That got me to be thinking about the pros and cons of yeshivas. They can be misused. Many are made for the personal benefit of the people in charge. And though they claim to be for the benefit of the community they are actually geared towards the benefit of the leaders.
Sometimes however they are made for the sake of the holy Torah. And everything depends on what the original intentions are.
Torah is not happy when people use it for personal benefit.

And the main benefit that people seek from Torah is power. It gives people a tremendous ego trip and a power trip,  The ability to control others and tell them what to do --all supposedly for the sake of heaven. This is why I am cautious about which particular Litvak yeshiva I recommend and which ones I disparage and which yeshivas I saw are evil idolatrous cults. It is impossible to put a stamp of approval on all or even most.

The best thing is to get yourself the Horev of Shimshon Refael Hirsh  as an introduction and after that the whole Talmud and spend about two hours a day on your own learning Torah.


There are people that know God is hidden from them and they can search for him. But there are other people that don't know God is hidden. The hidden-ness is hidden. They think they are already close to God. Or they think everything is allowed. The world is not God and is not godliness, but that it can't exist without God.

 But any kind of rulership is a responsibility that is dangerous.  המלכות מקברת את בעליה. So you have to draw life into it. That is by Torah. And this happens in a few ways. One is  by Torah people learn themselves what they are doing wrong and correct themselves. So you don't have to rebuke anyone. You just teach Torah, and the Torah itself corrects everyone. The other way is the Torah is the representative of God. It is his name. And with God is life. So by Torah you are calling to God and that brings life into the rulership.

The hidden-ness is this. There are people that know God is hidden from them and they can search for him. But there are other people that don't know God is hidden. The hidden-ness is hidden. They think they are already close to God. Or they think everything is allowed. They don't recognize that some things are forbidden.  But when one knows that without God, nothing can exist, and that he is even in the darkest of places that one has fallen to, by that the hiddeness is revealed. [Note this is not the same thing as pantheism. The faith of Torah is Monotheism. The world is not God and is not godliness, but that it can't exist without God. Saadia Gaon and the Rambam go into this in great detail in order to clarify the basic belief structure of the Torah.

And God made sure that only the highest level of Torah was contained in the hidden-ness in the hidden-ness. Because if open Torah was contained there, the kelipot would be able to receive nourishment from it.

So what I am suggesting is that this Torah lesson is connected in this way, that the Torah one needs to draw into the hidden rulership is the hidden Torah. That means in English to learn the writings of Isaac Luria.
But to learn Luria's stuff you need  also to learn the Talmud. Or at least to have finished the Talmud once with Rashi and Tosphot. [Not every Rashi is an obligation, but every Tosphot is.]


 Rav Elazar Menachem Shach heard an idea from Isaac Zev Soloveitchik that I wanted to present here

The preliminaries are these: A mishna  says land conquered by Jews coming out of Egypt  but not settled by Jews returning to Israel from Babylonia is נאכל ואינו נעבד eaten but not worked on the seventh year. Another Mishna says עבר הירדן is obligated in ביעור. Fruits from lands beyond the Jordan river is not allowed to be eaten if there is nothing left of it in the fields. The Gemara in Yevamot 16b says אמון ומואב מעשרין מעשר עני בשביעית. Amon and Moav give tithes to the poor in the seventh year.
A few lines later the Talmud explains the reason: דאמר מר הרבה כרכים כבשו עולי מצרים והינחום עולי בבל שקדושה ראשונה קדשה לשעתה ולא קדשה לעתיד לבא כדי שיסמכו עליהם עניים בשביעית

Those are three facts from the Talmud.

The next three facts you need are these. Three Rambams. הלכות שביעית ויובל ד:כו. Land up until Kaziv is עולי בבל. After Kaziv is עולי מצרים. And is נאכל ואינו נעבד eaten but not worked on the seventh year.
The Rambam models his law here on the Mishna but adds ספיחים are eaten. [Not like ר' שמשון].
In the first chapter of Trumah the Rambam decides the law קדושה ראשונה the first sanctification did not sanctify the land permanently. Only the second sanctification did that.
In הלכות ביכורים ו:ה The Rambam says Amon and Moav and Egypt give tithes to the poor in the seventh year and Babylon gives the second tithe.

These are the six facts you need. Three from the Rambam and three from the Talmud.

Zev Soloveitchik told Rav Shach that land conquered by Jews coming from Egypt is obligated in all obligations that the land of Israel is obligated in.
One idea explains and clarifies everything in one simple sentence. I do have I think a very good question on this idea but I will save that for desert.

The shock value here lies starts when you notice the Gemara in Yevamot never said anything about land conquered by Jews returning from Egypt as being obligated in tithes to the poor. All it says is so that the poor will depend on them in the seventh year. That means it has all the obligations of the land of Israel. Seventh year, Truma, the forgotten sheaf etc., and etc.

The question I have is the fact that the Talmud says "they left them so the poor can depend on them in the seventh year." But all the more so if they had not left them then the land would have the holiness of the land of Israel and the poor would depend on them in the seventh year. My learning partner answered it is referring to ספיחים. But I think that is not a good answer because they left those lands before there was an decree against  ספיחים

 Clearly עולי מצרים is considered the land of Israel to the Rambam. And just like  Isaac Soloveitchik suggested it is obligated in all obligated of the land of Israel

A key fact here is הלכות תרומות א:כו that even the second sanctification did not sanctify any part of Israel until all Israel returns. Until then all obligations are by rabbinical decree.

 This explains the Rambam in laws of Trumot ch. 1 halacha 5, ולא פטרום כדי שיסמו כו עליהם עניים בשביעית. Logically that means if they had not left them poor people could not depend on them. At first glance this sounds senseless. But what I suggest it means is this : if they had not left them they would be obligated in the seventh year laws.

Still  what is hard to understand here is this way the Rambam puts it. He could have written that  עולי מצרים have an obligation of Trumah but not the seventh year and that is from the sages.

To me this seems like a very good thing--as long as one does not break his ties to the Litvak world and become officially "Breslov." When that line is crossed something changes and the person loses something I cant exactly place my finger on how to call it.

Yevamot 16b

What it looks like to me is that the Rambam is like the second answer in Tosphot.
I am still in the middle of Rav Elazar Menachem Shach's essay on this Rambam.
[In laws of the seventh year in the Rambam.]  But just off hand it looks to me that the area of Amon and Moav that the Gemara says is obligated in tithes to the poor on the seventh year is talking about the areas that were not conquered by the Jews coming out of Egypt.

That seems fine. But what that would mean for some city in side of Israel proper that was conquered by the Jews coming out of Egypt but not by the Jews coming back from Babylonia is that a city like Beit Shan in the Galil  would have to give tithes to the poor on the seventh year and also be obligated in the laws of the seventh year. And that seems contradictory.

I mean to say that the laws of the seventh year  would be obligatory from the Torah   just by the fact of it being the land of Israel even though it was not sanctified in  by the Jews coming back from Babylonia. But on top of that it would have a rabbinical obligation to give מעשר עני tithes to the poor. What is wrong with this is tithes to the poor is dependent on the order of the years. It is given on the third and sixth year. And even if there would be some rabbinical decree to give on the seventh year but the fruits are open for all to take anyway!

