There is a verse in the Torah which Rav Shick used as a proof of pantheism, "There is nothing without God" אין עוד מלבדו. But if you open the Rambam יסודי התורה א:ה you can see he explains that verse to mean there is nothing without God, not there is nothing but God.

The main idea of Israel is the idea of protection of individual rights for everyone in its borders-regardless of faith. This is displayed very well in the case of enemies of Jews that live in Israel that work to kill Jews and yet their rights are still respected unless they actually break some law. It is a degree of respect for individual rights that you don't see anywhere else.

At any rate the only way that I can see one can defend the state of Israel is from a libertarian point of view, of respect and protection for all people in its borders--even those that ought not to be protected.

That means to say the basic defence of Israel has to come from the standpoint of the Kelly Ross  Kant Fries school of thought as far as I can tell, not from any Hegelian nationalist principle.

But the libertarian protection of individual rights actually includes a few schools outside the Kant Fries school , like Michael Huemer and the other Intuitionists and obviously Ann Rand and John Locke. And Israel can and should be defended by any Libertarian approach because it respects people's individual rights.  It is just that the other branches of Libertarian thought outside the Kant Fries school I don't think are as logically rigorous as the Kant Fries School.

I am not denying here that Hegel is formidable. I know Schopenhauer and Kelly Ross can't stand him, but I don't want to get into that issue here. There is something about the superorganism and the State that is interesting at least. All I am saying is that you can't defend any state from the standpoint of Hegel because I just don't think nationalism is that great of a principle. While people certainly choose their morality based on group identity but I see that as a negative thing. I think it is better to choose ones morality based on principles that are perceivable by reason.


In Israel, there is a tight kind of community that believes in just learning Torah. This is different from the American yeshiva world, in  that going to work in Israel is considered a bad thing. The thing that keeps this going is government stipends from the State of Israel. Some use this stipend system even though they could not care less about learning Torah. But that is to be expected with any kind of institution. There will always be people around that will try to misuse it.
In any case, it seems to be an ideal situation for people that want to learn Torah their whole lives. And some people manage within this system fairly well.  I can tell by a glance who is learning Torah seriously, and who is just playing games. And I can tell there are a considerable number of people that are very much into the idea of sitting and learning all their lives for the sake of Torah alone. You don't see this much in the USA, even if people say that that is what they are doing. But in Israel you see this in  cities where there are traditional Lithuanian yeshivas.

I should mention this is an ideal I believe in, even if I don't have the merit to do it myself.

On the other hand there is a parallel community of Religious Zionist yeshivas that do believe in work and this system also I approve of. And each one I think is good and I have no preference one over the other. But it is when I see abuse of either system that bothers me.
The advantage of the Religious Zionist is that you see less abuse of the system. If people want money, they work.  If they are satisfied with little, they learn. You don't get that freedom in the Lithuanian yeshivas. But in the Lithuanian yeshivas, you get a degree of learning that is of the highest quality.
Both systems and communities complement themselves. It is like a natural ecosystem with its natural balance.
I cant stress enough how essential this idea of sitting and learning ones whole life is in the Israeli system. And the source of the idea is legitimate. [See the Nefesh HaChaim from Chaim from Voloshin. He brings the main sources. But you can see this yourself in the Gemara and Rambam.] And throughout the ages this was considered the highest ideal. It is just that it was never realizable until the State of Israel was born. Before that it was kind of ad hoc. The best a person could do who wanted to be learning was to accept some rabbinical post but that often had the unfortunate effect of taking ones time away from Torah. There never was sufficient funds in any community to support anyone who wanted to get married and still spend all their time learning. So people found arrangements with rich father-in-laws. I am not saying you have to like this, or agree with this. It is just that you have to understand it in order to understand what the Litvak yeshiva world in Israel sees as the goal of life.
But in the USA you see less of this, perhaps because of the expenses involved.
Certainly I saw plenty of people in the three great NY yeshivas, Chaim Berlin, Mirrer, and Torah VeDaat that also wanted to spend their whole lives learning Torah and somehow managed it. But in no case did I ever see this without the support of the wife.

