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Some consistency is in order.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Shmuley passes along a Jewish canard: That one must have a “ceremony” to be Bar or Bat Mitzvah. You are Bar Mitzvah on your 13th birth anniversary if you are a boy, and you are Bat Mitzvah on your 12th birth anniversary if you are a girl.

    Here in the USA, we make big deals of these things so we can compete with the gentiles and their first communions, confirmations, “coming-out” parties, usw.

    “Lo a people dwelling alone, and not reckoning itself among the nations”, yet we try to be like the other nations every chance we get. And ,last , from the Mishna in Avot: “Beware of those in [positions of political] power, for they only bring a person close to them for their own needs. They appear as friends when it benefits them, but they aren’t there for the person when he is in trouble.”

  2. Doesn't Rabbi Boteach know our sages opinion of those who earn their income from gambling? Adelson is the George Soros of the Republican Party, getting rich while contributing to the misery of others.

    And Adelson's public regretting of his service in the US military should have made his money radioactive. Imagine had a Democratic party fundraiser made a similar remark.

  3. I don't disagree with you, but to be fair, Chazal's low opinion of those who earn their living by gambling was based on the notion that professional gamblers are not engaged in "derech eretz" or "yishuv ha'olam" and that they have no idea what it means to work for your bread. Adelson is a real estate, resort, and hospitality mogul whose establishments offer gambling venues. I don't think that's what chazal had in mind.

  4. Shlomo, you are of course correct regarding Chazal. But the dirty little secret regarding gambling enterprises is that a small fraction of heavy duty gamblers provide most of their profits — and most of them are not Arab oil sheikhs with more money than they know what to do with. The swimming pools and theatrical shows are just window dressing. In addition, I lived in Connecticut shortly after its Indian tribes opened casinos and I saw first hand the negative impact not just on people who were susceptible to becoming compulsive gamblers, but also on the entire economy as more and more disposable income in a not particularly well off area disappeared into the casinos. Indeed the experience with casinos throughout the US has remained mostly negative for these matters. Atlantic City's violent crime rate is higher than that of Detroit!

    It is distressing that the current governor of NY sees expansion of casino gambling as a major priority. Would that the Republicans had had a serious opposition candidate rather than someone who wanted to round up recipients of public assistance and put them in concentration camps.

  5. Again, I agree with you. Gambling can be terribly destructive to people who can't control themselves (i.e., the people who gambling establishments make their money from). I just get a bit addled whenever people justify their personal preferences/judgements based on maararei chazal that are not on point, and thereby distort the meaning and application of the halachik rule. This is a case in point. Certainly, Mr. Adelson would not be pasul l'eidus on the grounds of "misachek b'kuvia" (though I am sure there may be other grounds for invalidating his testimony on most matters), but the way you used the gambling rule implied that he would be disqualified. It's perfectly fine to voice your condemnation of gambling and those who promote/facilitate it on purely practical grounds (i.e., preys on the weak, destroys familieis, ect., ect.); no need to drag a not relevant halachik rule into the mix.

  6. He might be pasul b'eidus because in many of the most common gambling games at casinos, the players are playing against the house, which has a built in advantage. But I'm not a rabbi so I would not pasken this one!

    But again you are correct; the terrible consequences of gambling are sufficient to question Mr. Adelstein. Just as the horrible consequences of George Soros' speculation on currency transactions have sufficient terrible consequences to consider him at best a hypocrite and as most evil. I consider any money from either one of them to be dirty.

    The Koch brothers are contemptible in their politics. (Personal note: my father got harassed by John Birchers back in the 1960s.) But their business is from all evidence I've ever seen honestly conducted and their wealth is from selling products that improve peoples' lives. I still think Warren Buffet is better in part because he shares his wealth by allowing anyone to buy stock in Berkshire Hathaway while Koch Industries remains privately held. Adelstein and Soros, on the other hand, run businesses that create misery, not good.

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