1- Dennis Prager wants you to know that the best way to become an educated human is to listen to conservative talk radio:
The intellectual input [a full-time mother] can find is likely to be greater than most women (or men) find working outside the home. There is a reason that about half the audience of my national radio show is female – they listen to talk radio for hours a day and broaden their knowledge considerably...
I am syndicated by the Salem Radio Network. My colleagues are Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Two of us attended Harvard, one Yale and one Columbia. One of us taught at Harvard, another at the City University of New York. And a third teaches constitutional law at a law school.
In addition to reviewing the news and discussing our own views, we all routinely interview authors and experts – left and right – in almost every field. The woman who listens to us regularly will know more about economics, politics, current events, world affairs, American history and religion than the great majority of men and women who work full-time outside of the house.
Wow, with such an impressive collection of minds, it sounds like Salem Radio is the one who should be creating their own private university, not ol' Dean Beck.
2. In the course of continuing to pimp his "so awesome people refuse to pay money for it" novel about how the Diaspora is terrible, Tzvi reminds us of that fun bit in the Zohar about reincarnation and rolling through tunnels.
“Come and see, it has been established that all of the dead of the Land of Israel will be the first to rise to resurrection, because the Holy One Blessed Be He will shed upon them the spirit of life from Above and grant them renewed existence. Regarding them it is written: “Your dead shall live” (Isaiah, 26:19). This refers to the dead of Eretz Yisrael who will rise to life first.
“In contrast, what follows in the verse, “My dead shall arise” (Ibid,) refers to the dead of the others lands. Of them it is not written that they “shall live” – rather they “shall arise.” The spirit of life will only enter their bodies in the Holy Land of Israel, and for that reason, regarding those who die in the Diaspora, it is not written “shall live,” but “shall arise.” Therefore the dead of the Diaspora will arise without the spirit of life, and then they will be made to roll in underground tunnels all the way to the Land of Israel, and only there will they receive their souls, and not while they are in the Diaspora where the impure rule of the Sitra Achra (Other Side) holds sway, so that they will be resurrected only in Israel in the fitting manner” (Zohar 131A).
Now, Tzvi, if you were writing about interesting things like that in your books, instead of putting in weird stuff about the Baba Elazar (sorry, "Saba Yosef") using his magic powers ( the "wireless Google Earth" in his head) to peek in on the narrator's wife sleeping with their neighbors, maybe I might actually read one.
3. Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, faced with some hard questions about the state of the rabbinate, conversions, and marriages in Israel, decides that the best tactic to take is to pretend that he lives in fantasy land. For instance, the rabbinate is apparently super-duper awesome:
"Beautiful work is being done with conversions; there are no unnecessary stringencies and no unnecessary leniency, and there also is beautiful work being done in both the army and in the civilian sphere. It is getting better and better, toward the positive side. And the Rabbinate is gaining even more strength.
...I will say outright, and you have my word on this, that the Rabbinate is excellent, and the religious court judiciary is excellent, much better than what was the case many years ago. It is getting better and better, including also the way in which it relates to the public.
"We have a very strong disciplinary religious court and when there are complaints, that is where they are referred. In the religious courts, of course, there is an ombudsman who is impartial, who does not favor anyone. Things are going very well there, and every complaint is handled very seriously by the religious court judges, believe it or not. Everything has changed. The secular male lawyers and the female lawyers admit that the work in the religious courts now bears no resemblance to what used to be the case.
...every person who loves Israel and who loves our people wants to see a settled and secure people: He wants to see security placed in the hands of the security people - not in the hands of private people; medical services offered in an organized manner, and also the Rabbinate and the services of the Rabbinate organized in a proper, official way.
...There is an organized Rabbinate, there are organized religious courts that are well arranged. They now set the pace for the religious courts outside Israel. There are a great deal of obstacles. There is no doubt there are many people who are hurt. Sometimes there are injured parties from this side who cannot accept the realization that they did not take the right path ..."
By contrast, anyone that says the rabbinate is a bureaucratic, politicized mess is either misinformed, power-hungry or a troublemaker:
"...there are people who want to run the world themselves. It is hard for them to come to terms with the fact that they are not running the world. There are people who make their living from there being X number of women who are refused a divorce."
...Ever since Moses our teacher there were those who disagreed with him, and it is written: 'The sons of Korah died not' [Numbers 26:11]. Korah died, but he's got descendants. There will always be disagreements. And no one who comes to disagree says that he wants the kingdom. He says that everyone in the entire community is a saint, why are you being arrogant, why not give them good service? If they come, they'll check it out, they'll bring their allegations, and they'll see that, thank God, the religious courts give excellent service. The same is the case for the Rabbinate, and if there are any 'instances,' we are prepared and we will take care of them. We have proved ourselves."
The opinion of the chief rabbi did not change at all when he was asked to comment on a completely different group, that of the rabbis of the Tzohar organization, who still highly regard state religious authority and are not prepared to break away from the Chief Rabbinate. Regarding them, as well, Amar said that they are the descendants of Korah, filled with "an inclination to argue."
Got that, anyone who's ever had a bad experience with the state rabbinate? You're all crazy. Or descended from Korah. Take your pick.