Briefly Noted

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“The heart wants what the heart wants.” – Woody Allen

“The heart has its own rules and ways” – Sheikh Yusef Al-Qaradawi

Qaradawi – is an icon in the Muslim world, and a leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He is a popular authority on Islamic law on both Al Jazeera and IslamOnline. is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), and the president of The International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS). He is a consistent critic of the decadence of the West. He supports suicide bombings, and has ruled that Muslims must boycott American goods. He is barred from entering both the US and the UK, but is supported here by CAIR, which passes itself off as a moderate Islamic defense organization, but has recently been pointed to by the FBI for its terrorist connections.

Qaradawi is 82. Some years ago, he was impressed by the presentation of a student at a school where he lectured. These are his words: “”When I saw her up close, I said [to her]: ‘Praise Allah, who endowed you with physical as well as moral beauty. Allah gave you intelligence, rhetorical ability, an impressive presence, beauty, and a good figure. May Allah bless you, my child, for He has endowed you with talents, eloquence, courage and erudition…”

Ten years ago, at age 72, he took her as a second wife. She was roughly the age of his youngest daughter. The quote above is part of his defense of his actions.

Allen – Woody Allen is the iconic director, actor and writer. In 1997 he married Soon-Yi Previn, who was his adopted daughter (although never officially registered as such) since she was ten. At the time, he was 56 and she was 22. The quote above is part of his defense of his actions.

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18 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    Tzippi, that is true, but I would like to think that we Jews are a cut above a man like Bertand Russell. As it so happens, there was a crucial period in my life right out of high school, when I read Bertrand Russell’s works quite voraciously. My assessment of him being a great writer must have some validity, as he shared the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 with a truly great man, Winston Churchill. To this day, nobody presents the secular, political Left side of things as well as he did, at least from my perspective.

    Yet I do not look at him as a moral leader, because, well…I want to say something here that is so politically incorrect, that I am not sure how to say it without offending some of the readers here. It is just that I expect more out of my fellow Jews than I do from the gentile world, even if that Jew is completely secular like Woody Allen is. There is just something about him that yells out “I am Jewish!” even if he never would say so explicitly. It reminds me of any time I listen to my favorite of all comedians, Jackie Mason. Does the guy have to announce he is Jewish, every time he speaks for us to know from where he emanates? No, because his every mannerism, his way of thinking and expressing himself, keeps saying JEW! JEW! JEW! (Same with the late Rodney Dangerfield, who was my second favorite comedian)

    Well, like it or not, we are G-d’s Chosen People. We cannot hide this from the world even though we often want to. We therefore have a moral duty to at least try to behave as if we deserve to be G-d’s representatives on Earth, even if some of us, for whatever reason, cannot get ourselves to live a religious life in any formal manner. While as a middle aged man myself, I can identify with other middle aged men who find younger women attractive, Woody Allen crossed the line, entering a realm that frankly shocked me.

  2. tzippi says:

    And to add to 16, and go from the sacred to the profane, what was Bertrand Russell’s line again, that if you teach geometry you don’t have to be a triangle? Or was it Aristotle?

  3. Ori says:

    Raymond, there is a saying in the Talmud: “The greater the man, the greater the Yetzer(1)”. It is quite possible that Woody Allen has this wisdom precisely because he’s been battling his evil inclination, and sometimes losing.

    (1) Short for “Yetzer haRa”, the evil inclination.

  4. Raymond says:

    Yes, O’s distinction is quite correct, which is what made what Woody Allen did especially disgusting. What mystifies me about Woody Allen in particular, is how he could make such profoundly deep movies that are a cut above almost any other Hollywood movie, plus have all kinds of quotable lines that reveals some wisdom, and yet do what he did in his private life? I have no answer, but it does befuddle me.

  5. O. says:

    While others have, correctly, objected any comparison between Woody Allen and a terrorist, I would like to likewise object to any comparision between an older man marrying a younger woman and an older man having an affair with a young woman he raised as his daughter.

  6. Chaim Fisher says:

    Menachem Lipkin, Raymond, and other participants in this forum need to understand that as difficult as it may be for us our great leaders expect us to be very zealous in tznius areas.

