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14.9.14


The way I see it there is not a lot you can do about Islam. It seems to be kind of Satanic. But apparently it is highly attractive to about half the world's population. I would have thought that Americans would be less sympathetic towards it than they have been until now. But that was a mistake. And in fact I have never  been able to understand American mentality very well--even though I was born  and raised as a proud American.

The reason is this: for some people religious issues are very important. And other people find religion to be utterly boring--but politics or other areas of value awaken their interest. So to a large degree it is clear why I would have found Americans to be incomprehensible since Torah [The Old Testament and the Talmud Bavli] is something I find compelling and fascinating. (I relate highly to this area of value.)

Americans --tend to find religious areas of value to be un-compelling. And that is key to understanding Americans. When they find Muslims fanatically devoted to Islam they translate it into political, or social, or economic, or Nietzschian terms. (This explains why Muslims tell Americans they want "Equality" or other buzz words that Americans can understand.) Americans can't understand how religion can be compelling for others since it is not compelling to them.

That means you can't draw lines in the sand in the Middle East, call them sovereign states, and expect them to last. The wind will blow,- and all the lines you have drawn will disappear. All that will remain is Islam and Israel. And there will be a show down. Only one will remain standing.

The most devoted Christian typically goes to church on Sundays and hear a little about "Love of your Neighbor" and that is about the sum total of their commitment and it is their sum total of their idea of what religion is about. As far as they know Islam is just some alternative version of Christian Sunday school. How wrong they are.

I hope people will understand that I am not condemning the entire area of religious value. What would the world be without a Moses, or Bach, or Socrates (motivated by his devotion to "god". It is ambiguous which god he meant but his devotion was clear. Maybe he meant the God of Plato--the "One".)
 But religion has two areas of value. One is the Sitra (side or realm) of Kedusha (holiness). The other is the Sitra (realm) Achara (other or opposite.) [The Sitra Achara was made famous by Star Wars and became the Dark Side. And I guess that is about as good a translation as any.]

So my suggestion is to learn Torah. This is an idea I got at the Mir  in NY and  also in Far Rockaway . The idea is simple. It is that no matter what a person's problems are, there is one general solution: learn Torah and keep what it says. [Torah in this context means the Old Testament and the Talmud]. Though I admit that there are people that seem to do this and still have difficulties, yet the claim is that this is the most effective way to fight the Dark Side in oneself and in the world in general.
The Torah itself contains life and good. We find in the Torah that God tells the Jewish people in the desert, "I have put before you life and good and death and evil, so choose life. --By keeping my commandants." Now there is a deal you can't refuse. Who does not want good and life please raise you hands! No takers? I am  not surprised. Because everyone wants good and life. So we already know how to get them. Keep the commandments of God as he explains them in the Five Books of Moses. What could be simpler?

But you can’t keep the commandants unless you learn about them. So you have to "Learn Torah."  For example when it says in the Torah to honor your parents how do you work that in with keeping Sabbath if your parents don't? So you do have to work out a rigorous approach to keeping the commandments of the Torah.

  But we should be wary of people that claim to be teaching the commandments of the Torah but in fact have made up other commandments and call it Torah. That is not acceptable. If people claim to be teaching the Torah, but then open up some other book to teach, then you know they are frauds. Only the Torah is the Torah. However, we can accept the Talmud as being the most rigorous investigation into how exactly to keep the commandments.

The idea here is that even if you accept the idea that Life and Good are gained by keeping God's commandment still it is not a simple process to understand those commandments. Or how they apply in your life today. For one example idolatry. Some people just open up the old testament and notice a command about not doing idolatry and then make up their own minds what that means. They don't make a rigorous investigation into the verse and see what each one is coming to include and to exclude. The only place I have see a rigorous examination of what idolatry is is in Sanhedrin page 61 where the different verses about "bowing" and "sacrifice" and "How do they serve?" is each examined rigorously. I know many people think of the Talmud as being a good basis to make fun of Jewish people but in fact I have never heard of anyone else every going into the exact verse and coming to a logical conclusion of what exactly does idolatry include an what does it exclude.