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31.1.16

How does Japan deal with Islam? From Ann Barnhardt. Why can not we all be as smart as Japan?

Ann Barnhardt

Have you ever read in the newspaper that a political leader or a prime minister from an Islamic nation has visited Japan ?
Have you ever come across news that the Ayatollah of Iran or the King of Saudi Arabia or even a Saudi Prince has visited Japan ?
Japan is a country keeping Islam at bay. Japan has put strict restrictions on Islam and ALL Muslims.
The reasons are :
1) Japan is the only nation that does not give citizenship to Muslims.
2) In Japan permanent residency is not given to Muslims.
3) There is a strong ban on the propagation of Islam in Japan .
4) In the University of Japan , Arabic or any Islamic language is not taught.
5) One cannot import a ‘Koran’ published in the Arabic language.
6) According to data published by the Japanese government, it has given temporary residency to only 2 lakhs, Muslims, who must follow the Japanese Law of the Land. These Muslims should speak Japanese and carry their religious rituals in their homes.
7) Japan is the only country in the world that has a negligible number of embassies in Islamic countries.
8) Japanese people are not attracted to Islam at all.
9) Muslims residing in Japan are the employees of foreign companies.
10) Even today, visas are not granted to Muslim doctors, engineers or managers sent by foreign companies.
11) In the majority of companies it is stated in their regulations that no Muslims should apply for a job.
12) The Japanese government is of the opinion that Muslims are fundamentalist and even in the era of globalization they are not willing to change their Muslim laws.
13) Muslims cannot even think about renting a house in Japan .
14) If anyone comes to know that his neighbour is a Muslim then the whole neighbourhood stays alert.
15) No one can start an Islamic cell or Arabic ‘Madrasa’ in Japan .
There is no Sharia law in Japan .
16) If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim then she is considered an outcast forever.
17) According to Mr. Kumiko Yagi, Professor of Arab/Islamic Studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies , “There is a mind frame in Japan that Islam is a very narrow minded religion and one should stay away from it.”
2. More fanmail, this time via email from a Mister Mohamed Megahed whose email address, if anyone is interested, is mohamedmegahed1@hotmail.com :

To: Ann Barnhardt
Re: Lets do it
I hope your kids get cancer u slut I hope your family dies in the one day and u live to live a sad life. If your parents are alive I hope death upon them too. And if they are dead I will piss on they graves the worthless peasants. I wanna meet up with you so I can make u a c*m bucket.

religious teachers

I had a good wife until psychopathic, religious teachers sunk their claws into her. So it may seem that I am being over cautious about staying away from religious teachers.  But I think I am not.  I think I am not being cautious enough.
When I am critical I do try to point out that they are as a rule as far from keeping the Torah as one could expect from hypocrites that put on religious clothing and make money from doing so.
 I can imagine there are out there religious teachers that sincerely think they are keeping the Torah, but I can reassure them that they are not. They are obstacles keeping people from Torah. It all begins with their using the Torah to make money. After that it is all downhill.
I do not think that they will ever change. So the only point of this is to warn others about the danger  in these people, especially for innocent people that really do want to keep Torah. If you want to keep Torah, the last person you want to be talk with is a religious teacher.
A positive suggestion would be to learn Torah yourself. And if you can find a place that learns and teaches authentic Torah--that is the Oral and Written Law  with no additions masquerading as Torah, then it is a good idea to learn there.  But such places are rare. And most have lost the authenticity. Now they are career orientated. That is they generally are out to make more the religious teachers. May God save us from them.  I wish I did not have to mention this negative aspect. I would rather focus on the positive side of Torah. But I still have an obligation from time to time to mention this important point to warn people.

[I should mention the distinction is simple. There are people in legitimate yeshivas who are sincerely interested in learning and and keeping Torah. And sometimes it happens by mistake they get the name "religious teacher" attached to them. This is confusing. But as a rule yeshiva people are not the kind of monsters that I am referring to here. So this distinction is important to keep in mind. People in straight, Lithuanian yeshivas are  not the kind I am referring to here.

מפסמים את החנפים בשבל חילול השם. The Talmud tells us we are required to shout out the name of the hypocrites to make sure people know about this problem. And the Chafetz Chaim goes into detail about this in chapter 7 of volume I. He makes clear there there are times when one is obligated to say Lashon HaRa, and concerning religious teachers this certainly applies. [In that chapter he deals with the issue of when we are required to warn people.  That is not to only place, but  it is the one I remember off hand.]

I thought about deleting this essay, but for now I will leave it. It brings out an important point. That is that anyone who really cares about Torah, should to get rid of all religious teachers. The only institution that really deserves support are authentic Litvak [Lithuanian] yeshivas where real Torah is learned.

The question is how to get rid of religious teachers? This is highly individual. People have to realize on their own how bad they really are.  There is nothing I can say until people discover this on their own. And by then it is too late.
______________________________________________________________________________

The dividing line is not exact. You have supposedly Lithuanian yeshivas that are cults. On the other hand Breslov which tends to be problematic, still has plenty of people that are sincere  and from the Side of Holiness. In fact, outside of the leaders which everyone knows are crazy, the majority of Breslov are in fact simple, sincere Jews.

_____________________________________________________________________________


So what is the dividing line? How does one tell? It is hard to know. Rav Shach certainly was able to see the difference, but besides him I have not heard of anyone. On the outside appearance there is no difference. The Dark Side  is even more strict in rituals in order to make itself seem kosher.
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The word "religious teacher" is not in itself a proof of evil. After the new kind of ordination started by Rav Joseph  HaLevi from Vienna people started using this term.  But still you have great people that were refereed to as "Rabbi." No one says "Rav Akiva Eiger." It is "Rabbi Akiva Eiger".
So the main indication is probably simply affiliation with the group the Gra put into excommunication.  That seems to be the basic dividing line. The fact that that Gra was ignored in this point is how everything went downhill.








