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29.2.16

The Faith of the Torah is Monotheism. That is that God is One and has no substance or form. And He made the world from nothing. This is not the same as pantheism. God and the world are not one. The world is not made out of any Divine substance. It is made something from nothing. Ex Nihilo.






The actual verse of the Torah reads in full אתה הראתה לדעת כי השם הוא האלהים אין עוד מלבדו which says "There are no other gods besides God."
If you read the last three words out of context you come out with a false interpretation of the verse.


There is no implication here about pantheism.
 Pantheism mainly comes from the Upanishads. Spinoza also. And as I wrote else where if this point had been proved, I would not make  a big deal about it. But the Upanishads just state it, and Spinoza does not prove it. Spinoza can only get to it by making a premise that is highly doubtful in itself.
This is unlike the way things are done in, for example, Mathematics. In Math, you start with premises which are almost so trivial that there does not seem any reason to state them. For example: the shortest distance between two points is straight line. You don't start out with premises that are highly doubtful, and then go on to prove even more doubtful conclusions.

Besides this, no one held from pantheism. Not Saadia Gaon, the Rambam, Ibn Gavirol, Crescas, Joseph Albo, the Ari, the Ramban (emphasis on last syllable). Abravenal [Not Abarbenal].  Certainly not the Torah Oral or Written.




The idea of Israel Salanter --to learn Musar [ethics] seems to me to be a good idea from the point of view of keeping Torah properly. If fact, I would have to agree that in order to understand how to keep Torah, Musar plus the basic works of Jewish Philosophy from the Middle Ages is enough. I mean in theory to understand what the Torah requires of us does not really require much more than to know what the Torah consider to be good character, and good world view, and to be able to identify and stay away from people with bad character and bad world views.

[Just for background for the public when I say Jewish Philosophy I mean you start with Saadia Gaon and go up until Crescas, Albo  and Abravenal, (not Abarbenal) אברבנל comes from the Spanish and is pronounced Abravenal.]

The thing about Musar which is a bit hard to figure out is the Kabalah connection. I do not mean specifically the Ramchal [Moshe Chaim Lutzatto.] I mean rather that all Musar after the Ari borrows heavily and depends on Kabalah and especially the Zohar. And that tends to lead people off into all kinds of crazy directions. Yet it is standard fare in almost all Musar.--For Example, Sefer HaCharaidim, Reishit Chachma, the Shelah. If fact name me one book of Musar after that that does not depend on Kabalah? Only the books of the disciples of Israel Salanter himself.


Not that there is anything wrong with this Kabalah connection in itself. The Ari after all is good to learn when one is ready for it. But as a rule who learns Kabalah and is improved? No one that I have heard of except  Bava Sali and people that were anyway into "Avodat Hashem" in a way that the Kabalah just added a bit to the intensity.

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Kabalah of the Ari I see as simply a continuation of the Neo Platonic approach of all Jewish Philosophy from Saadia Geon until Crescas and Abravenal. Not only that but I see him as building a bridge between the Neo Platic approach of  Jewish Philosophy and the Aristotelian Philosophy of the Rambam. This seems very good. What I object to are the cults that came afterwards. The Gra did well to excommunicate them.     Not because of false opinions or character. Though both are evident. Lying and fraud are like bread and water to them. Rather the Sitra Achra is their essence. But not just any Sitra Achra but a very specific kelipa.

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When I say the Ari was building a bridge I really mean the Reshash [that is Shalom Sharabi] the author of Nahar Shalom. Without his approach to the Ari, it is very hard to see any connection with Aristotle. The Ari at first glance seems totally Neo Platonic. It is only when you learn the Ari in connection with Shalom Sharabi that you can start to see how this approach incorporate Aristotle and the Rambam's Aristotelian philosophy along with it. If fact you see this clearly in the order of the worlds that the Reshash sets up after the revival of the dead. Right there he is switching from Plato's ideas to Aristotle's forms














28.2.16

You can't use science to prove the existence of God. The only two ways that I am aware of is the one I put on the top on my blog:  
 Everything has a cause. So unless there is a first cause, then you would have an infinite regress. And then nothing could exist. Therefore there must be a first cause. 



The other way is by a proof called the Ontological proof. That is God has all possible perfections by definition. If he would lack existence he would lack one perfection. Therefore He exists. This was put into rigorous logical form by Godel.  I saw this once in Hebrew University and later someone put it on the internet.  This seems to be good but I prefer the basic idea of the First Cause. 


The basic question on the ontological proof was stated by Kant that existence is not a predicate. But we know that "is" is in fact a predicate. But what Kant means to ask is really that logic can not penetrate into unconditioned realities. He is asking a question based on his entire way of thinking--not just a minor observation. And we know that people after Kant have tried to bridge this gap. 

However I think this goes too far into theology. I do not want to assume characteristics of God. Nor did the Rambam. It was enough for him to borrow from Aristotle's First mover to get to the First Cause and that is enough for me. In fact, I would prefer not to assume any characteristics about God at all. I go in this way like the Book of Job. In that book the friends of Job said God is just and we can not understand his ways. The normal Shabat Table Judaism standard fare. But at the end  of that book God comes along and says the friends of Job were wrong. This same point was driven home by Schopenhauer who basing himself on Kant thought that God is the ding an sich--wild, delighting in being unpredictable, with no interest in being considered good. The Will. And the world is just an expression of the Will. 


The concept of חרם (or excommunication) is not well understood. People tend to this of it as an option whether to pay attention to it or not. But in fact it is a legitimate halachic category. It has a regular classification of an איסר נדר. That is if you say about a sheep or goat "הרי זה קרבן"["This is dedicated as a sacrifice in the Temple"] it gets a classification of being sanctified for the Temple in Jerusalem and one is not allowed to use it for any mundane purpose. It becomes a חפצא של אסיר an object that is forbidden to use. The idea of a חרם gets its validity from this same idea. You can see this in the laws of oaths in the Rambam. In the commentaries on the Rambam there is a debate whether a נידוי or חרם come from the category of איסר נדר or איסר שבועה. But there is no doubt that one that transgresses it is considered as if he transgressed a נדר או שבועה and that is a לאו דאורייתא (prohibition from the Torah itself).


When the Gra made a חרם he was not inventing a halachic category but using one that already existed. The reason he wrote elsewhere. The Gra held the teachings of hasidim are from the Sitra Achra and that its energies are fallen energies--miracles given to them like the miracles done by the Golden Calf. Miracles and powers of the Dark Side.


So why is it ignored. The institutions that would normally be following the Gra were infiltrated and taken over. That is Lithuanian yeshivas. [And this also explains what many people wonder about --why are Lithuanian yeshivas  corrupt? Well now you know.]

The answer to all of this is simple. To start paying attention to what the Gra said. It could not be more simple.

The only way now is to be for or against. There is no middle road. I though before I could find one but I see now that was a failing strategy.

27.2.16

r5  r4  q13 b101  j1  j2 

Sitra Achra A.K.A. The Dark Side

Some people and some groups are possibly wrapped up with the Dark Side.
There is not good reason to eliminate this possibility, while some problems might be in fact from world views gone astray or mental illness. It has been the tendency of the West to minimize or eliminate entirely the effects of the Dark Side in peoples'  lives and to deny its existence. 

The Gra would not have put that group into excommunication if he if not think that the Sitra Achra had not become mixed up with it in some kind of hidden way.


This is an important topic and I would like to at least explain my own approach. 
Mainly it goes like this: morality and holiness are tightly bonded. It is as simple as that.
Morality here means common sense morality. When you see a person that does not have that or a group, then they are part of the Sitra Achra.  

Common sense morality is what you would think based on the Ten Commandments. Do not steal or lie etc. Once a group is involved in some kind of fraud I assume there is more wrong with it than moral wrong.I also assume there is metaphysical evil inside of it.

26.2.16

There is no escape from a cult as a full person. After some time of being involved with it the brain becomes hardwired into that mode of thinking. Trying to escape simply means pulling out all the wires.

Especially if the leader was charismatic. Then one's whole personality becomes absorbed into that framework.
[What happens if you pull all the hardware out of your computer? It does not work anymore. Same here. This is why people hang on to false beliefs even after they know the beliefs are wrong.]

I do not mean to sound negative. After all one can change. But along with change in mental framework comes change in one's life situation.

People leave sometimes from  a cult and go into worse things.

My approach is to look at what I think was a proper framework while I was there [Yeshivat Mir in  NY.] and even though I can't be there right now, to at least try to be learning Torah and keeping Torah as much as possible in the most straight no nonsense fashion possible.

What is the way of Torah? To be honorable, truthful, trustworthy, capable, strong. It is to be the type of man you would want to be with you in a survival situation.  Not what cults are made from.Cults are about making people think they have all these virtues by means of serving their leader and the cult. Service to the leader is what makes a man a man in a cult. It is the opposite of Torah.

