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Shavuos thoughts

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One of my status updates on facebook yesterday was that I was wondering what to write about for Shavuos. One of the people responded that I should write about how wonderful it was to come to shul to see everyone learning and that I should write something good about Jews once in a while. I do write good things but in all honesty, I am a cynic and a humorist who likes to poke fun at things. These are usually negative things because let’s face it – there is nothing inspiring or interesting about walking into a room full of people yapping about how late they are going to stay up and how their wives make the best cheesecake in town.

Milchigs:

I am especially excited for Shavuos this year because of milchigs. Last year I went to some real frummies for Shavuos and if you’re a real frummy you don’t have milchigs. Sure there are many frum folks that rock the milk meals on Shavuos but, based on my vast experience, you can pretty much spot a meat eating Shavuos type in a second. I think the whole reasoning behind eating meat on Shavuos is because it’s just a minhag based on that chick who brought that dude cheese and we don’t want to give the ladies too much credit. What many frummies like to do is to eat cheesecake for Kiddush and than have a meat meal and that really blows.

I love milchigs and being that closest real milchig restaurant is 350 miles away. I miss it dearly. Last year it wasn’t such a big deal: I spent it on my friends farm and we had lamb, beef and chicken but I was living in New York at the time and milchigs were close by. Nowadays the only time I get to eat milchigs is when I show up at some folks house where they happen to be more progressive and willing to eat milchigs on Shabbos. In the frum community this rarely happens.

Receiving the Torah:

I wonder if many Jews secretly wish the Torah was never received. It seems to have caused a lot of trouble and practically everyone complains about this and that — so do we love the Torah or not? Maybe it’s a love/hate relationship, like water challah or prepackaged underwear: it has its good points and bad points but in the end we have grown to love it.

Are you ready to receive it? I’m ready for some flower covered bimahs, I’ll tell you that much! Unless flowers have become too untznius to be put on the bimah.

Ruth:

Why feminist Jews love Ruth so much? I don’t even think we read it in yeshiva but go to your average modern orthodox shul or event and they are ranting and raving about Ruth. I understand why the converts like it — it’s like their national symbol, the mother of moshiach was Ruth – does that mean Ruth was Chabad?

So why do the feminists love Ruth? Does it have to do with bribing the old guy to marry her by lying down next to him? That doesn’t sound to feminist to me. Does it just have to do with the fact that since it’s a minhag, orthodox folks don’t really care if women get together and have megillah readings? I even know of some right wing modern orthodox shuls that allow the ladies to do a megillah reading of Ruth. It’s a shame they just don’t tell them the truth about the minhag and it not being a chiyuv and all.

All night learning:

Originally I was going to hit up Berkeley for Shavuos. I had heard that the entire community gets together for an all night learning session at the JCC. That sounded a little extreme to me. Berkeley has a bunch of Chabad guys, a modern shul, some weird renewal space age stuff and a smattering of all your generic hippie conservative and reform stuff. I think it only works because the folks who run Chabad of Berkeley are ex-hippies. Still, that sounds like some major achdus to me and I wanted to be a part of it.

Of course, I then admitted to myself that what I really needed on Shavuos was some good yeshivish style learning. I needed some right wing mussarniks rebuking me and I needed some good wine to go with my cheese, so I decided to go to San Jose instead. I have visited all of the Jewish communities in the Bay Area, other than random Chabad houses and I am still drawn back to San Jose for the people, the rabbi and the food. It is also the friendliest community in the area and has the most characters of any shul.

I used to love Shavuos in yeshiva because the rabbis would never wake you up for minyan the next day. The only thing that sucked was the meal. No one ever knows what time to have a meal on the first day of Shavuos. I also used to love the all night learning because instead of hanging out in yeshiva we would go to the modern orthodox shul to look at girls and eat donuts from the donut shop that the yeshiva said was treife. The modern shul also had cool shiurim and classes. I don’t remember ever learning much on Shavuos and I think most folks tend to use the time to catch up with friends and mainly just socialize.

Cheesecake:

One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is that a lot of stuff has to be homemade. I assume the cheesecake will not be that store bought crustless, New York style cheesecake that everyone favors. I am super pumped — since it’s strawberry season I may get my fantasy cheesecake too.

I also hope people have good cheese in general. California has definitely rubbed off on me in that way. I have grown to love good cheese and good wine, kind of weird for someone as redneck as myself.

Have a wonderful shavuos or shavuot, I will see you on the other side.

  • John

    You are mixing up eating milchigs on shavos with chanuka. The minhag on shavos has nothing to do with any chick. The reason many frum people eat meat is that all rishonim say eating meat on yom tov is a requirment. Many say this isnt literal, and means there is a requirment to eat what you enjoy which in your case seems to be milchigs, but frummies tend to be literalists. To fulfill both we eat cheescake and then a meat meal.
    Have a great yom tov

  • go berkeley!

    gotta love Chabad of Berkeley! Especially Rabbi Welton! Mazal Tov to Rabbi Welton, he’s about to get a new son in law!

  • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

    The way I learned it as a kid, we eat milchigs on shavuot because the jewish people didn’t eat meat immediately when they got the torah because they had to start keeping kosher and they couldn’t do the meat slaughtering thing right away because it was a holiday or shabbas or something like that…in my family we only ate dairy, no meat at all on shavuot, and it’s kinda weird to me that so called “Frum” people are eating meat meals on shavuot

    • John

      Ah intellectual honesty at its best, you have a vague remembrance of a reason for a minhag (out of several reasons), absolutely no knowledge of halacha, and yet arent hesitant to criticise frum people.

      • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

        I’m just repeating what I was taught in school and at home, and as far as I was taught “No meat on shavuot” was a hard and fast rule…blame the yeshiva system that employs people that tell fairy tales and things they pull out of their ass and pass it off as the hard and fast truth…how am I supposed to know which part of halacha my teachers taught me was actual minhag vs. actual halacha, when they treated them both as if they were of the exact same importance and did not distinguish between the two in any way?

        • John

          I assume you were taught in school not to belittled entire segments of klal yisroel, if they eat meat you couldve assumed there was good reason to, or at least asked instead of calling it weird and calling frum people ” so called frum”
          If you were not taught that, then my apologies, and I shall teach you: dont belittle entire groups without first inquiring

      • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

        “Ah intellectual honesty at its best, you have a vague remembrance of a reason for a minhag (out of several reasons), absolutely no knowledge of halacha, and yet arent hesitant to criticise frum people.”:

        How did AB commit intellectual dishonesty? You claim that she is unfamilar with the halacha, when you say, “absolutely no knowledge of halacha”. Do you know what intellectual dishonesty means? To be intellectually dishonest implies, by its definition, that you must have knowledge beforehand. If you claim that AB has no knowledge of halacha before hand then you cannot claim her to be intellectually dishonest about halach because you are already using that she has no knowledge of halacha as your hypothesis.

        • John

          Interesting point to which I reply She does have the knowledge she calls frum people frum she knows we are frum and that we follow halacha etc. Yet she judges and belittles without making the appropriate inquiries, and all while being so far off the mark. I call that intellectual dishonesty

          • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

            “She does have the knowledge she calls frum people frum she knows we are frum and that we follow halacha”:

            You just said above, “you have absolutely no knowledge of halacha”. Now you say, “She does have the knowledge”. Which one is it? You have contradicted yourself. If anyone is intellectual dishonest here it is you, because you stay inconsistent.

            “Yet she judges and belittles without making the appropriate inquirie”:

            She judges. Oh no! Run! We have a brain in a heads for a reason, to apply it. Part of the application is to judge people and ideas. I judge everyone and everything all the time, because I am a thinking person. Part of the reason why the human species is so succesful is because we able to judge. And you want to deny this invaluable human ability because you were taught either in school or college that judging is a bad thing? Why is judging a bad thing?

            “I call that intellectual dishonesty.”:

            I am not surprised because you have no idea what the word means.

            • Guest

              Don’t waste your time John–they’re both morons.

            • John

              Guest, youre probably right, though Its fun pointing out how dumb people are.
              Skeptic, I hope youve missed me half as much as ive missed you. allow me to walk you through this slowly, i was critical of AE because she mocked frum people although she knows nothing of halacha. nowhere did I say she has any knowledge of halacha, (what I said was she knows frum people follow halacha) there is no contradiction.
              Arguing/criticising others when you are aware of how little you know on the subject, is intellectually dishonest.

              I have no problem with judging others, but it has to be based on valid arguments/criticism not ignorant rantings of an am haaretz (halachic-ignoramus). For example ive judged you as having sub par comprehension skills, but that judgement isnt on a whim its based on the fact that youve had trouble following the conversational flow thus far.

              • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                “i was critical of AE because she mocked frum people although she knows nothing of halacha. nowhere did I say she has any knowledge of halacha, (what I said was she knows frum people follow halacha) there is no contradiction.”:

                Yes there is a contradiction. You said that she has no knowledge of halacha. Then you conclude that she is intellectually dishonest. Intellectual dishonestly assumes that one already has knowledge of halacha. Otherwise one cannot be intellectually dishonest. Since you complain that she is intellectual dishonest it implies that she has knowledge of halach, at least to some degree. If you simply said that she was intellectual dishonest then there would be no contradiction. But since you said that she does not have knowledge of halacha you have created a contradiction with you accusation. The contradiction emerges when you say “you have no knowlegde of halacha” and “you are intellectually dishonest”. Both of these statements by themselves are non-contradictory. Together they form a contradiction.

                “Arguing/criticising others when you are aware of how little you know on the subject, is intellectually dishonest.”:

                No it is not. Children are intellectual honest, very honest, but they almost know nothing. You have no idea what intellectual dishonesty even means. All you had to do was look up the definition of intellectual dishonesty before you start to use it against people. If you think that she has no knowledge of halacha then you say, “you are ignorant of what you are talking about”. Ignorance would be the appropriate term to use here. Intellectual dishonesty has no place in what you say.

                • John

                  Youre cute first you said the contradiction was: “You just said above, “you have absolutely no knowledge of halacha”. Now you say, “She does have the knowledge”. Which one is it? You have contradicted yourself. If anyone is intellectual dishonest here it is you, because you stay inconsistent. ”
                  Then you changed your mind to a new contradiction. guess what that is called?
                  You probably dont know, but it is actually called intellectual dishonesty I’m ashamed to say that you got to me and I actually did look it up. “Intellectual dishonesty is an ethical blunder that stems from self-deception or a covert agenda, which is expresses through a misuse of various rhetorical devices. The unwary reader may be deceived as a result, but whether the intention to deceive the reader can be proved or not is immaterial. ” (from knowledgerush) I’m curious if you bothered to look it up before insisting that I didnt know what it means. (If so could you please give me the definition you found, Id love to see one in which arguing when you know you have no knowledge on the subject isnt intellectually dishonest)
                  Oh and our children argument was absurd, children (for the most part) arent intellectual they cant be called intellectually honest or dishonest. On the other hand Dr. AE, who DOES know better, and DOES know that frum people follow halacha and generally have reasons for what they do, and DOES know that customs (by definition) are not followed by all and are not obligatory and yet criticises…. intellectually dishonesty.
                  (incidentally not only is she wrong for criticizing those who dont follow a minhag, she even has her criticism wrong. There is no minhag (that I am aware of) not to eat meat on shavous, there is a minhag to eat dairy)