Appendix: Land that was conquered by Jews coming  from Egypt but not by Jews coming back from Babylonian is not worked but the fruits growing by themselves can be eaten after the ביעור. That seems to imply it is obligated in the seventh year laws from the Torah itself.--Even though it was not sanctified! OK that is unexpected, but reasonable. But what makes it hard to understand it that the very same land would be obligated in tithes to the poor! What could that mean? The fruit is anyway open for anyone to take.

That is land that is עולי מצרים but not עולי בבל is נאכל but not נעבד. The Rambam might have explained that like the Rabainu Shimshon. But he did not. He said it means ספיחים. So we have שביעית from the Torah even though קדושה ראשונה קדשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבא. And in spite of that, it still in obligated in מעשר עני! How does this fit?
I think  Rav Shach might be asking the same thing. For what I remember when learning this with my learning partner is the Rav Shach focuses on the fact the land is not worked so how is מעשר עני applicable?  Maybe that is the same thing I am asking?


Murder of white farmers in South Africa. 1554 murders.

A nice film about this problem

There are people that say there have been 3000.

There are about 44 murders per day.

The point is that there is no question that whites are being targeted.

Welcome to the future of Baltimore

[I know this not really a Jewish issue but it seems to me that injustice anywhere affects me also.]
I know there were many people in the international community that were horrified that white farmers in South Africa were defending themselves. They called the system of government there unjust even though they had never even been there and seen up close what the situation was. And pressure was kept up until the government fell,]

The way this could have been prevented is if people would learn The Five Books of Moses along with the Oral Law. That is called "learning Torah." Then it would have been clear to people that farmers had a right  of self defense. But people were too busy working for "social justice" than to care about real justice. 
My feeling about learning Torah is based to some degree  on the approach that I was introduced to when I first got to my first yeshiva in Far Rockaway, NY. That approach was uniform among all NY yeshivas and it was this: the main thing in life is to serve God and the main way of serving God  learning Torah.

But we also know that the way of Torah is not to use Torah to make money. Nor to accept charity to be able to learn Torah. Nor to force the Israeli government to give you money so that you can learn. Nor to talk to secular Jews as if they are your brothers when you are asking them for money and then to turn around when they are not looking and curse them.

These later approaches are clearly not the path of Torah but they are a result of the the insane religious world  life style. For this reason in my previous post I mentioned Rav Kook and Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsh because the later one emphasizes Torah with working for a living and Rav Kook empathizes the settlement in the Land of Israel also. So they both give a balanced introduction to Torah thought and at the same time have a kind of balanced approach that is closer to true Torah than anything else I have seen,  
Reform Jews do not learn much Torah. That is the reason they often support movements that are inimical to Torah.
People that have to work for a living or go to school have little time to learn Torah themselves so they have to depend on people that present themselves as understanding Torah in order to form their world view.

Reform people certainly have their hearts in the right place but they also often are not very well knowledgeable in Torah.

The trouble is that many of the people that present themselves as knowledgeable in Torah have very evil hearts. And Reform Jews know this fact and so are very wary of these evil people. [Or they should be very wary of them.]

 The best advice is to learn Torah yourself or if possible to go to a straight and normal Lithuanian kind of yeshiva where the Oral and written law are learning with no propaganda added. Of course for people in NY or Bnai Brak this is easy. But Jerusalem has a problem of animosity. Religious Jews there might like the money of secular Jews, but of one actually tries to settle in their neighborhood they will stop at nothing to get rid of him.

Obviously the the insane religious world  haג nothing to do with Torah.

What one can do is to learn on one's own. The books of Rav Kook I think are very excellent.


This is a nice comment I saw on some news item about junior high students being taught about how to become perverts
Public Schools Teaching Children to be Perverts This is the comment

This is what hath been wrought from your passive support of homosexuality. This is the fruit you purchased with every "not all gay people". Every excuse you made for them, every time you felt sorry for them. This is the beginning of unchecked perversion influencing our children. Congratulations, Christians. Your misguided "love thy neighbor" philosophy has you opening your doors to perverts. Those perverts are going to great lengths to corrupt the youth. If they can corrupt our youth, how much easier will it be for them to corrupt the subsequent generation? They are NOT "just like everyone else". The LGBT community must be met with formidable resistance. Not violence (unless you are attacked, then defend yourself until they can't attack you anymore) but they should be shouted down. They should be silenced. They should feel the shame of defying nature. They should be reminded of the fact that they are nothing more than an evolutionary dead end. They are not "special", they are freaks, perverts, molesters, and degenerates. Being friends with homosexuals, even being friendly towards them, does NOT make you a "good person" or "modern" or whatever p.c. term de jour "ally" or other such nonsense. It makes you a traitor. When you tried to overcome that feeling of disgust you had in the pit of your stomach when you first found out what homosexuality was...that moment you spit in the face of nature. Look around you. Was it worth it?
I have had a hard time trying to convince people about the importance of learning Torah. One thing that is often thrown back at me is, "what about keeping Torah?"  To that I say the only places I ever saw people that kept the Torah was in places that were devoted to learning  Torah.

That being said I want to tell you how to start your own yeshiva in several easy steps.
First you need raw material--that is a person that knows "how to learn." Knowing how to learn means knowing that you can't know a halacha without knowing the Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot that it is based on. And it means knowing the actual Gemara, Rashi, and Tosphot on the basic seven tractates.[the three bavas and the four on nashim.]
Second  you need Musar. That is ethics, not just Talmud.
After that you need to learn yourself about an hour or more a day and then things will just happen.

Yeshiva has nothing to do with money. If people ask you for money to support their yeshiva be assured they are not learning Torah. 99% of all places that call themselves yeshivas are scams.

Sex in the Five books of Moses is not symmetrical. A woman can be married to only one man. A man can be married to many women.  ניאוף  adultery is when a man has sex with a woman who is married to another man. That gets the death penalty. It is in two lists in Leviticus  that go though the עריות.
Sex outside of marriage is  not ניאוף-adultery. It comes under the category of פילגש concubinage.

עריות in Leviticus are generally close family relations. But adultery gets thrown in also in both lists.

There were a good number of people in the Old Testament that had concubines. One well known such person was the friend of Joshua the disciple of Moses. [כלב בן יפונה ] He was not considered a sinner because he has a few wives and few concubines. In the Five Books of Moses he is praised with a kind of praise that is not applied to anyone  else in the Torah, וימלא אחרי השם "He was filled with God."

I am not saying this is the best option. And we do have the Rambam who says a concubine is forbidden to anyone but a king. All I am saying is that there are plenty of opinions to depend on here that allow a girl friend.
Still if you can get married in the traditional way that is best. But for some people it is hard to find such a  situation.

The issue of the borders of Israel is difficult.
For one thing we have the Tosphot in Tractate Yevamot 16a.To Tosphot you have either full holiness or nothing. There is no "in between" state.

