Avihai Mandelblit, has decided to grant the request and is setting in motion the establishment of an alternate track of testing for women and to grant women accreditation. The State's Attorney's office has requested an exemption from the Supreme Court in order to put the new system in place.

It seems the track for women will not be through the Chief Rabbinate but will likely be through either the Education Ministry or the [new] Ministry of Higher Education, though it will be i coordination with the Chief Rabbinate and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This alternate track will be available to women and to men who are not interested in serving as Rabbinate rabbis. Anyone passing these exams successfully will qualify for jobs and financial benefits the same way those who pass the Rabbanut exams do.
source: Kipa

To that end, Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Yosef, has said that he opposes any form of rabbinic testing of women and that the Rabbanut is not an institution of higher education. The tole of the Chief Rabbinate is to train people and prepare them to be rabbis. He instructed the professionals involved in the Chief Rabbinate to oppose this as tradition and halacha do not allow training women for the rabbinate. Rav Yosef threatened that if women are allowed to take the exams, he will ban the Rabbanut tests entirely and not allow them to be held.
source: Behadrei, Kikar

I dont know if there is a misunderstanding, but it seems like the idea of taking it out of the hands of the Rabbanut and putting it under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education should have solved Rabbi Yosef's problem. By doing that, the test testing can be seen as academic in nature and not rabbinic.

Personally I do not see how the next step cannot be, certify us similarly to rabbis, with a different name, and of course not for jobs as rabbis but for personal affirmation and salaries as teachers, etc.

I don't know what halacha prevents women from being tested in halachic knowledge. Tradition does, I guess, but that is the tradition the women are fighting - the tradition controlled by men. I know we dont allow female rabbis and the like, but that is different than testing women in their knowledge of halacha. Even the State's Attorney's office is saying test them and give them accreditation but they are not saying to call them rabbis.

This legal stuff causes so many problems with religion, and a lot of it would likely be solved by the separation of Shul and State (though other problems might be caused).




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the pepperoni swastika

A fellow stopped at a Little Ceasars Pizza Shop in Brook Park, Ohio on his way home to pick up a pizza pie for dinner with his wife. After arriving home, they open the pizza box to dig in to dinner and to their surprise and shock they see the pepperonis on top of the pie laid out in the symbol of a swastika.

The couple called the shop back and it was already closed for the night, so they posted about it on social media. Two employees admitted to being responsible. They did not say, according to any reports, why they did this. The two were quickly fired.
source: CNN

Little Ceasars isn't kosher, but if they were looking for a way to make their pizza even less kosher than treif, they found it.

I did not see any indication in any of the articles I saw that this family, the Laska family, is Jewish and that they were specifically targeted by the pizza guy that felt so creative.

Interestingly, the Haredi website Actualic reported on this story as well, but they didnt mention pepperoni. They said it was tomatoes laid out in the shape of a swastika.

I don't know why they chose to design a pepperoni swastika, rather than the famous symbol of Julius Ceasar or the Roman Eagle symbol.

By then they probably didn't have an appetite, but I hope Little Ceasars offered them a whole bunch of free pies or something.



  





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induction stovetop causes kashrut outrage in jerusalem

A new kashrut scandal hit the media yesterday when Haaretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer reported that a Rabbanut mashgiach (actually fro the Jerusalem Moatza Hadatit) went in to the KALO restaurant, a restaurant that has been open and kosher for 25 years, and took away the teudat kashrut. According to the report, the mashgiach saw the Arab chef and insisted that the chef be fired. When the owner refused to fire the chef, the mashgiach threatened to remove the kashrut - the owner than took the certificate off the wall and handed it over.

 Right away this led to screams about chumrs and racism.

One claim was that the Rabbanut is changing its policy regarding bishul akum - non-Jews cooking. According to mehadrin standards, only a Jew can do the cooking, but according to regular Rabbanut standards a non-Jew can cook as long as the Jew lights the fire, in accordance with the halacha of bishul akum according to the Rama. This has been the situation until now, but suddenly the Rabbanut was disallowing it.

The second claim is that the Rabbanut is racist and just wanted the Arab chef fired. This claim seems extremely far fetched. Restaurants all over the place have Arabs employed as cooks, and if this was a new policy, it would not just be happening in one restaurant.

Upon further review and discussion, it turns out that the restaurant owner just recently bought a new stovestop for the restaurant. The new stovetop is an induction stovetop, and that is the source of the problem. I never really paid attention to the induction trend, as it seemed like a bother that was not worth it, but doing some research told me that induction works using magnets and whatnot and is not a traditional method of cooking. You need special pots that when place don the induction burner it "lights the fire", so to speak, as there is no fire. When the pot is removed it turns off.

This induction method causes all sorts of halachic difficulties. There are questions of bishul akum, along with questions of how to kasher, such as for Pesach, such ovens and stovetops. The major kashrut agencies in the USA seem to recommend staying away from induction cookers to avoid the difficulties.. It does seem to be a machlokes as to whether this is considered halachic cooking or not, as no fire is involved. The major USA kashrut agencies seem to be machmir and say it should be considered cooking and therefore bishul akum is a problem, as a Jew turning it on to start with does not help because every time the pot is picked up and put down it turns the stovetop off and back on, and that would be done by the gentile.