To escape from cults the best thing is to learn Jewish Philosophy of the Middle Ages. Philosophy has a drawback of not being able to postulate positive values but it does save from negative values.

To learn Jewish Philosophy from the Middle Ages however requires a bit of background. That is the Pre Socratics Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus. But there is also a need to supplement them with Post Middle Ages. And this part is hard. The idea of learning philosophy after the Middle Ages is on one hand dangerous because philosophy went off into post modern and other crazy directions. I had to do a lot of work to sift through it all and find the strands of  sense.
Briefly, after the Middle Ages philosophy got divided between England (the Empiricists) and Europe the Rationalists.  Kant came along and made a compromise. But his solution was unsatisfactory so the German idealist came along to continue the work of Kant. It is this strand of thought that is important as a supplement to Jewsih philosophy of the Middle Ages,

[Jewish though after the Middle Ages got off track into cults.]






Book on Bava Metzia   Book on Talmud




One idea I think to add is in Bava Kama on page 3a. The gemara at the beginning requires two extra verses to add quadrants 3 and 4 [אזלא ממילא ולא נאכלו השרשים] and the 3rd part of the Gemara which brings both tooth and foot from one verse does not require and extra verse to add the last quadrant. The מהדורא בתרא Of the Mahrasha says the reason for the last part of the Gemara is שקולים הם. Why question is why not say the same thing for the first part of the Gemara? Why is the first approach of the Gemara we don't say the same? In the first part of the Gemara we do not learn both foot and tooth from one verse --But we do compare them and say there is a היקש between them.

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The force of this question to me seems great. No matter how you roll the dice, you end up with the fact that the last part of the Gemara does not need four verses and the first part does need four. And between tooth and foot in the end of the Gemara we have to say שקולים and in the first part we say there is a היקש So no matter what you say for the end of the gemara you have to say for the beginning and if you say that for the beginning then you only need three verses.



(1) The force of this question to me seems great. No matter how you look at it, you end up with the fact that the last part of the גמרא does not need four פסוקים and the first part does need four. And between שן and רגל in the end of the גמרא we have to say שקולים and in the first part we say there is a היקש. So no matter what you say for the end of the גמרא you have to say for the beginning and if you say that for the beginning then you only need three פסוקים.








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בבא קמא ג' ע''א The גמרא at the beginning requires two extra verses to add quadrant שלישי  and רביעי אזלא ממילא ולא נאכלו השרשים and the third part of the גמרא which brings both שן and רגל from one verse does not require and extra verse to add the last quadrant. The מהדורא בתרא Of the מהרש''א says the reason for the last part of the גמרא is שקולים הם. My question is why not say the same thing for the first part of the גמרא? Why in the first approach of the גמרא we don't say the same? In the first part of the גמרא we do not learn both רגל and שן from one verse. But we do compare them and say there is a היקש between them

בבא קמא ג' ע''א הגמרא בתחילה דורשת שני פסוקים נוספים להוסיף רביע שלישי ורביעי (אזלא ממילא ולא נאכל השרשים) ואת החלק השלישי של הגמרא מביאה  שן ורגל מפסוק אחד ואינה מחייבת פסוק נוסף כדי להוסיף את רביע האחרון. המהדורא בתרא של מהרש''א אומר כי הסיבה של חלק האחרון של הגמרא היא ששקולים הם. השאלה שלי היא למה לא אומרים את אותו הדבר עבור החלק הראשון של הגמרא? למה בגישה הראשונה של גמרא אנחנו לא אומרים את אותו הדבר?הגם שבחלקו הראשון של גמרא אינם לומדים שניהם רגל ושן מפסוק אחד. אבל אנחנו עושים השוואה ביניהם ואומרים שקיים היקש ביניהם.








The din Torah (court case) that Reb Nachman had with the Satan was that Reb Nachman would be able to present his advice to the world so people would have the benefit of his ideas-but that his inyan [his "thing"] would be surrounded by a kelipa [evil force] such that who so ever would come into it would be affected by a kelipa of insanity and ugly behavior.

My conclusion is that there really is no reason to be in Uman. It is not just the kelipa of insanity around the ziun itself. It is that it does not seem like the biggest deal in the first place. It does have the effect of getting people away from Gemara  and it does not seem worth it. It does not seem like one gets that much benefit from the whole thing or as much as one loses by dropping out of the yeshiva world. It might save from worse kelipot but besides that I don't know.


 It is not that Reb Nachman did not have some good ideas. Rather there is just too much cult  activity involved. And it seems to me that it entices people away from the straight Lithuanian yeshiva path . And from what I have seen over the years this is universal. No one ever becomes a better person from involvement with it. If anything I think it takes people from otherwise decent things they are doing and tends to degrade them. The ideas themselves of Reb Nachman I tend to think highly of but then people hear about them and get involved with Breslov and that changes them. I have tried to mention some of these issues to people but my impression is it is beyond redemption. 

24.2.16

Ideas in Bava Metzia updated  I wanted to add an answer there on a question on Shmuel that I had asked in my original booklet.

Ideas in Shas


My basic idea about learning Torah is that it is best done at home alone. Get yourself a Gemara and don't depend on there being a Beit Midrash. The problem with depending on some close by synagogue or such for learning is dealing with the kelipot [evil forces]. Unless you are in the area of an authentic Lithuanian yeshiva, the other options are mainly bad-cults or worse. Why bother? 

Torah is Monotheism

I do not seem to be able to get people on board with my idea of Torah being Monotheism. Most people have never heard of it. And the religious world is hopelessly pantheistic. I have no idea from where the problem stems from. Clearly the Gra tried his hand at getting Torah Judaism back in track but failed miserably. His excommunication was and is ignored even by his closest disciples.

No one wants to believe that the Gra knew what he was doing.


The only Institution that I know of that takes the Gra seriously is the yeshiva Aderet Eliyahu in the Old City of Jerusalem. But that place is more concerned with the general path of the Gra more that the issue of the basic world view of Torah.

Worship of tzadikim seems to have gone unnoticed as being a kind of idolatry. And Idolatry is supposed to be forbidden --or thus I thought.

There were people in the past that thought I had the ability to awaken others towards the authentic Torah. But it seems to me today that I missed the boat somehow.
The cults just grow and grow and the truth is just stomped on more and more.

The idea that Torah is Monotheism is basically expressed by Saadia Gaon and the Rambam and all the rishonim that wrote about the basic world view of Torah. Surprisingly enough the Ari agrees with this. The Ari does not attempt to change the world view of Torah in the slightest. But today these facts are ignored and distorted.
Without Torah one can not say that wrong is wrong. And without philosophy one can't say that a cult is  a cult. But the opposite is not true. With philosophy alone one can justify any wrong. With Torah one can justify any cult. Any set of delusions can be justified.
Thus I see the philosophers of the Middle Ages as providing an important function. The combining of Torah with philosophy allows one to say wrong is wrong and also to identify  cults that are disguised as legitimate Torah institutions.

So what I am suggesting is to learn Saadia Gaon, Ibn Gavirol, the Guide for the Perplexed of the Rambam, Abravenal (Isaac and Yehuda), Crescas and Joseph Albo with the same rigor and depth as one would do on Gemara Rshi and Tosphot. 



Virtue and knowledge are identical and thus in theory possible to teach. I would like to suggest a  three pronged approach. Musar, Hashkafa world view, outdoor survival skills.

The first idea in that of Israel Salanter. It deals mainly with study of the type of character traits the Torah requires of us. There is a promise of Isaac Blasser that by this study one is cured of physical and spiritual sickness.
The second deals with the study of what kind of world view the Torah has. That started mainly from Saadia Gaon, Ibn Gavirol and included the Guide for the Perplexed of the Rambam, and goes up until Joseph Albo, and Cresas. these were the major rigorous thinkers along these lines. The idea here is that the Torah is not an empty vessel that one can put any ideas into it that he wants. It has a specific world view. Agree with it or not, one has to know it. The problems that began with people putting their delusions into the Torah and dressing them up in verses has continued until this day and shows no sign of abating.
The third is outdoor skills. I am thinking of what the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts used to be doing. That is the idea of instilling good values by means of action, not just words. honor, loyalty, team work, hard work, cleanliness trustworthiness. etc


Lithuanian path

Can you teach virtue? This seems to be the basic idea of what we call "learning Torah." This is something that is dealt with in a Platonic dialogue. On one hand it seems it can't be taught. On the other hand Socrates thought virtue and knowledge are one. And so it can be taught. An at least we can see religions that teach evil and we can see that people in them in fact learn evil.

But this is a delicate question. On one hand you know what you will be learning if you go into electrical engineering or if you go to become a blacksmith or car repair man. This was the whole point of Socrates. Learning and teaching virtue is not the same thing. He concluded that he knew of no one that knew what virtue is or who could teach it. I am in a similar situation. The closest thing that I saw was the basic path of my parents. "Menschlichkeit" .
That is to the idea of striving to be  a whole and moral decent human. That is the Ten Commandments.

