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12.2.16

The problem with the focus on the tzadik is that it is idolatry. There are certainly good arguments why one needs some example of human perfection to strive after. Be that as it may Hasidut is idolatry. The basic approach of the Torah is to focus on the Law of Moses, not on any tzadik.

It \is true that most religions do focus on some central person. And they consider that person to be the best example of human and divine perfection. So when hasidim focus  on some unique individual you can understand the power and force that must have on people. The only problem is that it is idolatry. And it is idolatry that covered by by lots of neat rituals that are in fact based on Torah and Halachah. But the center of focus is the tzadik. And the more they hide it the worse it is.

 The societies of Hasidim are legacy societies, weighed down by the  traditions, superstitions and animosities, unleavened by the core concept of individual rights. Until Hasidim renounce their past, there will be no room in which to build a new future.
     But Hasidim will not renounce their past. They haven't  outgrown their belief in magic. So Hasidim look to rich secular Jews and cry, "Help us! Feed us! We are poor and terrified, you are rich and strong! Bring your breadbasket  and deliver us from the darkness!"  Every Hasidic community is totally dependent on charity for it very survival. And they are communities based on connections and dealings--not on Torah. Judging solely from history, no Hasidic community  has achieved the preconditions for a just, peaceful, and prosperous social order.  False messiahs are the least of their problems. More like there is not one single functional group.

What I was hoping to point out here was the problem of the focus on the tzadik. They idea of needing a mentor and an example is a true idea. But what happens is that every tzadik has some negative side. And that side may be hidden from view. But when people intentionally attack themselves to the tzadik they usually get attached to some kind of Sitra Achra energy as you can see on their faces. And anyone sticking around them long enough can not escape that energy. They get absorbed into it and lose their human soul. 


How to educate one's children? Where to send them to school? What is the best school?How to find it? Let's put together a few adults that had famous fathers but never accomplished anything great themselves along with two generals of the army that have trained thousands of young men. What type of conclusions will result? The question that comes up at first is not the question of how to be  a soldier but how to train youth in virtue. But how to train a soldier is also part of the question.
 How to go about finding a good school? Or do you even want to find a good school. After all there are advantages of a youth being home and learning from his parents. Any of these questions seems familiar? [These questions I got from Plato from his book Laches.]

Some schools and groups are factories of delusion. You can definitely ruin people by bad education. But can you improve people by good education? What about yeshivas? I have seen lots of groups and yeshivas which turn out monsters consistently.  And I have seen places which predictably  turn out good and responsible people. But what I want to point out is these questions are important. They should not be left to chance.
Clearly the Boy Scouts is no longer an option. What seems to me is that I have largely ignored these questions. I have myself written about good things like Torah and natural sciences and also learning an honest vocation. But I never really dealt with the problem of education in itself.

My basic approach has been to try  to be an example. If I think  Torah, and Physics and survival skills are important, then that is what I try to do myself. As for what and where are the best schools--There is no secret about them. And from what I can see they live up to their reputation. The Mirrer in NY, Ponovitch, Brisk, Torah VeDaath all turn out fine young men. As for schools as long as we are talking about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] then American and Israeli schools are great.

Mainly what I have seen is that stereotype are always true. If some group has the reputation of being a fringe cult, then time shows again and again that it is.  And when a cult tries to polish its image--it still is  a cult. What I recommend is not to be fooled by the nail polish they slap on themselves to show they are respectable.
There is a serious problem when delusions gain religious power. Delusions by themselves are just delusions --but add to that numinosity and religious significance, it's a whole new ball game and much more poisonous and pernicious. And youth can and do get attached to these types.

[The general in the dialog was the one that failed to pursue the Spartan navy because of an omen and thus he lost the critical battle  that caused the fall of Athens in 404 B.C.  and was the effective end of the Greek Golden Age and Greek supremacy. That war devastated all of Greece. That general was executed. You can imagine the Athenians were upset. Five years after the war they executed Socrates.]

11.2.16

I used to pray the Shemona Esre {a fixed prayer in the Jewish Prayer-book} every day three times with a lot of fervor. The fact that it was fixed did not stop me from deep intentions. Private chatting with G-d was something I started later I but I did not think my intentions in these private chats were any more deep or sincere. They can be. But the fact that they were spontaneous did nothing to add to sincerity.

The most deep aspect of prayer was when I was in Shar Yashuv [that is Reb Freifeld's yeshiva] in Far Rockaway and the Mir Yeshiva in NY.