                  • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                    “Then you changed your mind to a new contradiction.”
                    Where? Where do I change and say something else? My entire point is that you cannot accuse an unknowable person of being intellectualy dishonest. Thus, you cannot say that she is unknowable in halacha (as you said in the beginning) and then say she is intellectual dishonest. That was my entire point. And you have done nothing to refute it. All you are attempting to do now is switch over and claim I am now intellectually dishonest. You do not even to defend yourself from my objection to you. Even if I am intellectualy dishonest as you want to claim now, which you have not demenstrated, but let us pretend that I am, then you still have not refuted what I said in objection to you. I want you to show me what you said to AE was not a contradiction, I explained to you your contradiction. Now you switch over to and claim I am intellectual dishonest. Even if I am, you have no defended yourself. All you doing now is a red herring fallacy. Do not switch topic.

                    • John

                      nah im not really changing the conversation I dont think you are intellectually dishonest, you are just having some trouble understanding me. Perhaps walking you through it step by step will help, please let me know which step you disagree with or are having trouble following.

                      a. AE doesnt know much about halacha
                      b. She KNOWS she doesnt know much about halacha
                      c. She knows frum people follow halacha
                      d. AE remembers learning about a custom as a kid, and that as she remembers it it seems that frum people are violating the custom.
                      e. arguing as if you are knowledgeable on a subject when you are aware that you dont know the first thing, is intellectually dishonest

                      Those are the premises I began with, Now an intellectually honest person would inquire as to why it seems that frum people dont follow a custom (to which id respond a. customs arent obligatory and b. there is no such custom as not eating meat on yomtov and there MAY be a requirement to eat meat, this is beside the point)
                      An intellectually dishonest person (enter AE) would hide from the fact that she doesnt actually know halacha and in a forum where people dont know how little halacha she knows accuse, frum people for doing something wrong as if she knows what she is talking about, when in actuality she is well aware that she doesnt have a clue. I have never for a second claimed she knows halahca.

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “nah im not really changing the conversation I dont think you are intellectually dishonest, you are just having some trouble understanding me. Perhaps walking you through it step by step will help, please let me know which step you disagree with or are having trouble following.”:

                      You do not know what intellectual dishonesty is. Let me explain with an example. Suppose Kent Hovind says, “scientists believe that life can come from non-life, when you can show to me how this is possible then I will give up religion”. Then years later a group of biologists manage to create life from non-life. If Kent Hovind learns about this and does not change his position from religion then he is intellectually dishonest. Because he chooses to ignore the infromation that he does not like.

                      Notice that to be intellectually dishonest you need to have knowledge first. That is a prerequiste. If you claim AE not to have knowledge and then accuse her of intellectual dishonesty then you have developed a contradiction. You can claim her ignorant. And you can claim her to be intellectually dishonest. But you cannot claim both at once.

              • John

                could you please define a definition of intellectual dishonesty. wikipedia defines as “Intellectual dishonesty is dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication. Examples are:

                the advocacy of a position which the advocate knows or believes to be false or misleading
                the conscious omission of aspects of the truth known or believed to be relevant in the particular context.”
                There is no question she was intellectually dishonest according to their definition (since she KNOWs she doesnt know the first thing about halacha, and still argued). Could you please provide one in which she was not intellectually dishonest, it seems like you are grasping at straws, a. intellectual dishonesty does not have to mean one specific thing for example plagiarism is generally considered intellectually dishonest, furthermore even by your definition she was intellectually dishonest since she KNOWs without any trace of doubt that she didnt really know what she was talking about.

                • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                  “could you please define a definition of intellectual dishonesty. “:

                  What does “dishonest” mean? Dishonesty is the willful preversion of what the person believes is a truthful statement. If someone says something which is false by accident that is not dishonesty. Dishonesty must be willfully achieved. “Intellectual Dishonesty”, is just that. Dishonesty when it comes to intellectual manners. What Wikipedia wrote is correct. You can also read the Answers website which says, “the advocacy of a position which the advocate knows or believes to be false or misleading” and also, “the conscious omission of aspects of the truth known or believed to be relevant in the particular context”. This is exactly what I just said. And this is exactly what Wikipedia does.

                  “There is no question she was intellectually dishonest according to their definition (since she KNOWs she doesnt know the first thing about halacha, and still argued).”:

                  You are the only being intellectually dishonest, not AE. You have just read a definition of what intellectual dishonesty means (I have provided you with even more) and you willfully choose not to follow this definition because you do not want to admit that Mr. Skeptic was right after all and you were wrong to claim AE to be intellectually dishonest. That is exactly what intellectual dishonesty is about. You willfully choose not to follow this definition and invent some non-sense excuse how AE can still be intellectually dishonest.

                  You said she did not know any halacha. Therefore, it follows that she has no knowledge of halacha. Thus, she cannot advocate a position which she knows is misleading. Because she does not know, according to you, for you claim she has no knowledge. She may be wrong, she may be ignorant, but she does not know it, according to you. Thus, intellectual dishonesty does not apply to her. In general, intellectual dishonesty cannot apply to ignorant people. Because ignorant people can honestly phrase their opinions but be wrong about them. Dishonesty must be done deliberately. To be done deliberately the prerequiste is to have knowledge. Thus, if you claim that she has no knowledge of halacha, you cannot then call her intellectually dishonest.

                  I will see if you have the honestly in you to admit that you were wrong in calling AE intellectually dishonest. Or whether you will put your hand up your anus and pull some other garbage out about her.