I did see a suggestion employed by the Orthodox Union in affiliated restaurants. They say a certian metal plate can be placed on the burner that would activate the magnets and keep the "fire" on. The pot would be placed on that metal plate for cooking. With the fire staying on because of the metal plate, this would avoid the bishul akum problem. I do not know if perhaps leaving the metal plate on the stovetop all the time and thereby leaving the "fire" on all the time would burn the stovetop out much quicker, or if it affects the cooking by having the metal plate there rather than cooking directly on the stovetop. I saw an opinion from the Star K that was not clear but seemed to say Rav Heineman allows cooking by a goy with induction ovens when no other solutions can be found as it is not actually bishul akum, but the article was not clear and I am not sure my understanding of what was written is accurate. The Tzomet Institute claims to have a solution for this as well similar to the OU using some sort of metal plate..

Clearly the issue is purely halachic because of the switch to using induction cooking, and is not an issue of racism or chumras. Just because there is a single opinion, not commonly accepted it seems, that allows it does not mean the Rabbanut must accept it and follow that opinion. Perhaps the Rabbanut could have been more sensitive and offered to work with the proprietor to find a solution, but what was done was based on halacha, not new chumras or racism.

A potential solution, beyond checking into the Tzomet Institute solution, would be for the owner to replace the induction stovetop with a gas stovetop as he used to have. Maybe put the old one back, if it still works, or get a new one. Maybe he can sell the induction stove, or return it, or write it off as a loss and a bad business decision. Losing the hechsher over the stovetop seems like a bad idea. Sure many people will heed the cry to rally behind KALO against the Rabbanut, but that won't really last more than a few days, or a couple of weeks. Then people will get back to routine, and he'll still have his restaurant  with no teudat kashrut that many people won't in.

sources: Kol Ha'ir Jerusalem, INN



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Tweet of the Day






kol hakavod on those numbers@ I guess the days of the Internet asifas are behind us....

and I wonder why so many of the affiliated schools had to stand strong in their ideology and only use telephone systems during the pandemic rather than zoom....


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Bitul Torah & Creativity (Panel)

The Franciska Show and The Orthodox Conundrum present BITUL TORAH AND CREATIVITY: The Challenges and Opportunities of Being a Religious Artist






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MK Bennett on how to deal with Corona (video)







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Mk Eichler Upset at Knesset Podium about abusing the religious (video)

MK Eichler (UTJ) has a way with words....





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Karvah - Eitan Katz feat. Zusha (video)







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Jun 29, 2020

perplexing new Corona guidelines

All along, since the beginning of CoronaVirus, the instructions and guidelines form the Ministry of Health have been vague, contradictory, seemingly senseless at times, and vexing. 

Today's announcement of new regulations put all the previous ones to shame.

The numbers are spiking and the Corona Cabinet has been debating reversing some of the lightening of the restrictions over the past month in order to try to reign in the contagion. Today they decided some strange decisions to that end.

The Corona Cabinet today decided that wedding halls and cultural centers can continue to have events of up to 250 people, but only until July 9. And as much as possible the event should be outdoors. Between July 9 and July 31 250 will only be allowed at an outdoor event/wedding, but at an indoor wedding the limit will be 100 maximum. After July 31 the situation will be reevaluated.

So, they are worried today about the quick spread of the virus, so in two weeks the size of weddings and concerts will be limited.

huh?

If you need to limit weddings because of the virus, why not from today?

July 9 is the beginning of the "Three Weeks", so presumably there are far fewer weddings happening anyway. Mostly just Sefardi weddings. Is this discrimination? They kept it at 250 now because of the Ashkenazi weddings, but when the Ashkenazis dont care anymore they drop it to 100?

July 31 is the end of the Three Weeks. That's when it will be reevaluated - but don't they reevaluate anyway every day or every week based on the new contagion numbers?

This is just weird. Today they know it is ok enough for a 250 person wedding, but in two weeks it will be too dangerous.




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sailing across the Atlantic during CoronaVirus

This story described in an article in the Jerusalem Post is amazing...

Some fellow living on an island near Portugal wanted to visit his 90 year old father in Argentina, but couldn't because Argentina had shut down air travel to the country. So he prepped his sailboat and sailed 85 days across the Atlantic

Here you go:
Coronavirus couldn't keep a son away from his 90-year old father. The New York Times reported that a 47-year old man on an island off Portugal sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for 85 days to reach his aging father in Argentina.
Juan Manuel Ballestero began his sea voyage in mid-March, after Argentina canceled all international passenger flights due to the growing pandemic, the Times said. He couldn't bear enduring the global crisis away from his family and his aging father, so he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and began his ocean journey from the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo.
Ballestero is an experienced sailor from a seafaring family. He bought his sailboat in 2017 with the goal of fulfilling of carrying out the advice an experienced fisherman had given him: “Go see the world.” And so he did.
According to the Times, Portuguese authorities warned Ballestero before the trip that he might not be able to return, and friends tried to talk him out of it, to no avail. Ballestero was determined. Faith helped him overcome the challenges of loneliness, danger, hunger, and fuel shortages, and taught him "lots of humility," he said.
Toward the end of his trip, after word of the voyage got out to the media, Ballestero created an Instagram account to document his adventure. He reached his home town on June 17 to much fanfare, but he had to wait 72 hours for his coronavirus test to come back negative before he was allowed to see his family.
“What I lived is a dream,” Ballestero said afterward.

wow!

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Yuli Edelstein is barely keeping his head above water

I kind of feel bad for Yuli Edelstein. For the first time he took a real job in the government, after much cajoling and pressure, rather than the important Speaker of the Knesset position he held for a long time but wasn't available to him in this government, and he is floundering.

Edelstein is a good guy, a good politician, as far as I can tell. The Speaker of the Knesset position is considered very important and senior, but it isn't the same as running a ministry.