    This just in from the Stipler’s son, our great HaRav Kanievsky shlita:

    “Rav Kanievsky Shlita is quoted in the daily HaMevaser as stressing the absolute need for separation between men and women on the buses”

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/32136/Rabbonim+of+Mehadrin+Bus+Vaad+Visit+Gedolei+Yisrael+in+Bnei+Brak.html

  7. Raymond says:

    I just want to make one very short comment about the delicate subject of older men lusting after younger women, since that is part of what the above article is all about.

    All I can say in response is to quote a certain person whose name I probably should no say here, but he is very, very famous: “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

  8. Raymond says:

    Menachem Lipkin, whoever you are, you sure are one courageous person for that last phrase you wrote.

    While I am, at most, a fringe participant in the Orthodox Jewish world, and while I have been very critical of some Orthodox Jewish individuals whose behavior has been more of a desecration than a sanctification of G-d’s Name, I like to think that most of the time, I am respectful to the Orthodox Jewish world as a whole. Certainly, a lot of my outlook on life, is a reflection of that world.

    Yet I have heard some real horror stories of supposedly Ultra-Orthodox Jews committing some truly terrible acts, all in the name of Jewish law. I recall hearing, for example, about a woman’s car tires being slashed because she wore tights that did not show a lining in it. Forcing women to the back of the bus, or making them stand, just so us frisky men will not be tempted to turn into animals due to sitting next to a woman, is disgusting, bad manners, and just not nice. I have personally experienced many episodes of so-called religious people using religion to do some really rude and cruel things to me, which I know better than to detail on this forum.

    Let me just say, though, that nothing has turned me off of Judaism more than such behavior has. One of the arguments for why Communism is a false ideology, is that it has never worked wherever it has been tried. Well, if Orthodox Judaism causes people to behave not only in a reprehensible manner, but to feel self-righteous about what they have done because after all, they did it for G-d’s Sake, then that makes me cast doubt on the validity of Judaism itself. Conversely, nothing makes me reconsider my skepticism about Judaism more, then when I am around truly decent human beings who happen to be Orthodox Jews.

  9. Mr. Cohen says:

    [1] When King Solomon was born, King David was 57 years old and Bat Sheva was 12 years old. This was her second pregnancy from King David, so she could have married King David at age 11. King David was her second husband, so her first marriage could have been at age 10. King Solomon is the ancestor of the messiah, the master builder of the First Temple and the author of 3 of the 24 books of Tanach (Mishlei, Kohelet, and Shir HaShirim)

    [2] Midrash Rabah, Seder Bereshit, Parshah 14, Paragraph 7:
    Rabbi Yochanan taught that Adam and Chavah were created at age 20.
    NOTE: They were married at the same age they were created.

    [2] Midrash Rabah, Seder Naso, Parshah 12, Paragraph 8:
    Bar Kapara taught that Adam and Chava (Eve) were created as 20 year olds.
    According to another Midrash, Adam was 20 and Chavah was 12.

    [3] Yalkut Meam Loez:
    When Abraham married Sarah, he was 18, she was 8.

    [4] When Isaac ben Abraham married, he was 40 years old and his wife was 3 years old.

    [5] There is an opinion in the mishnah that a High Priest should marry a 12-year-old Jewess.

    [6] One of the great Rabbis of the Talmud claimed that he was better than his fellows because he was married at age 15, and if he would have been married at age 14, he would have been even greater.

    [7] The Path of Life: The Shabbos Drashos of Rabbi Avigdor Miller by Yehoshua Danese, year 2002, ISBN 1-931681-31-7, Page 325, Lecture for 15 Tishrei 5755:
    It was a day (Taanit 26B) in which the young girls of 12 years (at that time a 12 year old girl was marriageable) would dress in white and would be picked by a young bochur to be his wife.

    [8] The Arizal (lived from 1534 to 1572) married his cousin at age 15.

    [9] In the late 1700s, Levi Sheftall, an observant Jew in the colony of Georgia, married a 14 year old girl when he was 27.