                  • John

                    simple question: is pretending you are knowledgeable on a subject, when you are well aware that you dont know the first thing dishonest?
                    If you feel that it is then we agree, if you feel that it is not then we will never agree as I will not bend the definition of honesty to suit your nonsense
                    No long-winded speech ignoring my point is necessary just a simple yes or no. again: is pretending you are knowledgeable on a subject, when you are well aware that you dont know the first thing dishonest?

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “is pretending you are knowledgeable on a subject, when you are well aware that you dont know the first thing dishonest?”:

                      Again, go back to the definition and answer your own question. Intellectual dishonesty occurs when you find opposition to your position (be it evidence or statistics or whatever) and you choose not to listen to it. You willfully supress it. By that definition ignorance cannot be intellectual dishonesty.

                      “If you feel that it is then we agree, if you feel that it is not then we will never agree as I will not bend the definition of honesty to suit your”:

                      What does it mean “feel”? What is this, a liberal arts class? A humanities class? Where you “feel” you have the right answer? And it is not my definition. So stop saying “your”. It is the standard definition of intellectual dishonesty. All you are doing now is being intellectual dishonest. If you want to see an example of intellectual dishonestly look at yourself. You are now going to try to dance around the issue so that you will not admit you were wrong above. You can be a man and admit your own errors. I have no problem admitting my errors, I do it happily, I am certainly arrogant, but I am not closed minded, and I am honest with my intellect. You can learn this virtue and man up. But I doubt I will see this from you because you are too weak-minded.

                      “again: is pretending you are knowledgeable on a subject, when you are well aware that you dont know the first thing dishonest?”:

                      I already answered this question. If you ignorant then that is ignorance. Go to www. answers. com and read what they say on intellectual honesty. Be sure to note the part that says, “If the person is unaware of the evidence, their position is ignorance, even if in agreement with the scientific conclusion.”. If a person is unaware, that is, have no knowledge, then their position is “ignorance”. Which returns me back to what I was saying again. If you want to condemn AE then your only condemnation is to accuse her of ignorance, not dishonesty.

                    • Michal

                      Skeptic you dont understand john and you definitely dont understand the term intellectual dishonesty.
                      Or you do but arent man enough to admit that you are, care to guess what that is called?
                      I especially love when he posed a simple yes or no question which you failed to answer because you realized the implications

                    • John

                      Wow skeptic you are obtuse
                      a. You didnt answer my question so i will repose it yet a third time: is pretending you are knowledgeable on a subject, when you are well aware that you dont know the first thing dishonest? yes or no, no lingual gymnastics necessary
                      b. oh no answers.com is the be all of definitions i must be wrong.
                      c. even according to your definition(yes your it is not THE deffiniotion) i am still right, I am not accusing AE of being ignorant on a subject (although of course she is) I am accusing her of hiding from the fact that she was ignorant of a subject while being well aware of it. This is what you wrote: ““If the person is unaware of the evidence, their position is ignorance, even if in agreement with the scientific conclusion.”. If a person is unaware, that is, have no knowledge, then their position is “ignorance”.” I have stressed over and over that what AE did wrong was hide from the fact that she didnt know what she was taking about,ie SHE KNEW HER IGNORANCE AND HID FROM IT, not that she didnt know her ignorance that is clearly within your (again not THE) definition
                      d. New question (probably pointless, since you dont answer questions when you realize you are wrong, but i’m eager to help you learn so i’ll try) Is plagiarism intellectually dishonest? (It is btw, hope that clears up any confusion you have)
                      Admitting you are wrong doesnt make you less of man, in fact quite the opposite

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “You didnt answer my question so i will repose it yet a third time”:

                      I did answer your question. The answer was “NO”. Read it again, my response is clear. I do not explicitly write “NO”. But it is implicit. I wanted you to apply the concept of intellectual dishonesty and figure it out yourself. Do you want me to repeat the answer again or are you capable of figuring it out this time?

                      “even according to your definition(yes your it is not THE deffiniotion) i am still right”:

                      No you are not. Knowledge must be knowledge with regard to an opposing view not knowledge of ignorance, otherwise there is no dishonesty. For example. If Kent Hovind knows he is not an evolutionary expert but says that the theory of evolution is wrong because it does not explain the origin of life, then that is ignorance, not dishonesty, even if he knows he is not an expert. However, if Kent Hovind learned that the origin of life is not related to the theory of evolution but nonetheless purposely say that evolutionary is wrong because it does not address the origin of life then he is being intellectual dishonest. Ignorance, even if the person knows he may be ignorant, does not make him dishonest. For dishonesty a different kind of knowledge is necessary, knowledge of the fact that you are wrong or there is opposition to what you are saying.

                      If you are confused just return back to the definition of intellectual dishonesty. You must advocate a position that you know is wrong or decieving. If you are ignorant or know you are ignorant of something then that does not make you dishonest, because you may honesty advocate a position which you believe is the correct one. The only kind of knowledge which is necessary for dishonesty is the knowledge of opposition.

                      The only way AE can be intellectually dishonest is if what she wrote was believed was wrong and wrote it nonetheless. But that never happened. You even admitted to that when you said she has no knowledge of halacha. Thus she can have no knowledge, according to you, when she wrote regarding halacha.

                      “Is plagiarism intellectually dishonest?”:

                      Go back to the definition. If you plagarize do you advocate a position which you know is wrong or in opposition to what you already know? No. Perhaps you plagarize a point of view which is in agreement with what you believe already? Plagarism is not intellectual dishonesty. But it is a form of academic dishonesty. Remember that not all forms of dishonesty are immediately intellectual dishonesty. Stealing someone else’s work and writing off your name on it is simply dishonesty. Your intellect may be always truthful but your academic conduct may be decietful. You may want to say that plagerism is related to intellectual dishonesty because they are both forms of academic dishonesty, but they are not the same.

