Song for the glory of the God of Israel, r45 3-4 time.

r45 B flat major  r1  r2 r43 r3 r4 r5 f major r6 r7 r8 C major

An American Folk Song about the Land of Israel. I should mention I was in Safed for seven years in the north part of Israel and this song is no exaggeration.

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

There generous fruits that never fail
On trees immortal grow
There rocks and hills, and brooks and vales
With milk and honey flow

 I am bound for the promised land
I am bound for the promised land
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land

Oh, the transporting, rapturous scene
That rises to my sight
Sweet fields arrayed in living green
And rivers of delight

When shall I reach that happy place
And be forever blest
When shall I  see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound for the promised land
I am bound for the promised land
Oh, who will come and go with me?

I am bound for the promised land


I should mention I was in Safed for seven years in the north part of Israel and this song is no exaggeration.
In fact I think it is quite accurate  a description of how things were for me in Israel for the time I merited to be there.

The trouble with religious teachers is they are not trustworthy. Friendship is just a word, but money is forever. They get what they can from other people. Their obligations to others is null. Their attitude is: "There is only me. There is only what I can get for myself. Trust no one." And thus, no matter what you do for them. No matter how much you try, when you are in need, they will always turn their back on you.

There should be a list exposing the rotten religious teachers for what they really are. Anti Torah, Anti Jewish, anti Morality, that have penetrated the body of sincere Torah keeping Jews.

It can be helpful in understanding this  to take a
voluntary organisation like a yeshiva or a synagogue as the relevant social practice or concept, with the policies  and  principles  written  into  the  organisation’s  constitution  and
rules and the leadership body responsible for carrying out of these principles.
When a Trojan horse of religious teachers has entered the walls of Troy and managed to infiltrate into positions of leadership it is safe to say we are in a crisis.

This list is not hard to make. All religious teachers in LA are Trojan horses. Even places you would expect to be better because they learn Torah are in fact no exception.
There ought to be an official list that people could add to if their experiences with some religious teachers show that that religious teachers is in fact a Trojan horse. There are plenty of religious teachers to fill the bill and in fact so many that perhaps there ought to be a short list of the few one that are in fact loyal to Torah.

The trouble with religious teachers is they are not trustworthy.  Friendship is just a word, but money  is  forever.  They get what they can from other people.  Their obligations to others is null. Their attitude is: "There is only me.  There is only what I can get for myself.  Trust no one."  And thus, no matter what you do for them, no matter how much you try, when you are in need, they will always turn their back on you.

If it would be that they are rotten people I would not bother writing about it. But what really bother me is they give the holy Torah a bad name. When people find out how really bad the religious teachers are they tend to attribute the cause to the Torah.
However it is true that even without that reason, I would have an obligation to warn people about a stumbling block. But I just do not feel that degree of social responsibility to warn people about every bad group out there. But the rotten religious teachers is more close to home. So at least this one group I think it is proper to let people know about.

Perhaps we lack a right to engage in activities that reasonably appear to show an intention to harm or impose unacceptable risks on others. For example, I may not run towards you brandishing a sword, even if I do not in fact intend to hurt you. The principle also explains why we punish people for merely attempting or conspiring to commit crimes.

Thus, suppose that people who read the Communist  Manifesto are slightly more likely than the average person to attempt the violent overthrow of the government. (This might be because such people are more likely to already have designs for overthrowing the government, and/or because the reading of the book occasionally causes people to acquire such intentions.) I take it that this would not show there is no on the face of it  right to read the Communist Manifesto—though perhaps the situation would be otherwise if the reading of the Manifesto had a very strong tendency to cause revolutionary efforts, or if the occurrence of this effect did not depend on further free choices on the part of the reader.

But let us take the Koran. There is a strong tendency on the part of people that read it to take violent actions against Jews and Christians. This should be taken as good cause to  throw it out.

Similarly I think we can show similar effects from that certain books of the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on. That is they may not directly cause violence, but  cause insanity.

In other words reading any book we have to assume is OK unless some  kind of meme inside of it seems to cause people to swallow it and become violent or insane. It is for this reason that pharmacies are not allowed to sell poison under a label "Pain killer. Guaranteed to relieve all your ills." [The advertising would be absolutely true. Still it would be against the law.]


