09 Aug SPEAK YOUR VUES WITH THE VUES MASTER
Please note that the author of Speak Your Vues is in no way affiliated with the publisher of
this paper. The author of this column is an independent third party contributor. The views and
opinions expressed by this author may not reflect the views and opinions of the publishers. If
one has any issues with any of the views, please write a letter to the Vues Master.
Dear Vues Master:
A letter from HaGaon
I really didn’t want to write this letter until this operation
officially ended and maybe I am speaking too soon, but am
I the only one seeing these open miracles? Yes, we have
the Iron Dome, which is a miracle in and of itself, but I’m
not talking about that kind of miracle. I am talking about
the splitting of the sea, kind of a miracle. A THOUSAND
rockets from Gaza. A thousand!!! Here are some of the
exact numbers. 935 rockets fired by Islamic Jihad. 160
fell short in Gaza, 775 crossed into Israeli territory and
300 heading toward populated areas intercepted by Iron
Dome (96% interception rate). I want to talk about the
775. How do you explain 775 rockets falling into a tiny
country smaller than New Jersey with zero casualties? Not
even any serious injuries. Some of these rockets fell on
buildings and in heavily populated centers. What a “coincidence”
that no one was there at that moment. Well, there
was one injury on our side. And he’s a “Palestinian” from
Chevron who was in Ashkelon when the rocket struck. So
not one Jew was seriously harmed by 935 rockets aimed
at populated areas with one goal: To kill as many Jews
as possible. Does that make sense to you? Is that logical
or is that a miracle? So maybe the rockets aren’t that
deadly, you say? Ok, that makes sense. Except one thing.
Um, the rockets that fell short and didn’t make it into Israel
killed countless people on the Gaza side. Apparently
they are pretty dangerous. These savages aimed rockets
at Tel Aviv, at Jerusalem, at Ben Gurion Airport and not
one person was harmed. Of course, on our side, we did
the exact opposite. Pinpoint targeting of the bad guys with
incredible precision and success. Even the big wins where
we took out a senior commander were called off multiple
times because kids were spotted in the area. I don’t know
about you but I see blatant miracles from G-d in the events
of the past few days. If you don’t, consider new glasses.
Vues Master’s Note:Torah Magna Umatzla. There is more
Torah learned in Eretz Yisroel than the whole world! For
that reason in itself Hakadosh Baruch Hu does miracles.
SIYUM ON THE ROAD
Dear Vues Master:
There is a new trend in Israel during the nine days. There
is a radio station that had a siyum on the radio every night
throughout the nine days & people listened to it and had
meat every day during the nine days. Is that permitted? It
really doesn’t seem right.
Vues Master’s Note: It is called eating fleishigs virtually!
ANTISEMITISM WITHOUT ANTISEMITES
Dear Vues Master:
The Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania,
pressed by the media about his association with an outspoken
antisemite, last week condemned “anti-Semitism
in any form”—yet refused to condemn the antisemite with
whom he has been associating. It’s antisemitism without
antisemites. The GOP gubernatorial candidate, Doug
Mastriano, was revealed to have been paying “consulting”
fees to the social media platform “Gab,” a site where white
supremacists and other antisemites regularly congregate.
Among Gab’s users was the terrorist who massacred eleven
worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. Gab
founder and CEO Andrew Torba regularly makes openly
antisemitic remarks. In one recent interview, he railed
against “Zionist lies,” and said of Gab, “This is a Christian
movement…We don’t want people who are Jewish.”
Torba’s hatred of Jews doesn’t seem to trouble Mastriano.
In an interview with Torba in May, Mastriano exclaimed,
“Thank God for what you’ve done” (in creating Gab). In
recent days, Mastriano at first sidestepped reporters’ questions
about his connection with Torba and ignored appeals
to him by Jewish organizations to leave Gab. Evidently
pursuing the votes of Torba’s followers was his priority.