The first answer of Tosphot is OK as far as I can see but how can we explain the second answer?
The basic Gemara there says that Amon and Moav are obligated in the tithe for the poor. Later on that same page the Gemara explains the reason being: הרבה כרכים כיבשו עולי מצרים והניחום עולי בבל כדי שיסמכו עליהם עניים בשביעית. "Many cities were conquered by the Jews that came up from Egypt but were left by the Jews that came up from Babylonia in order that the poor will be able to depend on them in the seventh year."
 Tosphot asks from, "There are three lands concerning ביעור." One of those lands in עבר הירדן. So the land beyond the Jordan River is obligated in the seventh year laws.  The first answer of Tosphot seems OK. There was an area of Sichon and Og that was originally of Sichon and Og [lets call it Area I] and there was an area that these two kings had conquered from Amon and Moav. Area II. Tosphot suggests that Area I was settled by Jews returning from Babylonia, --not area II. The next answer of Tosphot is the one I can't understand right now. There Tosphot says the area that is obligated in tithes to the poor in the seventh year was not even part of the area settled by Jews coming out of Egypt. Or at least that is how I understand Tosphot. But if that is so then how does it fit with the Gemara?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more questions. For example the Rambam in the beginning of the laws of Truma seems to make no sense. In one Halacha he says everything on the right from Aco until Kaziv is outside of Israel. and then in the next halacha he seems to contradict this. And in the end of that chapter he says the whole area even of עולי בבל is obligated in tithes only by rabbinical decree. But this last question I might have a kind of half way decent answer for. Maybe--I am suggesting- the Jews returning from Babylonia sanctified the land but the sanctification does not set in until all the Jewish people return to Israel.


The so called leaders of Breslov are all dangerous con men. The only group I like is the Na Nach group that rightfully suspect any religious leader of nefarious motives. They may go a little too far in that direction but their approach lends a healthy balance to the playing field. I never met a religious teacher  who did not lie all the time and the Na Nach people are aware of that. They lie because they have contempt for everyone outside of their group. That makes them incapable of telling the truth ever.
[I mention this because recently I was looking at the Musar book אורחות צדיקים and that book warns not to flatter. I am afraid if I discuss the greatness of Torah but don't warn people about the con men then I would be guilty of flattery.

They lie mainly to fill in the gap between what they want to think about themselves and the reality and also to make their institutions seem to be about charity. But then they get so used to lying they do it out of habit. And eventually the habit gets to be malicious. They lie about people not part of their group that they don't like in order to hurt them.


Without any idea of obligation  at this point, let's just try to think of what a Maimonides kind of program of living Torah would be like. If we try to mix obligation with it at first, that might damage the clarity.
We might not want to do want the Rambam says, and that might cause us to not recognize or admit to ourselves that he is saying certain things.
We want to separate the variables.
The Rambam's idea of an education is the Oral and Written Law, Physics and Metaphysics. He is not describing Kabalah because he openly says he means Physics and Metaphysics as understood by the ancient Greeks. Physics and Metaphysics have both made some progress since Aristotle, so a Rambam kind of program would have to include modern Theoretical Physics and Kant' Critique of Pure Reason.

But you see right away what happens when we think about the Rambam. Immediately there is resistance to anything he says that one's social group does not approve of.  That is why I say it is easiest to think of what he actually said, and only later to think about how to accomplish it.

The advantage of this approach is if we can get a clear idea of what Torah is, then we might be able to keep it. But without a clear idea of what it is, it is hopeless to imagine we can fulfill it.

Also we need a certain degree of confidence that he understood the Torah fairly well. Faith in the wise.

This approach to Torah cancels out a lot of things that present themselves as Torah true concepts.
Because of the Rambam's clarity many issues become clear in this way.


I would like to suggest to make a Lithuanian yeshiva in every town.  The idea would be that you would have a regular normal Litvak yeshiva program for four years but it would be open house for people to come in and learn just like in the great Lithuanian yeshivas in NY.  The basic program would be an in depth session in the morning and a faster session in the afternoon. Plus it would have the regular Musar Jewish ethics books. That is it would be following the basic orientation of the Gra.

This would not be teaching people to use Torah for money. It is not a kollel. Nor would it be to get people to repent. It is rather to teach people to get to the level of proficiency that an average guy needs in order to be able to learn Torah on his own.  And that takes about four years about 10 hours a day.

And it is clear that Christian civilization can't survive without yeshivas. They lose track of what the law is.
The borders of Israel as defined in the Torah are further north than what most people are aware of. That is in Parshat Masei you have areas that are described by various names that some of which are ambiguous. Antioch however is known to be one of those names because of a "Targum" {Translation of Onklus} and a few open Gemaras. Those areas, however, were not conquered by the Jews that came of of Egypt. In the book of Joshua that land  is called ארץ הנשארת "the land left over." That is it was promised but the children of Israel at the time, but they did not have the where with all to be able to conquer it from the Canaanites. And what makes things worse is that when the Jews returned to Israel from Babylon, they left even more land unsettled. And only the second sanctification sanctified it. קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא לעתיד לבא, קדושה שנייה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא

See the Gemara in Yevamot 16a and the two mishnas in Sheviit שלש ארצות לביעור and one of those three lands is עבר הירדן. So beyond the Jordan river was conquered by the Jews coming out of Egypt but not by the Jews returning from the exile in Babylon.  And the other Mishna I don't remember but the way the Rambam brings it it comes out that from Akko and north up to a certain city is Israel on the left but not on the right and after that is all land conquered by the Jews coming of of Egypt but not by the Jews returning from Babylon. In any case the actual land promised in the Torah extends much further north that either of these two areas.

Most of the time I was in Israel this was not an issue, but the last time I was in the southern city of Netivot which clearly was under כיבוש עולי מצריים  but not כיבוש עולי בבל.  So what was its status? Well to Rashi and Tosphot probably nothing. With them you have either כיבוש עולי בבל or nothing at all. However it seems that to the Rambam something can be part of Israel even if it has not been sanctified.  That seems to be the only way to understand how he can say on one hand  קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא לעתיד לבא, קדושה שנייה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא and on the other hand say that areas conquered by the Jews coming out of Egypt is נאכל ואינו נעבד the fruits are eaten in the seventh year but the land is not worked and he says the fruits in this context means  ספיחים


Sometimes God is hidden from  me. But I know he is hidden. But sometimes the fact of His being hidden is also hidden. That is he is so hidden from me that I think he is not hidden at all and I imagine myself close to him. This is not just me but you find this with people that are convinced they are on the right path. They don't have a sense of ontological uncertainty. They think everything is permitted. They are convinced that God loves them,-- no matter what they do. That is: the fact of God being hidden from them is hidden from them.   ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא {See Deuteronomy in the Song of Moses in which Moses prophesies  that God says, "I will hide my hiding on that day."}

But even when God is hidden in הסתרה שבתוך הסתרה "hidden-ness that is hidden," it is still possible to reveal the presence of God when one  seeks Him. You seek God by Torah. Torah is the interface between God and his creation. This inserts an intermediate step that you don't have in Schopenhauer.
With Schopenhauer there is only the Will (the thing in itself, the dinge an sich) and the entire creation is the representation of that Will (i.e. conditioned reality).