I saw recently in the Even Shelema which is a collection of statements from the Gra that even when you know the person will not accept your rebuke. I seem to recall the Shelah say the same thing. On the other hand one does need to know how to deliver rebuke. If one can not do it without anger then certainly he is not obligated. And the most obvious point is one does need to know when something is truly wrong or not.

There are good arguments for free will. Michael Huemer presented a few and so did Maimonides. But in any case once there is free will you have to assume that men and women can choose good or evil. The only moral superiority anyone has is when they choose good. That is clearly what the Torah holds.
On a side note there is a command in the Torah to rebuke your fellow man or woman when you see them doing wrong.



 race. I have thought for a long time that the way  nature operates to take  one species and make it into two or more is to start slowly with race.  I based this idea on Darwin. The idea is that you take one species and separate it. You put one group on some island somewhere. Then you take another group and put it elsewhere. After a short amount of time that one species will be two species. That is what race is. Race is you take a group of humans they go down to Africa. Another group goes north. Eventually they become two species.

But added to this I need a little wisdom from the Talmud: that is is not a good idea to go against nature,- because nature will win.

But that still does not mean anything about how to treat other people. It has to do with groups but not individuals.

Second Amendment. Get groups together to get every possible Trump voter to the polls.

The religion of the left is power. I do not think they will give it up without a fight. Thus I think Americans ought to be armed in such a way to make a declaration of martial law and invalidation of the November election impossible.

One way you can defend the Second Amendment is by natural rights of self defense.

To help that things should not come to that Americans should be well armed and organized as groups. The best thing is to already get groups together to get every possible Trump voter to the polls.

There was a group of people in Rome that were religious followers of Plato. They followed Plato and learned him religiously just like we learn Gemara {Talmud.} They sat in the Beit Midrash all day and learned his writings. The Rosh Yeshiva gave  a shiur klali [class for the whole yeshiva]every week and every day there were classes in Plato. One practice was someone would give a seminar. That is for young married men they would give something that would approach a regular class of a Rosh yeshiva but on a slightly lower level.

The unique thing about this place that I find fascinating is the efforts of the Rosh yeshiva to consider Aristotle as a commentary of Plato and not as an adversary.
There was no denying that Aristotle disagreed with Plato on important points but still they sought insights into Plato by means of Aristotle.

What became of this? It became the pillar of all Western Thought. The Neo Platonic school of thought became the basis of Saadia Gaon, the Rambam (Maimonides), Crescas, Hegel, the Ari (Arizal, Isaac Luria), Augustine, Ibn Gavirol.

The reason I bring this up is that I think people have made too much of  a big deal out of the arguments between Kant and Hegel. Way too much. What I see is a kind of learning of Kant that would use insights of Hegel to understand Kant much like the Neo Platonic, Plotinus, used Aristotle as a commentary of Plato.

I mention this because I have been troubled for a long time about what you would call intellectual intuition. This I think is at least one major difference between Kant and Hegel. And On this issue I definitely go with Kant. But I can not see why that would cancel the insights of Hegel.

I admit i am nervous about saying this because of my lack of  knowledge. Still I see this as a promising approach.


Meta-magical thinking and schizoid personality disorders.

Meta Magical thinking is something I have seen a lot of in the world of the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on.
The leaders of the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on almost certainly have schizo typal personality disorders as do many of their followers. People have been able to discern the line between normal thinking, schizo typal thinking and downright schizophrenia.

So the obvious question is what happens when there are real objective phenomena that seem to be above the natural order?

The awareness that there is spiritual thinking that is downright sick is a strong part of the Lithuanian yeshiva experience. and any slight suggestion of this kind of thinking is rigorously excluded.
They are very well aware that there are people that are very religious, but not from a healthy standpoint.

It would be helpful to have a useful measure of such things.

The problem is that this kind of thinking is sanctioned and when people are not outright schizophrenic and have some control they can direct  their thinking in socially accepted direction and become the holy man of the community.

The problem that I see is that hanging out with sick people can make one sick --even if he starts out as perfectly normal and healthy.  Furthermore following a sick person can make a whole community sick. These are the basic problems I see here.

I know this group likes to think of themselves as super Jews, beyond reproach. It is sad that the truth is just the opposite and the numbers of broken lives and broken homes they leave behind is horrific.

Meta-magical thinking and schizoid personality disorders.

Meta Magical thinking is something I have seen a lot of in the world of the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on.
The leaders of the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on almost certainly have schizo typal personality disorders as do many of their followers. People have been able to discern the line between normal thinking, schizo typal thinking and downright schizophrenia.

