the religious world.

I was thinking about problems in the religious world. The main thing that bothers me is the fraud aspect. That is, there is little that is upfront and honest. They make a song and dance in order to get money from secular Jews. They also try to make secular Jews to be religious, and yet treat them like dirt when they join. The whole problem seems to be aggravated in Israel when the religious try to undermine the State, and yet demand the State pays for their life style. 
There is more to it than that. I have expressed some of the problems in terms of the fact that most of the religious world is made up of cults that make a show of Torah, but are really demonic cults.  So there are a few problems that got me to thinking the religious world really is very far from Torah, and perhaps could considered as a real kelipa and a Dark force of evil. [See L.M. in his reference to Torah from the Dark Side which is what I think is the root of the problem with these cults.] 

This however should not be  considered as a critique on the authentic great yeshivas that learn Torah for its own sake along the lines of the Gra and Reb Israel Salanter and Rav Shach. And of course there are the Bnei Akiva places that combine Torah with work and serving in the IDF that I think are very great places. 

Groups that have a core essence that is from the Dark Side].Since in the cults there is not simple plain human decency you know there is no holiness either.

I claim the world of the religious is a cult. That is: it consists of many cults, but none of them actually keep Torah at all except for a a few Litvak yeshivas and their surrounding communities. 
[Some or more are better than others.]

The way to see this is thus in the following way.

The dinge an sich [areas of Torah value] is not subject to human reason. When reason enters into these areas it ends up contradicted in  itself and falling into inconsistencies.
Instead of  Torah value being complicated, the truth is it is not complicated at all. It is entirely simple. Right and wrong is obvious, and mental gymnastics only serve to make evil seem good.But you can tell what is a cult [that is what groups have a core essence that is from the Dark Side]. The sign is simple. Evil while perhaps in its essence is hard to discern, but it has certain invariable characteristics. They lie, they cheat, they scam. They use keep Torah as camouflage and a cloak to hide their true demonic essence. We find that to recognize this can be hard. Even King David had no idea that he had sinned until Natan the prophet revealed it to him. We may not have Natan the Prophet, but we have had people that warned us of our sins, the Gra, Reb Israel Salanter, Rav Shach. But instead of listening we turned our backs on their warning. During the time of the prophets, idolatry was a lot more simple. One knew what serving God meant, or serving an idol. But now the power of idolatry has been sublimated within cults. One can on the surface perfectly kosher to all appearance, and yet have a demonic core as we see today in the religious world. Since in the cults there is not simple plain human decency you know there is no holiness either.  


Cults share many of the same characteristics.

Human nature being what it is, and the dark side being what it is, it is no wonder that cults share many of the same characteristics. It is like when you put chemicals together the result is  the same.
Some of the similar characteristics:They are anti simple human decency supposedly in the name of some higher morality. There is a  sanctimonious sense of supreme virtue for one cult or sect and despising outsiders, and a charismatic leaders that gets all the perks and benefits. Babbling nonsense prolific writings of meaningless babble or supposed prophecy.
The main things are antinomianism [loosening of the restrictions of the Torah while at the same time hypocritically claiming to be adhering to the Torah. The other is the exaggerated spirituality with trances and contact with supposedly spirits of tzadikim which are really demons, since the Torah itself tells us לא תדרוש אל המתים "Do not seek the dead"]

But I should mention that not everything that seems like a cult is bad. Even if it has many cult aspects it might be doing good or be a lot better that groups that seem a lot more respectable. As a rule the groups that make the most effort to seem normal and respectable are in fact the most demon possessed.
You can be in a great yeshiva like I was in Shar Yashuv and think that there are better more respectable places and really be mistaken. I mean Shar Yashuv was in fact a yeshiva for beginners. It had and I think still has no reputation. Still in the higher classes [that is beginning from year two until yer four] it is Ivy league. Same with the Mir in NY. Those two places were probably the best I ever saw, and yet their reputation is not very high. People would rather go to Brisk or the Mir in Israel. I can't see why. The only place in Israel I think is really great is Ponovitch.

The yeshivas in Jerusalem think they are best because of their address. But they are all delusional. The only really great yeshivas in Jerusalem are Merkaz HaRav of Rav Kook and the Yeshivat HaGra of Rav Eliyahu Zilverman.

Moses, Kant, Hegel, Gra, Israel Salanter, Rav Shach, Tosphot, Rambam.

To build up a good  approach it would be required to provide and intellectual basis. Leftism was a kind of trampling of Biblical Values. Or subverting Biblical values to serve its purpose by means of useful idiots.  However the  Right has just as much claim to intellectual virtue through a different array of patron saints. 

That is-- the left had a list of patron saints. Freud, Marx, Russeou.  Some people were absorbed into the Left like  Nietzsche, though he was not a leftist at all.

My suggestion is to emphasize a whole different set of patron saints. Moses, Hegel, Kant, Gra, Israel Salanter, Rav Shach, Tosphot, Rambam, the Ari (Isaac Luria). [The Rambam, the Ari and Hegel are very Neo-Platonic so it is easy to fit them into one system.]

As for the last three the basic idea is that there is no reason to think that one could be put into a room with the Oral and Written Law of Moses and come up on my own the basic approach of Torah. If I understand the importance of learning Torah as a value in itself and of working to attain good character traits and if learning Torah in depth, then I owe a debt of gratitude to these individual who worked this out and showed the way. 

