Sunday, May 23, 2010

HH, Good Readng, But...

The latest Havel Havelim is hosted by the Rebbetzin's Husband.  There are lots of great posts from the wide world of Jblogging, but I'm upset by something he wrote in the introduction.

"As a new oleh to Canada..."

A "new oleh"  and an "immigrant" aren't synonyms.  Sorry, you pressed one of those buttons which gets me going.  Canada isn't the HolyLand.  This may play well in North America, but it's a real dud where the Bible took place.  I'm very disappointed to read something like that in a Torah blog, but it doesn't surprise me.  For years, decades actually,  I've said that for questions about Israel and aliyah it should be forbidden to ask a chutz l'Aretz (out of the HolyLand) rabbi.  By not keeping the mitzvah of yishuv Ha'Aretz, settling the Land, he disqualifies himself.

But don't let that stop any of you from reading Havel Havelim.  Please do read it and all the posts included.


The Rebbetzin's Husband said...


Feel free to protest, but I'm surprised. I'm pretty sure "tongue-in-cheek" isn't new to you...? I know plenty of Israelis - native as well as olim - who have made similar jokes.

Anonymous said...

sometimes things like tongue-in-cheek, sarcasm, etc. just don't come through clearly enough. i've read that somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ive heard that the mitzvah of settling the land can be fulfilled in a few ways. But im no rabbi.

Batya said...

Words have power. Sarcasm and "tongue-in-cheek" may work in stand-up, but a rabbi should know that when it comes to a mitzvah, halacha, etc, it's dangerously assur. That's how a2 can allude to something that's definitely traif.

a1, you may have read it in my guide to being interviewed. Rule #1, no sarcasm. Did you ever see the movie "My Cousin Vinnie"?

a2 I guess you didn't know he was joking. You prove my point.

The Rebbetzin's Husband said...

1. Come on. The fact that you have selected this as your pet peeve doesn't make it legitimate.

No one misunderstands the words "oleh to Canada" as anything other than a joke, and no one thinks it's a heter to be anywhere other than Israel. I've written plenty about the obligation to make aliyah, for that matter; start reading here.(I'm pretty sure I know what a2 meant, but I'll let him speak for himself.)

2. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you had even the slightest clue why I am in chu"l, you would be humiliated beyond words for your own self-righteous insensitivity.

Batya said...

RH, I hate to feud with you.

I consider the issue of aliyah versus living in Chu"L not a joking matter.

I'm sorry. Whatever has made you stay in Chu"L is your personal issue, but when others, less committed to aliyah read these "jokes," they feel their decision to stay in Chu"L as justified.

goyisherebbe said...

How about accepting the good rabbi's explanation and leave it at that. Normal, non-prophetic people like us don't understand a person's innermost thoughts, all the more so on the net w/o body language. If he says it was irony, give him the benefit of the doubt and believe him. If he says he has a good reason to be in Chu"l temporarily, believe him and pray that he makes it back before things get ugly over there. This is not the way to encourage people to make aliya, by browbeating them.

Hadassa said...

I don't find it amusing either. Concerning moving from country to country aliya has a specific meaning: moving spiritually up to Israel. I can excuse a slip of the tongue while speaking (and I have refraining from correcting a friend in such a case), but in a written piece, especially by a rabbi, there's no cause to make a joke out of moving - or not moving - to Israel.
I don't have time this week to read HH, so I'll just add, Rebbetzin's Husband, based on your last comment you have important work to do in Canada and I'm sure that everyone reading this blog wishes you hatzlacha (success for the non-Hebrew speakers out there).
Concerning sarcasm and other not immediately understandable language, wasn't there a rabbi who said that we shouldn't say things "that aren't understood"?
P.S. I'm not sure that the Sabras are joking about "making aliya" to other countries. I've lived in Israel for over 20 years and I've noticed that sarcasm is virtually always lost on Sabras - and I've written enough humorous articles for my community's newsletter to know that I understand the Israeli sense of humor.

Batya said...

goyish, I would never attack rh's reasons to be in chu"l, I only objected to his misuse of a certain halachik-linguistic term. It's obvious that I hit a button there, but I have reason to be "humiliated."

Hadassa, as usual, same team. thanks

Anonymous said...

Ah! There's nothing I like better for breakfast than a blog ham & cheese sandwich!

/runs away

Keli Ata said...

I don't know.

I've only associated the word Oleh to immigration to Israel so I found the whole oleh to Canada pretty funny.

Can't help but get this image of tanned Israelis in khaki shorts and sandles getting off a plane in British Columbia where the temperature in 20-below zero.

(Actually, this is the premise of the movie Cool Runnings about first Jamaican bobsled team, who train in Jamaica and freeze in Canada during the Olympics. True story btw).

Just my thoughts. I don't mean to detract from a serious conversation.

Batya said...

Shy, it's too much like mixing halav yisrael cheese with mehadrin meat, still traif.

keli, the problem is making people too comfortable with the idea that they're not in the Holy Land. As if any move, even to do mitzvot is just as good.

Anonymous said...

Havе you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring
οn other sites? I haѵe a blog bаsed οn the same subjects you dіscuss and ωould rеаllу likе to hwve уou shаre
some ѕtοries/information. I know my νiewers would enjoy your ωork.
If you are eѵen remοtely interеsted, feеl free to ѕend me an е mаil.

My web page: wеbsite ()