So the obvious question is what happens when there are real objective phenomena that seem to be above the natural order?

The awareness that there is spiritual thinking that is downright sick is a strong part of the Lithuanian yeshiva experience. and any slight suggestion of this kind of thinking is rigorously excluded.
They are very well aware that there are people that are very religious, but not from a healthy standpoint.

It would be helpful to have a useful measure of such things.

The problem is that this kind of thinking is sanctioned and when people are not outright schizophrenic and have some control they can direct  their thinking in socially accepted direction and become the holy man of the community.

The problem that I see is that hanging out with sick people can make one sick --even if he starts out as perfectly normal and healthy.  Furthermore following a sick person can make a whole community sick. These are the basic problems I see here.

Hegel is like Aristotle

What Kelley Ross does is he has discrete steps in the a priori. That is not a continuum. That is one thing will be contingent to some higher a priori, but necessary for a lower level.

But within one area of value, he will have continuous values.

This again seem to me to  go along with Hegel. Hegel does not want any universal to be contingent. But to him there is certainly a hierarchy of universals.

In other words though Hegel is like Aristotle in many ways, still in this one area he diverges. With Aristotle the universal is definitely dependent on the particular. Hegel does not want that. He wants the universal to contain the particular. Hegel calls the universal an independent immediacy. [Shorter Logic pg 159.]

Social revolutionary.

Social revolutionary asked on my comment on his blog:

"I think it would be extremely helpful and revolutionary if we could determine where in the continuum one gives way to the other. Or is there no continuum?"

I did not mention it in my answer to him but I think he is  dealing with the issues brought up by Frege and later on people. That is a good deal of 20th century philosophy tried to deny the existence of the a priori. They tried to use Frege for that. But I do not know. I think Michael Huemer also gives a great account of lots of levels of a priori knowledge.
I am reluctant to go further than this because I am kind of on thin ice. I perceive some connection between Kant and Hegel which would be great as far as Shalom Sharabi and Isaac Luria are concerned. But I am afraid to go too far with this. [What I mean is my level in philosophy has not gone much further than what I learned in high school. People like Kelley Ross and Michael Huemer have done a lot of great thinking about these things.

  • Reason perceives universals--not prime substance. The idea of dinge an sich

     "The thing in itself." And that is a concept that is hard to grasp in all its glory. It refers to both a priori and empirical knowledge. The best treatments of this are from Schopenhauer and Dr Kelley Ross. 

    The way I see it is that Aristotle is not that far away from this concept with Prime matter being something that reason can not perceive.That is: not only do we have Plato showing there is a an aspect of reality hidden from reason but I think we have to include Aristotle in this also. For the simple reason that Reason perceives universals--not prime substance. The Gra hints to this also in his statement on the Hagada that everything has an open aspect and a hidden aspect. 

    Kant's original idea is modest: "It is easily seen that this object must be thought only as something in general = x, since outside our knowledge we have nothing which we could set over against this knowledge as corresponding to it...."[Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason translated by Norman Kemp Smith, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1965, p. 134. 

    Unbelievably simple. 

    But this goes further. We can check empirical knowledge. The way  Kant would  put it is: "We have something to set against it". That is we have a measuring stick. A Priori knowledge has no such measuring stick for its first axioms. Thus, "How do we know synthetic a priori?"
    The "Obligations of the Heart" [The first Musar book by Ibn Pakuda] (What a name! Pakuda means an "order," or a "command") says it is by prophecy. That is all advances in knowledge are not by reason but by revelation. 
    The Rambam also mentions this in the Guide concerning moral knowledge. 
    Schopenhauer always refers to the "Ding An Sich" [the thing in itself] not the plural like Kant's dinge an sich things in themselves. And that brings us to the First Cause and also to the sub levels of  contingency.

    So then as Dr Ross puts it we do not think a bathtub full of computer chips can do any commutations.
    The Structures have to be already there for the mind to perceive anything.

    The way this works are by Stephen Gould, Sapolsky, and by a recent essay I saw on a nice blog.
    That is structures that stick out to perceive more  than what they were designed for, {Stephen Gould}.
    Neural networks and chaos. {Sapolsky}. Quantum jumping.  [by "An Unmarried Man".] Dr Hoffman

    The way to understand this the way I usually do is by the idea of plane of existence But a more fruitful approach could be through מרחב כיסוי the covering manifold.