Private chat I think is a good thing but it should not be confused with sincerity or depth.

Later the prayer-book prayers kind of became dry to me and I added the intentions of the יסוד ושורש העבודה and Yaakov Emden in his great Sidur. [Reb Freifeld gave me that Sidur]. Sometime in Israel Elise Meir's brother sent to me the Sidur of the Reshash. [The red one]. And I started using that. {I had already been learning the Ari's books for some years.] But I always longed to get the large Sidur HaReshash by the grandson of the Reshash for a few reasons. Mordechi Sharabi said there were errors in the small sidur. Eventually I found the large sidur in the end of Mea Shearim near Rechov Salant. [Anyway, I have no idea what Mordechai Sharabi was talking about. The two sidurim are different systems. That is about it.That is they are two different interpretation of the Nahar Shalom of Shalom Sharabi. But mistakes? If he said so fine, but I did not see any.

When I pray today I try to stick with the basic, straight, Ashkenazic Prayer-book. The reason I stopped the Sidur with the intentions of the Ari is simple. The intentions are vessels for the light. Light changes so do the intentions. 

Still if you can get either the large or small sidur of the Reshash both are great books--if you read them along with the book of the Reshash the Nahar Shalom

[I am not so much into this anymore, But I do think the Ari and the intentions have great value when done right.]
What I think today is that there is nothing like straight prayer in a regular Litvak Yeshiva. 

in reference to my previous note it occurs to me that this is the very issue of contention between R, Josph Halevi  and the Ran [Rabbainu Nisim Ben Reuven] and Tosphot. Why did not Rava in Shavuot ask from any case of מיגו? [look in the ran in Shavuot I think the page number is 45b].

In short Rav Joseph says, we don't say a migo to פוטר  from an oath, only from money. The Ran says this migo is different from other migos. But in any case what comes out from all of this is this amazing fact. There is an answer for Rabbainu Tam. That is, BM and Shavuot  an Bava Kama Tosphot asks on rabbanu tam his question that I just got done writing about. And I was granted  understanding why their question is  a good question. But then they ask the further question if the שומר said כפירה about all three animals then he would in fact be פטור But then why did rava not ask from any migos that we have all over the place? Well now we know. We have either the answer of Rav Joseph Halevi or the Ran.  [This Rav Joseph I should mention was a drop later than the baali hatosphot and he is brought down often in the Tur. Every time I see anything he has to say I am always impressed.

Why the last question of Tosphot is specifically directed towards Rabbinu Tam. I have to think about this. Off hand it seems that the major reason is Rashi does not fit with that Sugia in any case. But that seems like a flaky answer. There might be something deeper here I have not thought about.



Ideas in BM
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In Hebrew.

This is the very issue of contention between רבי יוסף הלוי  and the ר''ן and תוספות. Why did not רבא in Shavuot ask from any case of מיגו?

In short רבי יוסף הלוי says, we don't say a מיגו to פוטר  from an oath, only from money. The Ran says this מיגו is different from other מיגו. But in any case what comes out from all of this is this amazing fact. There is an answer for רבינו תם. That is, ב''מ and שבועות  an בבא קמא תוספות asks on רבינו תם his question that I just got done writing about. And I was granted from above understanding why their question is  a good question. But then they ask the further question if the שומר said כפירה about all three animals then he would in fact be פטור But then why did רבא not ask from any מיגו that we have all over the place? Well now we know. We have either the answer of רבי יוסף הלוי or the ר''ן. We don't say a מיגו to פוטר from an oath.

Why the last question of תוספות is specifically directed towards רבינו תם. I have to think about this. Off hand it seems that the major reason is רש''י does not fit with that סוגיא in any case. But that seems like a flaky answer. There might be something deeper here I have not thought about.






I had written in the little booklet that God granted to me to write about Bava Metzia a question on a question on Rabbainu Tam on page 98a of Bava Metzia. I don't have any Gemara with me to be able to look anything up. But it did occur to me as I was looking over my notes what Tosphot must be getting at. If memory serves correctly Rabi Chiya bar Aba holds we need כפירה for all four שומרים. I forget the language but I think that is the language he uses. This is very delicate in my mind right now so I am not sure how to put this.  I think from what I remember in Shavuot page 45b Tosphot first word מתוך that rabi chiya bar aba only says we need כפירה  with אונס  and הודאה--and that is all. And that means only that אונס and הודאה alone are not enough. But Rabi Chiya bar Aba would agree that כפירה  and הודאה  are enough. And that is the crucial fact that makes Tosphot comes out OK.