It is possible I just don't know what they do as Speaker of the Knesset, but it seems to me that make sure proper decorum is followed in the Knesset and that the functioning of the Knesset is efficient is not quite the same as running a complicated ministry that affects the lives of all Israelis. Most, or many, of  the ministries in the government also affect institutions throughout the State. I am convinced that as important as a position as Speaker of the Knesset is, from the perspective of work and responsibility it pales compared to a senior ministry. Correct me if I am wrong.

Edelstein wanted to stay in his long-held position of Speaker of the House. he seemingly did a good job there and appeared stately. There was really very little he could do there that would make him look bad to the people of Israel, and he mostly stayed out of the political fighting - and when he finally didn't, during the 3 election rounds this past year, that is when people got upset at him and he was pushed out.

So Yuli Edelstein was persuaded to take the Health Ministry, against his better wishes. But he took it. I don't blame him for Corona. This is an unknown disease with no cure, no treatment, no vaccine and no precedent. Yet under his watch, the Health Ministry is floundering. they cannot seem to pass sensible decisions for new sets of rules. I don't envy any of the politicians or professionals tasked with the job of trying to keep Corona at bay while also encouraging the economy and getting people back to work and back to their lives. It is an impossible task. CoronaVirus is making a bold comeback.And I think Edelstein looks kind of hapless in his new role. In this role he has to actually work hard, and not just tell MKs when to speak and when to be quiet. I don't know that he would have been so hapless in any ministry - I am sure he is quite capable, but the Health Ministry at this time seems to be drowning him.

None of this is Edelstein's fault, but he is not getting any sense of control over the situation, and I think his reputation will be hurt for it.


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Tweet of the Day

weird (accidental published?), but at least they apologized...





in case you had not seen the original offensive cartoon editorial, here it is:





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Quote of the Day

I hear today about the right to protest as a "holy right". I never before heard such a thing. My grandfather was going through Batei Ungarin when the people there were protesting, the police beat him and broke his hand.

  -- MK Yisroel Eichler

yes, perhaps it must be clarified - the right to protest is peaceful protest with police permits..




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We Will Yet Meet Again: Episode 8: Personal Confession (video)







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Israelis: What do you think of feminism? (video)







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MK Bennett on News 12: deal with the Corona Unemployed, meet them and find solutions (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 35 Tzfat A (video)







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Virtual Shuls, PREMIERE VIDEO, Modeh Ani by Omer Adam (video)

Eli Levin, "Yonina", Shloimy Bluth, Cantor Yaakov (Yanky) Lemmer, Lincoln Square Synagogue, Arik Dvir, Yitzy Spinner, Cantor Natan Fetman, Amiran Dvir






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Jun 28, 2020

Interesting Psak: witnesses at wedding with face masks

Rav Bunim Shreiber, Rosh Yeshiva of Netiv Daas and rabbi in Ashdod, has paskened that witnesses at a wedding must remove their masks, or lower them to make the face visible, during the chuppa. They must do so even though it means breaking the Ministry of Health guidelines (for a short period of time).

Rabbi Shreiber explains that by wearing the masks, the witnesses cannot be fully identified by other people. Wearing the mask would make it difficult, if not impossible, to be "meizim" the witnesses. Viable witnesses must be potentially impeachable as "plotting witnesses", eidim zomemim. Yet with their faces covered, nobody would be able to impeach their testimony by saying they were spotted elsewhere, so the testimony shouldn't be valid to start with. Thus, the masks must be removed to make them potentially impeachable.

Rav Chaim Feinstein, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Shlomo, disagrees and believes that testimony requiring theability to be impeachable is only a law found in the laws of Choshen Mishpat, financial laws, and is not found discussed as a factor in Even HaEzer - the laws of family such as marriage and divorce.
source: Hamechadesh

I would add that the Gemara talks about the rules of eidim zomemim in regards to issues of the death penalty, not just financial matters. Also with regards to transgressions that would obligate one in receiving lashes. So I am not sure this categorization is accurate, but I don't know enough about the application of eidim zomemim to argue this reasonably.

I would also note that the witnesses are supposed to be witnessing Reuven marrying Sarah, or whoever. In many weddings the bride, Sarah in our example, is covered by a very thick veil that is not see through. I have almost never seen the witnesses look under the veil, have the bride lift the veil for a moment. I do know one person, and have seen it myself, who has been witness at a number of weddings, and he is always careful to insist on having the bride lift the veil so he can confirm who the bride is, that she is the person that the groom is supposed to be marrying. But that is uncommon. I find it interesting that these rabbonim are debating the mask that partially, and only for this hopefully temporary period of time, covers the faces of the witnesses, yet make no mention of  the mask, the veil, that regularly covers the entire face of the bride.







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God TV taken down by the Jews

God TV's Shelanu TV station broadcasting on HOT in Israel has been under review for possibly obtaining its broadcast licence under false pretenses. When applying for the licence God TV declared that their programming is for the Christian audience in Israel, but in actuality it was targeted at Jewish Israelis.

After a period of review, the Council for Cable and Satellite Broadcasting has decided to suspend the licence due to the targeting of Israelis in its programming.

Sadly, this time around we didn't get a great song from Mordechai Ben David. I still think "Yerushalayim is not for sale" is one of his best ever.



The subject matter is ripe for some cute jokes, like the Jews kill off their god again.. or, their god isn't as powerful as the cable TV committee... or Israel crucifies Christian God...




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Quote of the Day

The discussion held in the Finance Committee last week we on a topic that is justified, but the timing was wrong. The issue is justified, as I should not be hit with a personal tax that no previous Prime Minister had to pay, but the timing was wrong and for that I am sorry.

