Two Models of Alternative Dispute Resolution (Hakirah Single from Volume 4)

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From my observation, nobody was riding a tricycle to shul. Moreover, the reluctance to "stand apart" is a much stronger factor than it might be in a more heterogeneous community. I suspect that the reason tricycles are not more common is that there is, in fact, another form of transportation that most residents prefer: There is an extensive network of free buses which follow regular routes inside the community.

They stop at preset bus stops and residents can get on and off at any such stop. They are all driven by non-Jews, of course. They are supposed to stop at every designated bus stop whether anyone is waiting there or not. In practice, I noticed that this was not strictly adhered to, but surely it can be enforced for Shabbat if the community insisted.

Is this really very different from Shabbat elevators, which are now so commonly accepted? I have been told that one Rav of one such community hinted or perhaps stated that these internal buses might be used on Shabbat, but he was so vigorously attacked for this position by whom I am not sure--perhaps even by residents who already were comfortably established in nearby units!

Clearly, these are not trivial or frivolous issues, and I fear that we are not always as accepting of change, even when change may be halachically justified, when our own interests are not directly at stake. Mon, 4 Jun Confidentiality of Therapists In a recent posting I cite original Jewish sources showing that breaking confidentiality is important in any therapeutic process. So allow me to refute Janice by re-citing the example I previously cited in a professional setting. Let us pretend I am a therapist. I have been seeing Isaac for two years.

Isaac is married to rivkah but has numerous problems. One day Isaac confides that he has had many enjoyable conversations with Rachel at Shule Kiddush and likes her taste in clothes. Upon prompting he admits he has considered the possibility of an affair with her and thinks she is interested. Janice says the silence is needed to facilitate communication. I think I have heard more than I wanted to.

Here is how I would handle it. At shule Kiddush I approach Rivkah and break the confidence. Rivkah knows I am Isaacs therapist but is shocked at the intended adultery. I then tell Rivkah that I think I can save her marriage and tell her what to do. Next day Rivkah Who wants her marriage preserved meets with Rachel. Rivkah dresses and conversse like Rachel.

Rachel then flirts with Isaac who suggests an affair. Rivkah shows up at the place of the affair, dressed up like Rachel. Afterwards Isaac finds out about it. Let us carefully explore what might happen. Here is a possible dialogue between Isaac and me at our next session: You double crossed me and broke my confidence.

Do you know why? I have no respect for you. I am going to switch therapists to someone I trust. And he would be silent and allow you to have the affairs you want. I saved your marriage and Rachel's marriage I protected your confidence I told that to your wife who wants to please you.

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On the contrary I am your friend. I protected your marriage and gave you the things you are afraid to ask for. But we cant continue like this. That was the epilogue to his first piece. He merely called for adherence to certain standards, apparently feeling that you have failed to meet those standards. That's a strange way of reading what he wrote. Because it's so absurd! Here is a topic that is religiously charged for anyone, and a thousand times more so for a graduate of YBT - it undermines their entire weltanscheung.

Zucker not only claims that will solely be using logic to address it when logic is not even applicable and categorically denies having any bias! It's like a comedy. Imagine one of the Lakewood Gedolim saying that the are going to evaluate evolution purely by logic, and insisting that they have no religious bias! What's the scenario by which it isn't endless? And I also stressed that there is a meta-issue which needs to be understood here, just like how when arguing evolution with creationists it has to be understood that it's not really a scientific discussion; there are underlying theological issues which determine matters.

These things get ever more intricate and protracted. After a long article, a long response, and a long rejoinder, I think it's enough for people to work with. At this point, any further discussion is more likely to waste time than to truly shed light for anyone. You know what, let's assume R.

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I didn't use those words. What he is is a person who sees Rambam as fundamentally defining and representing Judaiam for all time, and is therefore never going to admit that another great Rishon was the antithesis of him. Not to mention the fact that, on principle, he considers himself to be perfectly logical and no susceptible to any bias! Again, I think that they almost totally lack substance.

And for whose benefit would I be responding? You believe that corporealists are not worthy of respect as Torah scholars, so you will never be convinced that Rashi was a corporealist.