But as the criticism grew, Mastriano apparently decided
it would be more advantageous to put some distance between
himself and Gab. So he deleted his Gab account and
issued a “condemnation,” but one that was barely worthy
of the name. “Andrew Torba doesn’t speak for me or my
campaign,” Mastriano tweeted. “I reject anti-Semitism in
any form.” Then he blamed “the Democrats and the media”
for “smearing” him, and claimed his Democratic opponent
in the gubernatorial race is the real “extremist” in
the room. So Torba doesn’t speak for him—yet Mastriano
pointedly refrained from condemning the things that
Torba says about Jews and the platform that he provides
to bigots. Mastriano said he “rejects anti-Semitism,” but
he doesn’t seem to reject antisemites—at least not those
whose votes he hopes to attract. Mastriano is an avid
supporter of former president Donald Trump. It may not
be coincidental that his handling of the Torba episode is
reminiscent of the way Trump has responded when asked
to condemn white supremacists and other extremists. In
February 2016, candidate Trump was asked by several interviewers
if he disavowed the endorsement he had just
received from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
In one interview, Trump implausibly denied that he knew
who Duke was (despite having made public comments
about Duke in the past), then said: “I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.” When another reporter pressed him on the issue, a somewhat exasperated Trump finally replied, “Okay, all right. I disavow, okay?” It seemed as if Trump didn’t want to utter the words, “I disavow David Duke’s support,” lest that jeopardize his chances of attracting votes from among Duke’s followers. Perhaps that was the same motive for the answer Trump gave when NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked him in October 2020 if agreed that QAnon’s conspiracy theories are “crazy and not true.” Trump replied, “I don’t know about QAnon” and “What I do hear about it, they are very strongly against pedophilia.” A reluctance to denounce individuals who might be politically useful has been evident on both sides of the aisle in recent years. Recall what happened when Minnesota Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar made antisemitic remarks in 2019. That infamous controversy began when Rep. Omar claimed that a Jewish organization was paying members of Congress to be pro-Israel (“It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” is how she put it.). A statement released by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five other senior House Democrats condemned what they called “Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters.” A few weeks later, Omar did it again, this time seemingly questioning the patriotism of some of her congressional colleagues. She asserted that supporters of Israel “think it is ok for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Congressional Republicans, and some Democrats, wanted to pass a resolution condemning Omar and her statements. But Omar’s allies—led by the so-called Congressional “Squad”—convinced the Democratic leadership to adopt a very different resolution. Theirs did not mention Omar by name, and, instead of focusing on antisemitism, denounced “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry.” In other words, it condemned antisemitism without condemning the antisemite. Condemning Omar by name would have alienated her followers. Condemning Andrew Torba by name would have offended his followers. Condemning David Duke or QAnon by name would have antagonized their followers. As a result, in each case, the “condemnations” that public pressure elicited were the absolute minimum that the politicians in question believed they could issue while still preserving their narrow political interests. The concept of asking public figures to condemn a specific antisemitic colleague makes sense. Even if those who are issuing the condemnation have to be pressured into doing so, the fact that they are making such a statement helps set an appropriate standard for American society. It says clearly that such antisemitic sentiments are unacceptable; that helps drive antisemites to the margins. But a hollow condemnation of antisemitism, one that does not name the antisemite in question, undermines the whole purpose of such a condemnation. It signals that the politicians in question are still willing to accept the antisemite because doing so gives them some political advantage. They are still treating the antisemite and his or her followers as a legitimate part of American political culture. They are, in effect, bringing the bigots back in from the margins of society. And that’s just wrong.
Vues Master’s Note: Some things just never change!
Dear Vues Master:
A lot of yeshivas these days are telling bar mitzvah boys not to lein their parshas. They believe that it is causing a lot of anxiety on the child & it’s not necessary. I disagree because I think that every boy should at least try to lein his parsha. If it’s too hard for them, let him just lein an aliyah or just do the haftorah. If you don’t push these boys to lein, there is a good chance that a lot of the good leiners out there will not be found.
Vues Master’s Note: I agree. It is just our lazy generation!
Dear Vues Master:
How much money should a parent give a child going to a sleep away camp for canteen? On the one hand, you want your child to have money for drinks and nosh but what about the parent that worries about their child eating too much junk food? What should those parents do?
Vues Master’s Note: Parents usually know what type of child they have, but money does talk!
Dear Vues Master:
It’s amazing how many trips these sleep away camps take their campers on these days. When I was in camp in the 80’s & 90’s we had one or two trips at most per trip. It seems like these kids are going on trips every other day.
Vues Master’s Note: In your days there was no internet so the kids had no idea what all the other camps did! Today the kids have all this information in their hands so they get spoiled! Camps try to keep up with their competition.
