Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You can't make flour out of Haricot Vert!

"Gresham's law of contemporary halachah: A prohibition always drives out a permission.... Each year you know fewer and fewer observant Ashkenazic Jews who eat peanuts or peanut derivatives during Pesach."

Richard J. Israel, 1997.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Those of you who took Talmud with Josh (or Dr. Kulp as some have called him) will find nothing that follows shocking.

Josh’s passion for triathlons also continues unabated, as does his love for his children even when they are sick. Best Josh quote of the week: “My daughter [who is six] is the most adorable thing, but the most disgusting things come out of her nose.”

Before beginning the 7th perek of Tractate Shabbat, we looked at four related mishnaiot in Kreitot, a section from the 3rd Century BCE Book of Jublies, a chunk of the Damascus Covenant (Dead Sea Scrolls), an article from Steve Wald on the chapter, the New Testament, Sifra, Tosefta and even Albeck’s forward to the tractate’s mishnah. And that is just the warm-up for the perek. Of course, this shows the historicity of some concepts and amazing interconnectedness within the rabbinic sources, but its a lot to hold in one brain. A lot, that is, unless your brain is actually Josh Kulp, in which case, it’s no problem.

Scary as that list sounds, it was a lot of fun to see evolution and connection between the texts. I always love this kind of thing, mind you, but everyone in the class seems to be enjoying as well.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hoda'ot Ketzarot V'inyaniot

First off, those of you who have asked about Esther’s daughter should know you are not alone. The word from the office is positive overall, but there are still procedures and hospital time ahead for her. Please include Shachar Channah Bat Esther in your tephilot. If you would like to offer support to the family, let the office know at

Shaiya’s youngest son has been diagnosed with diabetes. He spent some time in hospital, but is home now and is adjusting. Shaiya has told me that your letters and well wishes are welcome, but nothing more than that is needed. Those of you who feel really and truly compelled to do something can always send Shaiya a nice blended whiskey, but that’s only because Shaya does enjoy a nice whiskey.

Reb Mordechai celebrated the milestone birthday of 50 in November. 50 is the age of giving counsel according to pirkei avot, so those of you seeking sage advice should write to him now.

Our beloved Rosh Yesvhia R. Shmuel is nearing the end of his doctoral work. His thesis is on concepts of pride and humility in Rabbinic thought ( I’m think that’s the title, but who am I to say for sure?). We’ll let you know when the time has come to send congratulations to Rabbi Dr or Dr Rabbi Lewis. On that same note, Shaiya has also completed his doctoral thesis, and it is now in the multi-month review period. We’ll post info for when Shaiya will prefer to be addressed as “Herr Doktor Rothberg” (his words).