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5.12.16

We know what legitimate Torah is

I noticed one very nice thing about Torah, and that is that we know what legitimate Torah is. There is very little (if any at all) ambiguity  about what is authentic Torah. And that makes it easy to detect what is phony and false.
Just for the record, just in case there might be some person who does not know:
The Oral and Written Torah  we know very well what they are. Two Talmuds, Tosephta, Sifra Sifri, Midrash Raba, Midrash Tanchuma.
We know what is legitimate and authentic halacha [Rif, Rosh, Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch of Rabainu Joseph Karo.]
We know what are the authentic books of Musar  (Ethics) (Obligations of the Heart, אורחות צדיקים  שערי תשובה.)
And we know what are the authentic books of השקפה [- the world view of Torah]. The Guide for the Perplexed of the Rambam, אמונות ודעות of Saadia Gaon. [Joseph Albo and Abravanel also.]

And we know what is legitimate למדנות: books showing how to learn: R. Akiva Eiger, Reb Chaim Soloveitchik (חידושי הרמב''ם), Rav Shach (the Avi Ezri אבי עזרי), Reb Naphtali Troup.

What I mean by this is this: There might be some people that keep this better and some that keep it less well. But at least we have a clear idea of what is legit [legitimate] and what is not.

[That does not stop phonies from trying to claim their delusions are legitimate. But what is good is that those who wish to know what is authentic,-- can know]

[There is debate about the Zohar. I do not think it is from R. Shimon ben Yochai. The words עם כל דא which is a translation of עם כל זה come up all the time in the Zohar. And עם כל זה is a phrase invented by the Ibn Tibon family of translators to say "although." Before the middle ages, there were a few ways of saying "although." One was אף על פי. Another was אף על גב. But none of the ways was very elegant. The first means "even on my mouth." The other means "even on the back." So Ibn Tibon came up with this more elegant way:  עם כל זה. And this comes up all the time in the Zohar showing that it was authored in the Middle Ages. 


In mysticism there is a threat to the essential
underpinnings of the holy Torah,  in the sense that they adhere to a view of spirituality that is fundamentally
experiential and subjectivist; and in more or less subtle language,  put forth the idea that there is, in these days, a new, charismatic, "super wakening" in the making, which will inevitably supplant the antiquated institutions of historical Torah. Those at the fringes  tend (nowadays, using very cautious language) to consider any questioning of
its hyper-delusions as, at best, a manifestation of a hardhearted "traditionalism" or intellectualism [חכמות], and at worst, a diabolical the unpardonable sin of slander against tzadikim (righteous people). 







In any case, the things which I think is important is to get through the entire Oral and Written Law, and after to concentrate more on עיון in depth learning.


If you do not have time for that then Musar [Ethics] is the best thing to concentrate on. The basic set of Musar books contains after all the main message of Torah fear of God, and good character. Especially the Obligations of the Heart חובות לבבות. But also the book of Rabbainu Yona {שערי תשובה} is very important. There are  few other Musar books from the middle ages which form the basic set of Musar. (The אור ישראל by a disciple of Reb Israel Salanter also is a very important book.)