Dear Vues Master:
I’m staying far away from the American abortion debate, this is purely a Torah thought. A friend of mine, Rabbi Victor Urecki, wrote the following: A fetus is a potential life. A woman is an actual life. A fetus has not attained the status of personhood. A woman has. A fetus is considered a “rodef”, a pursuer, if it endangers in any way the life and mental health of a woman. A mother’s life takes precedence over the fetus in every instance. And any difficult decision of what to do is made by the woman and the guidance of her family and clergy if she chooses. That is the Jewish position and one accepted by many. That may not be the Christian view for some. In response, I added that I agreed but when teaching about abortion from the Torah’s perspective we should also mention: Although only a potential life and not a life, it is still forbidden to end a fetus’s viability except in dire circumstances. These dire circumstances include risk to the mother, physical or mental, or certain risks to the fetus’s viability at birth. A mother, her family, doctor and Rabbi should discuss this challenging decision and then come to an educated decision. Rabbi Urecki brought up an insightful idea. He wrote “The difficult tightrope many in the Jewish world struggle with is that the idea ‘My body, my choice’ is not how Jewish law approaches this.” Rabbi Urecki’s point is one of the fundamentals of the Torah. Whether it’s waking up early to daven with a minyan, keeping Shabbat, or only eating Kosher, staying loyal to the Torah often requires setting aside personal desire for fulfillment of mitzvot. I can’t imagine a choice that requires setting aside personal ambition and choice more than keeping or aborting a pregnancy. In our generation abortion has become the example of a Torah command that requires setting aside one’s own choice.
Vues Master’s Note: Sometimes I feel like we live in a world like Sodom, where religion is scoffed at!
Dear Vues Master:
In Mesechtas Bava Kama (daf 54 b) it says “if someone locks up his animals properly and it escapes and causes damage then the owner is patur.” If he didn’t lock them up properly and they escape and cause damage then the owner is chayiv. The Mishna tells us that having an improper fence is tantamount to not having one. Reading the Gemora we may think “what kind of person would have an improper fence? The animals can escape and cause so much damage! Lives can be put at stake!” Let’s try and apply this to us in ways we can understand and are relevant. Many of us and our children have “kosher phones”, or so we think. The truth is that no flip phone is kosher unless explicitly mentioned in product specifications or visibly certified by a reliable/known hechsher, otherwise, it is a regular smartphone with a keypad – like a pig showing off its split hooves in an attempt to convey that it’s kosher. So too, we brandish our flip phones to the world advertising that it’s kosher while it’s not. Why is this? To put it simply, Flip phones have a hidden SD card that holds all of the original apps and serves to reinstall them to the phone in case they get erased (reset). However, when a person gets a “counterfeit filter” it deletes the internet app from the phone itself, not the hidden SD card. This can be done simply by plugging the phone into a computer and using a certain free program to install or uninstall apps. ( in contrast with the tens of thousands of dollars organizations spend developing proper kosher filters). Anyway, this is how some flip phones have installed apps like Waze or Spotify. This is problematic because in the case of a reset of the phone it’ll revert to its default state supplied by this hidden drive we mentioned previously, which means the internet is back. It is astonishingly easy to trigger a reset. We know the test for a safek psul in a sefer torah is if a child can’t read the letter. even though I don’t want to tell you here how to remove even an incompetent filter, I will tell you that even a mildly curious child can pull it off. Of course, no one will try and do this intentionally, if so they wouldn’t bother putting a filter on their internet and they would just get a smartphone. We use the analogy of a child because a child is the definition of Innocence and the reality is anyone can remove the “filter” inadvertently. A reliable filter will go into the kishkes of this hidden SD card and simply remove the internet from there. at this point, the technician resets the phone, and now no matter how many times you try, unless you know what you are doing (some people and even kids do!), you won’t succeed in getting internet capabilities back This filter is mainly distributed by kids who either don’t understand how bad it is or doesn’t mind the consequences. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have this “non-filter” on their phones. I once walked into a yeshiva where many, if not most of the bochurim have this “filter”. a primary goal should be to make rebbeim aware of the fallacies of false filters. My yeshiva requires a receipt from a reliable filtering organization that matches your phone. every yeshiva should have a similar solution. How to tell if the flip phone is improperly filtered: 1. If there are apps like Waze or Spotify. 2. If in settings there is an option in the main menu called “developers options” that can be accessed when pressed on. How to tell if the phone is properly filtered: 1. External labels of name brand filters are great indicators. 2. when the phone is. turned off and on, the logo. of the filtering organization is displayed. 3. In settings by “about phone, software information” press “build number” five times it should say “you are a developer”. Upon returning to settings click developer option – you shouldn’t be able to access that option. if you can, It indicates the filter is outdated, unreliable, or isn’t even there. Additionally, I happened to have heard from a very chashuv person that his “filter” for his kids’ phones means taking data off the phone plan. this pashut won’t work because every phone is also equipped with wifi and google built-in, which means that it takes very little effort to land in the same hole you tried climbing out of. If someone has a garden of tomatoes he’ll protect them with a small fence. This small fence won’t cut if he has a land mine. The greater the threat, the greater the fence needed. If this is true by minefields how much more so about our ruchnius- and having a properly protected phone. Because after all, a fence with a hole is like no fence at all.