 -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu

As I said last week, I don't know if the issue itself is right or wrong as to whether or not he should have to pay or not retroactively, as I don't know what the policy has been pre-Netanyahu. But, to debate this issue in the height of the terrible unemployment happening right now is the height of insensitivity, but that is really the story of the entire government at the moment. At least he apologized.



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The Newest Hebrew word in the dictionary

And in really important news, The Academy for the Hebrew Language has announced the now official, and proper, Hebrew word for emoji.

The new word is "simlon" - סמלון

Interestingly, the word simlon sounds like smiley, but that's not where they took it from. They re-conjugated the word "semel", which means symbol or emblem.

It should be noted that the original "official" Hebrew word for emoji was partzufon, from the word partzuf, face, but that was when emojis were just smileys. Now that they are all sorts of symbols, simlon is a more encompassing word.

I would also note that simlon is very similar sounding, though not in spelling, to simla, a dress, and just by listening one might think a simlon is a small dress. But it isn't. :-)

You can find this word and other new Hebrew words on the Academy's FB page..

👌👍😀






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Headlines Podcast: 6/27/20 - Show 278 - Slavery and Racism - The Torah view (audio)







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LapidCast: Dr. Tzviya Greenfeld - for an hour I looked for something to argue about, but couldnt find anything (video)

People think Minister Omer Yankelevitch (Kachol Lavan) was the first Haredi female MK and that was groundbreaking. They forget about former MK Tzviya Greenfeld from Meretz. Yankelevtich is the first Haredi female minister, but not MK...





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Rabbi Simcha Scholar - Fighting Illness with Love - (Ep. 33) (video)

Since 1987, Chai Lifeline’s mission has been to restore the light of childhood to children whose innocence ended when cancer, life-threatening, or lifelong illness was diagnosed. Through free programs that address the emotional, social, and financial needs of seriously ill children, their families, and communities, Chai Lifeline restores normalcy to family life, and better enables families to withstand the crises and challenges of serious pediatric illness. My guest today, Rabbi Simcha Scholar is the CEO of Chai Lifeline. I had the privilege of being a counselor and Division Head in Camp Simcha, which is a summer program that offers children with cancer and chronic illnesses a chance to enjoy the joys of overnight camp and to be a kid again. What they do is incredible! They have supported and help children who are battling cancer and chronic illnesses and their families to not just here in the U.S., but across the world. They're helping thousands and thousands of children and families taking on the most challenging time of their life. Today we talk about the genesis of Chai Lifeline, what it takes to be a fearless leader and how one can step up for their community.





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Rothschild Brothers -Tatte Ich Beit (video)







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Jun 26, 2020

Pey Dalid - Featuring Sam Glaser - L'cha Dodi (Official Video)







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Jun 25, 2020

Quote of the Day

The Haredi community has its own unique needs, and the clerks need to understand these needs and sometimes to know how to find creative solutions. for them, the good of the community is not at the top of their priorities. Every single average, or lower, yeshiva bachur, is more talented than them - the clerks decide whatever they want and we have to act based on that?

  -- Deputy Minister of Transportation Uri Maklev

yeah, like everybody else in the country . we are all at the whims of the clerks of whatever government office we need something from





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Behind the Bima (Episode #13 - 6.24.20) Special Guest: Dr. Jerome Groopman (video)







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te Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates (video)

fascinating





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Meet Orthodox Jewish All Star, Jerry Wittenstein, Who Developed Half Of Apollo 11’s Trajectories (video)







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UnderDos: What's the reason, with Mr Masoud EP1 (video)







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Shalva Band and Kobi Marimi - Zappa - Million Dreams (video)







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Jun 24, 2020

Ofer Levi wants his fans to dress modestly at his concerts

According to Haredim10, performer Ofer Levi has publicized a post asking women who come to his concerts to come dressed modestly. Levi says that this is a personal request and he would appreciate if people respond positively as he wants to feel comfortable and eb able to give his all at his performances.

Levi explained in an interview that he is disgusted by pritzus. It is chilul kodesh and he cant look at such women. Levi says that for 26 years he has been doing teshuva with ups and downs, but int he past two and a half years he has gotten much stronger and frummer and is now very careful about lashon hara, guarding his eyes and not touching women. he says that when he stands on stage and sings with full intent of the song to be holy and in front of him are immodest women, he just can't.

According to the article, his fans are upset about the request.

To start, I looked for the post on his official Facebook page but could not find it. Maybe he removed it due to the backlash from his fans, or maybe it is on a different page I did not find.

Next, scrolling through his page, he publicizes a lot of concerts on the beach or near the beach. While maybe at a stadium or concert hall the request is more reasonable, but if he is performing at a beach, I am not sure what he expects from his secular audience. And if he is serious about his request, perhaps he should change the venue and perform less, or not at all, at places that are conducive for less modestly dressed women to attend.

And lastly, good for him. I am happy he is doing what he feels is right and is sensitive to things that disturb that - but instead of asking others to change, perhaps he should look for a different audience now that he is frum and "mitchazek" with sensitivities such as those that he has.



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Screaming about the new closure on some Haredi neighborhoods

The screaming is back again.

The government led by the Health Ministry and PM Netanyahu has decided to try to get control over the surge in CoronaVirus infections. They ave decided to put a closure on certain neighborhoods that have outstanding numbers of infections. Some of the neighborhoods set to go into some sort of closure (they say it won be quite the same as last time) include several Haredi neighborhoods around the country (such as part of Elad, neighborhoods of Tiberias and maybe some others).

Some people are very upset about this closure, saying it is prejudiced against Haredim and causes people to think badly of them. Not just that, but some people are screaming that it isn't even fair because Haredim are adhering to the guidelines, even more than other sectors in Israel, so the closure isn't even deserved.