What you need from each of the above thinkers is this: The Gra for learning Torah; Rav Shach and Tosphot for showing the depth of Torah; Kant for the limitation of reason and knowledge that is known but not through  physical senses nor through reason. [One could have  used the Rambam for that also.]
The Rambam for Torah Law, and learning Physics and Metaphysics. The Ari and Hegel for Metaphysics. John Locke for freedom and private property. The last one you could have gotten from the Two Talmuds but for some reason most people miss the message there. They think the welfare state and Socialism which is organized theft is kosher. Reb Israel Salanter one needs for good character plus fear of God.  

The Gra has a whole school of disciples  that are worthwhile to learn:  the commentaries on the page of the Yerushalim Talmud, the Nefeh HaChaim, the Netziv, etc. The Nefesh HaChaim is important  from many angles. One of the points he brings out is that intention to unite one's soul to the soul of a tzadik righteous person is idolatry.
[Rav Kook the founder or religious Zionism already incorporated Hegel into his ideas as is well known. ]


From what I can see from religious people it is in fact not a good idea that they should have political power. The very thing that makes them religious makes them susceptible to numinous value from the Dark Side without knowing it. They might be very aware of Numinious value from the realm of Holiness, but as a rule they can't tell when the Dark Side seeps into them. 
I wrote a little about the importance of Rav Shach but when I mention Rav Shach I really mean it as shorthand for the whole school of thought starting from Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, through Rav Baruch Ber and Shimon Shkop, and Naftali Troup.

What this means is that there is this whole school of thought that Reb Chaim started that basically says that there is a way to justify the Rambam. 

Now to some degree this process started a long time ago, but it just was not very effective. At the most you would get with the Beit Yoseph and others the source from where the Rambam got his law from. But almost never "Why" or "How?"

The אור שמח I think was the actual beginning of this process. But it is mainly attributed to Reb Chaim. The reason I usually mention Rav Shach is that he brought this process to the pinnacle of perfection is his book the Avi Ezri. Or at least that is how it seems to me. My own experience with the חידושי הרמב''ם of Reb Chaim is that it always leaves me unsatisfied. Always. I always end up more confused than when I started. Even though he goes a long way in solving the difficulties with his יסודות foundation principles. Still I always end up with a feeling that things are more confusing than when they started out. But with the Avi Ezri I always feel amazingly happy after I have finished a piece. I feel when he answers a difficult Rambam that the problem has in fact been solved.

[The general Litvak approach does not usually include the Rambam's idea of learning Physics and Metaphysics. I assume the reason is because even to the Rambam there is not question that knowing Shas come first and that is something that takes a certain amount of time. I learned Gemara for years and only recently did God grant me to write two small booklets on Bava Metzia and one on just a few places in Shas.]

the religious world

One problem I see in the religious world is that one that chooses it for a life style is essentially committing himself to a lifetime of asking people for charity. And to justify that claim he has to try to prove he is doing some kind of public service. And then when people ask him for charity the answer is always, "No" because he feels they are not as good as him.
[That is, it is not just you that noticed this. It came time for you that you needed a favor, and were surprised that you were refused. You thought this was an anomaly. But it is not. It is modus operandi.  

Of course there are great servants of God (like Bava Sali) whom people gladly gave money to because they knew he was helping others in many ways. But that is not the usual religious life style which is mainly to go around to secular Reform Jews and try to convince them to give him money.

[That is the religious world exists mainly by a kind of fraud. When they try to get money they always try to show how they are doing some kind of public service. But when someone actually needs helps they always refuse unless they think there is some way they can make more money out of exploiting him. In other words the very essence of the religious world is in direct contradiction to the basic values of Torah. I hope it is clear that this is an attack on those that misrepresent Torah and desecrate it, not against the Holy Torah itself. There are good institutions that are worthwhile to support like the great Litvak yeshivas [based on Rav Shach, Reb Israel Salanter and the Gra] that learn and teach authentic Torah.


Plato and Kant and the Law of Moses.

I might be optimistic but I do not think Dr. Bloom was. [Closing of the American Mind] He saw an essential contradiction in the Enlightenment itself and he definitely saw the universities (the humanities and social studies departments) as the major source of the problem.

He was not religious but he saw that Torah was an important source of value. But he was also aware that the problems of the Enlightenment did not pop up spontaneously. They had arisen as the problems with Throne and Altar in the Middle Ages had become apparent. That is he did not see any essential workable approach at all. And he thought that unless one was found we are all in hot soup.

That being said I should mention that I thought I had seen something amazing in the Litvak Yeshiva world. But I also saw the surrounding religious world is a kind of insane asylum.  So I saw I kind of solution to the problems that Allen Bloom saw. --that is to learn and keep straight Torah. But I also saw that the religious are mad. So It seems to me there is a simpler solution simply to join a Reform Temple or a Conservative Synagogue and to learn Torah in that context or on ones own.
That I I would avoid the religious at all cost unless there happens to be a legitimate Litvak yeshiva in the area. That is any yeshiva based on the Gra, Reb Israel Salanter and Rav Shach. For example: Ponovitch, Mir, Brisk, Chaim Berlin, Torah VeDaat and others based on that model.

To explain why I think avoiding the religious at all cost is important I have to make note that the major mitzvah in the Torah is to avoid idolatry. Since every religious group that I know of is heavily into idolatry it is therefore important to avoid them. That takes precedence of any kind of benefit you imagine you might gain from them.

I think Dr Bloom was thinking along the lines that Hegel would be an answer to the kind of dilemma he was seeing, but if he thought so why did he not write it openly? Same goes for the Oral and Written Torah. Why did he not say so? The only openly expressed answer in his entire book is for people to learn the Republic of Plato. [Read between the lines and you might see that Dr Bloom was also considering the three critiques of Kant. But he clearly was not going to choose between Kant and Hegel. If anything he would have suggested reading and learning intensely both.