1)The way I learn Gemara is based on the idea that I have limited time each day. It is not the same thing as for a yeshiva student who can spend the whole day on Gemara.
The way I do it is I look at one whole "sugia."(subject) And every sugia in Shas has as a rule a sister sugia and maybe a few sisters.
So if you are like me and you have only about one hour per day this is what you do. You take the one half a page that is your starting sugia and you read through it with Rashi, Tosphot, Maharsha, Maharam of Lublin and the Rif and Nemukai Joseph. If you have time you add a few achronim like Rav Shach or Reb Chaim. If you read about the same speed as I do that altogether should take about one full hour. So for today you have done about as much as you can do. The next day you go back over the exact same material again.  You do that for about a week and then you go over to the sister sugia. Based on probability that sister sugia will probably be also about a half a page [one amud --one full column ]
2) This way is totally different from what a yeshiva student should do but since not everyone in the world is a yeshiva student it is important to know and do this method.
3) To some degree this idea is well known in the secular world. It is the reason why in high school you have 40 minute classes. And this 40 minute method has advantages and disadvantages. When I was in high school I found it terribly frustrating. It seems to pull me in all directions. So when I finally got to a NY yeshiva and was able to concentrate on one subject all day I was very very happy.
But nowadays when I am not in yeshiva I find this one hour approach to be amazingly effective.
4) Yeshiva is a different world and what one should do there is stick with the order that is set there. But much effort is needed to find a good Litvak yeshiva. When it comes to yeshiva one should not be fooled by the frauds. When it comes to Torah one must insist on authenticity. If it is not authentic is it worst than a waste of time. It is Sitra Achra. [The Dark Side.]

q94 A song of thanks to the God of Israel. q98  e45  e46  e47 e48  e51 e55 [edited. e55 is my attempt at 6/8 time] q96  e files are from about ten years ago. q files are more recent. There were lots of other files but a good deal was lost.

30.1.16

People must be familiar with Shalom Sharabi's Nahar Shalom  in which he reduces the Sepherot to three.

[You can't miss it because it is right smack on the first page.]

It is hard not to see the connection between this and Kant, Schelling, and Hegel. I don't make it a point to point out connections like this unless something comes up to remind me. Hegel's Triads are obviously isomorphic the the Reshash who has the actual sepherot being three as per the begining of Nahar Shalom. But Schelling and the Nahar Shalom have an obvious connection.  One has intellectual intuition. But considering that Schelling's intellectual intuition is half subject and half object and not really inside of oneself except as it is perceived it comes out that they are saying what seems to be the same thing.
Faith is needed to get to attachment with God --that is why Jews are called the "Hebrews" which means "to pass over." The original idea was because Jews came from beyond the Jordan from Iraq [Mesopotamia]. To get to the Infinite One one has to pass over --that is to go by faith, not by reason.

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi  showed that a system of rational knowledge never arrives at the knowledge of God since, for such a system, the unconditioned can only arise as a result of a process where the one conditioned leads to other conditioned in an infinite chain of negativity. To get to Devekut [absolute attachment with] with the Unconditioned, one must begin with the Unconditioned itself  which no rational knowledge ever attains. For Jacobi it is only the leap of faith beyond the system of rational knowledge that enables us to open to the unconditionality of the absolute being.

In this context I should mention that I personally do not know how attachment with God happens and I would assume that one needs the ability to discern object facts from spiritual delusions before he can make progress in this area. I felt myself a great deal of attachment with God when I was in Israel the first time, but I could not say how that occurred, and it was always hard to deal with that kind of level of reality.  But later I learned to appreciate this kind of thing and to realize it has great value.
The way I see value in  a Schelling kind of way. That is I have a normal semi circle of values but with me it is dynamic not static. That is it is a harmonic oscillator.



[And the idea of Schelling about intellectual intuition is the exact same thing that the Intuitionists are defending. 

29.1.16

The Second Temple

The actual Temple was mainly in the hands of the Sadducees who were not running it according to the Law. The Sanhedrin also was mainly packed with the Sadducees.  According to law one does not pay to get into the Temple. Nor does one change a bad animal to a better one. If a animal has a blemish that makes it unfit for a sacrifice then OK, but that is not the same thing. If it is fit for the altar then it must be sacrificed, and one is not allowed to exchange it. The Sadducess were very corrupt and when they were in control, things were miserable.

One way you can see that the Sadducees were in control of the Sanhedrin is that in the reported trial of Jesus, there was almost no law that was not broken.  The was not one single legal procedure that was not flaunted and broken during that trial.

Just one example: saying that one is the son of God is not blasphemy. Blasphemy has a legal definition which is:  May "Jose strike Jose." Jose here is used to stand for the Name of God because during the trial you don't want to keep repeating the phrase. For someone to claim they are the son of God is not unusual because we say this three times a day in every Shmoneh Esra and this comes up very often in the prayer book. We all call God "Our Father" more times than I can count. Doing so is not blasphemy though it might have been to the Sadducee.

Some problems with the trial: At night. Even if a person does a sin that gets the death penalty which did not exist in that case still you need two witness to warn the person right before he does the sin. That is to tell him both the sin and from what verse it comes from and the penalty. None of this existed then There is a whole tractate in the Talmud about this one aspect of laws. It is not a trivial detail.  I could go on but you can just open up a tractate Sanhedrin and Makot and see it all for yourself.
There are two aspects of yeshiva. There are yeshivas that are the equivalent of Ivy League schools. And they are similar in that they lead to advancement --not in money but in other not so tangible  things. The top one in this category is obviously Ponovitch,- with Brisk being a close second.
The great NY yeshivas don't have the same reputation as these two yeshivas in Israel
but still are what I would call Ivy league. [Chaim Berlin, Mir, Torah VeDaat]
There is another aspect of the whole thing that is really an escape from the harshness of the outside world.
These are two opposing dynamics that you can find  in sometimes the same yeshiva. Both the striving to be Ivy league and also the striving to escape from the harshness of reality.


In a practical vein this simply means it is best to go to what is really an Ivy league yeshiva because that is where you find the real Torah. There are many other places that are simply places for people to escape from reality and yet at the same time to claim they are Ivy league.


typical hasid from a hasidic yeshiva








Each problem people have seem to have actually  two parts. Part is  their flaws and the other part is the flaws of how the world treats them. And each of these is divided into two parts. One's own flaws are 1/2 his own fault for making bad choices. The other part is internal things not in one's control. The world's fault is partly just the way the world is with everyone. Capricious.The other part is the part that when it sees good it retaliates with evil. The part you can control is only your own decisions. You have to start making good choices.
The world responds to one's character. The way you control your character is two fold. Getting right opinions. That is learning Musar [Mediaeval Ethics]. That gives right opinions or at least closes to objective truth more so that one would get by the Crowd and the Mob. And this also gets absorbed into the self.



28.1.16

q98 a song to God e33   e42  e39  e45 orchestra  "Orchestra" was written when I was about 16. You can see the effect of my being in a high school orchestra.

q98 was recent [it still might need some editing.]. The e series was around 2006-2010


e46
g5   e47

Black Hole  q94
 mathematics
1) "Seeing the wisdom in God's creations" in the mediaeval code word for learning Physics and Metaphysics. If you only see this in the חובות לבבות Duties of the Heart , you can miss this.  Refer to the Guide of the Rambam who says this openly. But you can see it also in מעלות המידות by Binjamin the Doctor --one of the classical books of Musar.