                    • John

                      Skeptic as i suspected you have no clue what you are talking about. Plagarism was a great way for me to point that out to you a few sources:
                      “One particular form of intellectual dishonesty is plagiarism” from Suny oswego’s website retrievable here: http://www.oswego.edu/academics/colleges_and_departments/departments/history/student_resources/dishonest.pdf
                      “Scientists and scholars generally consider plagiarism a serious form of intellectual dishonesty” here: http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Intellectual-dishonesty
                      “I understand that
                      plagiarism is an act of intellectual dishonesty” here: http://web.cn.edu/KWHEELER/documents/Plagiarism_(CN).pdf
                      there are dozens of others just google plagirism and intellectual dishonesty (google is free, and it is a great learning tool, you seem eager to learn try googling before you get in arguments with those smarter than you)
                      keep in mind many of these are universities’ websites so either you are privy to a very limiting definition (so limiting in fact that you added your own caveat to the definition not found anywhere: “Knowledge must be knowledge with regard to an opposing view not knowledge of ignorance, otherwise there is no dishonesty”) of intellectual dishonesty or it is broader than you realized
                      check and mate

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “Plagarism was a great way for me to point that out to you a few sources”:

                      Let us go through the steps again. I gave you a definition of what it means to be intellectual dishonest. You asked me if plagarism is intellectual dishonesty. I told you it is academic but not intellectual dishonesty. And then, and this most important, I proceeded to explain to you why you that is so. Now let us look at what you did. You said I am wrong about my stating that plagarism is not intellectual dishonesty. But instead of explaining to why I am wrong you found some websites on the internet that agree with you. Wow. Congratulations. That is an amazing argument. You can find anything you want to find on the internet. I can find sites that say the the Loch Ness monster is real. The most important thing is to state your position and then be able to defend by offering arguments in support of it. Did you look into the definition of intellectual dishonesty and then explain how that definition implies that plagarism is intellectual dishonesty? No. Did you make any attempt to refute my argument against yours? No. All you did is find some websites that say that plagarism is intellectual dishonesty. Especially the first link you send. Written by a person for other people, if this author was mistaken in his understanding, then it would follow that his paper would use mistaken arguments. So how can you trust the paper without seeing the thought out defense of the position?

                      What I want you to do is not to find websites online. But to explain how plagarism, defined as, “taking the ideas of other people” includes intellectual dishonesty, defined as, “to advocate a position that the person believes to be false”. It is possible to plagarize a piece of work but have the piece of work agree with you belief, and so you do not advocate a position which you believe is wrong or faulty.

                      By the way one of your sites wrote, “is generally considered to be intellectual dishonesty”. The word “generally” implies that it is not unanimous.

                      “check and mate”:

                      Red herring. You switched the topic away from AE to plagarism. Even if I am wrong about plagarism, which you have failed to show (you argument was essentially, “oh look at these fancy sites, I have no rational arguments, but I found some links”), you did not show why AE is intellectually dishonest. You would have to claim her to be plagarizing.

                    • John

                      My point was that you were wrong in extremely limited view of intellectual dishonesty.
                      “Intellectual dishonesty is dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication”. (from wikipedia)
                      “find[ing] opposition to your position (be it evidence or statistics or whatever) and you choose not to listen to it.” (your limited definition) is dishonest.
                      pretending you know what you are talking about when you dont (What AE did and what we are arguing about) is dishonest
                      plagiarism (another example i gave) is dishonest
                      All of these dishonest acts fall into the category of “dishonesty in performing intellectual activities” thus they are ALL examples of intellectual dishonesty.
                      (plagiarism isnt a red herring, it is another example of intellectual dishonesty (according to several universities’ websites) that doesnt fit according to your limited definition indicating that your limited definition is wrong)

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “(your limited definition) is dishonest”

                      Why is it dishonest? How can it possibly be dishonest? It is a definition that I have always used. Thus, how can it be dishonest? If, however, I defined it to be in such a way to suite myself then that would be dishonest, but this is the definition that I have always used.

                      “pretending you know what you are talking about when you dont (What AE did and what we are arguing about) is dishonest”:

                      Circular reasoning. In my previous post to you I condemned you for not using arguments to support your views or refute my points other than quoting sites. I wanted to see you explain why AE is intellectually dishonest if she is ignorant. Instead you just said that she is dishonest. Your conclusion is your premise. To repeat myself again, AE can be ignorant, as you claim, but she may be honestly phrasing her own views, indeed, if you read her response to you that is the case. So it is not dishonest. Even if plagarism is intellectual dishonesty by streching it, which I disagree with for the reasons I explained, that does not address what AE did. Her ignorance was not dishonest as explained. So you still failed to refute my main objection to you.

                      “indicating that your limited definition is wrong”:

                      This is just stupid. A definition cannot be wrong. A definition is simply a definition, it is not a statement of truth. One can complain about a definition for being a bad definition. One can strive to have better definitions. For example, on my site I gave my own definition of what “racism” means, which I am proud of, something I did not see anyone else do, because my definition solves many of the problems that other definitions run into. I objected to the common definition of “racism” because I noticed problems with it. But it was not wrong. A definition cannot be wrong. We make it be what it is. However, intellectual dishonesty is a common word which already has a set definition. I am sticking it its definition in the way it is to be used.