So what's the point? To prove that I have what to say?

Two Models of Alternative Dispute Resolution (Hakirah Single from Volume 4)

I already did that once, and it didn't convince my opponents; Zucker will respond at every point and you'll triumphantly declare that I have nothing to say. Of course it seems that way to you! And to you, it never will. After all, how could the great Rashi not be revered as a Torah scholar? There's always a way to contrive a source to read that you want it to say. On the other hand, to a large number of sincere Torah scholars and academics in the field of medieval Jewish theology, my article has tremendous merit. I made my case well and defended it an length against a dedicated, lengthy attack.

I am not going to continue with just wasting my time on people who are fundamentally religiously opposed to the very notion, when it is clear that there will be no end to this process. And that applies to you, too. All of the points that you made in your last comment can be summed up in one sentence: Pardon me, but this is rather pathetic. If his issues are wrong, show that they are wrong.

If they are correct, then admit that you are wrong. I must say that your harping once again on the issue of bias has the remarkable appearance of your not being able to respond with substance, so you need to resort to ad hominem. As I suggested earlier, - assume that he is completely biased, ignore him, and address the substance of his points. But you cannot seem to do that. By the way - " Your summing-up is subtly but fundamentally inaccurate. You misrepresentation of my position was rather dishonest and pathetic. The rest of your comment just repeat exactly what you said earlier.

You obviously fail to understand the point. This is a discussion that never ends. Recognizing that futility, I am pulling out. And in pulling out, I am explaining why R. Zucker is a astonishingly biased, and b astonishingly unwilling to admit to that obvious truth. Being biased does not mean that a person is wrong. But it does mean in some cases that he will never, ever concede, and thus that the argument is futile.

The reason for this should be spelled out, just as it is important to spell it out with the evolution discussions. Rabbi Slifkin, I think you made a tactical error here. Had you not engaged in this lengthy discussion, it is likely that not too many people would care, and would not have read R. Zucker's newly posted essay. As it is now, with the "excitement" of charges of bias, controversy, etc. I noticed that Rabbi Zucker posted a revised version of his essay, with an added footnote on the Me'ili issue, and an added footnote at the end about your "Closing Statement.

Sorry that you feel that way. I, and others, think otherwise. I noticed that R. Zucker referred to my comments as an "ad hominem" attack. Actually they were an explanation as to why further debate is a waste of time, and why he will never be able to accept that Rashi was a corporealist, no matter how powerful the arguments.

And I notice that he does not respond to the substance of what I wrote! This is an exact repeat of my debates with anti-evolutionists. They wanted to endlessly debate the science, and I wanted to discuss why such a debate was futile and misleading. They felt that I was avoiding discussing the substance, and I felt that it was actually they who were avoiding the real issues. That you refuse to discuss the issue further with him because he is biased? The first issue on the table was that of Rashi - he kept to the issue.

You attempted to create a diversion by talking about bias, and then you say that he isn't responding to you? I notice that you keep bringing up the issue of debates with creationists. Bias, in my opinion, should be a factor in closing a discussion, when the bias is injected into the argument itself. Rabbi Zucker never resorted to saying "but how can you possibly say Rashi was a corporealist?

He was such a great scholar! But he discussed based upon sources and reasoned argument. If you dispute the sources or the reasoning - fine, show why they are wrong, misinterpreted, etc. You seem unwilling to do that. Now, if you claim that you already did it, I would counter by saying that Rabbi Zucker refuted your earlier arguments and brought some new sources.

If you think his refutations are wrong, show why. A thorough examination and discussion serves to clarify whether, indeed, the arguments are or are not powerful. Not for him only - for all the readers. In your paper, you made a big deal of the distinction between logic and reason. The top four definitions of "logic" as presented by dictionary.

We were unable to follow his logic. There wasn't much logic in her move. Three of the four definitions resort to use of the word "reason. What is the "substance" of what you wrote? That there is no way he could ever concede that Rashi was a corporealist, since there is a more fundamental issue at stake for him. You call it a diversion. Just like the creationists did. I call it the underlying issue. And do you think that the creationists say that evolution is false because it is theologically unacceptable?!