2) The idea is  learning these subjects is a good value in itself  The books of Saadia Gaon and the Rambam  show two values in learning the natural sciences.
 To the Rambam learning Physics and Metaphysics is the fulfillment of the highest mitzvot in the Torah, i.e. Love and Fear of God.

3) Later this was hidden. Even though all books of Classical Musar refer to this approach of Saadia Gaon and the Rambam, it is obscured by people that do not want this information to be widely known.

4) The Torah is clothed in the Creation. So when you learn about God's creation, you are learning God's wisdom.

5) See: Rambam beginning of the Guide, and beginning of Mishna Torah. {Plus הלכות ת''ת ברמב''ם איפה שהוא כתב והעניינים הנקראיים פרדס בם בכלל הגמרא}

6) To put this all together you have to start with the idea that the goal of Torah is to come to love and fear of God. Then you need the idea that the the world was created by the ten statements of Genesis, and thus those statements are the life force of all that is in the world. And that those ten statements are the clothing of the Ten Commandments. [as brought in the Tikunei HaZohar] And the highest statement is the first one "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" in which it does not say openly God said. It is the hidden statement which is the life force of everything and everywhere where God's glory is hidden.
Thus Torah is God's revealed wisdom and Physics and Metaphysics is his hidden wisdom.


7) There are people that if exposed to straight Torah will not be able to accept it. In Physics are hidden secrets of Torah. This explains also how often it is better for people to learn the natural sciences rather than open Torah, because זכה נעשית סם חיים, לא זכה נעשית לו סם מוות. By being exposed to open Torah one can become worse. And in fact this often happens before our very eyes.
Also seeing the wisdom inside ever aspect of creation binds ones soul to the purpose of that individual creation which in it s higher source is close to the purpose of all creation which is God's glory.


8) The Rambam defines the "Work of Creation" מעשה בראשית and work of the "Divine Chariot" מעשה מרכבה in the beginning of the Guide for the Perplexed . In the Guide itself he tells us what is the purpose he sees in these--the Work of Creation to come to fear, and the Work of the Divine Chariot to come to love. And this approach of the Rambam is quoted virtually verbatim in all later books of Musar.]

9) The question is how is this jump from knowledge of physical things or mathematical things helps one to make the jump to God? Clearly the Rambam holds this does help to make that jump, but how?
[See Schelling and Jacobi who dealt with this problem.]



10) To justify this approach of the Rambam I would like to bring together a few ideas:

We find that God's glory does not extend everywhere. That is even though His glory "fills the whole world," there are places where his glory does not reach. וכבודי לאחר לא אתן. I will not give of my glory to idols. Now we find that it says in a verse that God created the whole world for his glory. לכבודי בראתיו יצרתיו אף עשיתיו. So his glory is the root and life force of everything that exists. So what about those places where his glory does not extend? They get life force from the hidden statement (מאמר הסתום). "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."  That is hidden because it does not say "He said." [In nine other acts of creation it says, "He said."]

So the areas  the most hidden from God get their life force from the highest levels of holiness.

And when one turns to God from those areas and calls out "where is the place of his glory?" Then he returns to the highest statement of creation.

In Math and Physics there is no open numinosity. But there is the hidden statement by which the world was created. So when one turns to God there, and learns for the sake of Heaven, he brings up all the creation to God.


Appendix:
a) Maimonides held that Torah is only the Written and Oral law. But two of the commandments of the Torah are to love and fear God, and these Maimonides held were only possible by learning Physics and Metaphysics. [He was referring to the two sets of books by Aristotle called the Physics and the other called the Metaphysics].


b) But there are different levels of revelation of Torah.
The world was sustained by the Ten Statements (עשרה מאמרות) before the Torah was given [ten times it says ''And God said'']
But these statements were hidden. Then the ten trials of Abraham were a first step towards the revelation of Torah. The ten plagues on Egypt were the next step to make it possible to reveal the Torah. Then the Ten Commandments were the actual revelation of Torah. [The idea of the plagues was that one has to get rid of evil before the good can be revealed.]

 But because the Torah is in everything, it is possible to serve God with everything.

c) Knowledge of this sub-level comes not by sense perception, and not by logical deductions, but by non intuitive immediate knowledge.



d) in this world is hidden holiness; and even in the lowest regions in spirituality is hidden the highest holiness that comes from the hidden statement of creation


e) To put this all together you have to start with the idea that the goal of Torah is to come to love and fear of God. Then you need the idea that the the world was created by the Ten Statements of Genesis, and thus those statements are the life force of all that is in the world. And that those Ten Statements are the clothing of the Ten Commandments. And the highest statement is the first one "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" in which it does not say openly God said. It is the hidden statement which is the life force of everything and everywhere where God's glory is hidden.
Thus Torah is God's revealed wisdom, and Physics and Metaphysics is his hidden wisdom.



f) There are people that if exposed to straight Torah will not be able to accept it. This explains also how often it is better for people to learn the natural sciences rather than open Torah, because זכה נעשית סם חיים, לא זכה נעשית לו סם מוות. By being exposed to open Torah, one can become worse. And in fact this often happens before our very eyes.

g) Also seeing the wisdom inside ever aspect of creation binds ones soul to the purpose of that individual creation which in its higher source is close to the purpose of all creation which is God's glory.


h) The Rambam has  story inside the Guide about learning Physics and Metaphysics. It is the parable of the King's palace. In short in the parable you have a country of a king in which people differ in their closeness to the king. there are people outside the country, inside, in the capital city, around the palace in the outer part of the palace and in the inner part.
The parable refers to how close people are to God. There the Rambam puts philosophers and scientists in the palace with God.

27.1.16

anti Israel and anti Jewish sentiments

The problem with anti Israel and anti Jewish sentiments is serious. German women are discovering that it is uncomfortable to walk on the streets with Muslims. They don't feel like getting raped. And that is understandable. You would think that there would be some sympathy for Jews in Israel who also feel uncomfortable with Muslims on the streets. They don't want to be blow to smithereens. And that is also understandable. But the plague of Muslims in Germany and in Europe does not evoke much sympathy for plight of Jews in Israel. The reason is "חן" (literally: grace or attractiveness).

That is, Jews don't have "חן" [grace]. And this is a powerful thing. When a person or a group has grace in your eyes, then everything and anything they do get excused. Logical reasoning does not come into play.
And when a group has no grace, then even when they are right by all objective standards, nothing they do can help.