 A close approximation to this is the Litvak [Lithuanian] yeshiva path.

But the Lithuanian path has a kind of problem that I can't exactly put my finger on. But the problems seem to be the copycats that try to pretend they are real yeshivas but are certainly not learning the Holy Torah but bags of delusions.

The problem is simple. Cults. "Learning Torah" is just a code word for cults that are trying to get your children..

Virtue seems to be what you learn when you learn a vocation. But institutions that are supposed to be dealing with mental and spiritual health seem to be traps for the innocent. Psychiatrists's expertise seems to be in making people mentally ill, and religious organizations seem to excel in making sick, religious fanatics.

23.2.16

The Mishna in Bava Metzia 100a Tosphot "demain eved"



The Mishna in Bava Metzia 100a says when you have a seller and a buyer of a slave and they are both sure of their pleas then the seller takes an oath that he sold the smaller slave. When both are unsure then they divide. The Gemara asks but we don't take an oath on slaves? Rav answered the money of  a slave. Shmuel said a slave in his garment. Tosphot asks on the opinion of Rav how can they divide? It is not דררא דממונא! In my notes on this {Ideas in Bava Metzia chs 8 and 9} I mentioned that this question of Tosphot does not like the Gemara in the beginning of Bava Metzia. Rather Tosphot is going like the Gemara in Bava Batra. I mean to say that Tosphot here is saying that Sumchus would not say to divide unless it is a case of דררא דממונא. This is like the Gemara in Bava Batra. But in the beginning of Bava Metzia the Gemara concludes that if Sumchus said his din in a case of דררא דממונא then all the more so would he say so in a case that is not דררא דממונא

This question had been bothering me for years. So I was very happy when I realized what Tosphot was doing.  

So fine Tosphot then finds a way to show the case of Rav is one of דררא דממונא. There were witnesses that heard the agreement and saw money exchanged but did not see how much money was exchanged.

But then we get to Shmuel. I asked where is the דררא דממונא in the case of Shmuel. No money was exchanged. For that is the whole point of Shmuel.

What I wanted to say today was simply that Shmuel is going like the Gemara in the beginning of Bava Metzia in which holds the opinion that Sumchus said his din in both cases--whether there is דררא דממונא or not.  That is to say that Rav and Shmuel are disagreeing about the opinion of Sumchus. And this disagreement is reflected in these two opposing Gemaras, one in Bava Metzia and the other in Bava Batra.

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The משנה in בבא מציעא דף ק' ע''אsays when you have a seller and a buyer of a slave and they are both sure of their pleas then the seller takes an oath that he sold the smaller slave. When both are unsure then they divide. The גמרא asks but we don't take an oath on slaves? רב answered the money of  a slave. שמואל said a slave in his garment. תוספות asks on the opinion of רב how can they divide? It is not דררא דממונא! In my notes on this I mentioned that this question of תוספות is not like the גמרא in the beginning of בבא מציעא. Rather תוספות is going like the גמרא in בבא בתרא. I mean to say that תוספות here is saying that סומכוס would not say to divide unless it is a case of דררא דממונא. This is like the גמרא in בבא בתרא. But in the beginning of בבא מציעא the גמרא concludes that if סומכוס said his דין in a case of דררא דממונא then all the more so would he say so in a case that is not דררא דממונא

This question had been bothering me for years. So I was very happy when I realized what תוספות was doing.  

So fine תוספות then finds a way to show the case of רב is one of דררא דממונא. There were witnesses that heard the agreement and saw money exchanged but did not see how much money was exchanged.

But then we get to שמואל. I asked where is the דררא דממונא in the case of שמואל. No money was exchanged. For that is the whole point of שמואל.

What I wanted to say today was simply that שמואל is going like the גמרא in the beginning of בבא מציעא in which holds the opinion that סומכוס said his din in both cases--whether there is דררא דממונא or not.  That is to say that רב and שמואל are disagreeing about the opinion of סומכוס. And this disagreement is reflected in these two opposing גמרות, one in בבא מציעא and the other in בבא בתרא.


) ב''מ ק: יש לשאול: שמואל צריך לעבור דרך כל ארבע בבות האלה של המשנה, היינו (1) ברי וברי, (2) שמא וברי, (3) ברי ושמא, (4) שמא ושמא. אז מה הוא עושה עם שמא ושמא? כסף לא נתחלף. רק שני גברים נכנסים לבית דין עם ספק על בגד עם חלק נוסף,- אם החלק הנוסף גם היה מוכל במחירה. איפה הדררא דממונא (כמו שתוספות ניסו למצוא תירוץ לרב)? תשאיר את החלק איפה שהוא. למה חולקים?

המשנה בבבא מציעא דף ק' ע''א אומרת כשיש  מוכר וקונה של עבד והם שניהם בטוחים על הטיעונים שלהם אז המוכר לוקח שבועה כי הוא מכר את העבד הקטן. כאשר הם לא בטוחים אז הם מחלקים את כסף שיש ספק בו. הגמרא שואלת אבל אנחנו לא נשבעים על עבדים? רב ענה דנים על שיווי הכספי של עבד. שמואל אמר עבד בבגדו. תוספות שואלים על חוות דעת של רב איך הם יכולים לחלק? זה לא דררא דממונא! שאלה זו של תוספות לא כמו הגמרא בתחילת בבא מציעא. במקום זה תוספות הולכים כמו הגמרא בבא בתרא בחזקת הבתים. אני מתכוון לומר כי תוספות כאן אומרים כי סומכוס לא הייה אומר לחלק אלא אם כן הוא מקרה של דררא דממונא. זה כמו הגמרא בבא בתרא. אבל בתחילה של בבא מציעא ב: הגמרא מסכמת שאם סומכוס אמר הדין שלו במקרה של דררא דממונא, אז על אחת כמה וכמה היה אומר את דינו כאשר המצב אינו דררא דממונא.   ואז תוספות מוצאים דרך להראות שהמקרה של  רב  הוא כן דררא דממונא. היינו שהיו עדים ששמעו את ההסכם וראו כסף הוחלף, אבל לא ראו כמה כסף הוחלף. אבל אז מגיעים לשמואל. שאלתי איפה הוא דררא דממונא במקרה של שמואל. אין כסף שהוחלף.  זה כל העניין של שמואל. מה שאני רוצה לומר  פשוט כי שמואל הוא הולך כמו הגמרא בתחילה בבא מציעא  המחזיקה בדעה שסומכוס אמר את הדין שלו בשני מקרים - אם יש דררא דממונא או שלא. כלומר רב  שמואל הם חולקים על דעתו של סומכוס. חילוקי דעות אלה משתקפים בשתי גמרות אלה המנוגדות, אחת בבבא מציעא והשניה בבבא בתרא

_________________________________________________________________________________

There are still problems. Problem 1: In my notes I mention that the gemara here is depending on the gemara on page 97. This brings to mind the fact that even the gemara there is problematic. The Gemara there suggests perhaps the reason for the mishna is because certainty and doubt certainty is better.  But the amazing question is that certainty and doubt certainty wins the case with no oath and the mishna says on 97 and also page 100 certainty wins with an oath! That is not the same thing!
Another stark problem is Tosphot Demai Eved. Tosphot asks "but it is not Drara DeManona?" The fact is that Tosphot is asking on Rav. That seems to mean that on the Mishna itself Tosphot would not have asked their question. That means Tosphot in OK if the question had been a large slave or a small slave.That apparently Tosphot would have accepted that it is Drara DeMamona. Only because Rav said the price of the slave is the question did Tosphot then ask "But it is not Drara Demmona."

Besides all that I looked over my notes on that Tosohot and this page of Gemara and I wrote things that today I do not understand. What did I mean "by dividing there is no difference between Sumchos and the Sages?" Was I referring to the idea of the Rashbam that when it is in one person's domain everyone agrees?
I also wrote on the question what about Shmuel? Tosphot answers the question where is the Drara DeMamona by Rav but never even raises the question by Shmuel. I answered this cryptic phrase maybe Tosphot would answer like they answered for Rav. But what ever I was thinking when I wrote that seems to be impossible. What ever Tosphot answered for Rav was because Rav was talking about an exchange of cash. You can not answer that Samuel is also talking about an exchange on currency because that is not the answer of Shmuel. [It might be that Tosphot is thinking that as long as the question is about physical objects like a garment of slave that that is Drara Demamona. Only the fact that Rav says the mishna refers to an exchange on money then the question comes up where is the Drara Demamina?] Or was I referring to the debate if Sumchus said his law in the case of both  certainly and doubt or just one on page 100a?
In any case it is safe to say that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of this Tosphot and this page of Gemara.





















I would like to recommend the general path of the Gra of straight Torah. But I see that for some reason the Gra was ignored then and now. If not for the idolatry aspects of the group that he excommunicated it would be enough the sexual child abuse that almost every child undergoes in their institutions. Why this is still ignored today is a mystery to me.