    [10] “When the Chofetz Chaim was 64 years old, his second wife, who was close to 30 years younger than he, gave birth to Faigele.”

    SOURCE: The Maggid Speaks by Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Mesorah Publications

    CONCLUSION: The concept that adulthood occurs at the age of 18 years is a Gentile concept that has no source in our Torah.

    [11] << To this day, arranged marriages are permitted. Even in the early 20th century [the early 1900s] it was considered appropriate to marry off premenstrual girls, a practice stopped by the Soviets.

    SOURCE: Article about the Jews from Dagestan, titled The Mountain Jews of Brooklyn, by Norma J. Finkelshteyn in Hadassah, January 2008 pages 27 to 31.

    [12] The New York Post, 2008 April 18, page 9, article by Andy Soltis:

    <>

  10. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by Menachem Lipkin — March 19, 2009 @ 5:00 pm :

    Many people across a wide range of beliefs and unbeliefs have been known to act perversely/aggressively in this way, so I see no strong correlation of the type Menachem proposes. Menachem also owes us a satisfactory definition of fundamentalism, which many foolishly take to mean “advocacy of any strict approach I disagree with”.

  11. Naftali Zvi says:

    הרשעים הם ברשות לבם אמר נבל בלבו, ויאמר עשו בלבו, ויאמר ירבעם בלבו, ויאמר המן בלבו. אבל הצדיקים לבם ברשותם שנאמר וחנה היא מדברת על לבה, ויאמר דוד אל לבו, וישם דניאל אל לבו, דומים לבוראם ויאמר ה’ אל לבו:

  12. Jaded Topaz says:

    Rabbi Adlerstien,

    What precisely, is the underlying premise on both of the briefly noted “quotable quotes”.
    The underlying premise you are attempting to promote that is.
    Attraction/connection/love/marriage are complicated concepts in 2009.

  13. Menachem Lipkin says:

    There appears to be a link a between fundamentalism and perverse sexual behavior. Allen is a fundamentalist liberal, Al-Qaradawi is a fundamentalist Muslim, and many psychologists say that the over-zealous behavior toward Tznious issues by our own fundamentalist orthodox Jews is form of sexual aggression.

  14. Raymond says:

    With no disrespect intended toward Rabbi Adlerstein, I feel very uncomfortable with any kind of comparison being made between Woody Allen and an islamofascist terrorist. Yes, of course Woody Allen has done some pretty reprehensible things in his personal life, and yes, I know he is a secular liberal whose politics are so much at variance from my own, yet Woody Allen is certainly no terrorist. I realize that nobody is claiming that he is, but I do not think it should ever be suggested that they belong in the same category of people.

    As for that islamofascist terrorist mentioned, I have to wonder how so many hundreds of millions of people have the chutzpah to criticize the West for its supposed moral decedance, while in the very same breath supporting chopping people’s heads off, blowing people up, and other, similar acts of terrorizing our world.

    Just co cite one example of such barbarism, in many parts of the islamofascist world, if a woman is raped, not only does nothing happen to the rapist, not only is the raped woman punished, not only is she punished with death, but it is her own family who carries this reprehensible act of murder out. And why do they do this? Out of honor! It is an honor killing! But why do they not realize that committing such an act of murder is the very thing that brings well-deserved DIShonor to their islamofascist people?

    I am saying something here that is so obvious, as if I am saying that 2+2=4, that I feel as if I am talking to an empty room, or a roomfull of people who somehow cannot hear me. Is anybody out there? Why is my obvious point being ignored by the world? What has happened to us?

  15. mb says:

    You old fuddy duddy.

  16. Bob Miller says:

    Wasn’t it some of the 9/11 bombers, fanatical Muslims of Al Qaeda, who went to a strip club shortly before their mass murder of civilians?

  17. Chaim Fisher says:

    Fascinating. Two very popular and much-sought-after eligible men marry women their daughter’s age.

    And both of them have to apologize for it.

    It’s perfectly muttar. They like it. Why is it anybody else’s business?

  18. tzippi says:

    So I guess that “Numbers, 15:39” would not exactly be a subtle comment.