Vues Master’s Note: Do you think a filter really works against this? I’m not so sure.
Dear Vues Master:
Was Nancy Pelosi’s courageous decision to visit Taiwan connected to her father’s actions during the Holocaust? Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington D.C. bureau chief, told CNN on August 2 that Pelosi’s willingness to stand up to China’s threats over her Taiwan visit likely was inspired by the actions of her late father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., in the 1940s, “who was a loyal Democrat, but stood up to FDR on the issue of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.” Some years ago, while researching the activities of the Holocaust rescue advocates known as the Bergson Group, I discovered that D’Alesandro, Jr., a Democratic congressman from Maryland, had been a supporter of the group. Rep. D’Alesandro was a loyal backer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He even named his first son—Nancy’s eldest brother—Franklin Roosevelt D’Alesandro. But he broke ranks with FDR over the Holocaust. While the president was insisting that nothing could be done to rescue Jewish refugees, D’Alesandro was signing on to full-page newspaper advertisements by the Bergson Group urging America to grant haven to Jews fleeing Hitler. Those ads—more than 200 of which appeared in newspapers around the country in the 1940s—were a crucial part of the Bergson Group’s rescue campaign. Signed by celebrities, prominent intellectuals, and members of Congress, they demonstrated that a wide cross-section of Americans supported rescue. Having the names of loyal Democrats such as D’Alesandro was particularly powerful, because it showed the president that the issue of rescuing the Jews was not some partisan jab by his opponents, but a vital cause that was close to the hearts of his own allies. It was politically risky for D’Alesandro and other Democratic congressmen to publicly dissent from the president’s harsh policy toward Jewish refugees. It is testimony to their humanitarianism that they were prepared to alienate the president whose support they needed for their personal political success. The pressure from Congressional Democrats helped influence President Roosevelt to belatedly establish the War Refugee Board, in early 1944. Despite its small staff and meager funding from the Roosevelt administration, the Board played a key role in the rescue of more than 200,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Its many accomplishments included sponsoring the heroic life-saving activities of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Nazi-occupied Budapest. In a message to a conference that my colleagues and I at the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies organized some years ago, Speaker Pelosi wrote: “I was thrilled to recently learn, from the Wyman Institute’s research, that my father, the late Thomas D’Alesandro, was one of those who spoke out for rescue.” In her subsequent book, “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughter” (2008), Speaker Pelosi drew a connection between her father’s actions and her own record of vocal protests against human rights abuses—by China. “Not only did I oppose President George H. W. Bush on his China policy, I strenuously disagreed with Democratic President Bill Clinton on his trade and human rights policies toward China and Tibet as well. This was difficult because I otherwise greatly supported and admired his leadership. My father faced a similar situation in Congress. Although he was a New Deal Democrat and followed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s lead, there was one area in which he disagreed with the administration”—FDR’s response to the Holocaust. After leaving Congress, D’Alesandro served for twelve years as the mayor of Baltimore. That was the crucial formative period of Nancy Pelosi’s political education. She “learned her politics at the elbow of her father,” a Washington Post profile of the House speaker has noted. Throughout high school and into her college years, Nancy was at the center of her father’s intense political world. As a result, she was a political veteran long before she even entered politics. And she was fortunate to have as her role model a man who courageously put his humanitarian principles above his narrow political needs. He would have been proud of his daughter’s stance regarding Taiwan.