                    • John

                      Skeptic in your desperate attempts to keep your argument alive, you are confusing the issue.
                      We arent really discussing your definition you can define intellectual dishonesty in any way you want, I dont have to adhere to it.
                      I cited you a definition of intellectual dishonesty as “dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication” dishonety (a word I assumed disnt need definition) is ” lying or being deliberately deceptive ” If AE deliberately deceived readers on this site by pretending to now what she was talking about when she knew she didnt, that clearly falls within this definiotn of intellectual dishonesty.
                      It is great that you come up with ‘better” definitions of ambiguous terms like racism and intellectual dishonesty, really it is and the best of look in getting your new and improved dictionary published. However you cant criticise me for not adhering to your definition when it so clearly falls short. For example your definition of intellectual dishonesty doesnt include plagiarism, although that does lie in the standard definition, Which again is ok but you cant criticise me for following the standard definition.
                      (incidently earlier you wrote that definition are absolute and you cant feel weather they are right or wrong, you however have your own definition of racism, but I digress)

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “I cited you a definition of intellectual dishonesty as “dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication” dishonety (a word I assumed disnt need definition) is ” lying or being deliberately deceptive. If AE deliberately deceived readers on this site by pretending to now what she was talking about when she knew she didnt, that clearly falls within this definiotn of intellectual dishonesty. ”:

                      Circular reasoning. I asked you to explain to me where the dishonesty in AE comes from. But you skip this point and again state that AE is dishonest. This time you said that she “deliberately decieved readers”. If that was the case then she would be dishonest. However, you called her to have no knowledge of halacha, therefore, how can she deliberately done what she did for deception? How can she know she is decieving people? That is the question you keep ignoring. You always just state that she is but you never argue for this.

                      “However you cant criticise me for not adhering to your definition when it so clearly falls short.”:

                      It is not my definition. I pointed you to definitions that are in usage, not by me, but by how the word is actually used.

                      “incidently earlier you wrote that definition are absolute and you cant feel weather they are right or wrong”:

                      What are you talking about?

                    • John

                      Welcome back, I thought you ran away.
                      hold on partner, you are confusing yourself.
                      We are arguing about one thing:
                      I accused AE of being intellectually dishonest by pretending to know what she was talking about when she knew she didnt.
                      You said no, intellectual dishonesty occurs only when a person willfully suppresses knowledge, not when they are ignorant.
                      I have stressed my point over and over, citing examples (like plagiarism) which while intellectualy dishonest doesnt fit your definition.
                      Now you want to switch the argument as to wheter or not AE did what I claim she did, and thats fine Im more than happy to discuss that, but first things first.
                      Do you accept that “arguing as if you are knowledgeable on a subject when you are aware that you dont know the first thing, is intellectually dishonest” (my point e that I listed above) keeping in mind that intellectual dishonesty is ““dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication” and dishonesty is ” lying or being deliberately deceptive ”

                      Yes or no?

                      as to whether AE did that, we’ll get to that if youd like but this is the actual point we have been discussing. please dont lose track.
                      Again is “arguing as if you are knowledgeable on a subject when you are aware that you dont know the first thing, intellectually dishonest”? Yes or no feel free to roll back to both definitions I just gave you.

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “I accused AE of being intellectually dishonest by pretending to know what she was talking about when she knew she didnt.”:

                      You still fail to answer my question. You never answered it. I asked you to explain to me how a person can be dishonest if they are ignorant? That is what I keep on asking you. You do not explain that. You just state that it is. How can a person willfully supress knowledge to decieve if they have no idea if they are deceptive or not?

                      “as to whether AE did that, we’ll get to that if youd like but this is the actual point we have been discussing. please dont lose track.”:

                      What is the point of reminding me that we are not discussing whether or not AE fits into the hypothesis that you set up for here? I never argued against your hypothesis. Where did I? My entire argument is that your hypothesis leads to a self-contradiction.

                    • John

                      My apolagies, I guess I misunderstood
                      Let me try to explain it this way.
                      If a respected lecturer is asked to give a lecture on any topic, and then goes ahead giving a lecture on a topic knowing full well that he doesnt know what he is talking about, however the audience assumes he knows his stuff since he is a rspected lecturer, and he knows that they will take him at his (albeit ignorant) word. this is intellectual dishonesty although it stems from his ignorance on the subject.
                      It is intellectually dishonest because he is “being deliberately deceptive in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication.” (i combined the wikipedia deffinitions for intellectual dishonesty and dishonesty, to help you understand the point ive been making all along)

                    • http://skepticbutjewish@blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “If a respected lecturer is asked to give a lecture on any topic, and then goes ahead giving a lecture on a topic knowing full well that he doesnt know what he is talking about, however the audience assumes he knows his stuff since he is a rspected lecturer, and he knows that they will take him at his (albeit ignorant) word. “:

                      Circular reasoning. You give an example of a lecturer. And you conclude that he is dishonest because he is dishonest.

                      You still fail to satisfy my demand that I asked you for. I want see the reason behind why he is dishonest. Where is the dishonesty? Point to the dishonesty. If I know that life has been created from non-life in laboratories but I say that “no scientists was able to create life” then that is dishonesty. I know what I am saying is deceptive. But if I believe that no life has been created and I say it nonetheless then that is not dishonest because I do not know if I am being deceptive or not. See, in my example I can point to where the dishonesty takes place. But you do not point to where the dishonesty takes place. You never show how he knows he is being deceptive. You simple say that he is. You still fail to answer my question.

