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25.1.16

Musar [Ethics] of Torah does not deal with philosophical issues. And that I think is a flaw.
But if one would want to understand the philosophy of Torah there would be a problem. That is the major works about the world view of Torah are great works but don't deal with issues that are in most people's mind all that relevant. And my own education in these areas is zero.

I read a drop of the Guide. And I read a few times the first chapter of the Duties of the Heart which is neo Platonic. I did a good deal of work on the Ari and the Nahar Shalom of Shalom Sharabi but those later sources are dealing more with the mystic aspects of Torah more than the world view aspects.

If I could I would plow through the philosophical works of Torah, Saadia Gaon's Emunot VeDeot, the Guide, Joseph Albo, Crescas, Abravenel. Ibn Gavirol.
The point of this is simple.One does not need to be knowledgeable nor smart at all to be a decent human being. But one's actions invariably follow ones "deot" opinions. And with crooked opinions ones actions will be crooked. Without getting the right opinions about Torah from people that understood Torah fairly well like the Rambam and Saadia Gaon one invariably gets his or her opinions from people that do not understand Torah very well.  And thus one's actions will not reflect the Torah but rather the cruddy opinions of charlatans.

There is a lot of stuff going on in mediaeval Jewish philosophy but it takes effort to get to it.
The surface level is, well,..mediaeval. But under that level there are important insights



To sum up. Musar along with השקפה is important. In yeshiva what is needed is  a separate session for learning the philosophical approach of Torah. Without this people absorb their world views from the street but think well of themselves as being kosher because they do rituals. The rituals however have no effect if the inner center of their minds is filled with nonsense.


Some people others were not happy with the philosophical works of Torah. The result is that when people learn the world view of Saadia Gaon or the Rambam they think it is heresy. This can only mean one thing. That without the books of the Rishonim on the world view of Torah people fall into such mistakes that when they hear the truth they reject it.