It might be true. I am willing to say that it is true, and generally the Haredi communities are being very careful about the guidelines. More or less, it does mostly appear to me as most people I see in the Haredi community are being careful, though some are not (like in any group not everyone follows the rules all the time). And maybe they are even more strict and careful about it than most people in other groups. But that does not matter. Corona is surging in some Haredi areas (along with some other non-Haredi areas as well) because in some areas they are not careful, even though in other areas they are. So the Corona surge shouldn't be dealt with in those areas just because in otgher areas they are following the rules?

I am not in favor of a closure. I don't know if it is effective or not. i will leave that to the discretion of the authorities - they know what tools are available to them and can decide which is most effective considering the situation. If they decide on some sort of closure, it is only based on the numbers of infections jumping, not because anyone is anti-Haredi. Sure, most Haredim are keeping the rules, but some aren't and they are causing the infection to spread in their areas. If you have a better solution than closure, suggest it to the relevant authorities instead of just screaming about the closure.



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Quote of the Day

It is a mitzva and an obligation to be careful about all the guidelines form the Ministry of Health, especially regarding wearing a mask, and whoever treats this lightly is putting others at risk We said that fro the first moment and we have warned people nto to take it lightly, and that there are no compromises in safeguarding people's lives.

  -- Viznitzer Rebbe in Bnei Braq to Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein


interestingly, he said this while he had guests in his house but did not wear a mask (it looks like Yuli's is on his chin, which is no better), so his warning everyone to be strict and careful about wearing masks and following the rules seems to fall short..


.



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Olim and the Defense of Israel (video)







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Olim L'Yerushalayim- Virtual Tour in the footsteps of the Paratroopers (video)







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Yoely for President in 2020! (video)

Modi is great!





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Yonina- Shevet Achim Va'achayot (video)







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Jun 23, 2020

Interesting Psak: Chilul Shabbos to Develop a Corona Vaccine

A doctor who is also a researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital, sent a question, via his own rabbi, to Rav Asher Weiss in Jerusalem. This doctor is a member of a small team doing non-stop research for the development of a vaccine against CoronaVirus.

This doctor sent the question asking if the research and development of this vaccine against Corona to save thousands of people is considered pikuach nefesh so that he could work on Shabbos to develop the vaccine, and could he have a non-Jew drive him to the hospital on Shabbos so he can do his work. He would also need to use his computer, which only violates rabbinic transgressions. So, Dr Researcher wants to know if for pikuach nefesh to save lives form the CoronaVirus in the future can he be lenient regarding the use of the computer and having a non-Jew drive him to the hospital to work on Shabbos?

Kikar is reporting that Rav Asher Weiss disagreed with the assertion that use of the computer is only a rabbinic transgression. Rav Weiss paskened that any use of electricity and electronics is a violation of a Torah-based prohibition of work on Shabbos.

Rav Weiss further paskened that one cannot be lenient about this. There are tens, or even hundreds, of medical institutions and research groups working hard to develop a vaccine. It will still take many more months before a vaccine will be ready for use among the general public.

Will all the people working on development of a vaccine not take a single vacation day or sick day to keep working on this non-stop because it is so important? Even during a crisis, that is how research works. It takes time and people don't work on it non-stop. Rav Weiss suggests that instead of working on Shabbos, he should go to work an hour or two earlier each day during the week.

The work is not considered pikuach nefesh because it is impossible to designate a specific amount of time for the completion of the work to develop the vaccine.






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the geulah of 5780

Prophets abound.

According to Actualic, Rav Mordechai Granot, the publisher of a luach, a Jewish-themed calendar, named Davar B'Ito, (with the halachic times and relevant information), has predicted that Tisha B'Av of this year, 5780, is going to be a time uniquely ripe for the geula. He explained that the calculations of the Prophet Daniel fit very well with this year.

According to the article, Rav Granot published in the 5780 calendar prior to Rosh Hashana that there would be a plague and the elderly will die from it. As well, on the calendar entry for 17 Adar he again wrote about this plague and the elderly suffering from it - and 17 Adar 5780 is when the Ministry of Health started locking down the populace of Israel with regulations due to CoronaVirus.

Regarding the solar eclipse, Rav Granot says that an eclipse in Tammuz is a sign of many wars that will take place during the year. The solar eclipse we experienced yesterday was prior to Tammuz, so hopefully we will not have wars to go through as well. We've already gone through enough this year, in my opinion.

As I always say in the face of such predictions, the only thing I can say, from his mouth to God's ears! Halevai!


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Interesting Psak: going to shul without a mask

Rav Mordechai Malka, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Elad, has issued an interesting psak in light of the spike in CoronaVirus infections and the continued spread, especially in Elad.

Rav Malka encouraged people to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health very carefully, and it falls under the mitzva of guarding one's life.

Rav Malka paskened that anyone going to shul without a mask, should not be allowed to lead the services, nor to be called up for an aliya to the Torah. Someone not careful about the mitzva of "vnishmartem" is willfully transgressing a mitzva of the Torah and should not even be allowed into the shul, and he should not be allowed to lead services or be called up to the Torah.

Rav Malka said, just like a person is careful to daven with a minyan and other mitzvos, one must be just as careful regarding wearing a mask.
source: Kikar

Rav Bentzion Musafi added that someone who comes to shul without a mask and refuses to put one on is a murderer and should be chased out of shul.




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Pindrus back in Knesset... for now

MK Yitzchak Pindrus was sworn in yesterday as Member of Knesset for United Torah Judaism, after the Norwegian law recently passed and Deputy minister Meir Porush resigned from the Knesset to make room for Pindrus.

