Aristocracy on the Beach
While there, I took a look at their library and found the fifth volume of Be-Mar'eh ha-Bazak. I have a firm belief that every obscure library (originally the theory related to synagogues on IDF bases, but I am considering an expansion) has a book that I have not found in any other library. Of course, this book probably is found elsewhere, but I couldn't find it when I wanted it.
Be-Mar'eh ha-Bazak is a collection of responsa issued by the students at the Eretz Hemda Institute, which trains judges for the religious courts in Israel. Of course, the religious court system in Israel is hopelessly nepotistic, and only Haredim are ever appointed. As far as I know, a small fraction of their graduates have achieved positions within the court system, and those mostly on the periphery.
What they do, though, is answer halachic questions sent to them from around the world, by fax (hence the "flash" in the title). This, latest, volume contains a series of questions relating to the Internet and Shabbat. They leave a great deal of room for manuevering, but my impression was that a commercial website should not be operating on Shabbat.
Interestingly, a look at the sitemeter for this blog shows that, consistently, hits drop to almost zero over Shabbat. And, since I am certainly not making any money here, I think I am perfectly justified in keeping my site open all week long.
In other news, someone has published a historical novel about Rashi's daughters. It looks like it's worth a closer look. Of course, even if they weren't revolutionary feminists, Rashi's daughters had a profound impact on the history of halacha. Virtually every major French tosafist was a descendent of Rashi. The obvious ones are Rashbam, Rabbenu Tam and R Yitshak of Dampiere. But there were many more. To the extent that it is hard to accept Avraham Grossman's claim that, unlike the hierarchical, plutocratic yeshivot of the Geonim, the Tosafist movement was profoundly democratic. True, there were plenty of students who were not of illustrious lineage. But the big names seem overwhelmingly well-born.