    That is p: C to X.  That is "p" is a map from the covering manifold to the base manifold. And p^-1 maps in the opposite direction up to your C [cover]. And every point in your base {"X"} has an open area surrounding it, i.e. "U". And every curve in X that can be mapped to curves in upper manifolds U sub Alpha.  All this means is you have lots of covering spaces over one manifold. That tomy way of thinking means lots of things in planes of existence that  when they get "down here" become existing things.

    [I mean this as metaphysics. Not as a biological process. But who knows?]

    Anyway the place where Hegel comes into this is in the hierarchy of his triads which really are stages of unconditioned reality becoming reality.
    You need Hegel because of this fellow The Maverick Philosopher that prime matter is not up to the job.


    The song at the end of the Passover hagada "One Goat."

    I think that חד גדיא (one goat) is a very important lesson about במדה שאדם מודד בה מודדים לו which comes from a Gemara. That is: What one dishes out to others always comes back a full circle. [Lit. "The measure one measures out to others is the same measure that will be measures out to him from heaven."] 
    I have seen this countless of times myself. And I am always shocked when I see people doing evil to others and I wonder to myself why do they not realize that what goes around comes around.

    But that is just how I have understood that Piut [song]myself. I think that is clearly what it is saying. 

    I should mention that I am not immune to the process of מדה כנגד מדה. [what one gives is what one gets,] Thus I see everything that has gone wrong in my own life as a direct result of my own sins. This comes from a statement in the Talmud. אין יסורים בלי עוון. (There is no suffering without sin.) Now you could ask on that from Job. But still I am just saying how I see things myself based on my experiences in a Musar Yeshiva in NY. That is I try to see what faults there are in me when things do not go my way. This approach I am very happy that I gained in yeshiva. Because I have seen lots of people when things do not go their way their first reaction is to blame others and almost never look into themselves.

    I imagine that if I had not learned this in yeshiva from where could I have learned it? Thus I am grateful to God that I spent some important years in an authentic Lithuanian yeshiva. Whether I learned well or not is not the issue. Rather what is important is some amazing lessons in having the right attitude that I gained there.

    religious teachers

    religious teachers . I never thought they were anything but dressing up like holy people in order to make money. I never thought they knew Torah. Still there are people that go by same name but are in fact devoted to Torah These honest and decent people for some reason have not seen fit to disassociate themselves  from frauds.

    There is a custom in the authentic Lithuanian yeshiva world to call people Reb just like you could say Mr Smith. Thus we have even the greatest of Torah scholars being called as "Mr Smith" as in "Reb Chaim" [that is Chaim Soloveitchik] or the "Chafetz Chaim." Or "Reb Moshe" [Moshe Feintstein]. "Reb Aaron" [Aaron Kotler]. But this is only a custom. [That is "Reb" is the same as "Mr."]

    Sephardim have a custom that is also admirable. For authentic Torah Scholars they use the name the Talmud gives them: "Rav." So for the greatest Sephardi Torah Scholar we have "Rav Ovadia Joseph."

    Gentiles for some reason have not learned to make this distinction, nor have most secular Jews. I have no idea why this is.
    But my guess is that the true Torah scholars never made it their business to make this distinction which leaves all us simple Jews in a award position. It is almost impossible to tell who is real and who is putting on an act.
    So why do not the true scholars speak up? I could not even begin to guess. It is like unspoken rule.

    In the name of all of us simple Jews, I ask the true Torah scholars to help us to make this important distinction. Because without it everyone suffers.

    But the silence of Torah scholars is puzzling in more ways than one. Everyone reading this probably knows just what I mean and has encountered this in many other ways. Maybe there is something good about their silence I do not know. But I speak my mind.

    A man meets God. The experience is strange. He picks up a book and discovers that for millenia others have had the exact same experience.

    A man meets God. The experience is strange. He picks up a book and discovers that for millenia others have had the exact same experience.
    He realizes that he has a 'map of the experience' so to speak. Curious, he digs deeper and discovers principles about this strange thing he was not aware of. The man tests them empirically and they are true.
    Being social a social creature, he talks to others who have had the same and similar experience.
    Along comes a random heathen man who attempts to cast doubt on the veracity of the experience by pointing to the book. The man looks at the heathen and shakes his head. "you miss the point. you invert the phenomena. you are looking at this wrong. you do not see. "

    The differences between Kant and Hegel can be ironed out.  [If anyone is at all interested.]
    The way is simple by an idea from the Rambam. Reason itself needs to be revealed.
    You have the same unconditioned realities of Kant. But these unconditioned realities are a hierarchy. The same hierarchy of Hegel. But instead of their being perceived by reason they can only be revealed by the will of God. This was not I think the new idea of the Rambam. You can see this in the חובות לבבות Obligations of the Heart by Ibn Pakuda, the judge. I assume he might have gotten it from even earlier sources.