The Alt Right is suggesting a return to kings but not to Altar.(the Catholic Church). They are also suggesting nationalism.

Both seem very close to Hegel with his Constitutional Monarchy and importance of the super organism. I however have a lot of trouble with Hegel.

But at least Dr. Bloom and I agree on the importance of Plato and Kant and see the importance of the Law of Moses. 

I am personally in favor of Plato and the whole Kant/Hegel school which is highly Platonic. Christians I think are not very happy with Plato because of the heresies of the Gnostics like Valentinus.


The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom)

The book, The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom) attributed most problems-in the USA today to the Humanities and Social Studies departments of universities.

What I recommend instead is to learn the basic program of the Rambam, the Oral and Written Law, plus Modern Physics and Metaphysics of Aristotle. That plus Musar.
And for Musar {Mediaeval Ethics} I mainly think the best thing out there is the כוכבי אור [Stars of Light] by a disciple of Reb Israel Salanter, Isaac Blazer.

[I myself have a fascination with classical learning but today if you would want to learn that stuff, it is best to do it on your own. I doubt if the Rambam would agree with any of it. At least Kant he would include in his program of Metaphysics.]

On a side note:

The Gra would agree about the seven wisdoms. That is the Trivium and Quadrivium-grammar, rhetoric, and logic,arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. See the introduction of Reb Baruch of Shkolov on his translation of Euclid. He quotes the Gra: to the degree that one lacks knowledge in any one of the seven wisdoms to that degree times a hundred he will lack in understanding of the Torah.

What I like about the Stars of Light  is how he makes the whole idea of Musar clear--fear of God and good midot {character}. Astronomy today is mostly Physics so there the Gra and the Rambam are on the same page. Geometry today is mainly Algebraic Topology and for that I recommend the book by Allen Hatcher. 

Incidentally in the Stars of Light, Rav Isaac Blazer does go into the importance of making a special place to learn Musar, but that never took off the ground. Rather Musar got absorbed into the straight Litvak (Lithuanian) yeshivas and that is where I think it has the most benefit. [These are yeshivas that follow roughly the path of the Gra, Rav Eliyahu from Villna.]

Speed reading and learning fast.

I was fascinated by the idea of learning fast from an early age. I noticed that by just saying the words and going on, that the second time I would review material, it would become clear.
And this was a kind of thing that was just all around in the USA. There were speed reading courses, and speed reading books etc.  And I even remember applying to a college that specialized in this kind of thing for reading classical philosophy and literature.

Though in yeshiva this was frowned upon, still in on my own time [the afternoon and evening sessions after the morning class.]  I tried hard to make progress through the Talmud and Poskim [Rishonim, mediaeval commentaries on the Talmud]. 

I was not aware of the opinion of the Rambam that Physics and Metaphysics were important aspects of Torah, and I think I was not the only one who was unaware of that. But if I had been aware I probably would have done the speed reading thing with Physics + Metaphysics also.

The difference is that in the Talmud itself and in the Musar (Ethics) book the Paths of the Righteous the way that is recommended to do speed reading is to say the words  and then to go on.

[Incident to the above. The Rambam idea of Physics and Metaphysics is that that is the fulfillment of the mitzvah to love and fear God. That is since the Torah can not command an emotion we understand instead that it commands to learn the material of the wonders of God's creation that inspire one to love and fear God. The Rambam is very aware of the problem of spirituality with no boundaries and dry formalism and legalities on the other. Thus he comes up with this elegant idea.] 

[In the Rambam's world view the beginning of one's learning would be to get through the entire Old Testament in Hebrew, and the Mishne Torah {יד החזקה} as as brief introduction to the laws of Moses, the Metaphysics and Physics of Aristotle. But this all would be just introductory material to prepare the way for further study.
The ultimate goal would be to finish at least once in one's lifetime the entire Oral Law--the two Talmuds and all the midrashim. Even if one does not understand it here he will in the next world.

I also discovered that to get to any decent level in any subject takes at least one year of concentrating on that one thing alone.  I discovered this in playing the violin. And later in the to great yeshivas Shar Yashuv and the Mir in NY I also realize that I only made progress because I directed all my fire power onto learning Gemara alone. I began to realize this is a general principle.


I can think of no worse nightmare than being under the control of the religious.

The Leftist policies in the USA need to be cleaned up and thrown out. Liberalism gone amok. 
--I am not sure what needs to be cleaned up exactly. I kind of think the Catholic church was in need of some kind of Reform. Yet looking at the general result of Martin Luther it is hard to see much good until you actually get to the creation of the USA and the Constitution of the USA. Kings also do not seem so great. I can kind of sympathize with John Locke and Hobbes and the other  Enlightenment philosophers that were looking for a good place of balance.

And from my standpoint it is hard for me to imagine living under the control of religious people. From what I have experienced, I can think of no worse nightmare than being under the control of the religious. I think it is clear something along the lines of the Constitution of the USA is absolutely necessary. Reform and Conservative Jews are Jews that have great faith in Torah but have been mugged by those that pretend to keep Torah.[The main trouble with the religious seems to be that they are insane.]   
This tendency was noted by Sapolsky of the Schizoid personality tending to be religious. This is at least something I noticed also. Thus you definitely do not want them to be in charge. When they are they manage to ruin everything they touch. But they make a whole song and dance about how we are all one happy family while they are love-bombing you.