Torah is the Representative of God and the creation being the representation of Torah. . For it is the open aspects of Torah that are represented in the world. But it is the hidden aspect of the Torah  that is contained in the hiding of the hiding.

The idea here is that God has an interface with the world.  Torah is that interface. That is the Written Torah and its explanation that was written down by the Tenaim and Amoraim. [That is like how you interact with your hard drive. You need some interface in order to do so.]

What I suggest then is a yeshiva in which the Oral and Written Torah are learned and practiced. But the Torah learned has to be authentic. Way too many pseudo yeshivas exist. I can count the real yeshivas in the entire world on five fingers. Three in NY: Mirrer, Chaim Berlin, Torah Vedaat. And two in Israel: Ponovitch and Brisk. Most so called "yeshivas" are actually evil cults.


It is on the Jewish calendar the yarzeit of the Ari. And in a kind of environment in which Talmud is learned all day long I think the Ari is important. But from my point of view the reason the Ari is important is more as  good explanation of Torah. The Ari helps me at least to deal with problems of interpretation.  Arguments from authority aside I should mention to that Yaakov Abuchaztira the ari was simply "rabbainu". That is if you find in the writings of Yaakov Abuchatzaira simply "our teacher" that always refers to the Ari.

But the problem is that we have a definition of "outside books"  as the Rif defines it. The Rif says those are books that "explain the Oral or Written Torah with new foundations or principles that are not already contained in those books." And most of the ideas in the Ari don't seem to have a source in the Talmud. I think the answer to this is that in fact in the agadic parts of the Talmud, you do find things that hint to the basic principles of the Ari.

At any rate, never learn Kabalah with Ashkenazim. They always get it wrong and it has serious consequences when they do.

The best approach is this: If you have a daily session in Gemara in depth [about a hour] and  one learning quickly [also an hour] then the Ari is a good idea to supplement to your daily routine.
Even though I have  a great deal of respect for Isaac Luria, and I was very inspired by his writings, still I think that it makes more sense to learn Talmud. This is a shift in my thinking. For  a few years back I used to think learning the writings of the Ari  was the most important kind of learning Torah one could do.
That thinking was based on various statements in the introduction of the Eitz Chaim itself and also the Ramchal's Pri Eitz Chaim. At some point I saw the statement of the Rambam that just  as one can't add or subtract from the written Law so with the Oral Law.  So I realized that although the Ari is an important interpretation of the Torah still it does not count as the Oral or Written Law.
That is just as the written law is fixed--the Old Testament, so the writings that constitute the Oral Law  that were complied during the period of the Tenaim and Amoraim constitute the Oral Law.


Baali Teshuva [Newly religious] in the USA are animated by Torah. The Torah literally gives them a kind of high--but more powerful than a drug high--because the Torah high has numinousity and meaning. It has ontological significance.
Baali Teshuva in Israel are animated by group identity, by animosity towards the State of Israel and by the particular Charismatic leader they happen to be following.

How this sad state came about I don't know. But there is a cure. That is to learn Torah in the straight Lithuanian way--and stop the nonsense. At least the police are looking for the con men that are the leaders of Breslov. But why it took the Israeli Police this long to start an investigation is beyond me.
The rule is anyone under the excommunication of the Gra is a con man.Take it or leave it. But that is a fact.

The basic idea of a  excommunication is subject to a debate between the Beit Yoseph and the Rashbatz. The Rashbatz considers it to be in the category of  איסר which has the law of neder (vow). That means it חל (-it applies) on the object and even in the case of a mitzah.
The Beit Yoseph thinks we should consider it to have the stringency of both a  neder vow and a שבוע
The Magid Mishna brings an open Gemara that it has the law of a neder.
I saw there has come out a book on Jews that were in Berlin during WWII. That is they were hidden  by Germans during the war. This I suppose must apply to the grandparents of my wife, Leah. They were definitely German Jews and were in Berlin during WWII. But how they managed to survive I never inquired about except just to ask once and never got any answer. It was like people that go through some kind of hard experience and afterwards cant talk about it.

My wife's mother herself had been on the kinder transport so she did not have any first hand information about how her parents had survived. 


Schopenhauer said the "thing in itself" is the Will. I would like to claim that two levels of dinge an sich. That is I want to preserve some of Schopenhauer insights. But I also want to have mundane objects to have this aspect also of ding an sich. So I want two or more levels of this as is clear anyway from Kelly Ross--as his objects of value [which have increasing levels of numinosity] as in fact levels of this ding on sich.
But furthermore, I want to Will to be the observer. In this way, I think we come to a unique understanding of Transcendental Idealism. If the Will is the observer, then this boils down to mundane objects being dependent on the existence (i.e. idealism) of the Will, but independent of his experience (transcendent). After he makes them, they don't depends on his watching them every second in order to exist as the Rambam already said in the Guide. They are not a part of His existence though they depend on his existence.


(1) I forgot to mention: the one kind of ding an sich is hidden from pure reason. That is to say there is human reason which is flawed because of our being prone to reason baldly. But there is human reason that is pure. But even that reason (which is called by Kant) pure reason has a limit. Then there is the reason of the Will which created reason in the first place. That Will will have to have a higher type of reason.

And so one kind of ding an sich is hidden from pure perception and another kind is hidden from pure reason. That is the Creator of pure reason is hidden from pure reason.

(2) I am not claiming to have any knowledge of Kant or Schopenhauer. I wish I would have to the time for that. Here I am only making two suggestions based on my merge understanding of some of their major points. At some point I tried to get into Kant but it takes a tremendous amount of time.

(3) The basic questions on what I wrote up above are these: the third man problem concerning reason. and the fact that observation and experience in the above context are the same.
The that means to say I am saying there is a difference between pure reason and the reason of the First Cause. [This is well known from the Rambam.] But then we would have to have a higher reason beyond that to make the reason of the First Cause into Reason. I tried to answer this question in the above essay by the idea that God created reason itself so we don't need to postulate anything beyond that.
The second question is that Transcendental Idealism postulates the existence of the object is independent of experience [beyond experience] but dependent on the existence of the observer. If we say First Cause is the observer it seems hard to say things are beyond his experience. But for monotheism I think we have to say that.

The truth be told the path of Torah is  highly individualistic.

On one hand learning Talmud has this quality of connecting one with the Will and First Cause if done with that intention. That is for it to really work it has to be done like baali teshuva do it--for itself or "Lishma." And there is such a thing as learning all day. I mean in  the view of Reform Jews making money is either or. Either you go to collage and learn an honest profession, or you will depend on charity. That is why most Reform parents are horrified when their children decide to go to yeshiva.
And to a large degree they are right. However in the Torah we do find a third way--a path in which one learns Torah all day and yet depends that God will send to him his living needs without depending on charity. This not just some  opinion of mine. It is a direct Mishna in Pirkei Avot.