They say that it is scientifically false. And they really believe that their scientific objections are based on a scientific evaluation! Take a look at ybt.

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To concede that a scholar as prominent and mainstream as Rashi was a corporealist would undermine their entire approach to Judaism. I already did it. And if I do, Rabbi Zucker will again issue a response. And we will be back to square one. Tell me, what do you see ideally and realistically as the end point? And why would that number be okay? Why do you think that Hakirah didn't print his rejoinder? But what if the arguments are, in reality, not all that powerful?

I did it once already. Now you want me to do it again. And then he'll respond, and you'll want me to do it again. And on what basis do you pick that number? There's a reason why he used the word "logic" instead of "reason. And it relates to his stance that there is no issue of bias here. Rashi was, indeed, not a corporealist? You speak as if the only possible reason for his adamant rejection of your thesis is bias. Maybe it's simply because you're wrong. Of course it's theoretically possible that I am wrong.

And it is possible for someone to disagree with me because they have figured that out. But that is not why R. Zucker is disagreeing with me! For him, it was a foregone conclusion that I had to be wrong, even before evaluating the arguments. His entire worldview of Judaism is at stake much more so than for the average Charedi person. You should see the correspondence with Judah Landa in the latest Hakirah. It sheds further light on the impossibility of discussing this topic with some people. You come off as someone who thinks he can read people's minds.

How do you know why someone else does anything?! And furthermore, even if you are correct which there is NO way of really knowing - so what? If Albert Einstein was motivated to come up with the theory of relativity just to make himself famous again, just a hypothetical analogy , does that make the theory less true? Stick to the substance of the argument, and stop harping on your mind-reading skills.

I'm not reading his mind, I'm reading his words! It was even more clear in his latest piece, where he insisted that the Rishonim couldn't really have respected corporealists! And are you familiar with YBT? Your analogy to Einstein is misplaced. He presented a theory, he brought evidence, and it was accepted.

It's not a matter of convincing people to engage him in endless debate. My analogy to creationists is much more accurate. Maybe they are correct, just like Einstein? So maybe I should debate them ad infinitum? Tom, you don't need to take my word for any of this. If you don't want to draw the obvious conclusion from R. Zucker's articles about his underlying religious worldview, then ask around about YBT, and read the articles on their website.

They see philosophical knowledge - of Rambam's type - as necessarily being, and always having been, the basis of Judaism. Sure, theoretically speaking, he could be right. But he could be wrong. And debating him would never, ever lead to him conceding the latter. So how long should such a debate go on? And please explain to me why it is any different to debating a creationist about evolution. Zucker's words did he say that it was a foregone conclusion for him that you had to be wrong?

Zucker's words lead you to your own conclusion - but you present it as if he himself said it, not as if it's your interpretation. You present your opinion as if it is fact. By the way, I assume that you would say the same thing to the Ramban - "It's pointless to talk to you, Ramban, about my Rashi article, since you hold that corporealists will burn in hell, and you admire Rashi, so you must be blind to the truth of my article about Rashi. Zucker is in good company.

Obviously he doesn't say it explicitly, just like creationists don't say it explicitly. I am presenting it as a clear inference from his words and from the approach of his alma mater just as he claims that there is a clear inference from Rashi's words that he was not a corporealist. You might as well say, "Rabbi Zucker is not a mind-reader, how can he possibly claim that Rashi is not a corporealist! How can he present his opinion as fact?! Zucker and myself would satisfy you. Likewise, you have consistently avoided addressing my analogy to the futility and sham of debating science with creationists.

Finally, your reference to "so many people having a problem with my "theories" " suggests that you are another of my many fundamentalist opponents. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This website is not intended for people such as yourself, please stay away! I just wanted to point out that Tom never said that he was one of your "fundamentalist opponents.

For all you and I know, he might be someone who appreciated your work until being turned off by your attitude here. Also, can you please give a typical example of an argument that a creationist might present, to which you feel that it would be futile to respond due to his bias? You have actually done this before on other posts by referring to specific chapters in your books when someone questions something that you had explained in your books. Didn't you see what he wrote about my "theories," in quotation marks?!