    That is you could build a Kant-Hegelian system. You would preserve the ding an sich the Reality and realities that are not perceivable by reason but rather are revealed.--Or the way Plato would say it "Remembered." [See the Meno. And this is not like the Neo Platonic school that did not have anything like unconditioned realities. This rather would be straight back to Plato.]

    You would also have to realize the absolute Spirit of Hegel is not the same thing as the First Cause as the Rambam also noted a long time before them.

    I am the hierarchy of Hegel is not the same kind of thing that I am thinking of here. Here I am thinking of Kelly Ross hierarchy of Ur Contingency. But in any case you get the idea.

    You might not think this is a big deal but I see it as very important for many reasons. One side issue that people might consider is that freedom has not much going for it from a John Lock perspective. If you think individual freedom is important you do need to find a better basis for it outside of the blank slate.

    Government I thought was only granted certain powers in the Constitution. Even without the idea of rights, I would think that it has no power except what was agreed upon by the States. 
    But it takes power anyway. I think if freedom and individual rights had more of an intellectual backing then people would be less willing to grant unlimited powers to government. 
    Their power ought to be limited by reason of natural rights.

    You really can not take Hegel alone in that he is definitely  on the side of Aristotle. To him the individual is the same as Aristotle's prime substance-- that is basically just nothing but a vessel prepared to contain some universals. So you need Plato's ideas  and Kant's autonomy of the individual.

    That is you need to take Hegel the same way Plotinus took Aristotle as modifying and explaining Plato. You need Hegel to help fill in the whole picture.

    Roosh put this upon his site so I thought to do the same

    Bezmenov   Link to Roosh

    My comments: That is great that you saw that fellow's utubes. I thought he was totally forgotten. He was absolutely right and I wish more people had heeded his warning. Sadly the KGB got to him. They found him because he was on the radio in Canada.
    There was a KGB agent whose job was to monitor the radio in the USA England and Canada and report anything significant to his bosses. Well that is how they found him. He sadlly did not last long after that. It would be great if people were more aware of what he said.

    A comment:
    Anyone know how, or even WHEN, Bezmenov died?
    I once posted a question on Yahoo Answers asking "how did Yuri Bezmenov die?" and I was immediately BANNED.
    Bezmenov's Wikipedia entry mentions nothing about his death, and there seems to be nothing anywhere online about it. 

    • Me:
      There was a blog called "The Useless Dissent" that I had a link a long time ago. I was sure that Bezmenov was right and shocked that no one paid attention to him. Someone from the KGB worked at listening to broadcasts from the USA and Canada. He heard him and passed the information on to his superior. Bezmenov was then killed as the regular policy was in those days. There was more info a few years ago, but info on the internet tends to disappear quickly. Some information was never put on line and you had to know the people involved to put the picture together.

    If you look up Scientology you might be able to find a link to the English translation of a document that provided the handbook of the KGB for subverting the USA that Scientology utilized in pursuing its own goals.
    The people in the KGB that were not directly involved did not think the KGB had the resources to subvert the USA by the strategies outlined by Bezmenov. But I think that they were simply compartmentalized and did not see the big strategy.

    How likely is it the Left after perverting the USA, will give up power willingly? Thus, I suggest to all Americans to arm themselves. Thus to make sure that if martial law is declared, and the election of Trump is invalidated, then regular Americans have  away of defending themselves.


    World view issues have always been important to me and when I was young I looked into a lot. West  and East. Mainly I settled on the Oral and Written Law.  The Oral Law has no claim to divinity except in so far as it is accurate in its rigorous in its analysis of the verse of the Torah. In so far as it is objectively accurate to that degree it partakes of the holiness of Torah. But as a philosophical backing of Torah I have taken it as an axiom that Saadia Gaon and the Rambam knew what kind of world view was implicit in Torah.
    And their approach while having some implications of mystic experience is not mystical but philosophical-and thus subject to the same kind of critique that any philosophical world view is subject to. So Torah has to stand up to critique. The way I have defended Torah is mainly by defending the Rambam's exposition of it in the Guide.

