Sunday, April 10, 2011

Haveil Havalim #312 - It's Time To Talk About The Elephant In The Room

6 of the First Month 5771

Welcome to Haveil Havalim Edition #312!
Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means"Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'
It's Time To Talk About The Elephant In The Room...

The Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival [HH] has gone through many trials and tribulations, as it were. As I attempted to point out in a recent edition of HH I hosted...
I am not a pluralist,...from far it. Yet, I strongly believe that Jews with differing views working together is the bottom line behind HH's success. Sometimes a particular issue will have a noticeable theme or skew to it, depending on the host. But, the following week could well provide a completely different one. It is an interesting set of relationships we have been developing here. Do I include posts from people who disagree with me? Am I compromising my principles if I do? But, if I don't, then I sure can't expect them to include mine, right?...Like I said, I am not a pluralist, far from it. But, if we take the time to look around and to listen (I mean REALLY listen), we can often be surprised at how much we really do have in common. Even if it's poetry or music, or a search for the best cappuccino in Israel, it's at least a start. As they say, "It's a process." I don't know about you, but I am going to keep coming back to see how it continues to work out.
Something has happened. I am not exactly sure what it is.

After some recent editions of Haveil Havalim, I may just start changing my tune. Maybe I will start refraining from including posts which I find to be offensive, and/or encourage behavior with which I do not agree.

What do I find offensive?
I find it offensive when Jews confuse Western culture and sensibilities for Jewish ones. Whether we are talking about "innocent civilians" during a milhemeth misswah (obligatory war), turning Jews into non-Jewish authorities, or a[Italian] black hat, none of these are Jewish concepts.

I find it offensive when Jews accuse other Jews of suborning mass-murder, when murder is an act which may only take place between Jews (Mekhilta, Ramba"m, Sefer HaHinukh). "Killing" is universal; "murder" is not. Please get your terminology right.

I find it offensive when Jews distort the Torah according to their pre-established beliefs and [galuti/diasporan] feelings, like when a Jew quotes the Talmud Bavli...
...that to save a life, it is as if one has saved a world.
...and neglects to mention that HaZa"L was not talking about just any old life, but rather a Jewish one.
Whoops! I forgot. I am not allowed to express what offends me, because I am not politically-correct!

Oh, well. Too late.

One HH host suggested that we do not have to include him, if he did not include us. Well, I am afraid that might qualify as neqamah (revenge) against another Jew, which is forbidden, unlike neqamah against a non-Jew, which sometimes mandated.

So, will I get banned from hosting due the opinion expressed above? Maybe yes, maybe no. All I know is that HH is very much in need of hosts. So, we either tolerate each other, or we alienate each other. Either way, I intend to stick around to see how it all works out.

Those reading the opinions expressed above probably take more issue with the length of the introduction more than with anything else.

I await your comments....

And, now without further adieu, I am proud to present this week's edition of of Haveil Havalim,...elephants included.

Pride Of Place

First, here is a list of posts which were deemed offensive, or otherwise undesirable, by previous HH hosts. Here, I give them "pride of place."
If I Were PM For A Day

Amalek In The Flesh - Part II: A Call For Vengeance

Nachas! A Former Student Declares Intention To Refuse Anti-Torah Orders!


Josh Waxman
at the Parsha Blog brings us An Interesting Peshat On The Importance Of Nissan.

Mr. Cosmic X connects last week's parasha with the infamous Goldstone Report in Judge Goldstone And The Metzora.


Current Events
Netivot Girl at Shiloh Musings reports first hand what it is like to live in Southern Israel in Once There Was A Bus....

Yoel Meltzer
warns us about what The Next War in Israel will look like, and brings us his point of view on Our Claim To The Land. Yoel has been posting articles on YNET and on Israel National News for a while now. He has just opened up his own blog. Please welcome him to the JBlogosphere, by paying him a visit!

Tomer Devorah show us the Is-reality.