From the way I see things, things in the USA were great as long as it was more or less going with John Locke and the Constitution and an underlying belief in the Law of Moses. What seems to me is that the Frankfurt school and the worst parts of Hegel got into everything. Maybe for Tzarist Russia, Lenin thought that Hegel and Marx were needed to end their involvement with WWI and the Russian Civil War. But that is what what necessary to get power and stop the chaos. The trouble is the USA was doing perfect well before people started trying to tear down traditional family values and belief in the Bible.  

Obviously the Antinomianism [anti Law] of Paul got into the early church deeply

I am surprised that many people that teach Christianity seem unaware of issues that I would think are important to know. Or at least to me they seem relevant.
The list could go on and on. For example I would have thought that Thomas Aquinas would be relevant. That is even if you don't agree with him on any or even every single point, still it seems that before I would speak about any topic, I might try to make it my business to be sure that I was familiar with the writings of people that had dealt with the exact same issues I wanted to speak about. Even more so. If you are in a classroom and the professor gives you a  hard equation in Calculus to solve, and the smartest kid in the room comes up with a different answer than you, would that not give you a minute's pause?  Would you not recheck your work? Would you not wonder if maybe you made a mistake?
But that is just one of many examples. For another, let's take the evangelical movement. How many people in that movement are even dimly aware of its history, or that it even has a history from Azusa Street? [They seem to think the movement was born in its full glory as Athena born from the forehead of Zeus.] [How many evangelicals today would even recognize the name Parham, arguably the father the evangelical movement? Or Seymour for that matter--the ipso facto founder of that  movement which has altered the face of Protestantism.

There is the issue of the many writings of early Christians that seem  relevant. I have not really formulated my thoughts about all this very well, and this is just a reminder to myself about some issues. There are plenty of issues in the printed NT also that are ignored:-- Christology for example. There are deep differences there between gospel writers about who and what they thought of Christ, and what kind of role they thought he fulfilled. Obviously the Antinomianism [anti Law] of Paul got into the early church deeply and it is a thread of Christian thought that continues until today.
[Marcion, Valentinus, Ebion church, Anabaptists, etc. The aspcet of anti Torah of Valentius was not apparent at first. It was seen he evaporate the meaning of the Law. But the immoral tendencies only became apparent when it broke off into two sects,  the Marcosians and the Ophites.]

What to think of all this is not clear as I myself stand outside the church. It is relevant because of people like Avraham Abulafia the medieval mystic that saw in Jesus the messiah son of Joseph predicted in the Talmud Suka. And there is a mention of this in the Ari. That is at the end of the book of Genesis when the burial of Joseph is discussed by Reb Chaim Vital, there is a comment that shows his agreement with Rav Abulafia. [That is not the only place though in the Ari.] Rav Yaakov Emden came to the same conclusion, but I am pretty  sure he did so on his own without knowledge of Rav Abulafia or the Ari. [Rav Abulfia's books were only printed a few years ago. And the reference in the Ari is kind of obscure.]

[The thing which bothers most people I think is the history of the church as it relates to Jewish people, and that is in fact a significant point. But it is no less significant that when you need a kindness nowadays you know the address to go to. That is a fact that has certainly not escaped people's attention when they are in need. And it is certainly forgotten about the minute they are no longer in need.]

[The simple fact of the matter is contained in the Ari in what he writes about the breaking of the vessels in which the light of kindness is contained in יסוד (foundation) after the tikun.]

The Left has clearly made politics into a religion and have found support for this from Hegel.

Politics is not numinous reality. It is not and ought not to be a religion. But it serves as religion for many. Perhaps it is better than some really bad religions. But as a rule there is no aspect of transcendence that applies to politics.

There is no reward in heaven for advancing some system of human organization. Not Democracy, not Socialism. Ziltch.

Even one's particular group or cult does not get one into Heaven.
You either act right,- or you don't. That is all there is to it.

[The Left has clearly made politics into a religion and have found support for this from Hegel. And almost all people that are religious also try to make their religion into a political system and assume that that great mitzva will get them into Heaven. That is just one more of the many ways people go wrong.]  


The religious world is a haunted house full of demons and goblins.

  It is more instructive to learn the writings of people that left cults than it is to learn about the cults themselves. There was one fellow that left a Hindu cult  that had a lot of great insights into the whole problem of cults. [I am referring to the cult of Adi Da. He had one disciple who left him and wrote about the problems with that cult in a very insightful way.]

  One thing he noticed that I would like to take a few minutes to discuss is the issue of archetypes. In short, the basic idea really begins with the fact  that people that get into the Intermediate Zone have a problem with ego inflation

  What he suggested was that even people that successfully get absorbed into some higher archetype are still to be avoided, because the human soul is higher than any archetype. Coming close to a person that you believe has successfully avoided the Intermediate Zone and the Dark Side, and you think has merited to become one with some higher archetype, will still have the effect of damage to your own soul.   

  That being said, there still were in history great people that merited to wondrous and amazing things. These people are not secret. We have no doubts about Einstein, Mozart, Moses, the Rambam, the Gra, Reb Israel Salanter, Rav Shach, Bava Sali, Plato, etc. 

  But we also know about people that were a mixed bag and some who were very great in intellect and yet did horrific damage. 

  The greatest problem seems to be in the area of numinous [religious] reality.-- because that is where when people fall and do damage that they fall the hardest and do the most harm. 

The trouble seems endemic in the religious world. The religious world is a haunted house full of demons and goblins. It is hard to find a corner of light.  

The best idea is to find examples of human excellence that truly were excellent and not take for one's goal to emulate people that were a mixed bag of good and bad ideas.

There are problems on two sides. One is religious fanatics of high self delusions, and the other is what is called anti-nomian-ism [anti-Law].   In this essay I have dealt mainly with the first problem because it fills the religious world today. The trouble is these two things are connected. Often the exact same group with the self delusions is the same as the antinomianism group. They use the Law of Moses as a cover and disguise.  