 I would have to say the Religious Zionist approach is probably closer to the actual path of the Torah.
Mainly because as you have guessed that living off charity ones whole life is not the path of Torah. And in the USA, I have even seen places that claim Torah is a legitimate means of making money in order to get people to support their kollels. [That is, of course, a lie; and a malicious one at that. It is meant to scam people.] So there are enough kinks in this system to get me thinking the Religious Zionist approach is better. Torah with Work. And if one does Torah alone, then he does not lie about what it is he is doing. Torah is not a means for a living. Rather there is a kind of permission  (to some opinions) to accept charity in order to learn. But that is all it is -- charity.

דברים שבלב אינם דברים

Words in the heart are not words

The two blank areas are where we do not know what Rav Shach and the Rashba would say. [Unless I could get around to learning this with my learning partner.]

I mean we have Truma and kadshim where we know words in the heart are words and we have an open Gemara in Shavuot circa 26 that says we don't learn from them because of the rule שני כתובים הבאים כאחד אין מלמדים
Marriage is an act so we clearly need words. Buying and selling are acts so we need words to show intention.

See Kidushin 49b and the Rashba there , and Ketubot 75 and the Tosphot there.
Rambam Hilchot Shavuot 3 about an oath to a person that is using violence.
And what about Chametz and הפקר letting go and abandoning something. מבטלו בלבו ודיו he nullifies the Chametz in his heart and that is that." What about דברים שבלב אינם דברים

The Golden Calf and Joining something to God.

R. Meir said that if not for the vav in "These are your gods Israel which brought you out of Egypt," the Jewish people would have been destroyed. The vav meant they were not denying that God brought them out, but rather God and the Golden calf. ["These are your gods," not "this is your god"].
R. Shimon Ben Yochai said joining (שיתוף) is liable destruction. So rather it means they desired many gods.
 How is R Shimon answering R Meir?
I think he is claiming "joining" is worse than regular idolatry.
At least that is how Rashi explains this saying that they in fact accepted other gods.
In any case, I think we can see clearly from this Gemara what the problem with the Golden Calf was. It was either adding something to god [that is R Meir's opinion] or it was worshiping another god in which case joining would have been worse.

Now once I was connected with Moharosh's group in Safed and I think they were giving hell to the local rav. [I am not sure of all the details but I think they had tried to take over a local building under building 7, to make it a Breslov shul. That is a law in Israel that once a building has been made into a synagogue you can't do anything with it after that.] In any case the Rav was bothered and so made  a speech that was critical of Breslov. The idea of the speech was that the problem with the golden calf was not that they denied God but they said the God is everywhere and in everything and so it was the part of God in the Golden Calf that brought them out of Egypt. I felt he was being critical of me, but later I decided that I was mistaken in that notion. [Later he invited me back to the community after I had left so clearly he was not mad at me. ] Rather I think he was just being critical of that group. But was that in fact the problem with the Golden Calf?  Not according to our Gemara here in Sanhedrin 63. Here in Sanhedrin 63, the Gemara is thinking God  made the world and he is not the world. The trouble with the Golden Calf was adding something onto God. "Joining."
But what that rav said might be true anyway. It is just that you don't see it in our Gemara. They were not subtracting but rather they were adding. 

)סנהדרין סג. הקדמה. רב אמר האומר לעבודה זרה אלי אתה חייב. התלמוד שואל חייב במה? אם מיתה זה כבר כתוב במשנה. אלא להביא קרבן חטאת. אבל אם זה נכון אז רב אמר משפטו רק לפי דעת רבי עקיבה שאמר בן אדם חייב גם על מעשה קטן למשל השתטחות. ומה היינו חושבים בלי רב? שכרת כתובה רק אצל גידוף. קא משמע לן שיש היקש ויזבחו וישתחוו ויאמרו אלה אלהיך ישראל. זה הגמרא. השאלה כאן היא שהגמרא התחילה לשאול על דיבור. מפריע לגמרא שבן אדן יהיה חייב קרבן על דיבור. ואז היא מביאה פסוק שיש בו היקש בין דיבור ומעשה. זה אמור להורות שיש חיוב על דיבור. אבל קרבן ע''ז נכתב דווקא על מעשה, וכרת נכתב רק על דיבור במצב של מזיד."כי השם הוא מגדף". מה שהגמרא מכוונת כאן היא שע''ז חייב קרבן בגלל שקרבן נכתב הפירוש אצלה ויש היקש מ"אלה אלהיך ישראל" ל מעשה ע''ז. ומה היתה ההווא אמינא? שאין חיוב ע''ז אלא אם כן נכתב כרת אצלה. וכרת נכתב רק בפרשת שלח לגבי ע''ז במזיד