The Jewish Fist reveals the truth in Inauthentic Bedouins: Another Top Ten List.

Ariel at The Torah Revolution reminds us that Nothing Is By Chance.

Batya brings us two at Shiloh Musings, No "Moderates" Among The Moslem "Peace sic Partners" and IMF Thinks The Pseudistinians Are Ready For What?

Elder Of Ziyon announces that the Muslim Brotherhood has Already Won.

Amy at Zionism Israel brings us an extensive analysis in Muslim And Arab Anti-Semitism.

I ask What's Bothering The Jerusalem Post?

And, finally, for something completely different... Jessica at Israelity wants us to Save The Trees. I believe this to be an important post, as well as an interesting one.

Life In Israel
Jacob at Good News From Israel bring us photos of the A. H. A. V. A. H. Readathon Awards in Ma'aleh Adumim.

David at Tzedek-Tzedek tells us about a harrowing experience in Sheleg And Me.

Natan at Lines Writing Lines tells us about his decision to leave Israel in My 301 Direct. Natan, you will surely be missed

Hutz la'Aretz
(Outside Of Israel)

Current Events

Tomer Devorah waits and prays for Jonathan Pollard to come home in Please, Please, PLEASE HaShem!?

Sultan Knish brings us A Revolting Middle East Policy.

Susan Esther Barnes
at To Kiss A Mezuzah Doesn't Want To Have Passover This Year. Find out why.


Mystery Woman brings a touching story from her experience as a member of the Hevra Qadisha in her community, in Last Kindness.

Jessica at Israelity tells us about Paying Homage To The Piyyut.

The Rebbetzin's Husband explains why Rabbis Cannot Agree On Halachah [sometimes]. Brain death al pi halakhah appears to be the focus of this post. He mentions four points which he believes can be applied to other issues under debate. I would like to include one more,... 5. Too often hashqafah (pre-existing POV), sometimes including a galuth mentality, gets in the way of the determination of halakhah.

Pesah & Pre-Pesah Preparations

Tomer Devorah reminds us to Bring The Korban Pesah.

Batya at Me-Ander asks What Makes Your Seder The Best?, and includes a video of "The Passover Song."

Isramom brings us Learning To Ask - Passover Preparations,...classic video included!

If these two videos weren't enough, Jacob at Good News From Israel brings us 145 Passover Videos,...including some new ones!
Josh Waxman, posting at DovBear, reviews The 2001 Absolut Haggada.

Adventures In Mama-Land brings us Passover Haggadah Printable Overview: This Seder Night, to help you provide explanations to your children regarding the various aspects of the Seder. Notes: This is NOT a complete haggadah, and the customs represented here are NOT everyone's customs.

Frozen Challah tells us why Passover Scares Her.

You must check out the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival at Ima On The Bima, because Pesach Is Coming!

checks out some Kosher l'Pesah products for us in Osem & Elite's Kosher For Pesach Cakes and Nougat Filled Cereals For Pesach.


First of all, thanks to Amy Meltzer for reminding about the category of "Culture." Here's her post The Long And Winding Road That Leads To Canaan, from Homeschuling to start off this section.

Ilana-Davita reviews the book The Pity Of It All: A Portrait Of The German-Jewish Epoch, 1743 - 1933 by Amos Elon.

Just Call Me Chaviva recounts the touching, yet intriguing, story of the journey of her husband Tuvia's family through the Holocaust, and mourns the loss of his great aunt Rozy in Baruch Dayan ha'Emet.


The Rebbetzin's Husband
shares with us how Dancing In The Middle Of The Circle has affected him.

Kvell Corner recounts for us The Lesson She Learned From Blue Cheese.

Independent Patriot, writing at Liberty's Spirit explains why She's Glad He Does Not Consider Himself A Reform Jew Anymore. Do politics mix with "religion?" See what IP has to say on the matter.

Paul at Or Am I? brings us some thoughts from one his students in Making God Feel Real.


Here are two posts from Benji Lovitt: I Haven't Been To A Government Office In A While, Why The Hell Not? and Hey, Yemen-Ever heard Of Babysitters? Personally, I still don't get Benji's stuff, but maybe somebody will enjoy it.

Once post I did not include because I felt it was too misleading of Jews into thinking that certain things were authentically Jewish, when in fact they were not. If this blogger had said "In my opinion..." I probably would have included the post in question. There were two more posts which I did not include, because they seemed to be the all too usual fronts for Haredi bashing, without any commentary, let alone any constructive commentary. Everything else which was submitted, I included.

Next week, To Kiss A Mezuzah will be hosting. You can submit posts by using Haveil Havalim's on-line submission form.

חג כשר ושמח
A Happy and Kosher Pesah!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for including my post.

Devorah Chayah said...

I'm thrilled to be included in the blog carnival hosted by the infamous and notorious Ben-Yehudah of Esser Agaroth. Todah rabah! I've posted the link.

Isreview said...

Thank you for your hard work and for including my posts .
I really appreciate what a good job you do as host.

Batya said...

Ya'aqov, I agree it's not an easy situation. I think you did a great job in your latest Havel Havelim.

Jack Steiner said...

Nope, no ban we need hosts.

Anonymous said...

An interesting comment exchange at my post if anyone else wants to chime in. :)

Paul Kipnes said...

Thanks for including my post. While I disagree with your perspective, I provided your opinion some space on my blog at

I look forward to reading more of what you write.

Risa Tzohar said...

I love the little elephants. Yasher Koach on the lovely post.

Unknown said...

Interesting post. Thanks for the inclusion!

Esser Agaroth said...

IP, Devash, Isreview, Batya, Jack, Paul, Risa, Israel21c,


Elisa Heisman said...

Thanks for including my post!

Ilana said...

"I find it offensive when Jews confuse Western culture and sensibilities for Jewish ones. Whether we are talking about "innocent civilians" during a milhemeth misswah"

Is this a comment by "esser Agoroth"?

I think it is a pity they did not publish it, since it would open a very interesting discussion.

Judaism is often equated to the epithomy of humanity, kindness, rachamim. Yet, this comment defends the point of view that Judaism can be very cruel.

This is absolutely a topic that should be discussed in our time and age: has the cruel part of judaism become obsolete because it could not be practised for centuries, or would a liberated judaism, that is free to practice every aspect of the religion take up the cruel aspects again, even if it contradicts contemporary notions of humanity and kindness.

The more rightist circles seem to defend the last point of view.

Which makes me worry about what judaism really is? Could a jewish theocracy be as cruel and unjust as an islamist state?

Ben-Shmuel said...

Excellent job as always. And kudos for addressing the elephant problem. Maybe some of the more intellectualy honest elephants out there will see themselves in the mirror. Then again, maybe not.

Esser Agaroth said...

Thanks Elisa.

Thanks for writing, s5. Yes, that is comment, as are the other two things which "offend" me.

Because of craziness at work before Pesah, I probably will not be able to respond until during Pesah itself.

I just wanted to let you know that your comment is appreciated.

Ben-Shmuel said...

Great job, Yaakov. And kol hakavod for addressing the elephant in the room. And lest one think that the elephant is has one face, it bears mentioning that not a few can be found wearing kipot or snoods. The kind of "religious" Jew who repeatedly censor any Torah position that is stated honestly without concern for PC sensibilities, but would let anti-Israel leftists vent their bile. Some of these types would sooner give Spinoza a forum were he alive, but if I quote Maimonides, my submission ends up in the electronic trash bin.

But I'm not bitter. I just wait for Esser Agaroth to host, or a few other bloggers (across the religious and political divide) who at least have the intellectual honesty to present a more balanced platform.

YBY, you are one of the few bloggers out there who consistently present (in my opinion) a fascinating and compelling blog that addresses issues from a intellectually stimulating perspective, while also offering an open forum for those with differing views. More power to you.

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