The Rambam's learning program

The Rambam has a learning program that involves dividing one day into three parts.  A third for the written Torah [Tenach/Old Testament].Another third for the Oral Law. Another third for deepening one's understanding of the Oral Law, that is Gemara. It sounds at first when he says the Oral Law he means the Talmud. But the actual language he uses is "Oral Law,"- the same exact terminology he uses for his own Mishne Torah.

That means, he considers  his book the Mishna Torah as containing the Oral Law.  It is in the  third part of deepening one's understanding of the Oral Law that learning the Talmud comes into his program.

Included in the third part of his program is Metaphysics and Physics as he says openly in Mishne Torah. [He explained this is more detail in the Guide. In the beginning of the Guide he explains what he means by Physics and Metaphysics and later explains why they are important.]

So he considers deepening one's understanding of the Mishne Torah as the essence of Gemara.
Thus nowadays what one ought to do after finishing the Mishne Torah straight through [which should take a few weeks at most], is to learn it again with Rav Shach's Avi Ezri, Reb Chaim Soloveitchik's חידושי הרמב''ם, and the books of the disciples of Reb Chaim-- Reb Baruch Ber, and Shimon Shkop. Plus Naphtali Troup (חידושי הגרנ''ט).

I am  pleased with seeing this with clarity because it has the benefit of fitting in with how I tend to learn the Gemara--that is to concentrate on one sugia at a time. That is-- to spend a great deal of time on one sugia (subject) which generally includes a few tosphots and a chapter  or two in the Rambam plus the portion of the Avi Ezri or Chidushei HaRambam that happen to deal with that particular sugia.
It is nice to see that this in fact fits in exactly with what the Rambam was saying anyway before I even realized that this is exactly what the the Rambam was saying to do.

Seeing this also has the advantage that it fits with something secret the daughter of Bava Sali told me.And also it fits with my parents idea about Torah.


Two problems with many people that are religious: ego inflation, and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

The problem with religion was noticed by Sapolsky.[Robert Sapolsky at Stanford]
The problem is that of motivation as it relates to schizoid personalities.
That is, since as the Ari says most of this world is evil, we have to assume the majority of people obsessed with religion are doing it from the standpoint of Schizoid personalities. [Their obsession with ritual and sex is really a form of OCD.]
And that also means those that are obsessed with religion from the standpoint of trying to disprove some religion, or all religion, are also coming from the standpoint of a a schizoid  personality.

But we also know of authentic mystics and tzadikim that were God filled. Their service towards God was certainly not from some personality defect. Some example might be Bava Sali or the Gra or the Rambam.

The way I think to deal with this is from the idea of Dr. Kelley Ross--that of intention.[That is he solves the problem of Ontological undecidability by means of intention and that is what I think makes the main difference here also.]

The other problem with religion I noticed is ego inflation. This can either be a flattering image of one's self as some kind of central world figure. Or it can refer in its beginning stages to one's group. In either case it is a terrible mental disease. And it exists in all religious teachers that I have seen. And in fact in a large majority of religious people.
Both effects OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Ego Inflation are direct results of what Kant called "Antimonies."That is contradictions that results when pure reason enter into areas of the dinge an sich.

The problem with dentists

There is a lot to go into in terms of the issue about teeth. As I mentioned dentists are notorious for making up work to do that is totally not necessary and has the effect of making holes in one's teeth and then they fill up the hole they themselves make with some putty that eventually falls out and then food and bacteria get into the tooth and ruin it. As I said I would only trust the NYU clinic in Manhattan or dentists in former USSR that make sure never to do work that is unnecessary. [In Israel, I did find a great dentist in Netivot, but he was anyway trained in the former USSR.]

[The problem with dentists I noticed myself but it was also documented on American Journal.] [They walked into clinic after clinic after the producer' teeth had been found to be perfect and every single clinic claimed he needed lost of work to be done.]


[obligations of the Torah that are between Man and God and other obligations that are between man and man.

There seems to be some kind of equilibrium point where you maximize the בין אדם לחבירו ובין אדם למקום. 
[obligations of the Torah that are between Man and God and other obligations that are between man and man.]

For we see groups that are not religious at all. Then there are groups that are more religious and then even more until you get to the ultra religious. And the measure of menshichkeit/human decency seems to take a nose dive according to the degree people are religious.There seems to be a kind of inverse proportionality.

But to be not religious at all is not an option for there are plenty of obligations of the Torah that are בין אדם למקום between Man and God. [And being totally secular has already been noticed also seems to affect obligation between man and fellow man adversely. So what I suggest there is some middle point. Perhaps Conservative Judaism where you maximize both sets of obligations without detracting from the other.

Therefore you have to say there is some middle point where both functions are maximized.
[The fact of the religious being dismal in obligations between man and fellow man is something they will rigorously  deny  though anyone outside of their immediate close friends and family will admit this to be true after any degree of experience with them. Unless he happens to be one of the naive rich secular Jews that they make  a whole song and dance to impress. Other than that everyone knows the frum world is a nightmare when it comes to human decency.]

I wish I could say the more religious the better but the facts overwhelmingly point towards this terrible problem that the religious will vehemently deny and try to hide. You might not believe me now, but after letting them into your life, and seeing the  infinite, irreparable damage they cause, you will see my point.

People are now being taught: Do not resist. Do not question them. To point out the problems is considered lashon hara  You must comply. Go along, to get along.  

World of the religious. Worship of corpses.