The Talmud in Sanhedrin wants to find a way of getting saying "You are my god" to a false god to be liable a sin offering. It can't do this except to R Akiva who says bowing is liable, and bowing is not considered a pure act. [I think because it does not act on anything.] But if we had R Akiva alone we might not know that saying you are my god to a false god would also be liable because cutting off is written only by cursing. So Rav informs us that saying "You are my god" is also liable a sin offering because of a juxtaposition "They bowed and sacrificed and said these are your gods O Israel."

The question was how does this work? We have a juxtaposition היקש from "You are my god" to idolatry but there is no cutting off written by regular accidental idolatry  only for idolatry done on purpose and for that there is no sacrifice.

The important thing to realize here is that cutting off is not written by accidental idolatry. So what the Talmud means is we know regular idolatry is liable a sin offering because a sin offering is written by it explicitly, at the end of Parshat Shelach  Number 16. So we have a היקש from saying "You are my god" to regular idolatry.

In any case, the way the Talmud puts this is difficult. We have R. Akiva saying bowing is liable a sacrifice. Then the Talmud says If we had had only this statement of R Akiva I might have thought that is liable because it is גידוף blasphemy and for blasphemy there is a כרת that is openly written. So now with Rav we know saying you are my god is also liable because of our היקשץ

This last paragraph I am just saying over what the Gemara says. But what is difficult here is this: In the parshah where we have a sacrifice for doing idolatry Numbers 16 גידוף blasphemy is not mentioned at all.  And right after that when it does mention גידוף it is talking about doing idolatry on purpose for which there is no sacrifice. There is something going on here I just can't figure out.


Introduction: In the Talmud we have a statement of Rav that one who says to an idol "You are my god" is liable.
The Talmud asks liable for what? If the death penalty when he does it knowingly, then that is anyway what is says in the  Mishna. [Rav has told us nothing new and that is not good. He would not have just repeated the Mishna unless he would say that that is what he is doing.]
So he must have meant he is liable to bring a she goat [a sin offering]--the sacrifice prescribed by the Torah for doing idolatry by accident.
The Talmud asks that this does not seem to be like the Sages but only like Rabbi Akiva. [And that is not very good. We already know the law is not like Rabbi Akiva against more than one sage. If he would be arguing with only one other person that would be different.]
Where do you have this argument? In a Braita [teaching] that says:  One is liable to bring  a sin offering only for an act, e.g. bowing, pouring, burning, and sacrifice.

Reish Lakish said, "That is coming to Rabbi Akiva who said the law is one can be liable even when there is not a perfect act, but even just a small act like bowing."
The Gemara concludes that you have to say that the statement of Rav is coming only like Rabbi Akiva. (Even though the Talmud is obviously not happy with this.)

"So what might have we thought?", the Talmud continues. That being cut off from ones people is not written by idolatry. So now we know it is by means of a hekeih היקש -אתקושי אתקש-juxtaposition that God told Moses, "Go down from this mountain because the people gave sacrificed and bowed down and said these are your gods Oh Israel."

End of introduction.

