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12.12.17

The Talmud says troubles come into the world because of pseudo Torah scholars.

The trouble with the religious world generally starts with people that dress up as Torah scholars and play the role, but are in fact demons. That is to say the do not have human souls.
That makes keeping the Law of Moses very hard because people tend to believe those that play the role as being authentic. So innocent people  are led to sin by those that claim to lead them to virtue.

The first time I notice this problem mentioned was in the book of Reb Nachman from Breslov Vol. I ch. 12  even though he had mentioned something of that nature in ch 8., but I had glossed over it, and paid no attention. But chapter 12 made it difficult to ignore the issue. There he brings up this idea of Torah scholars that hate people that fear God simply and plainly.

It sounds kind of harsh in the ears of the religious world because the religious world likes to consider itself as above everyone else in virtue and intellect and all good qualities. It is hard to face the dissolving of that illusion.

This would not be an issue if the people that were held up as being Torah scholars were in fact so. But the true Torah scholars tend to hide in the corners, while the Torah scholar demons take the public stage.


The way you see this in the Talmud is that in one place in the Talmud troubles that come into the world are blamed on pseudo Torah scholars. That is in the end of tractate Shabat.  [For some reason however Reb Nachman did not quote that Gemara.]

One approach to take to avoid this problem is to learn Torah either at home or in some place that is careful to stick to straight Torah like regular Litvak yeshivas in NY and Bnei Brak. But there are no simple answers. I think Reb Israel Salanter came close to some kind of answer in his idea of the Musar Movement [not that he use that term]. That is the emphasis on learning books on the simple and plain Ethics of Torah. In itself that is a great idea but as is obvious it can easily be derailed.

The oddest thing about all this is there is absolutely no mystery who the demonic Torah scholars are. Everyone knows. But no one wants to say anything because they are afraid of how it will reflect on themselves.

The best suggestion to deal with this problem is more or less simple and straightforward but lack of interest makes it impossible.

If you do take this suggestion to learn at home, I think the best idea is to simply go through the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach along with the books of the Gra. That pretty much covers the major principles of the  Oral and Written Law






Music for the Glory of God

11.12.17

Learning an ancient Mediaeval mystic, Avraham Abulafia is what got me interested in Jesus. I was reading the microfilms of his books in the library of Hebrew University when I stumbled on some positive statements about Jesus.  I was in shock for about an hour, and could not move out of my chair even I had to get going to light the olive oil lights for the Festival of Lights.
[Rav Abulafia wrote in Hebrew but the mediaeval script was hard to read]



I was aware that not everyone held by Rav Avraham Abulafia, so I had a choice whether to go with what he was saying, or with the people that dismissed Rav Abulafia as a crank.
To me it seemed the weight of evidence was on the side of Rav Abulafia because he was accepted as legitimate by Rav Haim Vital.[That is the last volume of שערי קדושה].

[A very great Rishon, The Rashba, disagreed with Rav Abulafia. But he was not alone. But to me it seems better to go with his ideas as valid. Still, for me it is too easy to go off onto crazy tangents.]

[In the meantime right after that some fellow started putting those books into legible Hebrew and printed them up. That took around twenty years but he finished and the entire set of Rav Abulafia's books are now a lot more easy to read.]

I might mention that the way Jesus is usually understood seems to me to be not well founded.
I could go into a few examples, but the one that brings this all to mind is Kierkegaard who definitely assumed the Trinity. In fact most Protestants  that think the Trinity is true assume אהיה means "I AM." which is  mistranslated. The name of God revealed to Moses is "I WILL BE", not "I AM." 

[People always bring the statement of Jesus when he was asked who he was and said "I am" as proof. But for this to be proof he would have had to have answered "I will be".]

[None of this is meant to detract from the greatness of the Rashba who was a great Rishon. But rather the idea is that the area of expertise of the Rashba was different than that of Rav Avraham Abulafia. So in terms of spiritual insight it makes more sense to go with the opinion of Rav Abulafia.]











The major issue with the Mikveh

The most delicate issue of a mikveh is how thick is the concrete? If it is thick enough that it could be lifted whole and stay in one piece, then it is  a vessel--and not good as a Mikveh.

Another major issue with the Mikveh is that it needs to be a natural body of water.
אך מעיין ובור מקוה מים יהיה טהור מה מעין בידי שמים אף מקוה בידי שמים
So it is hard to make it by man's hands and still have it be natural. The issue really is from a Gemara that says if a pipe  is formed and then attached that makes the mikveh no good. But if it is attached and then hollowed out that is OK. To the Rashbam that is a pipe of stone or wood.
But later the Gemara says that is only according to the idea that drawn water is no good only from the words of the sages. But if drawn water is no good from the Torah then even attached and then hollowed is no good. And that applies to either rain water or even drawing off from a spring.
So the issues just keep getting more and more.


[Unless we would go with R. Isaac who in fact holds a mikve made of drawn water is no good only to the sages and that would leave the teaching of the Gemara in its place-snce the Gemara itself says it is going according to that opinion. A further point is that Tosphot says the case is if the pipes were made to receive and hold something in them--not just to have something passing through them. According to that, the plastic pipes or wood would be  fine since even when made and later attached they do not receive uncleanliness.]