 Torah scholarship undoubtedly moves in fads, and  much of the literature has received less attention than it deserves. The general rule of thumb about the Rishonim (mediaeval authorities) is quite true--that they form the backbone of explaining the Torah. 

While some Achronim (later authorities after 1520) are very valuable, but a lot of trash got thrown into Torah thought in since the times of the movement the Shatz. [That is from around the time of 1660.]

While to some degree bad cults are weeded out over time, but sometimes not. Sometimes they just change form.

Nowadays to find out what authentic Torah thought says the worst place to go is to the religious. The world of the religious has sadlly become an epi-phenomenon of the Shatz and in fact uses the Torah as a cloak to disguise their anti Torah teachings and demonic essence which is Worship of corpses.  ["Kivrei tzadikim"]

The main problem with the cult that the Gra put a Cherem {חרם} excommunication on is idolatry. That is: people have a natural tendency to worship some idol. It does not really matter which one it is. That cult made worship of its leaders as a kind of supposedly kosher idolatry and created a sophisticated system to show how it is kosher based on the kabalah and also used ideas from the Shatz and also makes sure to look kosher in dress and rituals to try and get away with this fraud. 

[There are some islands of authentic Torah like Ponovitch in Israel and the NY yeshivas Mir, etc. But as a rule of thumb it is best to stick to Mesorati or Conservative and Reform in  order to avoid the kelipot (demonic forces) that fill the world of the religious.]

Mesorati means Conservative but it is roughly the same as Religious Zionism or Mizrachi or Bnei Akiva.--All very good.

Rishonim means the great sages from the time after Rav Hai Gaon until the Beit Joseph.
Achronim means from the Beit Joseph and on. That period in itself ought to be divided into two. The achronim before Reb Chaim Soloveitchik and after him. The reason is that after Reb Chaim Torah scholarship shifted in a way I can not describe but you can see easily if you compare  the achronim before him and after him. All the great yeshivas after Reb Chaim teach in more or less the basic approach of Reb Chaim.

I want to add that borrowing or finding the same themes and ideas does not mean identity nor does it mean conscious borrowing. The fact that the religious teach the doctrines of the Shatz does not mean they are doing it with intention nor that there are some variations. For example no one could consider Reb Nachman anything but  as  completely sincere and devoted to God and the holy Torah. Sincerity however does not mean there are no mistakes.  But Reb Nachman is the exception, not the rule and was not in fact under the excommunication of the Gra at all as you can see by reading the original documents.

The problem tends to be circumvention of the Torah. Most often what people in power are doing is finding ways of getting out of keeping the Torah according to its simple meaning. In general the text of the Holy Torah and the Talmud is perfectly clear.The religious in order to get out of things  they do not like simply ignore the Torah. In Torah we do not trust those in power and we always check the text. That is what the text of the Oral and Written Torah is for.
There seems to be some kind of equilibrium point where you maximize the בין אדם לחבירו ובין אדם למקום. For we see groups that are not religious at all. Then there are groups that are more religious and then even more until you get to the ultra religious. And the measure of menshichkeit/human decency seems to take a nose dive according to the degree people are religious.


The History of teaching  History is important to know. In the span of time from 1960 until today teaching history has become a kind of brainwashing meant to subvert the values of democracy and undermine the Constitution of the USA and the free market system. Allen Bloom in his very important book the Closing of the American Mind went into a detailed description of how the social studies and humanities departments of universities have become brain washing factories. Though it is easier to learn History than Math and more fun also still that does not give either of these departments much value. So be careful.  It is best to learn books of history that were written before 1960.


This IDF Soldier shuts off the lights for Islamic Terrorists.

this-female-idf-soldier-fights-off-23-Islamic terrorists-in-ambush-attack-after-being-shot/

I should mention that  the best approach to the State of Israel that I have seen is in the book by the Gra קול התור.

In short that is the approach of basically what later was developed by רב אברהם קוק  

Rav Kook's approach itself was highly related to Hegel as is well known.

My own interest in Israel however began with my noticing the opinion of Nachmanides [The Ramban] that includes settling in Israel as part of the 613 commandments. I would have to say that that formed a lot of my motivation for actually making Aliya.

The approach of the religious [which is anti Israel] in this regard I think is nefarious and despicable.

Almost everything the religious do or think is exactly against the holy Torah

Shaari Teshuva by Rabainu Yona

Ethics. {Musar}. I think  one of the most important Musar books to read is the Shaari Teshuva [Gates of Repentance] by Rabainu Yona. It occurred to me that it contains all the basics of Torah in a small, thin volume. Just think about it. It goes through the stringency of לאווין [prohibitions] that is a very important aspect of Torah. Then it goes through pretty much all the aspects of Torah that are relevant today that most people do not know about. And then it gets into the ארבע כיתות that deals with the four types of people that will never see the Divine Countenance. Those that speak lies, lashon hara, ליצנות, flattery.

If you think about it you can see it contains most of the basic facts that one needs to know in order to understand and keep the Torah. That is pretty remarkable for one small book to do.


Rav Avraham Abulafia

I have dealt with the issue of Rav Avraham Abulafia before today and he still seems to me to be important enough to bring up again. Professor Moshe Idel at Hebrew University has written about him already, and Rav Abulafia's  many books as a set are for the first time available in Mea Shearim.  Some would call him a kabalist, but he was not a kabalist. He was a mystic, and there is a big difference. I discovered his writings in the basement of HU, and spent a lot of time trying to decipher them --before they were actually printed in the modern edition. I was not sure myself what to think of him until I found him quoted by Reb Chaim Vital and the Remak and even the Chida.