The solution to lack of grace is to learn Torah in a Lithuanian Authentic Yeshiva.  Some people learn Pseudo "Torah" but it is superficial. That does not lead to grace. Only Torah in depth does that. And I can't explain what that means except you have to see it done in an authentic Lithuanian yeshiva.

[It is not looking up achronim [commentaries written after the Shulchan Aruch of Joseph Karo]. I can't really explain this very well. You have to see it done on your own. You can however get an idea of what this means by looking up achronim, but looking up what they say is not the same thing as doing it yourself. If you are in NY in Brooklyn, then you get simply walk over to the Mir, Torah VeDaat, or Chaim Berlin and sit in for the Rosh Yeshivas classes. But if you are not in NY. then I don't have much of an suggestion. I am pretty sure this is what they do in Ponovitch. Other places probably don't do this, nor know what it is either. Most other yeshivas are for shiduchim [to get offered a good marriage match ] or parnaah [to make a living by using the Torah] or other things. Almost none are for learning in depth except NY yeshivas.

Which brings me to the obvious conclusion that it would be in everyone's interest to start yeshivas that are devoted to learning Torah in depth--not the superficial way that is common.. And the result of this I predict would be powerful. It would give Jews "grace." And when people have grace, then a lot of problems disappear.
[This does not mean to learn Kabalah. That is not the same thing as learning Torah in depth. In fact the general result of learning Kabalah is delusion. It is rare to find someone become more of a "mensch" from it. There were rare individuals like Bava Sali that could benefit from it but  that is not the rule.And then you have people that really are on the level to be able to learn it and then the Sitra Achra goes all out to destroy them. So in any case it seems like  a no win situation. Either one is ready and then gets entangled in a fight with the Sitra Achra that he is not ready for. Or he is not ready and then he gets delusions.]



The major questions about values are: 1) When values conflict what to do. 2) How to decide what is a good value.  3) Even if something is a good value does it apply to this specific individual?

[I am assuming here a polynomic theory ofvalue as in the Kelley Ross Approach]

If there would be only one value then this would not be relevant.  The Rambam held one should do one of two things learn Torah or be involved in an honest vocation.


My own conflicts in the areas of value I solve by the common sense approach of my parents and with input from the Torah, Talmud and Musar books. That basically boils down to the idea of learning Musar (mediaeval ethics) books of Israel Salanter because Musar really resolves these issues very well.  With Musar you get resolution of areas of conflict and hoe to apply the values of the Torah to yourself. So what I recommend is to attend a Musar Litvak kind of Yeshiva for about four years to get the basic approach of Torah embedded in one's self.

Ideas in Bava Metzia
On Bava Metzia page 104
I was looking over what I wrote about cleanliness and uncleaniless and leaning. I think at least at the end of that essay I need to explain that when I was putting the opinion of the Ri and Rabbainy Shimshon together I was intending to explain Rashi. That is leaning in the case of a strong  or weak tree with not make the person that is leaned on by the Zav to be unclean. Only if the Zav moves him as in the case of the weak tree.

Now I think I needed to do this from several reasons. One is that to answer my very first question what kind of unlcleaniness gets transmitted by leaning? After all that is what Rashi says in the case of the weak tree. So I needed the Rash [Rabbainu Shimshon to get some kind of uncleanilness to be by leaning. And then I needed the Ri [Rabbainu Isaac] to get that kind of uncleanliness to only make food or drink unclean. With these two ideas together I hope to explain that Rashi.
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On ב''מ ק''ד ע''ב
I was looking over what I wrote about טומאה וטהרה והשענה and leaning. I think at least at the end of that essay I need to explain that when I was putting the opinion of the ר''י and ר''ש together I was intending to explain רש''י. That is leaning in the case of a strong  or weak tree with not make the person that is leaned on by the זב to be טמא. Only if the זב moves him as in the case of the weak tree.



Now I think I needed to do this from several reasons. One is that to answer my very first question what kind of טומאה gets transmitted by השענה? After all that is what רש''י says in the case of the weak tree. So I needed the ר''ש to get some kind of טומאה to be by leaning. And then I needed the ר''י  to get that kind of uncleanliness to only make food or drink טמאים. With these two ideas together I hope to explain that רש''י.


 ב''מ ק''ד ע''ב כשאני  משווה את דעתם של ר''י ור''ש ביחד אני מתכוון להסביר רש''י. כי הוא השענה במקרה של עץ חזק  לא עושה את האדם טמא, הגם שהוא נשען על ידי זב. רק אם הזב מזיז אותו כמו במקרה של העץ החלש. עכשיו אני חושב שאני צריך לעשות את זה מכמה סיבות. אחת הוא שכדי לענות על השאלה הראשונה שלי איזה סוג של טומא  מועברת על ידי השענה? אחרי הכל זה מה שאומר רש''י במקרה של העץ החלש. אז אני צריך הר''ש כדי לקבל קצת סוג של טומא להיות על ידי השענה. ואז אני צריך הר''י כדי לקבל תוצאה שסוג כזה של טומאה רק מהפכת מזון או משקה טמאים. עם שני הרעיונות הללו יחד אני מקווה להסביר רש''י



A lot of what Torah is about is laws. The concerns about Torah are mainly about keeping the Law of Moses more that interpretation of the text. But there are also elements of Divine service.

With prayer the hidden self [ding an sich] gets connected with God. It is kind of  away to reach one's own essence and tie it to God. And besides that, I have seen enough people that learn Torah that are far from human perfection.


The basic way to do this is to pack a lunch and go off into the wilderness for a whole day and spend the whole day talking with God. If this is not possible then while you are walking down the street is a perfect time to engage in private conversation with God. One good idea about this is that the evil side disguises itself in good deeds. When people convince themselves they are doing some great mitzvah it is usually a heinous crime. The world would be a lot better off if people would stop doing mitzvas and simply be a selfish as possible. The way the evil side gets people is by conniving and convincing  them that they are doing some good deed. People doing mizvot is the destruction of the world. The Gra said it is better to sit in your room and twiddle your thumbs than to go about and look for mizvas to do. [See Sidur HaGra.]

26.1.16

Here is a very nice link to a interesting video concerning Islam
She is bringing up some very nice and important points and I highly recommend this video.I  heard from the daughter of Bava Sali also things along these lines. The idea was that Islam is bad news

Here is another fellow who also has some interesting ideas about Islam


I see in German News that the Spiegel is comparing the people that do not want Germany destroyed by an Islamic invasion to Nazis. This seems like  an unfair comparison. Islam is a real problem and inviting Jihadists into your country is not a good idea.