Congratulations. Pindrus is a worthy parliamentarian who has earned his position through hard work and loyalty to the party, and he has always worked hard for his electorate.

That being said, considering his bad luck in the past in serving, after he finished his deputy mayorship in Jerusalem, it makes me wonder what is about to happen now that he got in to the Knesset. Pindrus is also a former MK, but last time he got in, the Knesset dissolved very shortly after and went to elections. Pindrus was sent to Elad to run for mayor and was disqualified form running, so he couldnt get any new position there and had already given up his position in Jerusalem. In beitar Pindrus was incumbent Mayor, but an agreement between the parties in Beitar meant he had to be replaced, even though he was well liked and incumbent. etc

Based on his past, getting in now might be a bad sign for the viability of this Knesset. Hopefully that won't happen. We need good people in Knesset.

Some further issue of concern for Pindrus is two legal issues that might send him packing. Actually 3.

The first would be if Minister Yaakov Litzman gets indicted in the investigation into his affairs of misuse of power and whatever other crimes he is being investigated for. If indicted, he would have to resign from his ministerial position, and would go back to Knesset, sending Pindrus packing. This is not an immediate concern, as we have no idea how long the investigation is going to be going on, but it is something that could affect his serving.

The second would be a new law proposal that might pass, though unlikely. Along with pindrus, a number of other new MKs were sworn in yesterday under the auspices of the Norwegian law. One of the new MKs, MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzano (Yesh Atid) was sworn in when Blue and White ministers and Deputy Ministers resigned from knesset. Even though he is from yesh Atid and is an Opposition MK, he giot in because the Blue and White party is made up of four parties including Yesh Atid. Even though they technically split with Kachol Lavan joining Netanyahu's coalition and Yesh Atid stayed in the Opposition, Lahav-Hertzano was next on the party list so when a minister resigned, he moved in to that Knesset seat. Strange, but that is how it works.

Perhaps stranger, Lahav-Hertzano, just sworn in yesterday, has already submitted a law proposal to revoke the Norwegian law. Lahav-Hertzano explains that this is a big waste of taxpayer money and with so many people struggling and with the economy at such a difficult point in time, now is not the time to be concerned about personal advancement and the wasteful Norwegian law should be abolished. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is that by his own law, should it pass, Lahav-Hertzano would be kicking himself out of Knesset as well. Falling on his own sword will endear himself greatly to the head of his party, Yair Lapid.

regardless, chances are slim, as this law proposal is coming from a weak Opposition, but it is out there, and who really knows what might happen once it is out there??!!

The third obstacle for Pindrus to be worried about is a petition to the Supreme Court. The petition filed with the Supreme Court demands that the Norwegian law be canceled and only go into effect in the next Knesset - the public coffers are not hefker.

The court has given the government until July 5th to respond to the petition.

The petition explains that the public coffers are not hefker, especially now with hundreds of thousands of Israelis unemployed because of Corona, this is not the appropriate time for such a law.

Of the three issues of concern, this seems like the most serious of them, and the most immediate.

The fourth is just the possibility of the Knesset dissolving because of the constant fighting between Netanyahu and Gantz or the bickering of others in the Coalition.



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There's no money for freelancers and small business owners because it is all going to the Prime Minister

The Knesset Finance Committee is right now holding a raucous debate over a request submitted by PM Netanyahu for a number of benefits - including a request to retroactively grant the Prime Minister the benefit of the State Treasury paying all taxes on income earned from payments and services by the Prime Minister personally outside of his salary and stipends all the way back to 2009. This benefit is expected to cost the State hundreds of thousands of shekels.

the request is bigger than that with more details and more aspects, but that brief summary is enough for me.

I am confident that the request will be granted and pass the vote in committee simply because Netanyahu and his fanboys hold the majority. They give him whatever he wants, and I see no reason that they won't grant him this as well.

The request itself does not bother me. I don't know enough to have an opinion as to whether the Prime Minister deserves such a retroactive reimbursement on his taxes and if he should be exempt from such taxes or not. I am fine with it, if this is something important for the functioning of the Prime Minister. it is probably "pocket change" relative to everything else, especially relative to the wasteful cost of the unity government and alternate Prime Minister.

That being said, I find it shameful that this what they are debating right now - another financial benefit to the Prime Minister, along with some other benefits under discussion, when there are hundreds of thousands of people in Israel still unemployed and struggling to get by, with businesses having shut down or shutting down due to the economic crisis, and the government comes up with no way to actually help them besides for adding more and more bureaucracy to their systems.

They throw pennies at business owners and freelancers and unemployed while they debate giving another set of hundreds of thousands of shekels to the PM personally with no red tape.

Maybe they can't afford to actually help the small business owners and unemployed whop are struggling to get by because they are giving all the money to the government and the Prime Minister.



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Beitar Ilit is paying the price of Corona with 45% unemployment (video)

very difficult situation..





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Behind the Bima (Episode #12 - 6.17.20) Special Guest: Rav Moshe Weinberger (video)







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The Cave - Episode One of the new City of David Production "Antiquity" (video)

Follow Megan, an American student who has an unusual encounter that takes her on a journey to uncover the deepest secrets of Ancient Jerusalem





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Eli Beer Celebrating a Second Chance (video)







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Tal Sundak and Rami Klinstein: Separation, by Naomi Shemer (video)

this is, sort of, a new song by Naomi Shemer, sung by Rami Klinstein.

Naomi Shemer wrote this song and included it in her book "Sefer Arba", but never actually turned it into a song and never composed it to music.