You can get Professors Idel's books on him, but nothing quite compares to the impact and shock of actually reading his own words and visions. 

It might seem I am not in favor of mystics, but that is only partially true. I am against kabalists and mystics from the dark side as all of them are today. But a true tzadik like Rav Abulafia I have only the greatest respect for.

[The Chida writes very positively about him and adds "The Rashba (a Mediaeval Torah scholar) treated him as a common and empty person, and I do not know why? He was clearly a great man.]

The thing you have to know when it comes to mystic things is you need to get it from the realm of holiness. The trouble with the cult the Gra put into excommunication was  they are from the Devil and therefore can not be trusted even when they say seemingly right things, and do what seem to be kosher deeds on the surface.  

[Just for public information I ought to mention the aspects of mystic tradition I  think are OK: Sefer Yetzira, Rav Abulafia, the Ari (Isaac Luria), the Gra, Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeira and  his current day descendants, and the Reshash (Shalom Sharabi)), the Remak. ] Outside of these one must run from what disguises itself as Jewish mysticism but is actually from the Satan as almost all modern day kabalists are. Not to mention the cult the Gra put into excommunication because he saw they are from Satan, though  they try to cover up their unkosher, unholy inner essence with Jewish rituals. You need to burn whatever they touch.

I am not saying I understood the Reshash. But I think he is very important in order to understand the Arizal (האריז''ל), but I just never got that far with him. It was mainly the Intentions of Sukka (כוונת סוכה) and Drush HaDaat (דרוש הדעת) that I did fairly thoroughly in the Rehash. And that actually went along well with the Intentions of the Omer (כוונת הועמר) that I did in Shar Hakavanot and also in the Sidur HaReshash (סידור הרש''ש) by the grandson of the Reshash. 

I should warn people that I do not think anyone should look at even this very important stuff until having finished Shas with Rashi Tosphot. --a warning offered by the Ari himself in at least two places with surprising severity. [My personal favorites are the עץ חיים of the Ari and almost anything the Remak wrote. Rav Abulafia was not my favorite reading, but I copied down some of his major unifications and used to concentrate on them a lot as he said to do. I think I would have to say he is my favorite mystic, and my second would be the Ari.] 
[Some of the obvious problems are that people get mixed up with the idea that the mental "high " they get from this is somehow connected with Devekut [soul attachment with God]. But there are a host of other problems.] There are mystics that get attachment with God. But that is rare and it is not the kind of emotional high that people think.


The "Nirvana Fallacy."

 The issue of what kind of system or constitution people choose to live under is not an idle question. And it matter also if  the system is large or small where everyone knows everyone else, and there is a certain amount of confidence in promises and trust in one another.

 This is a issue I have thought about for a long time after seeing the fact that religious people universally assume as an a priori principle that if they were in charge and in control, that everything would be peachy. The "Nirvana Fallacy." Yet we see that when in fact, they gain any power at all, they always manage to destroy good arrangements and understanding between people, and to make bad situations much worse than they would be without their meddling.

Yet we also see some great yeshivas which are great not just for themselves but for the entire surrounding communities like Ponovitch in Bnei Brak and the three great NY yeshivas, Mir Chaim Berlin and Torah Vedaat.

This is an obvious question but one that few people have ever raised in such a fashion. Rather what we see is people take a pro or con approach without  considering that the facts on the ground seem to point in contrary directions even without any interpretation.

The answer to me seems simple-- based on Hobbes. That is the difference between government and civil society. That is government is a monopoly of force. That is the most terrible thing to grant to religious people under any circumstances. But civil society is voluntary arrangements between people and that  is the place of Torah. קיימו וקבלו as it says in Megilat Esther. That they accepted the Torah afresh in the time of Morechai and Esther.
Thus we see in private institutions like yeshiva where everyone is there because they want to be there everything works fine. But when you introduce an element of coercion (כפייה דתית as they call it in Israel)  then the whole pie is ruined. [Plus the problem with the fanatical religious that their word is meaningless. For some odd reason they do not seem to think lying or fraud towards secular Jews is  a problem.]

Another issue is that the religious are exceptionally prone to schizoid tendencies which makes them susceptible to the illusion that whatever they are feeling or thinking at the time must be right and must apply to all people uniformly--since they believe they are in direct contact with the Divine. This leads to incredible levels of self delusions.  The reasons the great yeshivas avoid this problem is obvious--they are Litvaks. That is they go with straight Torah as their guide. 

And their intention is clear -to sit and learn Torah and to keep it. It is not to gain power. The last thing you want to do in grant coercive power to any faction that seeks it, no matter how nice they make themselves seem before they get power. You know they will control everyone for the interest of their own small faction.

Note 1. The importance of what kind of system people to live under you can see from Herodotus when the Persians were deciding whether to live under a democracy or an monarchy, and in the history of the war between Sparta and Athens when what kind of system in place largely determined outcomes. 

Note 2. It should be obvious that people have the right to be free of fraud and force. Thus the existence of  a civil society [where government does not enter into] does not give the right to people to commit fraud. Thus the fraud of the religious ought to be outlawed.
It, at least, comes under the category of dishonest representation of one's product.

Note 3. No one should be able to declare himself a expert in Law without authentic ordination which no longer exists since the middle of the Talmudic period. They do not get to call themselves experts and thus lord over other Jews by means of fiat and their own decrees.


Reform Judaism as opposite to Jewish cults.

The trouble with Jewish cults is that something can be idolatry and still be quite Jewish and even  seem kosher. Jewish cults are the modern permutation of idolatry. Just because something is Jewish and 100% kosher does not mean it is not idolatry

The main obligation of the Torah as we see from the second commandment of the Ten Commandment is not to do idolatry.