The internet is full of this stuff. Missing links, vestigial organs all having uses, irreducible complexity, etc. A powerful method of handling this kind of debate is to respond to the new points that are actually new, and to refer back to an earlier answer when the points are not really new, thus highlighting the futility of further response.

It's rarely possible to do that. Usually there's some kind of new twist each time. You "deduced" that I was one of your fundamentalist opponents. You could not be more wrong.

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I am from the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah community. I embrace evolution in fact I think that your material about that, animals, creation, etc. I have no problem if it were proved that Rashi was a corporealist. I am torn between the Rambam and the Raavad regarding the issue of kefirah - so if there were solid evidence that Rashi was a corporealist, I would have no problem saying that either he was nebach a kofer - and that we could still learn from areas where he was correct like R. Meir learned from Acher - and this would be the Rambam side; or he was a great Jew who made a mistake and this would be the Raavad side.

I wrote the word "theories" in quotes, because your Rashi material, as well as much of your "academic Judasim" material is based on speculation, conjecture, opinion, and "fluff. In fact, I asked a friend of mine who is a professor of Jewish Studies at an Ivy League university what he thought of your work from an academic perspective, and he said that it was laughable. He is writing an article now on the state of Jewish Studies in academia, and said that he may be citing your work as a "counterexample" in his article.

I could not resist the temptation to write this because your own confident conclusion about me is a great example of your inferring falsehoods and running with them. And which people were you referring to? I showed my Rashi article to a number of leading academics in this field. Not all of them agreed with the conclusion most did , but all thought it was excellent and had great praise for it. Two professors of medieval Jewish philosophy incorporated it into their classes.

With regard to your claim of a professor of Jewish Studies who considers my writings laughable from an academic perspective — depending on which of my material he has read, I may entirely agree with him! Most of my books were written in my charedi days and make me cringe when I look at them now. Even my more recent books, while far superior to my earlier works, are popular books rather than academic works. And my website is a blog, not an academic journal. At least, that is the opinion of the numerous academics who have spoken to me about them, and also the opinion all my professors from ML, from which my grade point average in my MA was What is especially ironic here is that you are criticizing me for not responding to R.

Zucker, and yet although I have repeatedly asked a direct question of how many times I am expected to respond, you always avoided answering! I certainly did not mean to avoid your question. I don't think there's a number. Respond as long as new points come up, or until you are tired, too busy, not inclined, etc. So quit whenever you want. My problem with what you've been doing is not that you want to quit which is fine!

The way you have done it makes you look a bit pathetic. Sorry - that's just the way I and a good number of people who have spoken to me about this see it. Well, I'm sorry that you see it that way, but I think that there was an important point to be made here about the very nature of the debate and others like it. Debates where fundamental religious worldviews are at stake are not like ordinary academic debates and should not be misconstrued as such.

Did you see the correspondence in the latest Hakirah? Another thought just occurred to me: I strongly suspect that in a sample pool of 10 professors, let's say, few if any of them would choose c , because it comes off as blatantly whiny and, as I said, pathetic. Why not ask them? Also, did you show the same professors R. Zucker's article in Hakirah and his posted essay, and ask them what they thought of those articles in terms of substantive points made?

Well, take a look at this for one example: I am in an unusual situation. Incidentally, there is a difference between a strategy being innately inappropriate, and it being ineffective due to how it is perceived e. The latter can be a very valid criticism even if the former is not.

So I will take what you say under consideration. Did you show Zucker's article to your professor friend? By the way, I have heard much sharper comments about R. Zucker and about YBT's overall approach than anything I have written! But I think that we should leave it at that. I stopped reading the comments after the first 20, most of which were about how silly the bloggers sounded when they insisted on having the last word. You see - they come off as whiny! I think you really ought to consider that point.

Just as I am sure you know that people have very choice words to say about you. And about Rav Shach. And the Lubavitcher Rebbe. When people have strong ideological differences, they lash out at the "other. So your bringing up idle chatter doesn't really contribute to this discussion or add any significant point. I already said that I will. I can't dispute that some people dislike this type of thing.