I hope I can put this down in words properly. But what this means in when Tosphot in Bava Kama pg 107a asks on רבינו תם אהייא קאי he means this: We have three animals [That is the case that the Gemara is dealing with with Rami bar Chama in  and Bava Metzia אונס כפירה הודאה] So now the question on Tosphot on Rabbainu Tam comes out perfectly. On which animal is he saying לא היו דברים מעולם. That is which animal does he deny? If the הודאה Then there is no oath as Rava says in Shavuot but if that is the case then even in the case of אונס if he says לא היו דברים מעולם on the הודאה There also there is no oath. If rather he said לא היו דברים מעולם on the אונס then all we have is two כפירה's and one הודאה and there is an oath on that contrary to Rava. And that is the main point I wanted to bring forth to show what Tosphot means with their question on Rabbainu Tam.
Then from what I dimly recall Tosphot I think does ask maybe Rava means he said לא היו דברים מעולם on all three animals. And then answers the Rava could have asked from any case of מודה במקצת
I would like to put here a link to the book to anyone can look up what I am saying.


[Just for the public I want to say that in order for a paid guard to take an oath there is an argument about what the pleas are. To R. Chiya Bar Joseph we only need admission in part and a plea of "it was stolen by armed robbers" of some kind of situation which he could not have been on guard against. If the animal was lost then by his own admission he has to pay. R. Chiya Bar Aba says you need a plea of "it never happened" along with the above two pleas. Only then is there an oath. Look up the verses in the Torah in Exodus and you will see what the source of the difficulty is. ]



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Here is the same essay as above with a little bit more Hebrew.

I had written in the little booklet that God granted to me to write about בבא מציעא a question on a question on רבינו תם on page 98  of בבא מציעא. I don't have any גמרא with me to be able to look anything up. But it did occur to me as I was looking over my notes what תוספות must be getting at. If memory serves correctly רבי חייא בר אבא holds we need כפירה for all four שומרים. I forget the language but I think that is the language he uses. This is very delicate in my mind right now so I am not sure how to put this. Mainly I think תוספות is trying to draw a distinction between רמי בר חמא and רבי חייא בר אבא. I think from what I remember in שבועות מה: תוספות ד''ה מתןך  that רבי חייא בר אבא only says we need כפירה  with אונס  and הודאה, and that is all. And that means only that אונס and הודאה alone are not enough. But רבי חייא בר אבא would agree that כפירה  and הודאה  are enough. And that is the crucial fact that makes תוספות comes out OK.

I hope I can put this down in words properly. But what this means in when תוספות in בבא קמא  דף ק''ז ע''א  asks on רבינו תם אהייא קאי he means this: We have three animals. That is the case that the גמרא is dealing with with רמי בר חמא in  בבא מציעא אונס כפירה הודאה. So now the question on תוספות on רבינו תם comes out perfectly. On which animal is he saying לא היו דברים מעולם? That is which animal does he deny? If the הודאה then there is no oath as רבא says in שבועות, but if that is the case, then even in the case of אונס, if he says לא היו דברים מעולם on the הודאה there also there is no oath. If rather he said לא היו דברים מעולם on the אונס, then all we have is two כפירה's and one הודאה and there is an oath on that contrary to רבא. And that is the main point I wanted to bring forth to show what תוספות means with their question on רבינו תם.
Then from what I dimly recall תוספות I think does ask maybe רבא means he said לא היו דברים מעולם on all three animals. And then answers the rava could have asked from any case of מודה במקצת<