But this seems to depend totally on one motivation for learning. In this case we are not looking at teh question if an action is right or wrong independent of intention. Here the rightness or wrongness depends on intention.
In any case I find it difficult or maybe impossible to recommend learning Torah all day. I  can see that this is justified for some people depending on the pureness of their motive. But what usually see is bad results. And I thin the bad results are because the motives are not pure. But who can tell such a  thing? I can't judge other's motives. But the results are open for all to see. One Torah becomes  means for making money then the results seems to be consistently bad.




closeness to a true tzadik. Leaders of Breslov are and have always been con men. Another example is talking alone with God--hitbodadut. In Breslov this is always a pubic affair with organized trips with fan fare and  a wide public appeal to give charity to make such trips possible. Learning Torah is another example. If Torah is learned at all, it is never Gemara, Rashi, and Tosphot. In terms of this aspect of Torah it would be more sensible to join an authentic yeshiva like the Mirrer Yeshiva or the other great yeshivas of New York.  

Music for the glory of God.


My value system is based on a Kelly Ross idea. .
That is to say my value system which works for me is balance between an array of good and great ideals.

That is it is not enough for me to be walking in what I think is the right path. I have to have some way of justifying it or at least defending it.
You could probably guess without my saying the basic values. To speak the truth at all cost, family values, loyalty to family and friends  and towards anyone who has done for me a good turn. To learn every day a little math, a little physics, a little Gemara. To avoid cults.

Getting interested in Breslov means to leave learning Talmud.

And I have seen over the years many people that get interested in Breslov, and the result is always to leave learning Talmud. Always.

In the letter Rav Nachman wrote to his followers in the city of Breslov which starts, "I have become disgusted with the yeshiva of  Breslov"["קצתי בישיבת ברסלב"],  it is clear that he  was giving up on his disciples, and thought that all his efforts with them went to waste.

The claim in Breslov is that they do have people that learn Talmud on some kind of high level. That is unfounded.  It is not true. But rather a kind of pretense that seems to be motivated by less than honorable motives. People that can learn Talmud have always learned how to do so in a Lithuanian yeshiva, or else they can't do it at all.

Side note:
Not all Litvak yeshivas are the same.  When I say "Litvak yeshiva" I refer to: (1) Ponovitch, (2) the Mir in NY (3) Chaim Berlin (4) Torah Vedaat (5) Shar Yashuv which starts at beginning level, but goes as high as the other great Litvak yeshivas (6) Merkaz HaRav of Rav Kook.[You can include upstart places of people that learned in any of these six great yeshivas.]


I wanted to take a minute to explain Quantum Mechanics and how it is local

First you have to start with what happens when you heat a piece of iron to extremely high temperatures. If you have seen this done you notice that at lower temperatures it gets red and at higher temperatures it gets blue. It does not depend on energy but on temperature. This can only work if there is a certain value that the iron can absorb or emit. The Plank Constant, "h". Einstein reinforced this idea with his explanation of the photo electric effect. Photons are quanta.  Then came the Bohr atom. At that point they had an idea of electrons going around in orbits.(Rutherford) But these orbits had to be equal or proportional to nh. (Bohr) Otherwise the atom would collapse. The integral of Pdx (Momentum times velocity) over one period of orbit is  is equal to nh . What Heisenberg was interested in was the fact that the spectrum of the hydrogen atom [Rydberg].
You have a "X sub n" for the position of the electron. You want to get a "X sub nm" to get what happens when it moves from one orbit to a higher or lower one.

 And it is local. The fact that an observer in the Andromeda galaxy with have corresponding measurement to your experiment here implies correlation, not causation.

And what you have here is that you only know something exists, you don't know universals like if it is a particle or a wave until you measure it. Until you measure it it is only a dinge an sich "a thing in itself."
In other words to get to matrix mechanics you need the piece of iron that turns red and then blue, then the Bohr atom and then the time of lines you get when you add energy to a hydrogen atom in a cathode tube. Three easy steps.
To learn this more in detail I think people should learn Matrix Mechanics. Most presentations of Quantum mechanics focus of Schrodinger and that makes going on to Quantum Field theory harder. And it gives people the wrong ideas. There is no traveling probability wave. There is simply two complementary variables. We don't understand this in our human understanding because the electron is a dinge an sich "a thing in itself." What we see and feel and observe tells us only about what we can measure, not what it actually is.


Torah has gotten a undeserved bad name. The reason is simply because a tremendous amount of bad stuff and bad people have gotten mixed up with it and it is all called by that generic name "Torah."

So people that recoil when they see or hear any thing that claims to be Torah are highly justified. As you can see, I don't have a single link that anything that is slightly related that that subject at all. And if I see anything at all on the Internet, I run to the Mikvah. If I want Real Torah, Authentic Torah, I know where to go. I open up a Gemara  and learn. Period. Full Stop. I don't take any substitutes. And From pseudo Torah I run in fear for my life. [The term "Gemara" here I use to refer to the basic writings of the Oral Law that were all written down by the Tenaim and Amoraim.] It far better to go surfing  than to listen to pseudo Torah or to pseudo Torah scholars.

Pseudo Torah scholars are easy to spot because they are not teaching Gemara. They can't teach it, because they don't understand it. They have to teach other things which are nonsense,  but which they call "Torah" and which they claim are harder or more difficult than Gemara which is utter nonsense, They are frauds, and they know it themselves, and fear the person like me that can tell the difference between the real thing and them. 
The wholesome, moral, decent USA did exist all over the USA. Except for perhaps a very few dysfunctional families, America was definitely Norman Rockwell country.

However with my family moving into Beverly Hills, the atmosphere changed slightly from when we had been in Orange County. Still from my travels over the USA and the testimony of many people I have talked with, it seems clear that the USA of the past was highly responsible and moral and decent. And everyone that experienced both has said the same thing--the USA of Today is not the same country. And that is a fact. [Even as compared to that Old America, my parents home was an amazing contrast in terms of the level of love and that was there. Still the general USA was an amazing place ]

But in those days everyone had a slight evil inclination to look into something a little bit unsavory. Everyone including me. Because unsavory things hold a strange fascination for human beings. The only question was how unsavory were you willing to go? And while holding on to the evil inclination people also tried to follow their good inclination to some degree. It was not considered a good thing to do evil. But it was fun. So people tried to limit the extent of their unsavory thing by injecting  a little good into it.

My suggestion is to ship out the socialists  and homosexuals. Maximize immigration from Europe and Ukraine and Russia  and Asia [Pakistan should be considered part of Asia in this context and immigration from there is OK as far as I can tell.] and stop it completely from 3rd world countries. Anyone from the Middle East send back. [I think immigration from Mexico is also good. From what I have seen of Mexicans, I am very impressed at their work ethic.]


My advice for Americans that are upset about the attack on Biblical values: to learn Torah.
Normally that means the Oral and Written law but in this case an introduction would be in order.
That is Musar (Jewish Ethics). There are classical books of Jewish ethics based on the Old Testament which give a good idea of the basic world view of Torah. There was an actual movement among the Jewish people to learn Musar that was based in Vilnius and its founder was Israel Salanter. It kind of went into hibernation but it might be a good idea to awaken this again.