That doesn't mean that it is innately wrong, just that it may be ineffective from a practical standpoint. On the other hand, there are other comments which show that other people feel differently - e. I showed you two who did. I can't think of another situation where there is a debate between someone coming from an academic perspective and someone coming from a traditionalist perspective. Like I said, the two worlds don't usually meet. In fact, what you heard probably pales in comparison to what your opponents say about you - and I'm sure you already know that.

I thought that you were interested in hearing what academics say, not what stam people say. Isn't that why you mentioned your unnamed friend who is a professor of Jewish philosophy? By the way, did you ask him about YBT? If he's not familiar with it, show him some of R. He and you will see that any discussion about Rashi's views on corporealism is really missing the underlying dispute, which is about whether great Jews are necessarily philosophers. The Seforim blog refers to this post: Yitzchak, the truth is that I have never researched this topic, and I assumed that it was pretty much the standard understanding of Rambam.

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It was a just something that I threw out in passing, and I'm at a bit of a loss to understand why you described my statement as "ex cathedra" - a phrase which is usually used for people who are invoking personal authority to make declarations which are considered binding upon others and not requiring any support. That's how you described my mentioning my understanding of Rambam's position in passing?! Does this mean that any time that I refer to anyone's position without giving my sources, I'm going to be described as speaking "ex cathedra"? That's weird, and gives entirely the wrong impression.

I was using the term ex cathedra loosely, in the sense of: I apologize if I have been unjust or inappropriately critical. It was a parenthetical, off-the-cuff comment in a blog post! As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I don't have time to respond to every comment, and this was one that required a lot of study. I posted it, so that people would be able to research your response.

I have said repeatedly that if people want to get an answer from me about something, they should email me. I believe that the way you presented your post and referred to what I said was extremely inappropriate. If you're going to dedicate an entire post to arguing against something that I write, then you shouldn't inflate it to anything more than what it was. You should have written, "In a blog comment, Rabbi Slifkin mentioned offhandedly that Rambam did not believe in the existence of hell.

But the matter is far from clear Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. The other day, I was caught in an ethical dilemma. Someone was asking online if anyone knew of an English translation of Perek Shirah, becau It dealt with an incredibly important and provocative topic that lies at the heart of the Torah-science controversies of the last few years: It's now freely available for download; click here. Since writing the article, I have been working further on the tricky topic of defining heresy; I gave a lecture on this topic recently in LA and I plan to write a full treatment of it.

Meanwhile, here's a fascinating quote from Prof.


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He raises the question of why Rambam listed belief in the preeminence of Moshe's prophecy as a fundamental; would anyone really care if someone believed that, say, Yechezkel was his equal? He answers as follows: An ikkar does not arise from the fact that its negation is false, but from the fact that its negation undermines the Jewish system of belief. A belief is an ikkar when its content is what differentiates Judaism from the surrounding credal system. Curious July 30, at 4: Natan Slifkin July 30, at 4: Garnel Ironheart July 30, at 6: Zohar August 1, at 1: Anonymous August 1, at 6: MJ August 1, at Natan Slifkin August 1, at 1: Daniel August 1, at 2: Baruch Pelta August 1, at 2: Anonymous August 1, at 5: Natan Slifkin August 2, at 2: Natan Slifkin August 2, at 5: DrJ August 2, at Psychologist August 3, at 8: Michael August 3, at 9: WFB August 4, at 1: Avi Katz August 4, at 2: MJ August 4, at 1: Anonymous August 4, at 6: Flatbush Fan August 4, at 9: DrJ August 5, at 2: Natan Slifkin August 8, at 7: YU Talmid August 8, at 3: Flatbush Fan August 8, at 3: Natan Slifkin August 8, at 3: Natan Slifkin August 8, at 4: Anonymous August 8, at 4: Eric August 8, at 4: Eric August 8, at 5: Natan Slifkin August 8, at 5: YU Talmid August 8, at 5: Eric August 8, at 6: Natan Slifkin August 8, at 6: YU Talmid August 8, at Natan Slifkin August 8, at A Friend August 8, at Observer August 9, at 6: Natan Slifkin August 9, at 6: Tom August 9, at 6: Simple Jew August 9, at 7: Natan Slifkin August 9, at 8: