Monday, December 29, 2008

Interesting Posts Elsewhere and Scheduling Note

I have been swamped at work and have not had time to post much lately. I expect this situation will continue for another month or so. I will try to get a post in here or there, but I do not expect to do too much posting until February.

In the meantime, here are a few very interesting posts from elsewhere.

Ben Z at Mah Rabu has a thorough and exhaustive post on the Conservative Movement and one-day versus two-day yom tovs. He links to his earlier two-part post on the Reform Movement and the same topic. The post is quite thoughtful.

Also, the Natan Slifkin, the "Zoo Rabbi," has written a defense of his opponents here. (Hat tip to Gil at Hirhurim).

(If you don't know about the controversy, check out the "Controversy" section at Slifkin's website here: This whole controversy arises out of a terrible collision between traditional Judaims and science. It is both fascinating and sad.)

Essentially, Slifkin argues in defense of his opponents that the charedi world has the right to reject a rationalistic approach to Judaism like his, and thus the ban against his works is justified in those communities. These communities promote other values well, and adopting a critical view of certain scientific beliefs of chazal would undermine that, even though rationality would support such a critical view.

Slifkin's argument raises a great issue at to whether truth is an instrumental value that should serve other values, or whether it is a separate value and such trade-offs are unwarranted. Unfortunately, I don't have time to analyze this now.

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