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Jun 22, 2020

mask fine going up


Forewarned is forearmed.

the "Corona Cabinet" decided a short while ago to increase the fine for not wearing a mask in public (and for not wearing a mask properly) from 200nis to 500nis.

As well, they decided to ramp up enforcement and have more police/inspectors out looking for violations of the mask-wearing policy.

I heard a number of times from people that the fine is not high enough to make them wear it, combined with the very low chance of being stopped by a policeman due to low levels of enforcement. Maybe at this higher rate, along with increased enforcement, people who until now did not find it enough of a deterrent now will.

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Solar Eclipse as a bad omen

Yesterday morning there was a partial solar eclipse. The next eclipse is coming in seven years, and supposedly, from what I have read, that one will be a major eclipse with a majority of the sun covered. Yesterday's partial eclipse was relatively small, with the sun looking sort of like a Pac-Man.

I took advantage to teach my granddaughter about the eclipse:


In Judaism an eclipse is considered a bad sign for the world. I don't really know why. I never understood these symbols, acts of nature, as being bad (or good) signs. It never made much sense to me as nowadays we know well in advance of the natural act that is going to happen. Maybe a couple thousand years ago it was unexpected and they thought it had meaning, but nowadays we know when will be an eclipse and when will be a blood moon and when Venus will be visible and when this or that will happen, so I am not sure why it needs to be a bad sign.

But the Gemara says it is a bad sign for the world, so whether I understand it or not, that's what it is.

We are halfway through 2020 (5780), and with everything we have already experienced this year - NOW THE HEAVENS ARE SENDING US A SIGN???? Why not send the sign before 2020 began? And if after all this year has already brought us we are getting a sign of bad tidings now, we should probably really be concerned about what lays in store ahead for us!

and yes, whenever I hear about an eclipse I think of the Bonnie Tyler song Total Eclipse of the Heart..





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the train less traveled

There is no real reason for people to be more afraid of using the train nowadays than using the bus, in regards to the risk of exposure to CoronaVirus. Both the train and the bus can be overpacked, so if someone is afraid of using the just-renewed train, they should be just as fearful of using the bus.

The news is reporting that the train started functioning today, but instead of the normal 250,000 people that use it on a daily basis to get to work or elsewhere around the country, only about 40,000 people reserved seats for today, and so, as of now, far only 17,000 have reserved for tomorrow. They are reporting on empty platforms, the regular crowds not present, etc.

I would say that more than the fear of CoronaVirus exposure as the cause of this is possibly a number of factors:
 - the fact that it is new. The train just started. Maybe many people didn't beleieve it would happen, with another last minute delay or postponement so they wanted to see it up and running before relying on it
  - the fact that it is difficult - you have to reserve a spot. Maybe plenty felt they didn't want to have to fight about getting a seat and if they couldnt reserve they would be stuck without a reasonable alternative.
  - many people have still nor returned to work. Manye businesses shut down, many employees were laid off, many employees are still on furlough (aka chalat) even if the business did reopen (many reopened with minimal staff), or other reasons... so fewer people are traveling for work.

and probably some other reasons.




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Interesting Psak: Go Home!

A chosson learning in a yeshiva in Bnei Braq was nervous. With his wedding day approaching and the CoronaVirus spreading, he was concerned that within two weeks of his wedding perhaps someone in his yeshiva would be discovered to be carrying the CoronaVirus and then he would have to go into quarantine and it would mess up the wedding plans.

Mr Chosson went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky to ask if he should stay in yeshiva to learn for the next couple of weeks until his wedding, or if he should go home to avoid risk of exposure until the wedding.

Rav Chaim Kanievski responded that he should go home.

I guess his family members were worried that this might be taken as instructions that people should not be in yeshiva now but should go home, they announced that this psak was individual for this chosson and should not be taken as instructions for other people or for the general public.
source: Haredim10



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Headline of the Day

Israeli doctors to blast bacteria into orbit, readying for space-based medicine


  -- Times of Israel

somehow this does not sound like a good idea. Just please remember that we are still in the year 2020. Please wait until 2021 for this! This is such a weird year - somehow this is going to come back to hurt us!


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We Will Yet meet Again: Episode 7: A Deep Understanding (video)








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Palestinians: What do you learn about the Jews? (video)






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Omri Casspi Podcast: Episode 9: Journalist Amit Segal: Separation of Shul and State (video)







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Bibi Vlog #4: an astounding technological development (video)







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Ari Goldwag - Rak Hu & Yom Zeh [A Cappella Soul 7] (video)







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Jun 21, 2020

Separate Hiking Days might be coming to a nature trail near you

What religious male traveler/hiker in Israel is not familiar with the experience of driving out and hiking on a hot day to a river or stream or natural pool of water in the middle of nature looking forward to jumping in to cool off for a bit and enjoy the cold water, only to get there and discover the pond or stream already being enjoyed by other people including women, often wearing bathing suits, if their presence alone isn't enough, and realizing they cant go in the water or hang out there to enjoy?  And what religious female hiker isn't familiar with the same experience from the other side - getting to the stream or pond and finding men there splashing around in their swimming trunks and realizing that she cannot go in to enjoy the water?

Sometimes the hikers are able to find a natural solution of moving a bit upstream or downstream where it might be quieter, but sometimes that is not a solution, especially with a pond.

The organization B'Tzalmo, a human rights organization that fights for rights based on Jewish values (briefly, if I understood it correctly), has submitted a request to the Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber that would, if accepted, reorganize popular nature hikes in Israel and offer separate schedules for women's and men's hours or days, depending on the trail.