  : רבי חייא בר אבא מחזיק שצריכים כפירה לכל ארבעת השומרים. בעיקר אני חושב תוספות מנסה לעשות הבחנה בין רמי בר חמא ואת רבי חייא בר אבא. אני חושב ממה שאני זוכר ב שבועות מה: תוספות ד''ה מתוך כי רבי חייא בר אבא רק אומר שאנחנו צריכים כפירה עם אונס והודאה, וזה הכל. וזה אומר רק כי אונס והודאה בלבד אינו מספיק. אבל רבי חייא בר אבא יסכים שכפירה ואת ההודאה מספיק. (הפסוק אומר כי הוא זה.) וזה עובדה המכריע שעושה תוספות  בסדר. אבל מה שזה אומר שכאשר תוספות בבבא קמא דף ק''ז ע''א שואלים על רבינו תם "אהייא קאי" הוא מתכוון זה: יש לנו שלוש חיות. זה המקרה כי גמרא מתמודדת בו עם רמי בר חמא בבבא מציעא, אונס כפירה הודאה. אז עכשיו שאלה על תוספות על רבינו תם יוצאת מושלמת. על איזו חיה הוא אומר "לא היו דברים מעולם"? כלומר איזו חיה הוא מכחיש? אם ההודאה, אז אין שבועה כמו שרבא אומר בשבועות, אבל אם זה המקרה, אז גם במקרה של אונס, אם הוא אומר לא היו דברים מעולם על הודאה גם אין שבועה. אם דווקא הוא אומר "לא היו דברים מעולם" על אונס, אז כל מה שיש לנו הוא שתי בהמות של כפירה ואחד הודאה ויש שבועה בניגוד רבא. וזה הדבר העיקרי שאני רוצה לומר להראות מה שתוספות אומר עם השאלה שלהם על רבינו תם ישר. אז תוספות שואלים אולי רבא אומר שהוא אמר לא היו דברים מעולם על כל שלושה בעלי חיים. ואז הם עונים שאם כן רבא היה יכול לשאול מכל מקרה של מודה במקצת.




e67  h69 bar yochai piano
orchestra piece from about when I was 16.mathematics

Pantheism is not Torah


This doctrine, "God is everything" did not originate with the Besht. It is true that the verse of the Torah ["You were shown to know that The Lord is God, there are no gods besides Him."] is explained to support this belief. But the practice and goal of union with the God that created all and permeates all and is All appears in the Upanishads [the final sections of the four Vedas written 1000-500 B.C.E.]
The first one to make Yoga into a coherent unified system was Patanjali [circa 200 B.C.E. during the time of the Second Temple].
"Yoga" means "union", i.e. union of the finite transitory self with the infinite "Atman" or "Brahman" [eternal infinite self].
In Yoga-Vedanta philosophy there is one true God that is invisible, imminent, transcendent that created everything. The name the Hindus give to this God is Brahman.
All creation is composed of the substance of Brahman.
[] This is not traditional Torah. In the theology of the First authorities (Rishonim - Medieval sages), God is everywhere but separate. The world and God are not one. The world is not made of Divine Substance. It is made from nothing.
Creation ex-nihlo is the view and philosophy and emphasis of the Torah as explained by the Rambam and other Rishonim [authorities of Torah of the Middle Ages]. This is very, very different than the views of Breslov Hasidut or any other Hasidut one that I am aware of.
Modern day Breslov is an attempt to beat Hindu Yoga-Vedanta at their own game. It is not Torah.

Conclusion

Changing the essence and meaning of Torah as defined by the Rambam and the Geonim bothers me.

(note 1) This is described in detail by the Ari. At first, the light of God was everywhere. So there was no place for creation. So he contracted his light and made an empty space like a sphere. [There was also a point of light left in the center of the space.] He then sent His light down through one opening and the light went down a bit and then started curving around and became the first sub sphere (called Keter) in the larger sphere. This happened ten times.

(note 2) In this doctrine (panenthism) God also transcends the World, and so is not equal to the world. Rather he contains it.
See for example: Lekutim Yekarim from Pinchas of Koretz Parshat Veetchanan: "There is nothing in the world but the Holy One Blessed be He." (This is a later book. It is not from the original books of R. Pinchas.)
Ben Porat [page 126] from R. Yaakov Yoseph brings one story from the Besht that he said "There is no place empty of God." Later the same story in Heichal Bracha (from the Rebbi of Kamarna) got expanded into him saying, "There is no existence besides him."
(note 3) He said that the sepherot of Azilut (Emanation) are Godliness. After that i.e. the sepherot of creation, formation, and the physical universe are not Godliness. (Eitz Chayim Heichal 1, Shar 3, chapter 3).[The Zohar says in Emanation alone, the vessels and light are Godliness. After Emanation just the light is Godliness not the vessels.]
This is independent of the "Contraction" question. But concerning the contraction the Arizal wrote, "He contracted Himself." (Eitz Chayim 1:2:2; 1:2:3; 1:2:4) [Not "his light".]


Books of Hasidim defend the doctrine of panentheism, by going to the zimzum. But in fact it does not help much. Even if it was not complete, things still don't have to be Godliness.]
The appeal of this doctrine is entertainment  emotional value, not truth value.