Here is a video by a German girl who is afraid of the refugees.

There is something strange going on in the world in terms of marriage.It is as if the human race is going through some kind of tidal wave that wrecks everything in its path.It is like a snowball effect. The more arrogant the women are, the more men want nothing to do with them, and then the women wish they were romanced and treated special like in the old days..

When Reb Shmuel Berenabaum the Roh Yeshiva of the Mir in NY was asked questions about human problems his answer was "Learn Torah" and I would have to say that is about as good an answer I have ever heard about almost all human problems.

Simply put that means to have about an hour per day of learning sessions in order The Old Testament. That is read one page word by word and then put in a place marker and put it down. The pick up a Mishna. Read one page or a few pages with the commentary. Put in a place marker and put it down. Then pick up a Talmud and again read one page with Tosphot the Maharsha and Maharam from Lublin. Then the same with a few session in Physics and Math. That is the light of the Torah that is in the physical world.

If you have done the Talmud a few times then you should also do the Ari. The Ari is mystical but based on a Neo Platonic world view. So together with the Ari it is good to have a session in Jewish Philosophy from the Middle Ages. That is Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, Saadia Gaon's Emunot VeDeot, Crescas, Joseph Albo, and the two Abravenel's Isaac and Yehuda, and Ibn Gavirol.
[These people have a lot to tell us but their insights are hidden because of the mediaeval character of their works. It takes some effort to uncover the gems inside them.] [There is an amazing connection between German Idealism and medieval Jewish Philosophy. But this would have to be the subject of a whole new essay. }







No Kabalah after the time of Shabatai Tzvi is kosher. Sometimes knowingly, and sometimes not knowingly it all borrows from Natan of Gaza and brings people that read it into the Sitra Achra. Also there are secular subjects that do not reflect the glory of God and are forbidden to learn . That is almost any secular subject outside of the natural sciences are all from the Sitra Achra. So though I do emphasize certain subjects as being good there are many many more that are seduce people into the Dark Side. Thus we find most religious teachers that read these subjects are in fact agents of the Dark Side. That is the reason I always say to be in a straight Lithuanian yeshiva because every other type is a den of Satan. I am emphasizing the good on purpose.

25.1.16

Everything depends on good teachers. Everything.


I went to a very good high school. It had good teachers. I benefited very much from those teachers, though I did not use all the skills I learned there later. Mr Smart the music teacher was just one example. But I remember the other teachers who were dedicated, and very talented. My only frustration was that I wanted to be able to concentrate on just a few things. But today I can say going to a good school I think is very important.
I had lots of good examples around me of people that were motivated and hard working. Both students and teachers.


[Maybe good teachers can do only so much, but from what I saw, they can make a tremendous amount of difference.]

And later I saw this in yeshiva also. Going to a good school  is of utmost importance to be able to get anywhere.

I am not in yeshiva now, but I can say without having a great learning partner ,I would today not have been able to get anywhere in Gemara.

One trouble I did have was in recognizing what really is a good yeshiva. Shar Yashuv was and still is a Baal Teshuva Yeshiva. And I had trouble recognizing that Reb Naphtali Yeager and the other roshei yeshiva were really learning at the top level. So I admit sometimes you can find exceptions to the rule. Reputation is not everything.  Later, I was at the Mir with who was then the deepest thinker in the yeshiva world besides Rav Shach --Reb Shmuel Berenbaum And there I saw the reputation of being the top place was well deserved.

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

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

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

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



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


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

Two songs for the glory of the God of Israel

q93    q98

24.1.16

religious teachers

Religious teachers that are psychopaths cause perverted desires fall from the Divine Chariot.  I think this explains the reason why sodomy is so pervasive in the USA.

My thinking is that we find in the Talmud some serious criticism about religious teachers. But furthermore we also find that what happens in Israel is reflected in the larger world. So when our own house is not in order this is seen in the large in the general events of the world.

Now it is a good question about how to tell the difference between good and bad religious teachers. It is important to know that there do exist bad religious teachers and that because of them there are problems because of people that follow them naively thinking they are teaching Torah.


Now this problem does beg for a solution. The only possible solution I can see is individual. That is it is up to each individual to learn Torah on their own and thus not to be dependent on others to know what it says. And if it is too much to ask everyone to know the whole Oral and Written Law then at least Musar--the books of Jewish ethics written during the Middle Ages tell us in a practical sense what the essence of Torah is. [Musar is a well known set of books. I do not need to list them here. Mainly they are divided between books from the middle ages and the later books of the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter that went into more detail in how to apply the lessons of Musar in a practical sense. ] [In my non humble opinion the חובות לבבות Duties of the Heart is the best one.]

I should add that the problem about evil religious teachers is not just in that Torah lesson but begins in the LM from Vol I ch 8 and goes through the entire two volumes. This theme does come up in the Talmud also and even the Mishna. אם אתה רואה דור שפורעניות באות אליו צא ובדוק בדייני ישראל שכל פורעניות שבאות לעולם אינן באות אלא בגלל דייני ישראל I forgot where that particular Gemara is. It is somewhere near the end of Tractate Shabat but I forgot the page number.

So who then can decide a halacha issue? In monetary cases where there are two opposing parties we do know who can decide--מומחה לרבים. someone who has been tested by experts in the Talmud and been found never to make a mistake. But in other cases?

The irony is that the people we would hope and expect to teach us morality and true principles of how to guide our lives are often the source of the most damage. In fact, I think this is so in the majority of cases.

I should mention that none of this is meant to disparage the sincere people who are sitting and learning Torah whether privately or in straight Lithuanian yeshivas.

People of intellect and morality are disqualified and  attacked when the religious  world  is under the control of a tyranny backed by the mob.  Don’t ask where all of the smart people are.  Don’t ask where all of the leaders of men are.  The religious world wants to be ruled by psychopaths and imbeciles. 


The best solution would be to fire all religious teachers. Save the money or give it to yeshivas where real Torah is learned [Lithuanian Yeshivas].







23.1.16

Introduction
I wanted to discuss something that is bothering me about a Tosphot in Shavuot 43a and Bava Metzia 81b. In short, Tosphot is asking two questions on Rabbainu Hananel that could be applied to Rashi. But Tosphot does not want to ask on Rashi. Then the Maharsha gives an answer why one question might be more applicable to Rabbainu Hananel. But if you think about it, the idea of the Maharsha applies just as well to Rashi.