Further reason to say one needs a river is the Rambam that brings the statement of the Gemara of a pipe plainly -not like Tosphot that says it has to be מקבל טומאה. But one reason to be lenient is that R. Hananel and the Rashbam hold the law is like R. Eliezer that what is attached to the ground is like the ground.


[I should mention that I would feel a lot better about this if I would have either spent more time on Tosphot or have learned it with my learning partner. Here I am just giving the basic outline of the subject but there is plenty of work that I still need to do on Tosphot.]


All I am saying is if you have a spring or river or ocean, anywhere around, that is the best idea.
I know girls have trouble in this area because most rivers are pretty cold. I hope that girls start to develop a rougher bark and get less delicate.

In NY a woman could go to the ocean on the seventh day and be OK at night. In Israel there are often springs and rivers around.

[Since my general approach is that once there is a Rishon that allows something, then one can depend on that, then one could just go with R. Isaac and the first Tosphot in which case things are OK. The only thing is it is clearly better to go to an authentic natural body of water because of R. Tam.]

I want to make it clear that even in cold winter it is possible to go a cold river much more easily that people realize. The reason is if you put your foot into cold water and then take it out, the body automatically starts to drawn the blood from the outer areas. So when you put your foot in a second time it does not feel cold at all. And the same goes with one's legs. So to dip in a river is possible if one does so gradually in small steps. That is to put the feet in an then take them out. Then the legs. Then the whole body. Also going   in with  clothing that is not tight also makes it much easier.








10.12.17

The importance of straight Litvak yeshivas

I had the great merit of being in two Litvak yeshivas Shar Yashuv and the Mir in NY. However I got off track. I had seen some very great insights and ideas in Breslov books, and even though there is a lot of things to learn from the great tzadik, Nahman of Breslov, still that was a bad reason to leave the Litvak approach which is that of the Gra-- straight and simple Torah with no frills.

 I seem to have a bad habit.  Often God gives me great things, and then I mess up. And yet for some reason, He seems to give me second chances.

[It is not that all Litvak yeshivas are so great. But those two that I went to were really special.]

In any case, it seems to me today I could very well have learned things from Breslov books, and still remained in the path of the Gra.

It takes some kind of common sense to learn something good in some other system of thought, but still to retain what good one already has. Not to throw everything overboard because one sees some great insight in some other backyard.

[The importance of straight Litvak yeshivas is the emphasis on God and his holy Torah. There one can come to authentic Torah.] [It might not be something I can communicate very well to anyone, but for what it is worth, the main thing one can get in an authentic Litvak Yeshiva is something he can not get anywhere else:-the spirit of Torah. But like I said it's unlikely that most people will understand what this means.]


Reb Naphtali Troup [one of the great Lithuanian sages] held that to obey one's parents is a positive commandment.  I mean to say that it has the same class as other positive commands that can override a negative command.

This should be fairly obvious but it is not to most people because of the statement of the sages that it does not override a negative command like keeping the Sabbath day holy. But keeping the Sabbath is a negative command that has being cut off from one's people as part of the punishment. So no positive command overrides it. In any case Reb Naphtali brings this idea from the Rambam. The whole essay is in his book חידושי הגרנ''ט

Why I bring this up is interesting case of the descendants of Yonathan ben Rehav in the book of Jeremiah. There the grandfather Yonathan ben Rehav had asked his children not to drink wine or any alcoholic beverage. And they listened to him even several generations later. Even though there is no prohibition of drinking wine except for a Nazir who accepts on himself not to drink wine, still they listened because of the command to obey  one's parents.

The promise given to the descendants was rare. The Patriarchs  had received promises from God concerning their descendants, Aaron and Pinehas, and King David also, and then the descendants of Yonathan Ben Rekav.


The basic idea is clear. If one's parents ask one to do something wrong, then clearly one should not obey. But in cases where there is no specific command otherwise, then it is a positive command to obey. It is more of an important issue than most people are aware of.

There was an event in the life of the older brother of Bava Sali, Rav David Abutzeira, where he had said something only slightly disrespectful to his father, Rav Masud, and when he realized his mistake went into exile for a month.

As for my parents I should mention that the Physics emphasis was more or less because of my own showing in interest in that direction. That was probably in itself from admiration of my own father and Albert Einstein. But in and of itself, that was probably not what they would have emphasized. After all they did not  adopt the same attitude with regards to my brothers. Rather it seems what they held was to be decent human beings with good character traits as per the Ten Commandments and to learn a honest vocation and survival skills.


9.12.17

The problem with the false ordination is brought up by Reb Nachman in a few places. One is LM Vol I ch 61 where he brings the idea that it causes exile. Another place is in LM II ch 8 where he brings the idea that it causes sexual sin.  In any case, the whole issie ought to have been settled by the fact that all ordination is a scam since true ordination ceased during the middle of the Talmudic Period.
So people that claim ordination are either malicious or ignorant.

But Reb Nachman goes into this issue in LM  ch 12 which is the place where he brings down the idea of "Torah scholars that are demons" which he brings from the Zohar. The Ari also goes into this in his unique kind of way -- so that you have to read between the lines. But the surprise is the Talmud itself goes into this in the end of tracate Shabat. So why it is ignored nowadays is beyond me.
So many more homes in Israel would be safe and whole and wholesome if people were more aware of this issue.