Netanyahu Will Bless (Rosh Hashana)

h/t Avraham Bronstein, @AvBronstein

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(Metalogical) Being In The World (Franz Rosenzweig)

Rosenzweig writes against what he calls “negative cosmology” in modern philosophy. In the opening lines of the chapter on the world in part I of The Star of Redemption, describes the world like this, or rather our being in the world as self-evident.  “Now what do we know of the world? It appears to surround us. We are in it, but it exists within us too. It penetrates us, but with every breath and every stirring of our hands it also emanates from us” (p.41, Hallo translation).

The world is composed of what could reasonably be called three “structures.”

[1] World order: or logos, reason. With no uniform origin or a single point or concept, the world order is a network or system of relations and rational stipulations (43). The “intrasonic” order of the world is composed of sound, language, reason. It operates like a “force of attraction” (p.48).

[2] World Plenitude: The plentitude of the world is chaosmos, individuated and individuating, a “plentitude of visions” with no precondition, pure, simple, naked, colorful, blind.

[3] Reality of World. The reality of the world is metalogical. It is not determined by reason, but nor is it irrational. The reality of the world is determined by the individuated chaos of possibility as it descends after “a piece of pure plunging” into an order of the world, and which it determines as a structure (pp.48, 49). The reality of the world is not one-dimensional. “[T]hreads and relationships run from every individual point to every other, and to the whole.” The “unity of these countless relationships” is a “relative conclusion” conditioned by “the subjective point of view” (pp.52-3).

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(Modular Body) Mishnah Hands Tumah

“This perceived modularity of the human body is what enables, I suggest, one of the most perplexing rabbinic (or protorabbinic) innovations, namely, the ruling that one’s hands are constantly impure (in a low degree) regardless of the impurity status of the person as a whole. One’s entire body can be certifiably pure, but unless one has just washed one’s hands this very instant, his hands are considered to be “second to impurity” in such a way that they disqualify a heave-offering just by touching it, and if one’s hands are wet, they also transmit impurity to ordinary food. The reason for this constant status of impurity, as stated in the Mishnah, is that the hands always ‘busy themselves’ (she-ha-yadayim ‘asqaniyot), that is, one’s hands are likely to do things and touch things of which their “owner” is not aware. In other words, the rabbis assume a certain dissociation of the hands from the rest of the body insofar as the hands have ‘a will of their own,’ and therefore ascribe to the hands an impurity status that is independent of the rest of the body.”

–Mira Balberg, Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature pp.59-60

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A Finite God of Gaps (Franz Rosenzweig)

Better than the infinite and nameless God is the becoming finite God of the gap in the haze of names as thought out by Franz Rosenzweig as he begins to close his chapter on the metaphysical God in The Star of Redemption, a book I learned to hate but have never stopped loving.

Putting it another way, God’s love was not for the impenitent but for the perfect man. The doctrine of resignation to divine grace counted as a dangerous “secret of secrets,” never to be disclosed, it was taught, to those who do not venerate God, who demur against him, who do not castigate themselves. Yet precisely these lost, hardened, locked souls, these sinners, should be sought out by the love of a God who is not merely “amiable” but who himself loves, regardless of the love of man, nay, on the contrary, first arousing the love of man. But of course to this end it would be necessary for the infinite God to come more finitely close to man, more face-to-face with him, more proper-name to proper-name than any sense of sensible men, any wisdom of wise men could ever admit. The gap between the human-worldly and the divine is indicated precisely in the ineradicability of personal names. It is beyond the power, ascetic or mystic, of men and the world to leap over. It is deeper and more real than any ascetic’s arrogance, any mystic’s conceit will ever admit in his despisal of the “sound and haze” of names earthly and heavenly. And it would, at the same time, have to be recognized and acknowledged as such (Hallo translation, p.39)

With no bathos of excess, Rosenzweig will go on to say in the next paragraph that in myth and metaphysics the human ceases to be merely human and the world ceases to be world (p.40). This attention to gaps is an important point of distinction and individuation that I recall Rosenzweig making elsewhere, but am forgetting where.

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First Temple Period Ivory (Ornament)

Recent lovely little finds from the First Temple Period (8th or 7th C. BCE) are made out of ivory. These materiele suggests something about luxury and decoration, the power and influence of ancient Judea, at the time a vassal to Assyrian empire which is where these things might have come from. They are also very pretty, which is worth keeping in mind and actually important, not just because of what they tell us about the past, but because they are nice to look at now. They would form a part of a philosophy of ornament relating to a feel for nature and life.

Regarding the Assyrian motifs, as per here: Indeed, the Jerusalem ivories show many similarities with other ivories produced in Assyria. The plaques are decorated with incised rosettes that frame a stylized tree in the center. Others are adorned with lotus flowers and geometric patterns, all of which were popular symbols within Mesopotamia and are found among the ivories discovered in Samaria and Assyria.

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Yeshiva Gate (Twitter)

Howls of righteous rage and fury are unscrolling in real time at Twitter, from those whom the Hasidic schools failed miserably and their allies among modern orthodox Jews. MT asked me whom to follow and here are some recommendations.

Shulim Leifer, @ShulimLeifer

Dr. Hannah Lebovits @HannahLebovits

Abby Stein – 𐤀𐤁𐤉𐤂𐤉𐤋 𐤇𐤅𐤄 𐤔𐤈𐤉𐤉𐤍 @AbbyChavaStein

Footsteps; @FootstepsInc

Koblentzer Rebbe; @RabbiKolakowski (called me, literally a Nazi)

Eliza Shapiro; @elizashapiro (one of the lead writers at the NYT)

Yaffed; @yaffedorg

Naftali Moster; @nmoster

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt; @avitalrachel

Elad Nehorai; @EladNehorai

Miriam Moster; @MiriamMoster


Satmar Headquarters; @HQSatmar

Rabbi Jill Jacobs; @rabbijilljacobs

Shmarya Rosenberg, @Shmarya

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Chabad At Church of the Resurrection (Manhattan)

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Lower East Side Bright Light

This post elicted a couple of interesting comments at FB. Two were about the slowed down pace of gentrification in the wake of Covid, another one about an anti-Semitic incident in the neighborhood. They were all very much in the present and the very near past. I did not see it at the time, but noticed in the photo posted now here at the blog the little green plant-life peeking out on, what is it, the fourth floor.

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(Duck) Wah Fung Number 1 Fast Food 華豐快餐店

Wah Fung Number 1 Fast Food 華豐快餐店

79 Chrystie St (between Canal & Hester Street)

Lower East Side

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Red Sunset on the Dnieper (Dnipro) (1905-8)

In solidarity, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has put up in “Gallery 800” this painting by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi.

This scene shows a sunset over the river Dnieper, which originates west of Moscow and runs south into the Black Sea. Kuindzhi was born along the coast in Mariupol, when the Ukrainian city was part of the Russian Empire. The minimalist composition and dramatic light, color, and clouds exemplify the artist’s style. Earlier in his career, in the 1870s, the artist was associated with the Peredvizhniki (sometimes translated as the Wanderers), a pioneering independent exhibition group. In the 1890s, he taught landscape painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Dismissed for supporting student protestors, he ultimately founded his own artists’ society. Today, Kuindzhi is celebrated in both Ukraine and Russia.

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