This is always swept up and covered but it is  areal phenomenon. The arrests and police records are public for anyone who wants to investigate.
Male bees mate once with the queen and die within seconds of mating. The semen goes into the queen bee with explosive force. [You can hear it if you are standing nearby.] The penis and associated abdominal tissue is left inside the queen. What a way to go!



That is their whole function. They do not do a drop of work but sit around all say watching TV or supposedly learning Torah when in fact they are simply talking and chatting.
My feeling is that humans are not very far from this paradigm.
I am some sympathy for men as I am one myself. There is some kind of paradigm shift going on.

There are still talented men. But as a rule it is the females nowadays that are reliable to get a job done not the men.

Thus even though girls are not allowed to learn Talmud, still Jewish Philosophy I think should be top priority for them. Because they need awareness of what the Torah actually holds and not listen to the idiotic men who simply don't know but think they know. [A short list: That means Saadia Gaon's [אמונות ודעות, מורה נבוכים, אברבנל, יוסף אלבו, קרסקס, אבן גבירול]

22.2.16

WHAT should I say?
—Since Faith is dead,
And Truth away
From you is fled?
Should I be led
With doubleness?
Nay! nay! mistress.
I promised you,
And you promised me,
To be as true
As I would be.
But since I see
Your double heart,
Farewell my part!
Thought for to take
‘Tis not my mind;
But to forsake
One so unkind;
And as I find
So will I trust.
Farewell, unjust!
Can ye say nay
But that you said
That I alway
Should be obeyed?
And—thus betrayed
Or that I wist!
Farewell, unkist!
Sir Thomas Wyatt, d. 1524
r6 i1 i3 i6 i8 i15  i20  l26   CHS Some of these might need editing but I think there are probably Ok for right now. e8  e72 e71
There are Americans that want a return to the 1950's. This is admirable.

The reason is that the USA then was in fact a highly moral, wholesome, and decent society. These are the people that are interested in voting for Trump. That is because they think that will go either in the direction of correcting the fall of the USA into moral depravity, or will stop the fall, or perhaps even reverse it.

My own feelings about this are based on the Talmud. That is a few things stand out when you learn Talmud. One is private property. It is impossible to read any page in the three "bavas" that does not hammer in this point. [Bava Kama Bava Metzia Bava Batra]. The other thing is family values. And simply learning Ketubot of any part of Seder Nashim drives this point in.

I know there are lot so people that are against family values and against private property. That is they whole Democratic party. But I believe that is only because they never learned Torah.

The danger is the Democrats  are geared towards getting legal and illegal votes. Thy are galvanized on election day. The reason is nothing matters to them but raw power. Republicans are just not all they much concerned.

In Maimonides (note 1), I found the idea of learning Physics and Metaphysics as being a kind of service towards God that  is even higher than learning Torah. But by the time I discovered this, I was not able to spend as much time on either subject that would be required to gain any high level of competence. So I started learning, simple by the idea brought in Tractate Shabat page 63: "In learning one should say the words in order and go, on even though he forgets, and even though he does not understand what he is learning." See the Musar book אורחות צדיקים that goes into this idea at great length.

(Note 1) The place to see this in the Rambam/Maimonides is the the "parable about the country of the King" in the Guide, the introduction to the Guide, last two laws in chapter four of the Mishne Torah, and chapter three of Laws of learning Torah.

In the above mentioned parable the Rambam puts scientists and philosophers closer to God than people that know and keep the whole Torah perfectly. In the beginning of Mishna Torah, he says the first four chapters [which are Physics and Metaphysics] deal with ideas that are called "Pardes." Then in Laws of Talmud Torah he says One should divide one's day into three parts. The Written Law, the Oral Law and the Gemara, "and the subject called Pardes is in the category of Gemara."

[Just for clarity-I am not saying to do this all the time. Rather to divide one's time between the Oral and Written law and also Physics and Metaphysics, and survival skills. Metaphysics in the language of the Rambam means 13 books of Aristotle named The Metaphysics. It is statements of the Rambam that refer to Aristotle in a highly complementary way in his commentary of the Mishna which caused it to not be learned. Have you ever seen a Mishna with just the commentary of the Rambam? Of course not. And now you know why.]



ברמב''ם, מצאתי את הרעיון ללמוד פיסיקה מטפיסיקה כסוג של שירות כלפי אלוהים כי הוא אפילו גבוה יותר מאשר לימוד תורה וקיום המצוות. אבל עד גיליתי את זה, לא הייתי מסוגל לבלות כמה שיותר זמן על הנושא שיידרש כדי להשיג  יכולת גבוהה. אז התחלתי ללמוד, פשוט מעצם הרעיון שהובא במסכת שבת ס''ג ע''א בלימוד, אחד צריך רק לומר את המילים  וללכת להלן  אף שהוא שוכח ואף על פי שהוא אינו מבין מה הוא לומד. ראה בספר המוסר אורחות צדיקים.
.לעולם לגרס אדם אע''ג דמשכח ואע''ג דלא ידע מאי קאמר
המקום כדי לראות את זה רמב''ם הוא המשל על המדינה של המלך של המורה הנבוכים, שני הלכות האחרונות בפרק ארבעה של המשנה התורה חלק א' , ובפרק ג' הלכות לימוד תורה. במשל הנזכר לעיל רמב''ם מעמיד מדענים ופילוסופים קרוב יותר לאלוהים מאשר אנשים שיודעים לשמור על התורה כולה באופן מושלם. בתחילת משנה תורה, הוא אומר ארבעת הפרקים הראשונים שהם ענינים של פיזיקה ומטפיסיקה נקראים פרדס . ואז בהלכות תלמוד תורה הוא אומר אחד צריך לחלק את היום לשלושה חלקים. חלק אחד ללמודהתורה שבכתב, ואז התורה שבעל פה וחלק אחד ואת הגמרא,  "והנושא שנקרא הפרדס היא בקטגוריה של גמרא"


Ultimately most people are not interested in the hard parts of Physics nor Aristotle's Metaphysics. The Rambam here is giving a motivation--that it brings to two major goals of Torah Love and Fear of God when one sees and understands the wisdom of God in his Creation. But there is another motivation also. Most people do want to understand the world they live in. This maybe is not high on their list of things to do every day but it is is  a fundamental need. And this is also I think a good motivation to learn Physics and Metaphysics.




To some degree our own souls and the souls of others are hidden. But there is a surprisingly easy way of seeing the state of any person's soul. See what they talk about when they are relaxing among friends.  If they are not on guard but just relaxing and chatting their essence, their inner desires because expressed in words.  And you can see the same for groups. When you walk into the place where they gather either to learn or talk, what do they talk about? This shows their inner state. Then you can see if their noble flowery words about what they do and think match the true reality.

 If their conversation is all about how to get secular Jews to give them money and what is wrong with secular Jews then you know you are not dealing with an elevated spiritual community. Even if they insist on how spiritual they are, you already have a guarantee measuring stick. You can see if the claims are the same as the facts. You can see if they are just some cult around a leader, or if they are into Torah. You can see if they are building a cult based on the lie that they are all about Torah while in fact building their power base.

For this reason I have suggested that people learn only in Litvak yeshivas because only in such places have I seen the words match the facts.  

21.2.16

A good deal of the problems involved with worship of tzadikim involves the problem of delusion.
Idolatry also is a problem from the standpoint of the Torah. And especially since they are in the category of מסית ומדיח, people that entice others to worship their false gods]

That is we don't know whether that particular tzadik has real revelations of if his revelations are delusions. And on the same hand he might very well have delusions and yet be very charismatic.

And the emotional appeal might be great while at the same time have zero validity objectively.
 It is hard to separate these variables.
And when they are trying to make converts they don't say they worship the tzadik.
On the contrary they will emphatically deny it.


The secrets are  only for the initiated.


A good deal of the difficulties is because of numinous reality. And numinous reality is has potent emotional appeal and it sometimes is from the realm of holiness and sometimes from the realm of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and sometimes it is simply delusions. The trouble with pseudo tzadikim is that delusions are allergic. People pick them up from their delusional leader.


Where does this problem come from? To me it seems clear that the people that were able to see the problem decided instead to be silent or acquiesce. Rav Shach was the only one who saw clearly and he was ignored and still is. [Along with the Gra.] Now some people have taken the Gra seriously. That is the Zilverman's in the Old City. But they are a small  minority. Some people take Rav Shach seriously, but that is only in Ponovitch. Outside of these places I have never heard of anyone that considers worship of tzadikim to be  a problem.


And why is this that they were silent? It was because their expertise was not in Jewish philosophy. People like Reb Shmuel Berenbaum thought of themselves as too small to deal with השקפה issues. Most had never even read the major works of Jewish Philosophy like Ibn Gavirol,  the Guide, or Joseph Albo. [For this reason I made it a point to get some background in the Guide and Saadia Gaon and basic world view ideas of the Geonim and Rishonim. Their world view is very unlike  you could imagine.]