The basic idea is this. Shmuel says if a lender takes a pledge  and loses it, he loses the whole loan. The Gemara asks that this does not seem like Rabbi Eliezer nor Rabbi Akiva. R. Eliezer says the lender takes an oath and loses nothing. R. Akiva says he loses the worth of the pledge. The Gemara answers Shmuel is when he did not explain (that the pledge is for the loan), and the argument between RA and RE is when he did explain. R Hananel reverses this. Shmuel is when he explained and the argument of RE and RA is when he did not.

The Gemara in Bava Metzia, on a relevant note, is trying to get a Mishna there is be like both RE and RA and can't do so. The Mishna there says a lender is a paid guard with respect to the pledge. This is good to RA, but not to RE. Tosphot asks if R Hananel is right then the Mishna in BM is everyone's opinion, and it is when he explained (like Shmuel). The question of the Maharsha is this same question applies to Rashi when he did not explain (like Shmuel).

Another question of Tosphot on RH is RE takes too great a leap from nothing (when he is does not explain) to everything (when he does). The Maharsha says this last point of Tosphot is why Tosphot did not ask their first question on Rashi. My question is the same exact point applies to Rashi.

That is: The Maharsha suggested that Tosphot is thinking that if the right version is like Rashi then RE might make just one step from nothing (when the lender does explain) to the exact amount of the loan when he does not. My question is this same answer works even better to Rabbainu Hananel. He loses nothing when he does not explain and only against the loan when he does.

In more detail my question is this:  The Maharsha says we might says when the Gemara says Re and RA agree with Shmuel it means each makes one step from their starting position up one more step. My question is this works well to Rabbanu Chananel. That is when he explains then RE goes up one step to say the pledge is parallel only to its own value of the loan. and when he does not explain then it is not tied to the loan at all. But to Rashi this would not work. When he does not explain it is  parallel to its own value of the loan but when he does explain it is not tied to the loan at all.

I do not say there is no answer to this. I assume there must be an  answer. But I don't happen to know what it is right now. The Maharsha is probably answering this, but I do not see how.

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Introduction
I wanted to discuss something that is bothering me about a תוספות in שבועות מ''ג ע''ב and ב''מ פ''א ע''ב . In short, תוספות is asking two questions on רבינו חננאל that could be applied to רש''י. But תוספות does not want to ask on רש''י. Then the מהרש''א gives an answer why one question might be more applicable to רבינו חננאל. But if you think about it the idea of the מהרש''א applies just as well to רש''י.

The basic idea is this. שמואל says if a מלווה takes a משכון  and loses it he loses the whole loan. The גמרא asks this does not seem like רבי אליעזר not רבי עקיבא. The מחלוקת is thus: רבי אליעזר says he takes an oath and loses nothing. רבי עקיבא says he loses the worth of the pledge. In our גרסה  and the גרסה  of רש''י the גמרא answers שמואל is when מלווה did not מפרש, and the  מחלוקת between רבי עקיבא and רבי אליעזר is when he did מפרש. And רבינו חננאל reverse this. שמואל is when he מפרש and רבי אליעזר and רבי עקיבא is when he did not.

The גמרא בבא מציעא פא: on a relevant note is trying to get a משנה there is be like both רבי אליעזר and רבי עקיבא and can't do so. The משנה there says a מלווה is a שומר שכר with respect to the משכון. This is good to רבי עקיבא but not to רבי אליעזר. Then תוספות asks if רבינו חננאל is right then the משנה in בבא מציעא is everyone's opinion and it is when he מפרש like שמואל. The question I had  was this same question applies to רש''י when he did not explain like שמואל. Theמהרש''א asks this same question.
Another question of תוספות on רבינו חננאל is רבי אליעזר takes too great a leap from nothing when מלווה is does not explain to everything when he does. The מהרש''א says this last point of תוספות is why תוספות did not ask their first question on רש''י. My question is the same exact point applies to רש''י.

That is: The מהרש''א suggested that תוספות is thinking that if the right גרסה is like רש''י then רבי אליעזר might make just one step from nothing when does explain to the exact amount of the loan when he does not. My question is this same answer works even better to רבינו חננאל. He loses nothing when he does not מפרש and only against the loan when he does.
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שבועות מ''ג ע''ב וב''מ פ''א ע''ב. קושיה על תוספות בשבועות מ''ג ע''ב וב''מ פ''א ע''ב. בקיצור, תוספות הוא שואל שתי שאלות על רבינו חננאל שיכול להיות מיושמות על רש''י. אבל תוספות לא רוצה לשאול על רש''י. אז המהרש''א נותן תשובה מדוע שאלה אחת יכולה להיות יותר רלוונטית לרבינו חננאל. אבל הרעיון של מהרש''א חל באותה המידה לרש''י. הרעיון הבסיסי הוא זה. שמואל אומר שאם מלווה לוקח משכון ומאבד אותו הוא מאבד את כל ההלוואה. הגמרא שואלת זה לא נראה כמו רבי אליעזר ולא רבי עקיבא. המחלוקת היא כך: רבי אליעזר אומר שהוא לוקח שבועה ומאבד שום דבר. רבי עקיבא אומר שהוא מאבד את השווי של המשכון. בגרסה שלנו והגרסה של רש''י הגמרא עונה שמואל הוא כאשר המלווה לא מפרש, והמחלוקת בין רבי עקיבא והרבי אליעזר היא כאשר הוא  מפרש. ורבינו חננאל מהפך את זה. שמואל הוא כאשר הוא מפרש, ורבי אליעזר והרבי עקיבא הם כאשר הוא לא עשה זאת. הגמרא בבבא מציעא פא: בנימה רלוונטית מנסה לקבל תוצאה שהמשנה שם יכולה להיות כמו שניהם, רבי אליעזר ורבי עקיבא, ולא יכולה לעשות את זאת. המשנה שם אומרת המלווה הוא שומר שכר ביחס למשכון. זה טוב לרבי עקיבא, אבל לא לרבי אליעזר. אז תוספות שואלים אם רבינו חננאל נכון, אז המשנה בבבא מציעא היא דעת של כולם וזה כאשר הוא מפרש כמו שמואל. השאלה של המהרש''א היה שאותה שאלה חלה על רש''י כשהוא לא הסביר כמו שמואל. שאלה נוספת של תוספות על רבינו חננאל.  רבי אליעזר לוקח זינוק יותר מדאי גדול. כאשר המלווה לא מסביר את הכל אז הוא מפסיד את כל החוב וכאשר ביא אינו מסביר הוא אינו מפסיד כלום . מהרש''א אומר הנקודה האחרונה של תוספות זו הסיבה התוספות לא שואלים את השאלה הראשונה שלהם ברש''י.  השאלה שלי היא אותה הנקודה המדויקת חלה על רש''י כלומר: מהרש''א הציע כי תוספות חושב שאם נכון שהגרסה הוא כמו רש''י, אז רבי אליעזר עשוי לעשות רק צעד. אם המלווה מפרש אינו מפסיד כלום, וכאשר הוא אינו מסביר  אז המשכון כנגד שיוווי ההלוואה המדויק. השאלה שלי היא אותה תשובה שזה עובד אפילו טובה יותר לרבינו חננאל. הוא לא מאבד שום דבר כשהוא לא מפרש, ורק כנגד ההלוואה כשהוא מפרש.