According to Israel Hayom, the petition was submitted as a result of the petition to the Supreme Court regarding the ongoing case of the Kiryat Arba municipal swimming pool that is kept in operation only with separate hours for men and women but some want family time to be allocated for the pool as well that would have men and women together. The court has ruled in that case that the pool must offer family time as well if residents want it. The Mayor of Kiryat Arba shut the pool down rather than offer mixed swimming times. Now residents from both sides want it to be reopened - some requesting it be opened for separate swimming and others insisting that if reopened there should also be family time.

As a result of this, B'Tzalmo has petitioned the Deputy AG that some nature trails, such as Nahal Yehudiya in the Golan, require swimming in large pools as part of the trail - the pool cannot be avoided, should someone want to for personal reasons of tzniyus to avoid mixed swimming. Because of that, B'Tzalmo says, many religious people avoid trails such as these so as not to end up in a difficult situation.

The arrangement for separate hours or days, depending on the trail, could be designated for specific days of the year, while the rest of the year it could be open to all, according to the request. they compare it to the beaches where it was determined that separate beaches could be opened without being considered discrimination.

Interesting. let's see what happens. It doesn't really help family tiyulim, but it would help all-male and all-female groups of hikers...






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Headlines Podcast: 6/20/20 - Show 277 - Being Frum in Politics (audio)

interesting. This is all about frum politicians in Israel, not the USA. I look forward to a similar episode with American politicians, and maybe even another one with Israeli politicians..





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City of David: Bringing the Bible to Life – Episode 4: "The Fortress of Zion" (video)







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Israel's history in 11 songs (from the 1930s to 2000) (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 33 Rechovot A (video)







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Sruli and Netanel: Don't Judge (video)







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Jun 18, 2020

what is Avi Dichter doing?

I'm not sure what is going on with Avi Dichter, or what he is planning.

Dichter today announced that he is going to run against Netanyahu in the next primaries and will then be Prime Minister.

Dichter also said to a journalist that in the previous primaries Netanyahu had asked him to run for Likud leadership to guarantee the anti-Bibi vote would be split and not all go to Gideon Saar, ensuring he would not win or even get too high of a percent of the votes. At the time Dichter says he refused, but now he plans to run against Netanyahu for real.
.
Why now? the government was just formed. Dichter was given the position of head of an important committee, and even though he wanted an important ministry, what he got is nothing to sneeze at. Is Dichter hinting at the government soon being dismantled? Is he just responding to the constant state of opposition in the government and getting himself ready?

What is happening here?

I don't know what his story is, but whenever anyone says anything like that, he gets himself targeted by Bibi... you can likely expect a downward turn in his career coming...



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Quote of the Day

I am flabbergasted that Smotritch would strengthen and support the demands of the leader of the cult closest to Judaism, Deri, in establishing a monopoly for the State Haredi Conversion... the son of Rav Kook, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, fought against religious coercion. I surmise that both the father and the son, had they been alive today, would have slapped [Smotritch] twice in the face to reset him.

  -- Mk Alex Kushnir (Yisrael Beyteynu), after MK Smotritch (Yamina) announced that he would support Deri's proposal for allowing only the Rabbanut to perform conversions in Israel with no recognition of private batei din on this matter. MK Matan Kahane, from the same party as Smotritch,, said he would oppose Deri's bill.

I am sure Kushnir is an expert on Rav Kook and knows exactly how he would respond. Anyway, it makes sense that Smotritch would support the bill, even form the Opposition. Smotritch's party, in its various forms, were always the biggest supporters of the Chief Rabbinate and the need for such an institution in Israel. The secular never needed it as they don't listen to the Rabbanut and only connect with the Rabbanut when forced to (eg at life cycle events usually), and the Haredim always rejected, or at best ignored, the Rabbanut anyways until recent years when they realized they had the power to take it over and now continue to ignore it and only control it. It was always the Dati Leumi community that was the base for the Rabbanut.



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Interesting Psak: Settlers of Cattan on Shabbos

Someone asked Rav Shmuel Eliyahu is it is permitted to play the game "Catan" on Shabbos, considering the game involves doing business among the players.

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, responded that it is a problem and the game cannot be played. The Shulchan Aruch says that children who are playing such games on Shabbos involving business dealings should be allowed to continue and not stopped, but adults playing Catan should be told to stop and not play on Shabbos.
source: Kipa

Rav Avraham Stav, on the other hand, disagrees and says that every Shabbos outside of shul one can see children playing all sorts of games accumulating cards and candies or pits or other things, and also we see many families spending time together Shabbos afternoon playing games like Catan and Monopoly.

Rav Stav mentions the Rama who says such games should not be played, but if one is playing, he shouldnt be told to stop, as it is better to let him violate the prohibition by accident rather than intentionally after being told. So really such games should not be played.

Yet, the Aruch Hashulchan suggests that perhaps the games that are prohibited are games that would obligate the loser to pay the winner at the end with some object not part of the game but if the game is just cards or nuts there is clearly no legal contract obligating the two sides and it is just a game. The Aruch Hashulchan says this does not violate the prohibition of business dealings on Shabbos. The Piskei Teshuvos paskens lhalacha that the Aruch Hashulchan is to be relied upon to allow games, especially for children who anyways have no full legal standing for what they do. Rav Dov Lior adds that one should have in mind to start that any kinyan will only happen after Shabbos, as a precaution.

According to Rav Stav, the prohibition is only when there is actually winners and losers with actual winnings being paid by the loser. A boxed game that has no actual business happening has no prohibition and can be played. While some say it is worth being strict to not use fake money in such games on Shabbos, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach paskened that there is no reason to be machmir regarding the use of fake money in games on Shabos.
source: Kipa











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