    But as a rule I should say almost all world views I have encountered have serious problems with them. Some are obviously circular reasoning. Some are less obviously so.

    A nice comment I saw on a blog about Muslim refuges

    This morning, at the early mass, I did walk out after we were intoned to not be afraid of letting in "refugees." I'm not sure what universe the reader lives in. I am not sure what universe the writer of the request for prayers lives in. In the universe I live in, the real universe, those refugees are mostly - no, _overwhelmingly_ - military age males, from a hostile religion, heavily infiltrated by ISIS/DAESH, a slave trading, raping, fanatical, genocidal, and expanding group of that religion. No, the State Department and DHS cannot filter out the maniacs.

    On choosing a good wife. essay from a blog

    On choosing a good wife.
     Is she a good follower? Or does she constantly buck authority when a decision is made. How she interacts with authority is a good indicator, especially with her father.
    Generally speaking, the “actions” of someone are a fair indicator of the state of their heart although I would state that attitude is a better indicator. Heart intentions always lead to actions. If there is good fruit from the actions, then it’s most likely their heart is in a good place.
    However, actions can indeed be deceptive. This is why when you vet for a wife I suggest mainly vetting for character along with actions. How do you vet for character?
    Character is really only revealed in difficult and/or morally compromising situations. Thus, the “real” person you’re looking at is:
    • What they do when they’re angry?
    • What do they do when they’ve been proven wrong?
    • When they are at fault do they apologize and make amends or double down?
    • How do they react under pressure filled situations?
    • Are they gracious and humble?
    • What do they do when someone is harassing them?
    • How do they treat the people that do bad or evil to them?
    • How does a girlfriend react when she’s angry with you AND you ask her to do something?
    • Does she actually “follow” or retain control by “letting you lead?”
    These are the types of things that are difficult but reveal a mature character:

    As we live in first world countries, there are not many instances where actual life threatening difficulties befall us. Hence, we need to be vigilant in understanding that the few places where you can view someone’s character is what they are really like underneath the surface. Do not brush character concerns under the rug as these are the types of things that come back to haunt you.
    What type of attitude do they take in all of these situations?
    In marriage there is much good, but there’s always going to be difficulty. How are they going to respond to that when things get rough? Are they going to quit or reveal their bad character like they did in certain circumstances prior to marriage? Or are they going to reveal their good character, tough it out, and submit to God and to you?
    Attitude reveals the heart’s desire. Are they for God AND for you, or are they against you? Sadly, women can be for God and against you because they can be deceived. You need to make sure that this is not the case, and that she will not persist in such a deception.
    Finally, is she teachable and does she learn from her mistakes?
    In marriage, both the husband and wife will grow and change over time. The most important thing is if she is teachable and willing to learn from her mistakes and not make them again.
    If she is unteachable then it’s a waste of your time. Likewise, if she repeats the same mistakes over and over… you know what the Proverbs has to say about a fool and his folly.
    These types of things are partly revelations of character. Teachability and learning from mistakes is a critical factor  because these are some of the concepts that underlie repentance. She may be  good otherwise, but can she also display these traits when she is with you. That is the question.
    In my weltanschauung   the ethics of the Torah is root of the universe. This idea came about  from learning Musar [Ethics of the Torah], but I saw it later in Shalom Sharabi.
    That is at least something I saw in the Alter of Slobadka openly. אור צפון. The Hidden Light. That was one of the writings of the disciples of  Reb Israel Salanter.  I saw this  right smack at the beginning in a very powerful way. I forget how he put it but it was along the lines that the sin of Adam was in character.

    religious teachers against marriage and dating

    Do not let religious teachers use a shiduch [marriage and dating] as a way to trap and control you. That is common practice with religious teachers and is extremely dangerous. The one and most important principle of my Dad was to be self sufficient. He would have seen through the religious teachers attempts to control people by means of the manipulations of the shiduch as extremely disgusting and would have run from them as fast as possible.

    Appendix: The background here is they try make sure no one can meet a girl without their approval on an official shiduch [marriage offer]. They try to break up marriages they do not approve of; especially when one spouse is their follower and the other not. 

    There are I think exceptions among people so devoted to Torah that they simply have to learn Torah all day and have no choice but to accept a kollel check. That I think is fine and even admirable. But they are people that learn Torah all day. They are not religious teachers.  


