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24.2.16

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.