Vues Master’s Note: : I think she thought her hairdresser moved there!
Dear Vues Master:
Rabbi Miller writes – The forces of evil are very powerful in this world and they will never yield to us easily; when the time for the geulah these forces are going to exert themselves to the utmost to prevent it. The Nevi’im say the yetzer hara is going to do its best to stop us. And we have to know that we have to fight back and that we are in this world to resist. We have to make sure that we never desist, never weaken, in avodas Hashem, no matter how many foolish opponents we have and no matter how strong they appear to be. – Toras Avigdor With that in mind, I would like to shed light on a sensitive topic that needs to be said. One such force is the feminist movement. The mother, who is the source of life, is also the one who can destroy it. Besides having the power to physically abort a child she has the power to spiritually abduct a child. Mothers have far more control over their children than fathers. Are such statements as “Mother’s boy” and mother-in-law jokes said about fathers? During the siege on Yerushalayim only the mothers are recorded to have eaten their children but not the fathers. One redeeming feature of this middah, trait, was having children despite the boys being thrown in the Nile. Nowadays this trait can rear its head in cases like Munchausen by proxy where the mother invents symptoms or causes real ones in order to make her child appear sick. It is interesting to note that this godlike ability may be connected to the nachash, snake, who said to Chava that she would become like G-d if she ate from it and being that he didn’t really tell her any lies but just manipulated the facts, it is reasonable to say she did become like G-d.
Vues Master’s Note: Oy! We need Ahavas Chinam!
Dear Vues Master:
In Proverbs 1:8 it says- “My son, hear the mussar, discipline, of your father, and do not forsake the Torah of your mother.” Why is Mussar before Torah? Why is it called the Torah of your mother and not the Torah of your father? How do you know if her Torah is Toras Emes? The Torah of the mother is contingent upon the mussar of the father. If the mother lets the father do the disciplining then her Torah is Toras Emes. It says in Proverbs 10:1 – A wise son makes a glad father: but a foolish son is the grief of his mother. The Malbim writes, A father is seen by his son as the source of discipline and moral instructions; if the son lives virtuously, then the credit goes to the father. The mother, on the other hand, expresses the grief of feeling personal responsibility and blame if the son chooses a life of vice, for evidently her loving relationship with him has served to protect her son from the discipline and wholesome rigors of the father’s education – Feldheim.
Vues Master’s Note: When one gives mussar he always says I am speaking to myself. Do you think that is the case here?
Dear Vues Master:
Who are the greatest gedolei Roshei Yeshiva in America today? Nothing to do with the yeshiva he heads, just is he a mentch, what level shiur does he give, etc.
Vues Master’s Note: I have an idea! Maybe ask a Rosh Yeshiva for some help answering this question!
Dear Vues Master:
Where is the best place to have a Shabbos Nachamu retreat ?
1) in camp
2) at home
6) A hotel
8) the Catskills
9) the city
11) The old city
P.S. I was hoping Moshiach would come & that we would be in Yerushalayim, but unfortunately we were not zoche!
Vues Master’s Note: If you stay in the city, keep your window shades down as it might hurt your children’s shidduchim!
Dear Vues Master:
I hear Republicans complaining that people are going to be taxed up the wazoo with this bill but isn’t that the point? Inflation happens because there is too much money in circulation (remember those stimulus checks I said was going to cause inflation) well now the government has to bring that money back into the treasury and one way to do it is by taxation (another way is by raising interest rates so less money goes into circulation) What does the Republicans want to do to stop inflation? (I know, I’m a Republican, and I’m championing the Democrats but doesn’t this make sense?)
Vues Master’s Note: I would rather spend my own money than the government spend it on nonsense!
Dear Vues Master:
I get turned off when a wealthy person seems to be donating big money to a yeshiva/tzedakah/organization in a very public way. They might make a big announcement or enjoy their name plastered all over the new whatever. Don’t get me wrong. The donor must be appreciated. But I’m discussing the perspective of the giver, not the perspective of the taker. Frum Jews know that we should do mitzvos lsheim shamayim if possible, rather than for money or honor. Personally I respect most anonymous or low key giving. Do you think there is anything wrong with giving recognition or fame rather than shtil aheit?
Vues Master’s Note: If it helps others, I am all for it. Whatever benefits Tzedaka.