                  • John

                    exactly well said it is as simple as that he is dishonest becasue he is dishonest. It really is that simple.
                    If you need the actual dishonest act spelled out here we go for the 100th time:
                    he pretended he knew what he was talking about when he knew he didnt.
                    It is dishonest because pretending somehing you know isnt true is dishonest. Why you ask? becasue it is an act of deciet, of trickery, misleading the people. Whenever a word is expalined it involes circualr reasoning, becasue that word is expalined with a synonm for the very word. I challenge you to provide a definition of dishonesty, that does not include a person who pretends to be knowldegable on a subject. (or for that matter that doesnt define dishonesty by using a synonym for it)

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “It is dishonest because pretending somehing you know isnt true is dishonest.”:

                      But that requires knowledge. If you say something which you know is false requires you to have knowledge that what you are saying is false. A person who is ignorant, even if he knows he is ignorant, cannot possibly know that he is saying something that is decietful. If a person said, “I am an expert” and then lied his way through then that would be dishonest. But if a person simply says his point of view, even if he knows he is ignorant of a lot of things, can still phrase his point of view honesty. Thus, everything you said is irrelevent. And my question is still unanswered.

                      “Whenever a word is expalined it involes circualr reasoning, becasue that word is expalined with a synonm for the very word.”:

                      Do not switch the topic. We are not talking about words, we are talking about concepts. I keep on asking you to show me how an ignorant person is dishonest and you never show this except by saying “he is dishonest”. That is circular reasoning. I am not making you define dishonesty so do not change the conversation and stay to what we are talking about.

                    • John

                      I am not switching the topic every time i answer your question you claim i havent yet.
                      Anyway now we are down to a miniscule difference. After your insisitng on your ridiculosly limited definiton for a while you finaly came around to agreeing that my more inclusive definition was more accurate (first by half-heartedly admiting that plagiarism was intellectually dishonest and now admiting that someone who formally claims to being an expert while knowing they arent is intellectualy dishonest, Im actually quite proud of myself in getting you to concede those two points.)
                      Now the question is if AE claimed to be an expert. Of course she didnt really but I took her criticisng an entire segment of people , as impliclty stating that she knows better. Even thoughof course she doesnt.
                      You like implications, remember? By criticising dont you imply that you know better than the group you are criticisng?
                      At any rate thats the implication i took. I understood her as saying: i know better than frum people and when they eat meat on shavous they are “weird” and “so called frum” I have been saying this all along, and you finally came around to agreeing that act was intellectualy dishonest.

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “After your insisitng on your ridiculosly limited definiton”

                      This definition is found in a lot of dictionaries. And there is nothing ridiculous about it. It makes a lot of sense. The definition you are using is not the way the word should be used. That is what I am correcting.

                      “first by half-heartedly admiting that plagiarism was intellectually dishonest”:

                      Point to me where I said that. I never said that anywhere. I said plagarism can be dishonesty. And not necessirality dishonesty in some cases, but in certain cases it can be dishonesty. I said above, if you read, that plagarism is academic dishonesty, not intellectual dishonesty.

                      “now admiting that someone who formally claims to being an expert while knowing they arent is intellectualy dishonest”:

                      Where did I admit that a person who claims to be an expert knowing he is not is intellectually dishonest? Point to where I said that. I said that such a person is dishonest.

                      All intellectual dishonesty (and academic dishonesty) is dishonesty. But only some of dishonesty is intellectual dishonesty. You are confusing these two statements. You think that dishonesty automatically is intellectual dishonesty in this particular case, it is not necessarily the case. But I did the reverse. What I was doing was to show that if someone is not dishonest then it means he cannot be intellectual dishonest. My kind of reasoning is valid, yours is not. Thus, this is why I said plagarism can be dishonest and lying that you are an expert is dishonest, but these are not intellectually dishonest.

                      “Now the question is if AE claimed to be an expert. Of course she didnt really but I took her criticisng an entire segment of people , as impliclty stating that she knows better. Even thoughof course she doesnt.”:

                      How do you conclude that AE purposefully prenteded to be familar well with halacha? The only thing you can conclude from what she said was what she was repeating what she was taught. That does not show that she purposefully intended to pretend to be some halacha expert. Where does she say, “I know halacha and this is what it says”? She said, “The way I learned it as a kid”. Finally, why would AE even want to pretend to be some halacha expert? What can be her motive? She is an atheist so she could not care less (like myself) for halacha. Why would she want to pretend that she is a halacha expert knowing well that halacha is non-sense rules men made up to control other men? Her motives would not make sense at all. However, if you simply interpret what she said as quoting what she learned as a kid then it makes sense and her motives agree with her beliefs. Your accusations against her are weak.

                  • John

                    Great we finally agree!! you have finally admited that pretending to know what you are talking about is dishonesty. (in your last comment: “I said plagarism can be dishonesty” … “I said that such a person [a fake expert] is dishonest.”)

                    Since we have established that intellectual dishonesty is ““being dishonest (deliberately deceptive) in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication.”
                    Her motives are an atempt to bellitle frum people (she chose the words “weird” and so called frum”) that is her and all atheist’s motives. By repeating what she claims to ahve learnded as a child she attempted to acomplish this, although her “critiscm” was way of base for at least 3 reasons (aside from the fact that since she knows she is ignorant on the subject, opening her mouth in the first place was misleading (intellectualy dishonest)

                    Thanks for playing.

                    • SkepticButJewish

                      “Great we finally agree!! “:

                      No we do not agree. Everything I been saying I been saying since the beginning. Everything you have been saying you have been saying. If we did not agree initially then we cannot agree now.

                      “you have finally admited that pretending to know what you are talking about is dishonesty.”:

                      Where did I admit that? I said that depending on the situation it can be dishonest. But not always. I will give an example of what I am talking about. Say that I say, “I am the finest expert on biology and I know that there is no way to do whatever”. That is dishonest because I am not a biologist, I know extremely little of biology. But if I know I know little and I say what I think without trying to decieve that I am knowledge other people then there is no deception and so there is no dishonesty.

                      “Since we have established that intellectual dishonesty is ““being dishonest (deliberately deceptive) in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication.” “:

                      What is we? Do you suffer from multiple personality disorder? There is just you and me. And I did not establish that. So who is “we”?