And there is no indication that anyone after the Ari was anything within light years of the Ari. They have emotional appeal, but nothing as far as objective reality goes.


In any case we have a whole set of problems that have not been addressed very well. The nature of delusions, the nature of pseudo tzadikim, and the urge to worship pseudo tzadikim. The best I could do to get anywhere in this was to study different groups like Hindu cults and hope that that would give me some insight. As far as I got, still did not seem to matter much. No one in any case was really willing to listen. In any case, because these issues are not resolved,the best thing is to get the basic set of medieval thought, the Guide of the Rambam, Saadia Gaon's Emunot VeDeot, Abravenal, Joseph Albo, Crescas and get a decent idea of what Torah teaches in terms of world view. [It is not worship of tzadikim for one thing. But there is  a lot more to it.]

See Steven Hassan Escape from Cults

Bait and Switch is what he identifies as the major cult characteristic and this in fact seems to be the case. The hiding of the actual beliefs. First draw people in by seeming Kosher and then switching.
As for my own study of cults I found Steven Hassan helpful.

There is a simple test for cults. There is an objective change in character that can be seen.
When one joins a group like a Lithuanian yeshiva the change in "Midot" [Character traits for the better is obvious to all.] When on the other hand one joins a cult the change in character is also obvious. Who can's see how people's traits change for the better when they join a place like the Mir or Chaim Berlin? And places and groups that worship some tzadik. The deterioration in character is clear even to people in the group and takes effect almost immediately. And this has nothing to do with what you think of the tzadik. For all you know the tzadik might very well be a true tzadik. Still the effect on people's character is unmistakable. It is not necessarily that they become bad people. But their character changes towards something ugly. Some undefinable ugliness takes over their personality. Or in other groups some strange kind of cruelty and sadism  enters into their souls.

I should mention I did a lot of reading on this but I do not feel comfortable in going into detail about the Sitra Achra [the Dark Side]. I would hope that my warnings here should be enough.

In any case this is no more  a matter of discussion. Once the idolatry became clear it should have been time for action--decisive action.



20.2.16

r8

b100     b101 b105   b98  e67  e72 h69 o  mmog  [This last piece was written when I was playing a lot of Vivaldi on the streets in NY. You can tell the influence of Vivaldi right away in the development.] The idea here is to take a whole Vivaldi score [not just the Violin part] and play it on the violin by simply picking out the song from the accompaniment. You can easily do this on sight and it takes no expertise at all.The only time this might be hard is when the actual song goes into the bass and then you need to be able to read bass clef. But as a rule you can have a unlimited amount of music to play on the street by just xeroxing Vivaldi.]
[Mainly I was playing outside of Shalom's Pizza, and Dunkin Donuts and a 99 cent store owned by people from Pakistan who were always very nice to me.]




Incidentally I highly recommend this practice. You can learn an amazing amount of things by just playing through scores of Vivaldi, Bach, and Mozart because in every measure they are trying to tell you something important that you can't really hear from the music alone. Especially Mozart made his music I think with the intention to tell us important things.
[If you do this with Bach start with organ and piano pieces which are easily played on the violin. Canata's can be a bit more difficult.]





[Once you get used to reading scores you can do the same with Bach and Mozart, but it is best to start with Vivaldi. Don't do this in Manhattan because people don't give anything there. The best places are Brooklyn.] Just don't do this when you can be learning Torah. Learning Torah comes first. After you are tired, then this is a good practice.
There is a good deal of  antisemitism which I think is from a kind of anti American white sentiment. That is there is a good deal of hatred of America and American white people that  is expressed in politics.  That is anything that supports any cause that is anti Christian or Anti White is supported. And this causes a reaction. This I heard first from my study partner who suggest that this comes from a verse "As a face is to a face reflected in water, so is the heart of man towards man."

And even among Jewish people ourselves there is a considerable amount of animosity from Sephardim towards Ashkenazim and especially Ashkenazim that are from the USA. Unless particular Sephardi is in an Ashkenazim institution or yeshiva.

There is not much I can do about this but suggest that we all ought to examine our beliefs and try to base them on reason, rather than on our social group.


The problem I see with the Anti White Christian sentiment is that it is not a Torah attitude.

Just for a personal example. My family was welcomed in the USA  during times of trouble in Eastern Europe. Czar Nicholas II had approved quietly of government sponsored pogroms that were widespread in Russia and the Ukraine. World War I was devastating all of Europe. My family found sanctuary in the USA. Eventually we made our way to Southern California to Orange County. We were treated well. And the USA at the time was largely Protestant-White. So at this point in time to try to undermine this kind of wholesome, moral society seems to me to be a kind of lack of gratitude.

However I did notice the last time I was in NY that there are a lot of people that have decided that the Democrats are decidedly anti-American.  I was in Manhattan at the time, and I saw leaflets from some organization called "Jewish Republicans" or something like that. That seems to me to be  a move in a positive direction.

I have encountered  Anti-American sentiments way to much, and it turns my stomach. I am very happy to see people coming around to see the importance of Traditional American Values

r3 a major q96  q92  q100  q96 e flat major not the same as q96 f major i do not know how these two pieces got the same name  Now I think q96 F major needs a little editing.  p120  Exodus 4  Mathematics black hole

e67

19.2.16

Bava Metzia the Mishna on page 97 and the Mishna on page 100




I do not have a question but more like a comment. In Bava Metzia page 97 we have the mishna about the cow and we say the mishna is either telling us ברי ושמא ברי עדיף or עסק שבועה ביניהם. In the next Mishna about the cow giving birth the Gemara right away makes it like סומכוס.

So what I wanted to ask was is the Mishna on page 100 also ברי ושמא ברי עדיף? It seems it is to Tosphot. Because the first Tosphot on the page has חזקת רשות+ טענת שמא= לא זכה. Thus this is clearly to this opinion of Tosphot a case of ברי ושמא ברי עדיף. But then we have to ask just like the Gemara did on page 97 what about the opinion that לאו ברי עדיף? We would here also have to say עסק שבועה ביניהם. And it is hard to say that this is a case where there is a עסק שבועה. Perhaps it is because of מודה במקצת?

Also it is not clear why the first Mishna would be the חכמים and the second on סומכוס. How is it that Rabbi Yehuda Nasi would change his opinion in the middle of  a chapter? It seems clear that the first Mishna also would have to be like סומכוס.

Plus we have the opinion of the ר''י Rabbainu Isaac חזקת רשות+ שמא= זכה and we would have to see how that fits with the Mishna on page 97.
Here is a link to the little booklet that God granted to me to write on Bava Metzia


Book on Shas
________________________________________________________________________________

 In בבא מציעא דף צ''ז we have the משנה וסוגיא about the cow and we say the משנה is either telling us ברי ושמא ברי עדיף or עסק שבועה ביניהם. In the next משנה about the cow giving birth the גמרא right away makes it like סומכוס.

So what I wanted to ask was is the משנה דף ק' ע''א also ברי ושמא ברי עדיף? It seems it is to תוספות. Because the first תוספות on the page has חזקת רשות+ טענת שמא= לא זכה. Thus this is clearly to this opinion of תוספות a case of ברי ושמא ברי עדיף. But then we have to ask just like the גמרא did on page צ''ז what about the opinion that לאו ברי עדיף? We would here also have to say עסק שבועה ביניהם. And it is hard to say that this is a case where there is a עסק שבועה. Perhaps it is because of מודה במקצת?

Also it is not clear why the first משנה would be the חכמים and the second on סומכוס. How is it that רבי יהודה הנשיא would change his opinion in the middle of  a chapter? It seems clear that the first משנה also would have to be like סומכוס.

Plus we have the opinion of the ר''י  שחזקת רשות+ שמא= זכה and we would have to see how that fits with the משנה דף צ''ז .


 בבא מציעא דף צ''ז. יש לנו את המשנה וסוגיא על הפרה ואנחנו אומרים שהמשנה היא אומרת לנו ברי ושמא ברי עדיף או עסק שבועה ביניהם. במשנה הבא ק. על לידת הפרה הגמרא מיד עושה את זה  כסומכוס. אז מה רציתי לשאול היא אם המשנה דף ק' ע''א גם ברי ושמא ברי עדיף? נראה שזה כן תוספות. מכיוון שהתוספות הראשונה בדף אומרים חזקת רשות + טענתי שמא = לא זכה. לכן זה ברור לדעה זו של תוספות מקרה של ברי ושמא ברי עדיף. אבל אז עלינו לשאול בדיוק כמו הגמרא עשתה בעמוד צ''ז מה לגבי הסברה כי "לאו ברי עדיף"? היינו כאן גם חייב לומר עסק שבועה ביניהם. וזה קשה לומר כי מדובר במקרה שבו קיים עסק שבועה. אולי זה בגלל מודה במקצת? כמו כן לא ברור מדוע המשנה הראשונה תהיה כחכמים והשני כסומכוס. איך זה שרבי יהודה הנשיא היה שינה את דעתו באמצע הפרק? נראה ברור כי המשנה הראשונה גם היא צריך להיות כמו סומכוס. בנוסף יש לנו את דעתו של ר''י שחזקת רשות + שמא = זכה והיינו צריך לראות איך זה משתלב עם משנת דף צ''ז.