Talmud Bava Metzia 81b Shavuot 43B

In more detail my question on Tosphot and the Maharsha is this:  The Maharsha says we might says when the Gemara says RE and RA agree with Shmuel it means each makes one step from their starting position up one more step. My question is this works well to Rabbanu Chananel. That is when he explains then RE goes up one step to say the pledge is parallel only to its own value of the loan. and when he does not explain then it is not tied to the loan at all. But to Rashi this would not work. When he does not explain it is  parallel to its own value of the loan but when he does explain it is not tied to the loan at all.
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In more detail my question on תוספות and the מהרש'א is this:  The  מהרש'א says we might say when the גמרא says רבי אליעזר and רבי עקיבא agree with שמואל it means each makes one step from their starting position up one more step. My question is this works well to רבינו חננאל. That is when he explains then רבי אליעזר goes up one step to say the משכון is parallel only to its own value of the loan. and when he does not explain then it is not tied to the loan at all. But to רש''י this would not work. When he does not explain it is  parallel to its own value of the loan but when he does explain it is not tied to the loan at all.
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 השאלה שלי על תוספות ומהרש''א היא זאת: המהרש''א אומר שאנחנו יכולים לומר מתי הגמרא אומרת שרבי אליעזר ורבי עקיבא מסכימים עם שמואל שזה אומר שכל אחד עושה צעד אחד מעמדת המוצא שלהם צעד אחד יותר קדימה. השאלה שלי היא שזה עובד גם לרבינו חננאל. כלומר, כאשר הוא מסביר שרבי אליעזר עולה צעד אחד לומר שלגבי ההלוואה, המשכון מקביל רק לשוויו. וכשהוא לא מסביר ומפרש, אז המשכון לא קשור להלוואה בכלל. אבל לרש''י זה לא יעבוד. כשהוא לא מסביר ומפרש את זה, המשכון מקביל לשוויו, אבל כשהוא מסביר שהמשכון כנגד ההלוואה אז, הוא לא קשור להלוואה בכלל.






While Islam is focused on world conquest, the West is spending it energy on trying to figure out what or if there is a problem.

The question is what people focus on as being a problem and how much energy they are willing to spend on fixing it. Some might consider Islam as a mild problem, but it is no where near their top priority. The question is not even intellectual focus. It is emotional focus. To what end are all their emotions focused on?

We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.

Link to article of Mark Steyn


 Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. 

One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society--government health care, government day care (which Canada's thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain's just introduced). We've prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity--"Go forth and multiply," because if you don't you won't be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare.


The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyper-rationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths--or, at any rate, virtues--and that's why they're proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.


We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.

Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it's not what this thing's about. Radical Islam is an opportunistic infection, like AIDS: It's not the HIV that kills you, it's the pneumonia you get when your body's too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose--as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there's an excellent chance they can drag things out until Western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.
That's what the war's about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: "Civilizations die from suicide, not murder"--as can be seen throughout much of "the Western world" right now. The progressive agenda--lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism--is collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism. The great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures--the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It's fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society. Multiculturalism means your kid has to learn some wretched native dirge for the school holiday concert instead of getting to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or that your holistic masseuse uses techniques developed from Native American spirituality, but not that you or anyone you care about should have to live in an African or Native American society. It's a quintessential piece of progressive humbug

Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the prince of Wales did, the prime minister of the United Kingdom did, the prime minister of Canada did . . . The premier of Ontario didn't, and so 20 Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque. I don't know why he didn't. Maybe there was a big backlog, it was mosque drive time, prime ministers in gridlock up and down the freeway trying to get to the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer Mosque on Elm Street. But for whatever reason he couldn't fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontario's citizenship minister did show up at a mosque, but the imams took that as a great insult, like the Queen sending Fergie to open the Commonwealth Games. So the premier of Ontario had to hold a big meeting with the aggrieved imams to apologize for not going to a mosque and, as the Toronto Star's reported it, "to provide them with reassurance that the provincial government does not see them as the enemy."

Anyway, the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died down, but it set the tone for our general approach to these atrocities. The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims. In most circumstances, it would be considered appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual "hate crime" by scaremongering about a purely hypothetical one. Needless to say, there is no campaign of Islamophobic hate crimes. If anything, the West is awash in an epidemic of self-hate crimes. A commenter on Tim Blair's Web site in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: "Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning's Terrorist Attack." Those community leaders have the measure of us

Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In "The Survival of Culture," I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, Queen's Counsel. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage "Islamic fundamentalists." "We as Western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves," she complained. "We don't look at our own fundamentalisms.

Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those Western liberal fundamentalisms be? "One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I'm not sure that's true.

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you're nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda, so 9/11 is greatly facilitating our surrender to the most extreme aspects of the multicultural agenda.
For example, one day in 2004, a couple of Canadians returned home, to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. They were the son and widow of a fellow called Ahmed Said Khadr, who back on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier was known as "al-Kanadi." Why? Because he was the highest-ranking Canadian in al Qaeda--plenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda, but he was the Numero Uno. In fact, one could argue that the Khadr family is Canada's principal contribution to the war on terror. Granted they're on the wrong side (if you'll forgive my being judgmental) but no one can argue that they aren't in the thick of things. One of Mr. Khadr's sons was captured in Afghanistan after killing a U.S. Special Forces medic. Another was captured and held at Guantanamo. A third blew himself up while killing a Canadian soldier in Kabul. Pa Khadr himself died in an al Qaeda shootout with Pakistani forces in early 2004. And they say we Canadians aren't doing our bit in this war!

In the course of the fatal shootout of al-Kanadi, his youngest son was paralyzed. And, not unreasonably, Junior didn't fancy a prison hospital in Peshawar. So Mrs. Khadr and her boy returned to Toronto so he could enjoy the benefits of Ontario government health care. "I'm Canadian, and I'm not begging for my rights," declared the widow Khadr. "I'm demanding my rights."