                      “By repeating what she claims to ahve learnded as a child she attempted to acomplish this, although her “critiscm” was way of base for at least 3 reasons (aside from the fact that since she knows she is ignorant on the subject, opening her mouth in the first place was misleading (intellectualy dishonest)”:

                      Red herring. You did not answer my problem. My problem was how can you deduce that AE said she was an expert on halacha. You went off this issue to discuss something else.

                    • John

                      You are a liar
                      At first you insisted over and over again that what I claimed AE did wasnt intellectual dishonesty, that knowing you are ignorant on a subject isnt intellectual dishonesty and that “Intellectual dishonestly assumes that one already has knowledge of halacha. Otherwise one cannot be intellectually dishonest”.
                      Now in a complete 180 you have come to agree with me that one who claims to be an expert is intellectually dishonest as i have been saying all along.
                      As to whether AE id that as I claimed, thats is a new discussion that we have been drifting towards, but it is irelevant to our first argument in which you have been soundly disporven by us: myself, wikipedia and a shred of brain that you may have buried someplace deep that agreed that : “I said that such a person is dishonest.” (your words) and “depending on the situation it can be dishonest” you did not say that at first. Do not lie. At first you had a very limited definiotn that excluded what I claimed AE did (which you just agreed again is intellectual dishonesty, (though you dont agree she did that) and plagiarism which you are still on the fence about but I can let it go becasue it wasnt my original point.0
                      you have been whining over and over but why is it dishonest, id explain and youd whine this went on a for a while. now you finally got it.

                    • http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com SkepticButJewish

                      “Now in a complete 180 you have come to agree with me that one who claims to be an expert is intellectually dishonest as i have been saying all along.”:

                      There is a very simple way to resolve this. Just quote me from what I said and tell me where I said that. But you do not do this. I quote you, but you do not quote me. Where did I say that one who claims to be an expert is intellectually dishonest. I said two things. One who is ignorant and speaks is not necessirly dishonest. But if one who ignorant says he is not and then speaks then he is dishonest. But this does not even approach intellectual dishonesty. This is just dishonesty. I am talking about dishonesty now not intellectual dishonesty.

                      ” myself, wikipedia and a shred of brain that you may have buried someplace deep that agreed that .”:

                      Wikipedia does not disagree with me. In fact, the wikipedia page and the Answers page are excatly the same. Which seems strange to why you would ignore the answers page but not wikipedia. It says that if one is unknowable then such a person is ignorant on that page.

                      What I said about dishonesty is dishonestly in general excluding possibly intellectual dishonesty. I already explained to you that not everything that is dishonest is automatically intellectually dishonest. I was talking about dishonesty only and you switch it over to intellectual dishonesty.

                      “plagiarism which you are still on the fence “:

                      Then you are not reading what I tell you. I made is very explicit that plagarism is not intellectual dishonesty. I said that plagarism can be dishonesty. Do not confuse dishonesty with intellectual dishonesty. One implies the other but not the other way around.

                      Your entire response to me was a red herring. You moved away from what I challenged you to do. I told you to show how you can conclude that AE says that she is some halacha expert. This is the only part you do not show. If you can show this then you would have demonstrated dishonesty in AE. But that would still not imply intellectual dishonesty. However, if AE did not say this then she is not dishonest in what she said, and so she cannot be intellectual dishonest. You have switched the topic away from this point.

                    • John

                      According to wikipedia “dishonesty in performing intellectual activities like thought or communication” is intellectual dishonesty. You said (this is a direct qoute from you (as i have always done)) “I said that such a person is dishonest.” (refering to someone pretending to be an expert)since he id “dishonest” (a qoute from you) in “performing intellectual activities like thought or communication (wikipedia) You are agreeing with me on what I claim AE did. (again not on whether she actually did it, but on the act i claim being intellectualy dishonest)

                      Its ok to agree with me, really it is. I am usually right. now you are too for once.

                    • SkepticButJewish

                      If she said she was a halacha expert and she was not then she is dishonest, but she does not advocate a position which she beliefs is false. Thus, even in that case she is not intellectually dishonest, only dishonest.

                      Do you agree that if she ignorant of halacha then she cannot deliberately advocate a position which she knows is wrong?

                      So the best you can claim about her is dishonesty. Now move on to dishonesty of her. Where in what she says is she dishonest. There is nothing in what she said that was dishonest. Where is her dishonesty?

  • D

    this reminds me of the MO pickup lines article- “you know milchigs isn’t the only thing I eat out”

  • Pingback: Shavuos Thoughts : PunkTorah()

  • http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com Batya from Shiloh

    Heshy, you’re some gypsy. Next time you’re in Israel, come to Shiloh.

  • http://Rabbi-Torey.com Rabbi Torey Bowen

    Heshy, I love your column. Judaism needs to take it easy in terms distinguishing minhag from halacha, and halacha from rabbinical halacha and what is actually dictated in Torah. The spirit of it all is so often missed. As long as Jews keep acting like Big Brother and judging other Jews, we won’t get that good old Biblical spirituality back.

    Chag Sameach.

  • zalman

    my bubby used to make a kick ass cheesecake. yeah, the new york style, my zaide was a baker. unfortunately, she had an aneurysm and resides in a nursing home. i guess my mom is a heretic because we had all milchig meals.

  • Sarah

    “…the mother of moshiach was Ruth – does that mean Ruth was Chabad?”
    Interestingly enough, the Chabad in Ft Lauderdale does not read Megillas Rus on Shavuos. No one has been able to give me an answer why, but if it means a shorter davening then I have no problems with it.

    • Anonymous

      Heres the reason they dont have the minhag to. its that simple