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New York - WSJ's 'Holy' Front Page Creates Problems For Religious Jews

Published on: May 2, 2012 08:29 AM
By: JTA / Read more at Ynetnews
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The photo that appeared in the WSJ. Photo:Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street JournalThe photo that appeared in the WSJ. Photo:Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal

New York - Will Jewish readers of the Wall Street journal have to keep last Friday’s edition forever? That was the question raised by the JTA news agency after the front page of The Wall Street Journal featured an article on the perils of dropping the Torah scroll during “hagbah”, the Torah-lifting ritual.

The problem arose because of the fact that the story included a photo of a Torah scroll open to the Ten Commandments in the Book of Exodus, the blurry text includes God’s name.

Throwing God’s name in the trash is a no-no, so what does that mean for the Wall Street journal’s religious readers? Must they keep it forever, bury it, or place it in a “genizah”?

The JTA decided to ask rabbis what they thought and the consensus is – no.

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“It was not put there for any purpose of kedusha, of holiness,” said Rabbi Allen Schwartz of New York’s Orthodox Congregation Ohab Zedek. Schwartz explained that in order to require placement in a genizah, God’s name “has to be four clear letters” - meaning that blurriness disqualifies the Journal picture.


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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 02, 2012 at 10:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Same question is, how the Printers of Sidurim are handling the press missprinted sheets. Hundreds of non usable sheets are taken off the press with the 4 letters of Hashems name printed.

2

 May 02, 2012 at 10:51 AM curious bob Says:

"“It was not put there for any purpose of kedusha, of holiness,” said Rabbi Allen Schwartz "

and how does he know that? I mean after all the 'showing' of the 10 commendments didn't just pop up there by itself! It must of have atleast a subliminal message i think, no?

3

 May 02, 2012 at 10:55 AM Anonymous Says:

There are other reasons to treat the pages of the WSJ with the great respect we would give an item with kadushah (primarily their editorial pages) but unclear if it has to be disposed with other sheimos or perhaps used to wrap fish for shabbos.

4

 May 02, 2012 at 11:01 AM Mark Levin Says:

Non issue for the most part. If you have a shayla, ask your LOR!

5

 May 02, 2012 at 11:01 AM ayoyo Says:

most of the items put in a geniza don't belong there ,they only take up valuable space needed for written torahs tephillin and mzuzos and their accesories

6

 May 02, 2012 at 11:28 AM BaruchGershom Says:

Let me throw in an additional fact that might be relevant, although I'm certainly not qualified to make a judgment. It is most likely that the photograph of the sefer Torah was done with a digital camera. Unlike film, the image on the camera is actually a collection of zeros and ones which stand as code for every single pixel that makes up the image. I have read opinions that one can erase a computer file that might have the Name of G-d embedded in it because it is only a collection of zeros and ones and not the written Name. So my question would be: "Is a digital photograph printed onto paper any different than an image on the computer screen, which poskim say can be erased?" The other questions raised above are also relevant to that question.

7

 May 02, 2012 at 12:00 PM YUBachur Says:

Reply to #2  
curious bob Says:

"“It was not put there for any purpose of kedusha, of holiness,” said Rabbi Allen Schwartz "

and how does he know that? I mean after all the 'showing' of the 10 commendments didn't just pop up there by itself! It must of have atleast a subliminal message i think, no?

I happen to know Rabbi Schwartz shlit''a is an outstanding mensch and a Yodeah Sefer. Besides, even "you" can't argue with his second point.

No, it does not have a subliminal message. I highly doubt that the WSJ asked to take a picture davka of the 10 commandments. It was just a coincidence.

8

 May 02, 2012 at 12:11 PM Liepa Says:

I would put my copy in shaimos so as not to take a chance, providing the shaimos truck doesn't end up parked in Boro Park, indefinitely.

9

 May 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM enlightened-yid Says:

What will VIN do with the photo? Will they store it forever or it will get deleted from the cyberspace?

10

 May 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM yaakov321 Says:

Every day, papers print the full spelling of G-d in their papers. The tetragammon would be quite an issue, but I think that if it is in a newsprint and copied from a true origination, it would not suffice to be a trouble if Israel had discarded it in the routine fashion. For those who are overly concerned, it would be no issue to bury this replication. But I personally would have not thought twice of tossing the paper. Sorry.

11

 May 03, 2012 at 07:10 AM DonielS Says:

For the record, that is not "a photo of a Torah scroll open to the Ten Commandments in the Book of Exodus".

Compare it to the same spot in a Tikun of Parshat Yisro - no resemblance.

12

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