As they always say, treason's hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadr's death it seems clear that not only was he providing "aid and comfort to the Queen's enemies" but that he was, in fact, the Queen's enemy. The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal 22nd Regiment and other Canucks have been participating in Afghanistan, on one side of the conflict, and the Khadr family had been over there participating on the other side. Nonetheless, the prime minister of Canada thought Boy Khadr's claims on the public health system was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his own deep personal commitment to "diversity." Asked about the Khadrs' return to Toronto, he said, "I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree."

That's the wonderful thing about multiculturalism: You can choose which side of the war you want to fight on. When the draft card arrives, just tick "home team" or "enemy," according to taste. The Canadian prime minister is a typical late-stage Western politician: He could have said, well, these are contemptible people and I know many of us are disgusted at the idea of our tax dollars being used to provide health care for a man whose Canadian citizenship is no more than a flag of convenience, but unfortunately that's the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlife's got away with it. Instead, his reflex instinct was to proclaim this as a wholehearted demonstration of the virtues of the multicultural state. Like many enlightened Western leaders, the Canadian prime minister will be congratulating himself on his boundless tolerance even as the forces of intolerance consume him.


 Terror groups persist because of a lack of confidence on the part of their targets: ..... So they knew that while they could never win militarily, they also could never be defeated. The Islamists have figured similarly. The only difference is that most terrorist wars are highly localized. We now have the first truly global terrorist insurgency because the Islamists view the whole world the way the IRA view the bogs of Fermanagh: They want it, and they've calculated that our entire civilization lacks the will to see them off.

Go back to that list of local conflicts I mentioned. The jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you're not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians and the Nigerians, why wouldn't you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Danes and New Zealanders?

So the jihadists are for the most part doing no more than giving us a prod in the rear as we sleepwalk to the cliff. When I say "sleepwalk," it's not because we're a blasé culture. On the contrary, one of the clearest signs of our decline is the way we expend so much energy worrying about the wrong things. If you've read Jared Diamond's bestselling book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," you'll know it goes into a lot of detail about Easter Island going belly up because they chopped down all their trees. Apparently that's why they're not a G-8 member or on the U.N. Security Council. Same with the Greenlanders and the Mayans and Diamond's other curious choices of "societies." Indeed, as the author sees it, pretty much every society collapses because it chops down its trees.



 One way "societies choose to fail or succeed" is by choosing what to worry about. The Western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return we've developed a great cult of worrying. You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book "The Population Bomb," the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." In 1972, in their landmark study "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.

None of these things happened. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. We're pretty much awash in resources, but we're running out of people--the one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russia's the most obvious example: it's the largest country on earth, it's full of natural resources, and yet it's dying--its population is falling calamitously.

The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens--from terrorism to tsunamis--can be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of Western civilization. As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."


And even though none of the prognostications of the eco-doom blockbusters of the 1970s came to pass, all that means is that 30 years on, the end of the world has to be rescheduled. The amended estimated time of arrival is now 2032. That's to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted "the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species. . . . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems . . . 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct . . ."

Or to cut to the chase, as the Guardian headlined it, "Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster."

Well, here's my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future . . . where the environment will look pretty darn good. If you're a tree or a rock, you'll be living in clover. It's the Italians and the Swedes who'll be facing extinction and the loss of their natural habitat.

There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. What's worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about that we don't worry about the things we should be worrying about. For 30 years, we've had endless wake-up calls for things that aren't worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society--the ones truly jeopardizing our future--we're sound asleep. The world is changing dramatically right now, and hysterical experts twitter about a hypothetical decrease in the Antarctic krill that might conceivably possibly happen so far down the road there are unlikely to be any Italian or Japanese enviro-worriers left alive to be devastated by it.

In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as "globalization" is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite--that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China--and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That's the way to look at Islamism: We fret about McDonald's and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo . . .

What's the better bet? A globalization that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalization that exports the fiercest aspects of its culture? When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 (or 2033, or 2037, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management and Queer Studies degrees). And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. "Replacement" fertility rate--i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller--is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans.

As fertility shrivels, societies get older--and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business--unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so. If you look at European election results--most recently in Germany--it's hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they're unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them. The Scottish executive recently backed down from a proposal to raise the retirement age of Scottish public workers. It's presently 60, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that that's somebody else's problem. The average German worker now puts in 22% fewer hours per year than his American counterpart, and no politician who wishes to remain electorally viable will propose closing the gap in any meaningful way.

This isn't a deep-rooted cultural difference between the Old World and the New. It dates back all the way to, oh, the 1970s. If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it's a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington's problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a postmodern military alliance? The "free world," as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else. And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, it's hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to reshoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the West makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.

There is no "population bomb." There never was. Birthrates are declining all over the world--eventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the Western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of 39. But demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage. Even in 1968 Paul Ehrlich and his ilk should have understood that their so-called population explosion was really a massive population adjustment. Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9% of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26%. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30% of the world's population to just over 20%, the Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20%.
So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)--or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.

Can these trends continue for another 30 years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: The grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

What will Europe be like at the end of this process? Who knows? On the one hand, there's something to be said for the notion that America will find an Islamified Europe more straightforward to deal with than M. Chirac, Herr Schroeder & Co. On the other hand, given Europe's track record, getting there could be very bloody. But either way this is the real battlefield. The al Qaeda nutters can never find enough suicidal pilots to fly enough planes into enough skyscrapers to topple America. But unlike us, the Islamists think long-term, and, given their demographic advantage in Europe and the tone of the emerging Muslim lobby groups there, much of what they're flying planes into buildings for they're likely to wind up with just by waiting a few more years. The skyscrapers will be theirs; why knock 'em over?

The latter half of the decline and fall of great civilizations follows a familiar pattern: affluence, softness, decadence, extinction. You don't notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually there's a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding slogan--like Bill Clinton's "It's about the future of all our children." We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Mr. Clinton's tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the West can't even steal his lame bromides: A society that has no children has no future.

Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an "amiable dunce" (in Clark Clifford's phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts' position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself.

Yet, even by the minimal standards of these wretched precedents, so-called post-Christian civilizations--as a prominent EU official described his continent to me--are more prone than traditional societies to mistake the present tense for a permanent feature. Religious cultures have a much greater sense of both past and future, as we did a century ago, when we spoke of death as joining "the great majority" in "the unseen world." But if secularism's starting point is that this is all there is, it's no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than it's ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that it's suicidally so.


 It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual way, and that by 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on American network news every night. Even if they avoid that, the idea of a childless Europe ever rivaling America militarily or economically is laughable. Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans, and what's left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: Its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if it's populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it's populated by Algerians? That's a trickier proposition.


 As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?