Trump Deserves Our Gratitude
I found Jay Lakritz column, “We Should Be Embarrassed,” to be excellent and revealing.
President Trump’s confirmation at a recent speech that evangelicals have thanked him more than Jews for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has motivated me to write a thank-you letter to the president.
I agree with Mr. Lakritz that our relative lack of appreciation is embarrassing and that all Jews should show gratitude and give credit to a person for the good deeds he or she has done.
New York, NY
Should One Call Energy Healing Practitioners Heretics?
I am disappointed that Rabbi Leiter, Dovid Tepper, and Dr. Yacov Tendler would malign a religious Jew by calling him an idol worshipper. Dr. Robert Harris Blum would recoil at the mere thought of idol worship; he is simply trying to bring refuah to others by using experimental techniques that are not at all connected to an idolatrous being.
Perhaps they are not aware, but acupuncture, practiced by thousands of religious Jews, is also based on Qi. Are the aforementioned rabbis really willing to call these people heretics too?
Extreme caution should be used when before maligning a Jew. Unfortunately, I don’t think such caution was exercised in this case.
Dr. Tendler responds: Whether energy healing is an idolatrous practice or not should be analyzed and decided by the highest echelons of rabbinical authority, as I stated in my original article. My harsh statements were meant to shake people out of their complacency. Religious Jews who would only eat food with multiple kashrut certifications are dabbling in a possible idolatrous practice without thinking twice about it.
Dovid Tepper replies: Avodah zarah is not limited to bowing down to idols. Attributing godly powers to something by attributing freewill to it, or claiming it is a “life force,” is avodah zarah and is exactly how the Taoists describe chi. (A Google search of “chi,” “prana,” and “traditional Chinese medicine” will prove these facts.) Thus, any technique of balancing or channeling it derech avodoso – including acupuncture – is avodah zarah, no matter how many Jews use it.
Facebook Must Ban Holocaust Denial
You reported last week that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg won’t automatically remove Holocaust denial from Facebook because people should be allowed to “express themselves even if they get things wrong.”
I would liken Holocaust denials published on Facebook and other social networks to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. No good can come of it. Most likely it will harm the pursuit of peace in the world by inspiring deadly terrorism against Israel and Jews throughout the world.
Riding A Bike On Shabbos
I am puzzled by the halachic exposition forbidding riding a bicycle inside an eruv on Shabbos in Rabbi Hershel Schachter’s column last week.
The chiddush he mentions by a relatively recent gadol is not understandable. It is, at first glance, an extension of the prohibition of shevitat behemto to vehicles – which do not have to rest. It cannot be viewed as a logical extension of the tannaic gezeira against riding a horse as no geder is needed to prevent someone from prodding a bicycle into going faster.
Rather than a chiddush, the chumra may actually qualify as a violation of “lo tosif.”
Robert N. Taub, MD, PhD
New York, NY
Intentional Sinners Should Not Be Pitied
In a recent letter, Dovi Muchnick complains that The Jewish Press refers to LGBT individuals in what seems like derogatory terms. He writes that we should treat them with great compassion because the Torah exhorts us to take extra care of the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.
This comparison is rather odd. Widows, orphans, and strangers are vulnerable due to no sin of their own. The LGBT community, in contrast, practice a lifestyle that’s expressly prohibited by the Torah. To add to their abomination, they have the gall to proclaim they are proud of it!
Moreover, they are anything but vulnerable. When you consider all the people they’ve run out of business or gotten fired for no other reason than having an opinion or religious conviction that they dislike, it seems that it is their opponents who are vulnerable.
It’s ironic how “tolerance” has allowed them to grow to their current numbers, yet among them are some of the most selfish and intolerant individuals. I don’t understand why anyone, religious or otherwise, would want to support such an arrogant and insolent group. They don’t have enough democratic spirit to allow for opinions or religious values opposing their lifestyle.
Muchnick claims The Jewish Press’s opposition to the LGBT community is a chillul Hashem. I think it’s quite the contrary; it’s a huge kiddush Hashem. It shows that there are still Jews who would rather support the Torah than the LGBT community.
Those Were the Days
Everyone interested in the survival of our remaining daily and weekly newspapers should be concerned about the recent employee layoffs at the New York Daily News.
In the 1960s, New York City was blessed with over 12 daily newspapers sold at thousands of neighborhood newsstands and street corner vendors. Readers could select from morning, midday, and late afternoon editions, available at thousands of newsstands.
Prior to the 1962 newspaper strike, New Yorkers could buy such newspapers as the New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Journal American, New York World Telegram & Sun, New York Mirror, The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, Long Island Star Journal, Long Island Press, and Staten Island Advance.
It was an era when a majority of citizens received their news from newspapers, as opposed to television. TV broadcasts primarily consisted of local news, sports and weather. Technology and budget constraints did not allow for reporters to travel to report on national or international stories.
Newspapers are health food for the mind! Do your part by purchasing one or more daily. Don’t forget to also pick up your copy of The Jewish Press.
Great Neck, NY