18.2.16

Worship of Tzadikim. Bait and Switch. The hiding of the actual beliefs. First draw people in by seeming Kosher and then switching.

A good deal of the problems involved with worship of tzadikim involves the problem of delusion.


That is we don't know whether that particular tzadik has real revelations of if his revelations are delusions. And on the same hand he might very well have delusions and yet be very charismatic.

And the emotional appeal might be great while at the same time have zero validity objectively.
 It is hard to separate these variables.
And when they are trying to make converts they don't say they worship the tzadik.
On the contrary they will emphatically deny it.


The secrets are  only for the initiated.


A good deal of the difficulties is because of numinous reality. And numinous reality is has potent emotional appeal and it sometimes is from the realm of holiness and sometimes from the realm of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and sometimes it is simply delusions. The trouble with pseudo tzadikim is that delusions are allergic. People pick them up from their delusional leader.


Where does this problem come from? To me it seems clear that the people that were able to see the problem decided instead to be silent or acquiesce. Rav Shach was the only one who saw clearly and he was ignored and still is. [Along with the Gra.] Now some people have taken the Gra seriously. That is the Zilverman's in the Old City. But they are a small  minority. Some people take Rav Shach seriously, but that is only in Ponovitch. Outside of these places I have never heard of anyone that considers worship of tzadikim to be  a problem.


And why is this that they were silent. I can answer this with confidence. It was because their expertise was not in Jewish philosophy. People like Reb Shmuel Berenbaum thought of themselves as too small to deal with השקפה issues. Most had never even read the major works of Jewish Philosophy like Ibn Gavirol,  the Guide, or Joseph Albo. [For this reason I made it a point to get some background in the Guide and Saadia Gaon and basic world view ideas of the Geonim and Rishonim. Their world view is very unlike  you could imagine.]

And there is no indication that anyone after the Ari was anything within light years of the Ari. They have emotional appeal, but nothing as far as objective reality goes.


In any case we have a whole set of problems that have not been dressed very well. The nature of delusions, the nature of pseudo tzadikim, and the urge to worship pseudo tzadikim. The best I could do to get anywhere in this was to study different groups like Hindu cults and hope that that would give me some insight. As far as I got, still did not seem to matter much. No one in any case was really willing to listen. In any case, because these issues are not resolved,the best thing is to get the basic set of medieval thought, the Guide of the Rambam, Saadia Gaon's Emunot VeDeot, Abravenal, Joseph Albo, Crescas and get a decent idea of what Torah teaches in terms of world view. [It is not worship of tzadikim for one thing. But there is  a lot more to it.]

See Steven Hassan Escape from Cults

Bait and Switch is what he identifies as the major cult characteristic and this in fact seems to be the case. The hiding of the actual beliefs. First draw people in by seeming Kosher and then switching.
As for my own study of cults I found Steven Hassan helpful.

There is a simple test for cults. There is an objective change in character that can be seen.
When one joins a group like a Lithuanian yeshiva the change in "Midot" [Character traits for the better is obvious to all.] When on the other hand one joins a cult the change in character is also obvious. Who can's see how people's traits change for the better when they join a place like the Mir or Chaim Berlin? And places and groups that worship some tzadik. The deterioration in character is clear even to people in the group and takes effect almost immediately. And this has nothing to do with what you think of the tzadik. For all you know the tzadik might very well be a true tzadik. Still the effect on people's character is unmistakable. It is not necessarily that they become bad people. But their character changes towards something ugly. Some undefinable ugliness takes over their personality. Or in other groups some strange kind of cruelty and sadism  enters into their souls.

I should mention I did a lot of reading on this but I do not feel comfortable in going into detail about the Sitra Achra [the Dark Side]. I would hope that my warnings here should be enough.



Bava Metzia page 100A and 100B

I am not sure how to put this. But it seems to me to be important to point out what must have been bothering the Gemara in Bava Metzia page 100. And this also must have bothered Tosphot. Even though neither brought it up but still it must have been in the back of their minds. The question is in the Mishna [BM 100a] we have what amounts to המוציא מחברו עליו הריאה  and right after that חולקים

That is for the case when the seller is sure and the buyer is doubtful the seller takes and oath and when both are doubtful they divide. Surely the Gemara and Tosphot must have been bothered with this. Especially Tosphot. Because to Tosphot the entire idea of דררא דממונא is specifically when there is a doubt to Beit Din even without their pleas. And here in the Mishna the only difference between the two cases is only in the pleas. And Tosphot brings from Bava Batra that the only time Sumchus says his law is only when it is  דררא דממונא. So we have what has to have seemed a direct contradiction in the Mishna.

So Tosphot explains the Mishna is a case of דררא דממונא. But that only takes care of the end of the Mishna. What about the case where the seller is sure and takes and oath? That has to also be דררא דממונא Because it is the same case in everything except the pleas. And yet if it is דררא דממונא we know Sumchus has to say חולקים to divide. What I think here is that the Gemara and Tosphot are both depending on the Gemara back on page 97B without saying openly that they are doing so. That is we have to say that ברי ושמא ברי עדיף or it is a case of עסק שבועה ביניהם  as I already explained in my notes that is is a case of מודה במקצת

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I am not sure how to put this. But it seems to me to be important to point out what must have been bothering the גמרא in בבא מציעא דף ק. And this also must have bothered תוספות. Even though neither brought it up but still it must have been in the back of their minds. The question is in the משנה בבא מציעא ק' ע''א we have what amounts to המוציא מחברו עליו הריאה  and right after that חולקים

That is for the case when the seller is sure and the buyer is doubtful the seller takes and oath and when both are doubtful they divide. Surely the גמרא and תוספות must have been bothered with this. Especially תוספות. Because to תוספות the entire idea of דררא דממונא is specifically when there is a doubt to בית דין even without their pleas. And here in the משנה the only difference between the two cases is only in the pleas. And תוספות brings from בבא בתרא that the only time סומכוס says his law is only when it is  דררא דממונא. So we have what has to have seemed a direct contradiction in the משנה.

So תוספות explains the משנה is a case of דררא דממונא. But that only takes care of the end of the משנה. What about the case where the seller is sure and takes and oath? That has to also be דררא דממונא Because it is the same case in everything except the pleas. And yet if it is דררא דממונא we know סומכוס has to say חולקים to divide. What I think here is that the גמרא and תוספות are both depending on the גמרא back on page צ''ז ע''ב without saying openly that they are doing so. That is we have to say that ברי ושמא ברי עדיף or it is a case of עסק שבועה ביניהם  as I already explained in my notes that is is a case of מודה במקצת

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נראה לי חשוב להצביע על מה שהיה בוודאי מטריד את הגמרא בבבא מציעא דף ק. וזה גם כנראה הטריד את תוספות. למרות שהם לא העלו את זה, אבל עדיין זה בטוח שהיה  בדעתם. השאלה היא המשנה בבא מציעא ק' ע''א יש לנו מצב של  המוציא מחברו עליו הריאה, ומיד אחר כך הדין של חולקים.  במקרה כאשר המוכר הוא בטוח והקונה ספק המוכר לוקח שבועה, וכאשר שניהם  בספק הם מחלקים. אין ספק שהגמרא ותוספות הוטרדו מזה. במיוחד תוספות. כי בשביל תוספות כל הרעיון של דררא דממונא הוא במיוחד כאשר יש ספק אל בית דין אפילו בלי הטיעונים שלהם. והנה במשנה ההבדל היחיד בין שני המקרים הוא רק הטיעונים. וגם תוספות מביא מן הגמרא בבבא בתרא כי המצב היחיד שסומכוס אומר החוק שלו היא רק כאשר הוא דררא דממונא. אז יש לנו מה צריך נראה סתירה ישירה במשנה. אז תוספות מסבירה את המשנה הוא מקרה של דררא דממונא. אבל זה פותר רק של סוף המשנה. מה לגבי המקרה שבו המוכר הוא בטוח  ונשבע? זו צריכה להיות גם דררא דממונא משום שזהו אותו המקרה בכל המשנה פרט הטיעונים. ובכל זאת אם זה דררא דממונא אנחנו יודעים שסומכוס אומר לחלק. מה שאני חושב כאן הוא כי הגמרא ותוספות שניהם סמכו על הגמרא  בעמוד צ''ז ע''ב. כלומר אנחנו צריכים לומר כי ברי ושמא ברי עדיף או שזה מקרה של עסק שבועה ביניהם כפי שכבר הסבירתי בהערות שלי כי זה מקרה של מודה במקצת.