    This is just an example of a larger problem I have mentioned before that every area of value--when it deteriorates, does not become less. It becomes opposite.


    religious teacher

    If you want to learn Torah you have to marry the daughter of an authentic Torah Scholar and do not hang out with the wrong crowd. It does not matter much one wants to learn Torah. If he marries a girl that is not the daughter of an  Litvish Talmid Chacham, it is impossible to learn Torah. You need to set your goals on the right kind of girl.

    That is not the same thing as a religious teacherreligious teacher are the possessed by the force of anti Torah. I am talking about authentic Torah scholars which is very different kind of thing.

    In the USA women are about as bad as possible. The Jewish world there is worse. And frum religious world makes no difference. If anything, it is a million times worse. One needs a בת תלמיד חכם [daughter of a true Torah scholar]. Or just a regular girl. But the danger is the religious world. Especially for someone that has no experience. 

    When I was in Shar Yashuv my future wife [a girl I knew in high school] was sending letters to me and when I was in the Mir she was calling me sometimes every day and sometimes once every two days. She is not the daughter of a Torah Scholar which had the result that is usual. But she is was  a good shiduch anyway for other reasons. A Rav Getz and Arye Kaplan suggested to me to marry her. Arye Kaplan said, "If you wait for a shiduch from the frum world, they will offer you a בעלת מום (someone with something wrong with them) that you will not be able to discern until it is too late." That is, at least with her I knew her and her family very well and I knew her character. 

    It occurred to me today to my world view on a firm footing. That means to explain what it is and how it relates to other world views. The reason this seems necessary is that I have noticed other world views out there that in some way directly contradict my own. And other that have some good points but I do not accept all the points.  It seems necessary also because Ann Rand did not position her world view in relation to other people and that seems to detract from her value.

    One needs to position himself, so people can relate to what you are saying. Also, you need to give weight functions in front of each value to show how important it is.
    The basic center is the Oral and Written Law. That is the Old Testament, plus the Oral commentary that was received tradition until it was written down in the two Talmuds.
    The world view backing this up or that I think is implicit inside of it--the world view that provided the foundation for the Oral and Written Law I think is the Rambam's Guide For The Perplexed and Saadia Gaon's Emunot VeDeot.

     Both are Neo Platonic. But the Rambam leans heavily towards Aristotle.

    Thus the questions and issues brought by Kant and Hegel are pertinent and need to be addressed.

    I lean towards a kind of composite between Kant and Hegel and Schopenhauer.  I accept the "dinge an sich" (thing in itself) which I think is clear in the Rambam. Revelations reveal the dinge an sich. There is a hierarchy of dinge an sich until you get to the "ding an sich."(singular. Absolute Trancendence.)
    [I lean towards Kant in this, that this hierarchy is in the nature of the unconditioned realities. This is not like Hegel in which the contradictions are in the objects and concepts themselves, and need to be brought into action through time.]

    You can see this in most medieval books of Jewish ethics Musar. That even natural sciences they considered revealed by Revelation not by Reason. I have personal reasons for my world view and empirical observations.

    The most admirable, moral, decent people I every knew were my parents so obviously what every they said or did must have an important effect on my world view. Plus I had an experience with the Ding an Sich that I can only understand today by means of Kant's idea of unconditioned realities. So that is a highly personal reason that others my not relate to.

    Also because of my studies in Musar and Gemara I am very much in favor of the idea that people have  aright to their property and the fruits of their labor. Government taking that from them I see as theft unless it is part of the Constitution or some contract that people have agreed to beforehand.

    Popularity of the cult that the Gra signed the excommunication on

    We can understand this if we look at popular artists.

    Think of a stadium filled to capacity with screaming Beatles fans; or the baseball fans who stand for hours in line to watch the Boston Red Sox break Babe’s curse; or dead-headers who devoted their lives to following the Grateful Dead; or the red carpet on Oscar night where people strain to glimpse their favorite celebrity arriving by limousine; or the lines of mourners at Graceland who gather each August to pay homage to The King. Our affections for our favorites are exclusive: there are people who know every word of every song on U2’s Joshua Tree, but nothing of Van Halen. There are readers who adore Mark Helprin, but snore if the subject is Borges or Calvino. For and Against mark the passions of a fan. We all have our idols. What comes over us when we give ourselves up to such frenzy? What makes a fan possible?