Musar has the advantage that is is not trying to fit Torah into some alternative reality worldview but is a rigorous evaluation of the texts. It will not be trying to sell you on believing in anyone except for the First Cause. It will be encouraging to follow all the laws of the Torah. So even if there are people that may learn it and yet not be perfect it has the effect of encouraging people towards objective morality.

My recommendation is the Or Israel by a disciple of Israel Salanter and the Duties of the Heart [the first Musar book ever]. That was written in the Middle Ages and is the father of all Musar books.
As for a comprehensive view of Torah that draws together the various strands of thought in the oral and written Torah  And it might be a good idea for people to take  a look at his writings also. While some people  do go a little overboard with him but still his writings are invaluable for those that need a integrated view of Torah that makes sense.

There was a fellow in the coffee section that mentioned about some friend of his that is halfway between Judaism and Christianity. I really did not get the gist. But at some point in the discussion I mentioned that I had studied Christianity at least to some small degree. He asked about contradictions.

I said the major source of contradictions is in the four gospels. That is  about two issue that are of major importance in Christianity:1) Christology [what does one think about Jesus], 2) the other is mitzvot.

On the other hand I also said it is not good to downgrade someone else's religion. Everyone thinks their is the best.

He asked if I had been born to two parents one Jewish and one Christian, what faith would I choose? I said, "If I could choose any parents in the world, I would only choose my own.  I am very happy with the way the raised me--Jewish [Reform-- but with a traditional slant].".

I forgot the whole discussion but also he asked which is better Judaism or Christianity. I said, "I go by what Reason requires. Ah but my reason is faulty? So what. There is no better path."

 That was my first answer. He was not satisfied and then went to question two, and after that to question 1. So I am not writing this in order.

[My thoughts were that this is really a matter of group identity. Torah is my path and I think that this is good. I think when I see people fishing for arguments against other religions that that is not a positive thing.]

Later on the way home I thought to myself that there is an essential connection between path and human good or evil. We find paths that encourage people towards evil. And we also find paths that encourage people towards what simple common sense would be called good and just. So even there are bad people on all paths and good people on all paths still that does not mean the paths themselves are equal. So there are religions that it is worthwhile fighting against. Some are so bad that they deserve to be shunned. Some cause so much damage that you have an obligation to warn people against them.. But not all. Some are in a grey area with some good things and some not so good. Fighting them seems to be dumb. You are likely to end up causing people to throw out the good with the bad.


There is certain amount of critique that one hears from people who joined the insane religious world  and then were treated baldly and then left. It is hard to evaluate what this means. After all there are things that they are doing that seem related to Torah, at least on the surface. Also what makes this hard to judge is the unusual aspect that smaller groups of similar nature don't see to exist.   What I think cause the problem is the general treatment of people that join.
They are actively recruited under the idea that, "We are all one family." Then they are treated as garbage when they cease to be useful. It means that joining them is certainly a bad idea as many Jews have found out. But it also means making any kind of alliance with them seems like a bad idea.--If that is how they treat their friends, it does not seem to be worth much to be their friend. It even calls into question if they are in fact really keeping the Torah or not. And the answer seems to be negative.
And that leaves people like myself wondering then how best in fact to keep the Torah --if the the insane religious world  can't be used as a metric.

For that reason I try to keep Torah in the way my parents did which seems to me to be the meaning of the verse in the Ten Commandments, "Honor your Father and your Mother." Naphtali Troup brings from the Rambam that there is an actual obligation to obey your parents-- not just to honor them in some vague superficial manner. But you get the idea.  I try to keep things as simple as possible. If any question comes up, I look at the Torah. Most of the time the Torah is perfectly clear. But sometimes there is some issue that is ambiguous. If the Torah is clear, then full stop. If not, then I go to the Mishna. If that is not clear, then I go to the Talmud. If that is not clear then I go to the Rambam and the traditional books of Musar.
The evil custom of the the insane religious world  is to make a blank statement about Torah and Talmud  "Do you think you understand them better than___?" Fill in the blank.  They attempt to make every clear statement in Torah to be ambiguous, so that they can go to some charismatic lunatic to guide them.
This causes the effect that we have people that actually think they are keeping the Torah while doing the opposite and then criticizing others for not following them.
It is not that they keep Torah in some polarized extreme fashion. It is rather that they don't keep Torah at all, but think they do.

I asked Dr. Kelly Ross:
I wonder if  in the thought of Kant and Fries it is possible to draw a direct connection between the dinge an sich and non intuitive immediate knowledge.

His answer: Kant and Fries thought that Reason related directly to things-in-themselves, and non-intuitive immediate knowledge was knowledge from Reason for Fries.  So, yes.

I: The thing in itself is beyond empirical experience but knowledge of its existence seems to a kind of knowledge; while the immediate non intuitive kind of knowledge is more related to the synthetic a priori, first principles, and universals.

Dr. Kelly Ross : There are aspects of things-in-themselves that Kant already thought were only known through Reason.  Morality, in the first place.  Because of morality, he thought that God, freedom, and immortality were implied.  I only think that works well with freedom.  But the general principle is that unconditioned realities are possible among things-in-themselves but not among phenomena.  God, freedom, and immorality all involve unconditioned realities.

I: Is it possible that it is this non intuitive immediate knowledge that knows the dinge an sich?

Dr. Kelly Ross: The problem with our dealing with things-in-themselves, according to Kant, is that there cannot be a consistent theory of transcendent objects without generating antinomies.  I think that is still a good principle, and you can see the page on antinomies at

But there is more to the transcendent than metaphysical paradoxes.  Neither Kant nor Fries knew how to deal with the principles of actual religions, e.g. ritual requirements such as baptism or observing the Sabbath.  See "Nelson and Religion" at for the problems with the Kant-Friesian attitude.


(1) What I was getting at was that I think non intuitive immediate knowledge knows the existence of the dinge an sich, but reason knows universals. [I probably did not state this clearly enough in my question.]

(2) Also what I was trying to say was that even though the way Kant gets to the dinge an sich is different than how he treats the question of a priori synthetic knowledge, still they both seem connected.

(3) Are not unconditioned realities in the category of the thing in itself? And at least as far as Kant the dinge on sich is rather common place things. It is just we can get to what those things really are. But is it not so that we understand universals about those things? For example the laws of physics? What perhaps Kelly Ross is saying is that at a certain  common place things start to generate contradictions. For example Quantum Mechanics. The actual equations are exact and simple and local. [Correlation is not the same as causation.]
Here is Lubos's statement about this

Entanglement is nothing else than the quantum variation of the concept of correlation. It either represents any correlation between two subsystems that is properly described and understood in the language of quantum mechanics; or it refers to those correlations that make the subsystems behave differently than anything in classical physics.\

A man is stopped by the police around 1 am and he is asked where he is going at this time of the night. 

The man replies, "I am on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late." 

The police officer then asks, "Really? And who is giving that lecture at this time of night, and where will it be held?" 

The man replies, "That lecture would be given by my wife, and it would be held at home." 

I heard this lecture from my learning partner. He was  in New Mexico and part of the driver education course there involved seeing the difference between a person's brain who drank alcohol and one who did not. [These were from people who had donated their bodies to science.] The regular brain was  obviously healthy. It looked healthy and firm and clean. The brain of the person that drank alcohol when it was merely touched the slightest bit instantly fell apart into a bloody mess.