So what is the obvious question here? It is that we start out not being happy with a obligation to bring a sin offering for speech. In the middle of the discussion we discovered that R.Akiva makes one liable even for bowing which is an act with no object.  So we decided that for speech also R Akiva would say one can be liable even though it is an act with no object.
But then look what happened. "We might have thought that כרת cutting off is not written by idolatry. So now we know it is by this juxtaposition. for idolatry.
We know you need an act to bring a sin offering because of Leviticus 4. ועשה אחת מהנה. And we know כרת  is written by idolatry in Numbers 16 where it gives the rules for the high priest,  the king, the congregation, and an individual to bring a sacrifice for idolatry. But there it is speech that is singled out. The verse says "This is the law for one who does by accident, but one who acts on purpose will be cut off from his people, he has blasphemed God." So what do we learn from the  היקש juxtaposition? That acts are also liable! Not just words.
So we learn from speech to acts. What the Talmud is trying to do is to learn from acts to speech. So what is going on? Could it be the Talmud is trying to answer for R. Akiva, and not Rav as it seems? Any suggestions?

)סנהדרין סג. הקדמה. רב אמר האומר לעבודה זרה אלי אתה חייב. התלמוד שואל חייב במה? אם מיתה זה כבר כתוב במשנה. אלא להביא קרבן חטאת. אבל אם זה נכון אז רב אמר משפטו רק לפי דעת רבי עקיבה שאמר בן אדם חייב גם על מעשה קטן למשל השתטחות. ומה היינו חושבים? שכרת אינו כתוב אצל עבודה זרה. קא משמע לן שיש היקש ויזבחו וישתחוו ויאמרו אלה אלהיך ישראל. סוף ההקדמה.השאלה כאן היא שהגמרא התחילה לשאול על דיבור. מפריע לגמרא שבן אדן יהיה חייב קרבן על דיבור. ואז היא מביאה פסוק שיש בו היקש בין דיבור ומעשה. זה אמור להורות שיש חיוב על דיבור. אבל קרבן ע''ז נכתב דווקא על דיבור

Can one be liable to bring  a sin offering if he accepts a false god in his heart without saying anything?
This would be practical if it were the case. He could come to the Beit Din [the court] and say he accepted some god like Allah or Brahman, and ask if he must bring a female goat. And they say "Yes." I could go further, but I think clearly you can't be liable for thoughts of idolatry.
If you were then why does the Talmud in Sanhedrin bend over backwards to find a way to make liable  someone who said to a false god, "You are my god?" And it has to conclude it is only like Rabbi Akiva, and it obviously is not happy with that fact, because that would push it out of the realm of Jewish Law. [The law we know goes by the majority. But there are many exceptions. Still in this case it is an established principle: The law is like R. Akiva against his friend, but not against his friends.    הלכה כרבי עקיבה כנגד חבירו ולא כנגד חבריו]

Now I have to mention that the Gemara is not involved in the issue of the death penalty for when one does idolatry on purpose. It knows that there is an open verse that one who bows to a false god gets the death penalty. It is only bothered by the question of-- if the guy does it by accident does he bring a sin offering? And that is where the Talmud is bothered because for a sin offering we need some act with an object. [See the discussion of Prichard of the British school of Intuitionists about what constitutes an act. But in our case here we see the Talmud considers an act to be only something that has an object.- not bowing, and not words.]

Of course, you can imagine this got me thinking about דברים שבלב אינם דברים - קידושין דף מט
ב words in the heart are not words [Kidushin 49 Ketubot 75 and see the Rashba  Shelomo ben Aderet on that Gemara in Kidushin  who has the idea that this is only when the words in the heart contradict some act. (That is his idea. You won't find it in Tosphot.) [Not the same as the Rashba of Tosphot who is Shimshon ben Avraham]

And Rav Elazar Menachem Shach [author of the Avi Ezri] says that applies specifically where one makes an act by means of his words.

In any case, you are obviously thinking about the Gemara at the end of Chulin about guy who was sending off the mother bird from the eggs and fell and got killed, and the Gemara suggest that it was because he might have been thinking thoughts about idolatry.  For thoughts one does have to bring a burnt offering, which can be brought  just like a peace offering. It does not have any conditions attached to it. You get get up in the morning and say "There is  upon me to bring a peace offering" or "a burnt offering." But you can't do this with a sin offering which can be brought only for very specific things.