Learning Books on Ethics

The school of thought of Israel Salanter was holding that by learning Musar [Ethics] something of what is learned gets absorbed. This was their idea of how to gain character improvement. And I would have to say that I think this idea at least helped me. I was first at a Litvak yeshiva that did not have Musar and I felt the lack. I can to some degree also see the drawbacks --that it can go off into crazy directions. Still I am happy for what ever Musar I was able to learn and practice.

[Reb Chaim Soloveitchik did not want Musar introduced into yeshivas and to a degree you can see today how Musar can get off track. Still I think the best approach is that of Musar.

17.2.16

Why is it that all religious commentaries on the Torah are so superficial and trite?

The sin of Adam and Eve. The Ari goes into this in detail but his explanations are characteristic of the Ari. That is:- he explains the types of damage that was caused to Nukva {the Female} and to Zeir Anpin etc. It is not a very satisfying explanation.


Reb Chaim Vital in the beginning of Eitz Chaim say the sin was being occupied with the tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. The Rishonim have also a few explanations.

But what I have wished for was something more thematic. Something that would do more than make superficial sense. And that is not just on that part of the Torah, but on the whole Torah. In spite of this wish, I have never found such  thing.

I mean  something like you would hear from your English literature teachers about  Shakespeare or the Book of Job.

I am not sure how to explain this. But I am not looking for moral lessons, nor "gematriot," nor spiritual revelations. Rather something that you would hear in a Literature Class about Dostoevsky or from a Philosophy professor about the plays of Plato.

Like: "What was the snake thinking? "What was Eve thinking? How can you prove what you are saying, and not just make random speculations? Why did they not die that day? What did Adam hope to gain?" I have wished for something related to the text and not just people using the text to launch into some crusade. And sadly throughout my studies I have never found anything like that.



In other words, when you were in English Literature, what did the teacher talk about in the Book of Job? He or she would ask "What was Job saying? What were the arguments of his friends? How did they differ? How can you show and prove that that is what they were saying? How did Job answer his friends?"
So the same here with Adam and Eve.
Why is it that all religious commentaries on the Torah are so superficial and trite?

I would love to re-read my notes that I took in High School about the Book Of Job just to see how the teacher was analyzing it and see if I can gain any insight about how to see the patterns and motivations in other books of the Torah. The problem is all the commentaries cover up the hidden layers by means of their "explanations"\

I should mention that I brought up this problem with my learning partner and he suggested that Nachmanides fills this role. And from what I have heard from him this seems right. He in fact seems to deal with the basic themes and hows how they are developed within the context of the Torah itself.
The good thing for English speaking people is  Nachmanides on the Torah is in English





worship of people

The major thing which is troubling about groups that present themselves keeping Torah but are idolaters-they is they worship their tzadik-is the hypocrisy aspect of it. The way I see it is that people can either try to keep the laws of the Torah which includes the second of the Ten Commandments "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" or not claim that are trying to keeping Torah and trying to get money constantly from secular Jews to support their supposedly superior life style.

But you can't say this openly nowadays because it is obvious. People only want to hear something complex because of "Physics Envy." The fact that the truth is sometimes obvious does not matter. People want it t be complicated.


I am not sure however how far to go with this. There still remains the question that some of the people like Reb Nachman were tzadikim. The fact that they are also objects of idol worship does not invalidate that. But it does invalidate the groups that do the idolatry.

The Gra put the whole group  into excommunication which has legal implications.For example one is not allowed to pray in a minyan with them. Nor learn Torah from them. Not teach them Torah. Nor sit within four yards of them. The laws differ between חרם and נידוי. [Cherem and Nidui] "Cherem" can be translated as excommunication. "Niduy "is rebuke. The category the Gra put them into was חרם excommunication.

An example of חרם is what you find in the Gemara with Rabbi Eliezer. Though he was clearly a tzadik still the excommunication had halachic validity as he he himself knew and acted accordingly He did not deny the validity of the excommunication.


There is a question how far to go with this. To what extent is it even possible?

Furthermore I want to point out that I would not be mentioning this if not for the damage these groups cause. That is what I suggest is that the excommunication only reflects an objective reality that is there regardless of the excommunication. Not that the Cherem made them bad but they were bad before the cherem. The cherem only addresses the issue of how to act.

The best way to deal with this issue is to learn the basic subject of idolatry from the Gemara itself. That is mainly the Gemara in Sanhedrin on page 63. Learning that sugia in depth helped me come to clarity about this issue.

Outside of that Gemara it is possible to see the problem by the ugliness of their deeds. That is hard to explain. Mainly I mean that it is one ugly deed then that is just a "קושיא" a question. But by that prevalence  of ugly deeds it is possible to draw a conclusion that there is something about the energy that produces ugly deeds as predictable as the setting of the sun and just as often. And it is not bad deeds. Bad deeds are just wickedness. But there is something ugly about their deeds that is not exactly wicked. It is just that their actions are ugly. There is something wrong with them that you hand put your finger on exactly. And it is not just as it applies to one person of the other. Since it is often and constant and perennial you can conclude that there is some ugly energy producing these ugly people and ugly deeds.

16.2.16

 Utube The Secret History of Godel

My learning partner sent this video. 

My answer: 

"I looked at it briefly. I don't have the time right now to go through it all. I have seen both incompleteness theorems before. It is the completeness theorem that I thought would be good for you to look at because it would complete the Godel proof of the existence of God. I might have done the work myself but I never got the chance. In any case Godel is very important and very interesting."

I should mention that I am optimistic that my leaning partner has discovered Godel because he might be able to do something with Godel's proof--much more than I can.
It is true that in the book on Talmud, God did grant to me to make progress. But that was only after my learning partner had opened the way by asking some kind of fundamental question or bringing out some important point. That is ideally how a learning partnership should work.





My letter up above also was not written well. I meant to write the "compactness" theorem.



(1) See Schelling. The force that drives from the finite to infinity. The force that drives from infinity to the finite. The synthesis between them.

(2) See Kant's critique on the Ontological proof. See Dr Kelley Ross's Critique on Kant's Critique 

(3) My point is you need to (must) extend the set of positive traits to infinity and that will fill in the missing gap in Godel's proof. This must happen because of the completeness and compactness theorem.
See Mathematical Logic by Stephan Bilaniuk



(4) Godel mainly puts Anselm's and Leibniz's proof in logic symbols. 



 I noticed the self esteem thing got deeply into the Western psyche. But that was a little bit after I had been cloistered in a Musar yeshiva in NY. Musar means ethical works written during the Middle Ages. In Musar pride in oneself and abilities are universally considered the primary sin and the cause of all other sins. Mainly I think they derive this from Proverbs. So when people around me started talking about the importance of self esteem internally I always translated that to mean the importance of being wicked. It did not seem to make sense. I am not sure from where it comes from but I don't think they are getting it from Proverbs.


[Actually I do have an idea of where the self esteem thing came from [Eric Fromm], but I am not sure if that was the original source. I seem to recall some previous source. Nietzsche? I just can't put my finger on it this second.]
Nietzsche: Das Kriterium der Wahrheit liegt in der Steigerung des Machtgefühls. "The criterion of truth resides in the heightening of the feeling of power." The psychologists picked it up from him. That is not rare. Most of their ideas come from Nietzsche.




Later I started noticing even Musar books that were distorting the message of Musar and insisting just like the psychologists that self esteem was a good thing.

Recently more serious psychologists have noticed that they were mistaken and rather that self esteem being a good thing it is the cause of violence and evil.

So Musar really had this right from the beginning. This shows that the idea of Israel Salanter about the importance of learning Musar is really correct.

Appendix: Each one of the major Musar books talks about the evil of Pride with no exception. חובות לבבות אורחות צדיקים מסילת ישרים שערי תשובה מעלות המידות ספר היראה המיוחס לרבינו תם.
And furthermore all the disciples of Israel Salanter said the same thing. Isaac Blazzer, Yoseph Yozel Horvitz, etc.

The self esteem thing as the of cause of evil



The major question which came up when I was in high school was "What is the good life?" This was not phrased in that way. The way people around me put it was in terms of the "search for the truth."

But it was this question that I felt was answered when I got to yeshiva in NY. That is a life of service towards God along with a vocation. Service towards God was largely understood to mean learning Torah along with a life of mitzvot.




This might seem like a trivial question. But that would be wrong. Many places that at least present themselves as promoting the good life in exactly this way--Torah and mitzvot - are highly destructive of the the exact goal they are claiming to advance. What they say and what they do are not in correspondence. The life they advocate is a life of cursing secular Jews (when they are not asking them for charity) and spending their days in  chatting and gossip.