This relates to me because a  Tartar originally from the Crimea but now in Ukraine proper comes into my room about twice a week without asking and steals any money or wine that I have for Kidush [that is for one cup on Friday night]. This is not unusual. In the Ukraine, there are many  people that can't be happy unless they steal something. There are wonderful people in the Ukraine, but by and large there is this strange little thing that about 90% of the adult males have have that seem incurable.

Of course every group of people has at least one characteristic flaw. So just noticing this problem in Ukraine does not mean that anyone else is any better. Some people have much worse addictions than to alcohol and theft. For example Muslims seems to have usually bad days when they can't murder some Jew or Christian. Homosexuals in the USA seem to be very unhappy if they can't make others into sexual perverts. Everyone and every groups has their own special "evil inclination."

There is difference between deficit and debt.

Jon Gabriel Ricochet's chart

According to this information it is probably a good idea to elect a Republican president who at least does not have to goal to bankrupt the USA.

From Jon Ricochet

"The D.C. press corps was giddy last night, declaring that the fiscal crisis had ended. Senators praised "honorable friends" from "great states," congressmembers gave standing O's to their stalwart leaders, and the president saluted bipartisanship while ridiculing Republicans, bloggers, activists and pretty much anyone else who dared oppose him.

If the whole thing seemed a bit surreal, it's because the whole thing was a bit surreal. America's fiscal crisis is not that our debt ceiling isn't quite high enough — it's that we have too much debt.

It's as if I had $250K in credit card debt and I told my wife, "Great news, honey — our fiscal crisis is over! I just got a new Visa!" If she didn't hit me over the head with a rolling pin, she would most assuredly tell me where I should place it.

To help visualize how up the creek we find ourselves, I created the infographic above.

It's an imperfect analogy, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you're spending over your salary, and the red is your MasterCard statement. Before sharing this info with your spouse, I recommend you hide the rolling pin."

Sometimes the best remedy for a Torah controversy is simply a good old-fashioned, down to earth, nothing buttery, look-it-up-to-see-if-it’s-so, Torah study. No fancy footwork necessary. Just cut right to the chase, let the Torah speak for itself, then be loyal to it. That’s all. Of course, because of ambiguities in the text, not every challenging, contentious  dispute can be settled this easily.
That is why the Talmud exists--to clarify ambiguous issues.
Frequently, though, a careful, close, honest look at the Torah [Five Books of Moses] is all that’s required to resolve what might seem at first to be a difficult dispute.

 I take it to respond to one of the most severe challenges to Torah today. The question: What does God really think about homosexuality? Could it be that the Torah has simply gotten it all wrong? A dedicated group of homosexuals and “gay-friendly” Jews think so, and they are campaigning relentlessly to change your mind. They have certified scholars on their team, they’re tactically clever, and they’re aggressively training their own ambassadors to send out to reform the Torah. When—not “if,” but “when”—you encounter this teaching, you’ll need tried and true Torah answers.

If in doubt go to the Torah. If that is ambiguous, then go to the Oral Law. What is the Oral Law? According to many Christians, it is a conspiracy to undermine the Torah. So it can't help Christians. But for people that are not hostile to it, it can be helpful. It contains the way the Torah was understood traditionally. In other words, we, the Jews, had the Old Testament during the Second Temple period. The entire corpus of the Old Testament had been completed from the time of Moses until the end of the First Temple. But we also had a traditional understanding of how to keep the laws of the Torah. No one thought it is up to every individual to decide how to keep the Sabbath. For if there had been, then a person brought in front of the court to be tried for breaking the Sabbath could say that in his sincere opinion what he was doing was not breaking the Sabbath. That goes for all the laws of the Old Testament.

So simply put: there is a hierarchy in understanding the Old Testament of the Bible. The first step is the literal meaning. If that is clear, then full stop. If that is not clear then we go to the Mishna and Gemara (Talmud). If that is clear, then stop. If it is not clear then we go to the Rambam and other medieval people to gain understanding about the specific issue.
What is common for Christian to complain about is that often this order is reversed. For some reason people will use minor writers in order to confuse major issues. And that is a true critique.


q5  This piece was not developed as thoroughly as I would have liked as you can tell. But there is little I can do about it. It has to be formed naturally, and I can go back and change things even if I would like to. There have been times when I did the best I could and then a few years later I looked back at teh same piece and it occurred to me what was missing. This happened for example in b98.
I knew something was missing at the end but for several years I did not know what it was until I got to Uman and looked it over again. I hope God grants to me the same with this piece.

In praise of Talmud.

I have limited objective here. It is to point out the advantage of learning Talmud for its own sake and not to be paid for doing so. And I also want to point out a kind of time limit for it. That is I don't want learning Talmud to become away of making a living, because then it loses the effect.

The main effect of Talmud is that it carries with it the different promises that you find the sages said about learning Torah. [And it is the actual oral tradition first hand. As the Rambam says "Just like one must can not add or subtract from the Written Torah, so he can't add or subtract from the Oral Torah." But, of course, people add and subtract from the Written and Oral Law all the time. The point however of the Rambam is that none of that stuff counts as Torah.]

This I am sure all sounds very vague. So let me try to make myself clear.
First to defend my position in front of Christians I should say that I am not saying Talmud is Divine in the same sense that the Torah and prophets are Divine. Rather, I am saying that learning Talmud connects one to the same divine source as when one learns the Torah and prophets. And it has the advantage that it goes into detail how to keep the laws of the Torah and prophets with rigorous analysis, and it does not leave it to individual opinions which vary as the winds.

Second, I wanted to point out there are kinds of services that people promise, "If you do such and such, this will be the result." A good example is Yoga. In spite of extensive studies, no one has found any evidence that yoga does anything for anyone,- and yet it is a multi million dollar industry. People pay good money to do what there is no the slightest evidence that it does anything but waste your time.

But I have good reason to believe from what I have seen in others and in myself, that learning Talmud has enormous benefit --but only on condition it is not done  for pay. If one is paid for learning the learning turns to poison and corrupts the character. So this is a delicate matter.


Ideas in Bava Metzia  Here is a link to a small booklet of ideas.
Ideas in Shas  This is another link a small booklet on Shas.

Music link  q4

Now as far as Halacah [learning Law] is concerned I think that just learning Shulchan Aruch without knowing the sources in the Talmud is a bad thing thing. The power of delusion is always going about searching for a person to inhabit and when it finds  a person that is "שונה הלכות" it enters him or her. [The word here is שונה which does not means to learn in depth. It means to learn the basic meaning and to go on. And I have seen enough examples of this.

So my suggestion about learning Torah is to have a fast session for about an hour or more per day in which one goes through מקרא משנה גמרא קבלה. That is to start at the beginning of the Old Testament and put in a place marker and just say the words and read a whole page. Then when you turn the page put in the place marker [and then the next day come back to that same place where you left off and continue.] Then put aside the Old Testament and pick up the Mishna. And do the same. Read through one page and put in a place marker and then the next day pick up where you left off. Same with Talmud and the same with the writings of Isaac Luria  and the Remak (Moshe Kordovaro).