The way to see this is from the Gemara in Sanhedrin [circa 64] and also in the Tosephta האומר עבדוני חייב

One tells another person, "serve me" is liable under the law of מסית ומדיח (One who tries to seduce another to do idolatry.)
And their supposed "devekut" (ecstasy) is of diabolical origin since the mind and the speech of the ecstatic are confused, as if he were being spurred on by someone else, or as if another were speaking through him.

[This is one area in which Reform Judaism is doing a lot better than the more religious who have a great deal of trouble with cults. I can scarcely even think of any religious group that is not actually doing idolatry. ](You can easily see the problem in the religious world because along with idolatry comes dishonesty. There is no security of possessions or contract or even your own wife and children.)

Another side point about Reform is they are mainly going like R.Shimon Ben Yochai that holds we go by the reason for the verse--דורשים טעמה דקרא

And another important point is that  the basic creed of Reform is Monotheism which is in fact the creed of the Torah. That is the belief that God made the world, and He is not the world.

However is there is a authentic Lithuanian kind of yeshiva in the area that is the best. [Authentic can mean   either Mir, Chaim Berlin, Torah VeDaat, or Ponovitch,--or it can mean that it is run by someone who learned at one of these  authentic yeshivas.]
 The trouble with the religious is the "Nirvana Fallacy" You see an imperfect world and they suppose if they were in charge everything would be better. When they get power they always make  bad situations worse.  And their rule when it comes to secular Jew is "force and fraud." Promises  are considered as a way of gaining misplaced trust with no intent of fulfillment.  The better system is Reform and Conservative Judaism in which religion is mainly the private sphere. Coercion ought to be separate from Torah.

Administrative Agencies?

Administrative Agencies? I should mention that Dr Kelley Ross also criticizes this at this link

NYC Junto Oct. 1, 2015: Epstein and Huemer. Small government or no government?


points of focus.

In my own life I have found it useful to have  several points of focus. That is I try to identify negative points of focus--things I have done wrong and try to find ways of correcting these areas. Also I try to identify areas of positive value to focus on. 

That is "Teshuva" (repentance) is trying to figure out what I have messed up, and what to do about it. And then there is the fact that people can have only a very few central rules that they keep in mind,-- and so I try to identify the central areas that need attention.
And I do not want to pick out rules randomly or just pick rules based on what people tell me that they think is important. Like my Dad used to say, "The best way to lose money on Wall Street is to listen to the experts."

So just to make this short "Learning Torah" in the sense of Lithuanian kinds of yeshivas I have found to be an important area of focus. You tend to see this best in the small book, Nefesh HaChaim  by a disciple of the Gra, Reb Chaim from Voloshin.
[When we say "Learning Torah" in the sense understood by Litvak yeshivas and by Reb Chaim from Voloshin we tend to mean the entire Oral and Written Law. Tenach, the two Talmuds, Sifra Sifrei, Midrash Raba etc. That is the actual Oral Law as it was written down by the Tenaim and Amoraim [Talmudic sages]. Later on adaptions or reductions tend to be not what is referred to in this sense.  [Thus learning Gemara is called "Learning Torah."][Based on the Rambam. I also consider Physics as apart of the Oral Law as he says openly  in Mishne Torah.]

Another area of focus I think is important is Musar. Fear of God. That is the works of Ethics written during the Middle Ages which help to orient one's attention to what is important in Torah. Good character, fear of God etc.

Part of the importance of this is that there are values that one thinks he made up all by himself, but in fact gets from the media, TV, his parents, his society etc. Very few people make up their own values from scratch (though almost everyone thinks they did.)
And besides the values that one hold to consciously or unconsciously, there is to issue of the inner essence of a person --who and what he really is, in spite of the fact he might be holding to values to go against his inner essence.

The reason true authentic Torah learning is so rare is that any one who wants to gain many followers has to make extraordinary promises. Litvak yeshivas make no promises and claim no special revelations of Divine truth. Their job is simply to sit and learn plain straight Torah. 
 They do not even claim money to support them. They are well are that learning Torah is not a money making profession, and never claim that it is. 


People that try to use Torah for money are simply scoundrels  and should be avoided at all cost. Plus the cults that think they are in communication with the dead ought to be avoided. This is a common feature in all the religious groups and therefore they all should be avoided. 
Another way of telling whom is  a false teacher-he asks for  money. Another thing is they assume they have authority that the Torah does not give them. After all semicha (ordination) is non existent. True authentic ordination ceased during the middle of the Talmudic period. 

And they make extraordinary claims. They are not teaching Torah.


The Hindus had this idea of following in your parents footsteps. [I mean that they thought this is desirable.] To me this makes a lot of sense as long as what one's parents are about and what they are doing is not obviously wrong. I think one's parents and ones immediate family and one;s immediate friends have a lot to do with what one is. They not not just reflect on his inner essence but are apart of it.

See חידושי הגרנ''ט from Reb Naphtali (Troup) [One of the great Roshei Yeshiva at the time of Reb Chaim Soloveitchik.] He considers כיבוד אב ואם (honor of one's father and mother) as a regular מצוות עשה(positive command).  [I forget the context and I do not have the book to be able to look it up. His book incidentally is highly related to the חידושי הרמב''ם of Reb Chaim.

In the Ari שער הגלגולים we find that one's inner light comes from his mother and his outer light אור מקיף comes from his father. There is a lot to go into about this but I think I wrote about this a few times already.

In any case, this would not apply if the parents are on some kind of bad path. This is dealt with at length in the Tur Beit Yoseph