The question of the good life is not an abstract question. It is question that concerns our very souls.
And what is happening before our eyes is a battle for our souls. The movements geared to suck people into them are as pernicious as the Gra foresaw long ago.





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השאלה המרכזית שעלתה כשהייתי בתיכון היתה "מהם החיים הטובים?" זה לא היה מנוסח ככה. האופן שבו אנשים סביבי שמו אותה היה במונחים של "החיפוש אחר האמת." אבל זה היתה השאלה שהרגשתי שנענתה כשהגעתי לישיבה בניו יורק. כי הם חיים של שירות כלפי אלוהים . שירות כלפי אלוהים במובן של ללמוד תורה יחד עם חיים של מצוות. זה אולי נראה כמו שאלה טריוויאלית. יש מקומות רבים  שמציגים את עצמם  כקידום בחיים הטובים בדרך זו בדיוק, תורה ומצוות  אבל מאוד הרסניים של המטרה הזאת.  מה הם אומרים ומה הם עושים הם לא בהתכתבות. החיים שלהם בם חיים לקלל חילונים בזמן שהם לא שואלים אותם לצדקה ולבלות ימיהם מפטפטים ורכילות

Can virtue be taught? This is the underlying assumption of the Lithuanian yeshiva
That is the idea of learning Torah for its own sake and not in order for it to be  source of money . The idea is that by learning Torah for its own sake one will be taught and influenced to be virtuous and also he will be living the good life.The life of men as men were meant to be.
The Boy Scouts was also founded on this idea that virtue could be taught. [Within the context of outdoor skills.] Nowadays the boy-scouts is not an option but still the basic idea is valid. Perhaps something similar could be done as part of  a yeshiva program. For example to set aside a few hours per week and to bring in some Eagle Scout to teach the students a few skills.]



But we know that it is not possible to teach virtue. There are children of righteous people that are not righteous. If virtue could be taught the righteous person would have tried and succeeded in teaching it to his own children. But it is not innate either. If it was it would be seen when children are young. But many times children turn out very differently than they seem to be when young.

On the other hand we see that  wickedness can be taught. We see people born into a belief system in which evil is condoned. And they follow that path.

From what we know from Howard Bloom [the Lucifer Principle] it is the society the super-organism that is the most determinate.  So if we go with the super-organism idea of Howard Bloom we can see the idea of  a Lithuanian yeshiva is a correct idea. Something that society and one's own family can't do often a good immediate environment can do.

But by the same idea we can see how yeshivas are in general damaging because of the same idea. Most are not authentic and are not good environments where people learn virtue. Most yeshivas are chatter boxs that contrive and scheme all day how to extract money form secular Jews during the short time periods that they're not cursing them.
Yeshivas are  factories of chatter. It is rare to find the real authentic place that learns Torah for its own sake.
 And I showed above one needs a real place of Torah. It is not enough to learn on one's own. But if there is no place around that is authentic what you need to do is to get your own Shas and go through it. [Actually I mean the whole Oral Law. That is the two Talmuds, Tosephta, Sifra Sifrei and the Midrash Raba. That should not need more than about 40 minutes per day to go through one "Amud" [half a "daf"] with Rashi and Tosphot. [The thing is when you have finished the Babylonian Talmud you go on to the Jerusalem Talmud.]

learning Talmud

My essay on how to learn Talmud deals with learning in depth.
I want to say that there also needs to be a session of fast learning Gemara. The way to do this is word for word with Rashi. That is you keep one finger on the Gemara and the other on the Rashi and read the words of the Gemara and then the words of Rashi that go on those exact same word. It is hard to explain but you probably can get the idea. Then you do Tosphot, Maharsha and Maharam on that 1/2 a page [i.e. an "Amud"] This whole process should take about 40 minutues if you do all teh Maharasha and Maharam.

15.2.16

Music

Letter of law of rituals while doing as much violence as possible to the spirit of the Law. Hasidim

The major thing that is visibly  wrong with Hasidim is the idolatry aspect. But the hidden things seems to be more serious. It must be something more internal. Hanging around with ugly stupid and insane people must have an effect on one eventually. No one is immune to the group they hang around with.

There are promises of improvement in all kinds of areas. But you never see someone improve in character or in learning. The effect is always negative. The result of coming close and connected with any of the groups is to take  a person that was kind, generous, and smart and make him rude, cruel, and stupid.
The defense that  heard given is that it is like an emergency room. Who comes to an emergency room of a hospital? Only sick people. But I can object to this analogy. People come to an emergency room to get better. Here people come with intention to get better from what is possible to see the get worse.

This can only be known by experience. Their words and writings all seem impressive. The only way to know something is deeply wrong is by observation. So based on the Chafetz Chaim Vol I:4 I have to warn people of the dangers. This is the same reason the Gra put that entire movement into excommunication. The reason is sometimes you need to warn someone of a danger they are walking into unawares.

There are plenty of ugly stories. But I do not need to go into them because everyone has their own experiences. But they choose to ignore the negative aspects because of the entertainment  and emotional value of the movement. It is fun and deep and has luminosity. The only problem is the luminous aspect comes from worship of human beings. It is not Torah. But it is dressed in the garments of Torah in order to entice people.

1. How close one is to God according to the Torah is not dependent on how close they are to a tzadik.
2. "Everything is godliness," is not what the Torah says. That is pantheism. The view of the Torah is Monotheism.
3. The Torah holds everything was created, something from nothing. Not from God's substance. In the Torah, God has no substance.

But these issues are not as obvious as the problem that the books themselves are filled with errors and distortions and promises that they can't keep and promises that they don't keep. That is there is no objective reality behind the promises.

But the thing that bugs me the most is not whether any doctrines are true or not. What bothers me is lying about what the Torah says. If someone wants to disagree with the Torah that is not as bad as disagreeing with it and then claiming that that is what the Torah says. That takes a kind of immunity to truth. And as fascinating as their books are they still filled with errors.


The fault is a kind of lack of concern by people that could have thought about this problem by instead buried their heads in the sand. This shows I think a kind of judgement--as if these issues are irrelevant. It is almost as if the people that did not speak out had some overriding interest to be silent. It can't be there were unaware of the problems. What I think is at least some people are afraid. They don't want to say what they think because of a good reason. They think that some invisible hand might punish them. They are not thinking whether this invisible hand if from the realm of good or the realm of evil. They just don't want to deal with this.


People need to be extremely careful whenever they submit themselves to a religious service. Research has to be done beforehand, for after all, whatever the sect or religion is we are opening our spirits in such places, opening them to all kinds of influences.  The teachers are currently just as damaged and broken as the  people, and so just as we choose our friends carefully, we must also choose our religious guides carefully. (Too many, many false teachers).


In any case this should not be taken as critique on the Baal Shem Tov of Reb Nachman, Heaven forbid. But rather the movement which went into something that the Gra knew was idolatry.

I should mention that the purpose of this blog is to ask hard questions. It is not to win a popularity contest.



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הדבר העיקרי שהוא  לא בסדר עם חסידות הוא העבודה זרה. אבל יש דברים נסתרים שנראים רצינים יותר. זה חייב להיות משהו יותר פנימי. להסתובב עם אנשי טיפשים ומטורפים מכוערים חייב להיות השפעה על אחד בסופו של דבר. אף אחד לא חסין לקבוצה הוא להסתובב בה. ישנם הבטחות של שיפור בכל מיני התחומים. אבל אתה אף פעם לא רואה מישהו משתפר במידות או בלמידה. התוצאה היא תמיד שלילית. התוצאה של מתקרבים ומחוברים עם כל אחת מן הקבוצות היא לקחת אותו אדם שהיה נדיב  ולגרום לו גסות, וטיפשות. ההגנה  הנתונה היא שזה כמו חדר מיון. מי מגיע לחדר מיון של בית החולים? רק אנשים חולים. אבל  האנלוגיה הזו לא מדוייקת. אנשים באים לחדר מיון כדי להשתפר. כאן אנשים באים עם כוונה להשתפר והמצב מחמיר. זה יכול להיות ידוע רק על ידי ניסיון. המילות שלהם וכתביהם  נראים מרשימים. הדרך היחידה לדעת משהו הוא  לא בסדר היא על ידי נסיון. לדברי חפץ החיים מחוייבים להזהיר אנשים מפני הסכנות. זהו מאותה סיבה שהגר''א שם התנועה כולה לתוך נידוי וכרם. הסיבה היא  אתה צריך להזהיר מישהו של סכנה שהם הולכים לתוכה במפתיע.

 כמה קרוב אחד הוא לאלוהים על פי התורה אינו תלוי  בכמה הוא קרוב לצדיק. "הכל אלוקות," הוא לא מה שהתורה אומרת. כלומר הפנתאיזם. ההשקפה של התורה היא המונותאיזם. התורה מחזיקה הכל נברא, יש מאין. לא מן החומר של אלוהים. בתורה, אלוהים אין בו חומר. אפילו חומר רוחני