Then have a in depth session in Talmud with a  learning partner. If you can't find a partner then take one page and work on it daily with Tosphot and the Maharsha until it becomes clear

All together that is two hours of learning. If you can add to that I recommend Math and Physics based on an idea from Maimonides. The way to do Math and Physics is the same as above. Take one basic text and plow through saying word after word until you get to the end and then review.The reason for this you have to take on faith in the Rambam.




1) This is just a first glance at a subject about the borders of Israel and presenting a question on the Rambam.
2) It is generally understood that קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבא. The first sanctification sanctified the land only for its time and not for when Jews went into Exile. And קדושה שנייה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא. The second sanctification sanctified the Land for its time and for all the future.
 But there is an option that the first sanctification sanctified it permanently. We will see Rashi has to use that option to explain and mishna in Sheviit.
3) Sichon and Og were kings that attacked the Jews and lost the war and their lands. This area is beyond the Jordan River. It was settled by Jews coming out  of Egypt. According to the grandson of Rashi all or part of it was settled by Jews coming back from the first exile in Babylon.
But to Rashi none of it was settled by Jews returning from Babylon.

Tractate Yevamot  16a
To Rabbainu Tam the land conquered by the Jews coming out of Egypt does not determine the borders of Israel today.
To RT if an area was settled by עולי בבל then it has the holiness  of the Land of Israel and is חייב in ביעור in the seventh sabbatical year. In his first answer that land is the part of Sichon and Og that was the original land of Sichon. But land that Sichon conquered from Moav [in the Torah] was not settled by Jews coming back from Babylon. And so the parts of Sichon that were conquered by Sichon were not settled by those Jews and so in the sabbatical year have to bring the tithe given to the poor.

The second answer of RT leaves all the land of Sichon as one and considered it to have been settled by עולי בבל. So it is חייב in ביעור בשביעית. And Amon and Moav that are obligated in tithes to the poor are areas never owned by Sichon. At this point I don't have any idea what he would say about an area conquered by עולי מצרים. Off hand it makes sense to say he would go like the Rash Rabbainu Shimshon.

This second answer of Rabbainu Tam widens the borders of Israel considerably.

Rashi holds Sichon and Og is synonymous with Amon and Moav and are obligated in Truma and maasar by rabbinical decree. As for the Mishna in Sheviit one can say that is like the person that said קדושה ראשונה קידשה לעתיד לבא. [Rav Shach].

That leaves us with the Rambam. He holds עבר הירדן which is עולי מצרים is not holy, because it was conquered by Jews coming out of Egypt alone. Not Jews coming out of Bavel. And yet it is not worked in the sabatical year and it is חייב in ביעור.

American should not be worried about losing the battle to sick homosexuals that are trying to destroy America.
 God allows the wicked in win in court in order to protect the righteous.
People don't understand this because they cant see how losing an important battle could possibility be a good thing. First you cant see this except after many years have passed. Only then is it possible to see how winning an important battle would probably have had effects that only after a long time can you see would have been bad.

The law of limited returns

To a large degree I am still in high school mode. For myself I try to set up a daily schedule of the basic things I think are important. And I even recommend this idea often in my blogs. But I admit this idea is only for a very limited group. For a person to excel at something I admit they have to spend all their time at that one thing.

But for me this does not work very well. For myself I have found that the optimum is attained by dividing the day into small sections. An hour of learning Talmud, an hour of Physics or Math, an hour exercise,  etc.

To some degree this is based on Rav Shick with whom I was involved for a number of years. His idea of learning he based on an idea of the Talmud in Tracate Shabat 63a (say the words and go on) and also on this idea of what he called שיעורין כסדרן [sessions in order]. In modern Hebrew that would have to be called קביעויות sessions in order. [Because today the word  "שיעור" means "class" as in giving a class].
At any rate, this idea originated with the Ari who said to learn every day a session in the Bible, a session in Mishna, a session in Gemara, and a session in Kabalah.

Spreading my learning I have found is better for me. But I can see that there are people that it would benefit to concentrate on one thing alone and by that to excel in it. But for me that never works. I tried it with the violin and I discovered "the law of limited returns." That is for me there is a low threshold of  effort that crossing that threshold does nothing. The  "law of limited returns," can be stated simply like this: There is certain number of times that kissing you wife will not add to marital bliss.
As for the violin practicing more that a certain amount hurt my playing--and my ears. As for Gemara learning I spent about 10 hours a day learning Gemara in NY two great Lithuanian yeshivas in NY.

But in that also there seems to have been a point that I reaching where more learning resulted in less.

The law of limited  returns strikes back.


j48   n102

If you want to be in Israel it seems to me that it is best to be in Israel that was settled by the Jews that returned from Babylonian captivity. That is a smaller area than the area that was conquered by the Jews that came out of Egypt.
And I also think that someone ought to make these borders clear.

There are still a lot of issues to figure out here. For example the Talmud in Megilah brings the statement of  Rav Isaac that one can sacrifice in Beit Chonio nowadays. And it relates that to the fact that קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבא. The first sanctification sanctified it for it time and not for the future. The second sanctification sanctified it for its time and the future.
And then the Gemara relates this to the argument between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua about the curtains. How that is parallel I don't know.
In any case, we have that that areas like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Safed, Ber Sheva are all Israel proper.
Areas like Netivot were definitely not settled by the Jews coming back from Babylon. But from what I can see in the Rambam they are still Israel, but just are lacking some ingredient. That is because in the seventh year they are not worked but one can eat what grows wild--. The Rash (Rabainu Shimshon) holds those areas are holy only from rabbinical decree.

You can see why people coming back to Israel from Europe would have made a point in settling in areas like Bnei Brak, or Jerusalem in order to avoid this problem.

In any case for people that want to learn Torah --I think only Israelis can really excel in Torah in Israel. They can go to great Litvak Yeshivas like Ponovitch or Beer Yaakov or Tifrach. American places in Israel seem to me to be exceptionally weak in Torah.  Americans I think would be best advised to go to NY and learn in the great Litvak yeshivas there until they know how to learn, and then go to Israel.
Americans  yeshivas in Israel typically can't learn and that includes the teachers. I don't know why this but it is the case. That means even the Mir where people can't learn and think that they can because of their address. Brisk I am not sure about because they only take in the best of all students in the world but how much they actually learn in Brisk I am not sure. So what you have in Israel is basically Ponovitch and its many branches and offshoots that do learn on a very high level. But those places are not for Americans unless there are people there that I have not heard of.
 Why are American teachers in Israel no good? Because their knowledge of Talmud is on the level of Barnes and Nobles. Let's say a person is on the operating table for open heart surgery. Just because they sedate him he asks the surgeon how good are his chances to make it. The surgeon tell him he has nothing to worry about because he was just at Barnes and Nobles yesterday and read a book called Open Heart Surgery for Dummies. That is the level of knowledge of American teachers in Israel.
Attempts to make American yeshivas of the caliber of the NY ones has been an abysmal failure.