    We know about this sort of frenzy first hand. We are post-Woodstock after all. We honor great singers, actors, novelists, playwrights, musicians, tennis and basketball icons, and other bigger-than-life people. They appear like sudden meteor showers, steam across the sky, lighting up the night for moments, hours, or even years until they drop from view and then from memory. While riding high, their fans gaze at them, reporters hound them, strangers ask for their autographs; their glamour and riches make them the wonder and envy of many.

    The mystery of all great artists is that they cannot call up their talent at will, nor can they pass it on to others. Unlike knowledge, which is shareable, the artist is alone in the grip of something greater than himself that he cannot control and cannot understand. By force of the divine, the poet becomes the primary magnetic ring, while his imitators  are just the “middle ring” through whom the Muse “drags the soul of human beings wherever she wants, transmitting the power by hanging it upon each successive member of the chain. And as if hanging from the loadstone a great chain of choral dancers, teachers, and subordinates are hung from the sides of the rings which hang from the Muse.

    He, too, finds himself drawn in by the power of this or that Muse. He becomes transfixed by this or that celebrity, awed and pressed to favor him, look to him, to seek his company and counsel as though   the star knows whence his talent and fan affection arise. For a while,  it is as though men agree that “to be thought divine is far more noble ” than to be considered a master of knowledge or expertise. But when the bright light burns out, as it will and must, the star and his fans will be left as much in the dark as they were before he shot across their night sky. Throughout that heady time, though, other pressing matters—of education, goodness, justice, and governance—must be left on the back burners of life. Such is the danger of a culture of celebrity, however unavoidable it is.

     For although it makes all the difference to humankind who the magnetic man on stage is—Billy Graham, Mahatma Gandhi, or Adolph Hitler—every inspired man must have  sharp awareness of his incredible power to make us forget ourselves utterly. He will continue to glow in the night sky only so long as he succeeds in honing that power. How he succeeds or why, he has no clue. How he was chosen, or why, he cannot say. He is flying intoxicated toward a horizon he cannot see, dragging his fans with him, and he and they neither need nor want an explanation. The glory, fame, and the seductive glamour provide all the fuel he and his fans require. Perhaps it is his divine and unavoidable fate. But we participate in his journey at our peril, whatever his message, whatever his song. 


    The traditional Lithuanian yeshiva is based on Musar and Gemara. That is it is a text based religion.
    The core text is the Old Testament with the axiom that the Old Testament needs rigorous analysis to understand how to apply it in real life. And that rigorous analysis is the Talmud. There is no claim that the Talmud is infallible. Every page and every word rises, stands or falls according to how logically rigorous they are. There is a claim that it partakes of the holiness of the Torah itself, but only in so far as it corresponds to some abstract objective measure of what the Torah actually means.
    That is: it is text based. But there is an axiom that morality is objective and absolute and politically incorrect and not dependent on human perception or ideas. The Torah is given to us in order to help us perceive objective morality.

    I am not saying yeshivas even the top and best ones are perfect. In a world where perfection is sadly lacking, they also subject to human flaws. But you have to keep your eyes on the goal post--to come to objective morality. When my father was teaching me how to sail, one thing I still remember he said. "Always keep your aim directed to one single point." [That is point the ship at one point on the shore. Or if you are on the open ocean then one point on the compass.]

    How else are we to come to objective morality except by learning Torah? Gemara and Musar [the ethics of Torah]. And avoiding the cults. 

    Schizoid personalities

     Here I want to talk about schizoid tendencies and Sapolsky and over interest in religious matters that indicate schizoid tendencies. There is I think an important distinction between normal interest in the metaphysical meaning of life, the universe and everything else. But there is a dividing line that when one crosses it, there is no going back. It is where the religious interest becomes all consuming. To Sapolsky this is biological. That mean in theory it can be cured. What I have suggested is that there is such a thing as a psychological disorder that is not biological and also a spiritual illness which is not psychological.
    The correction of the spiritual illness I suggest is learning Gemara and Musar. [Gemara refers to the two Talmuds.] I do not accept the idea that Gemara is a conspiracy against the Torah. It is a rigorous account of how to go about keeping the Torah.

    The problem with the cult that the Gra signed the  excommunication on is they take a schizoid personality obsessed with ritual and obsession with  sex [love and hatred of such] and make them into their leader and idol.
    (Hyper-graphia, hatred of new things.)

    Organized schizophrenia.


    Kabalah is a modification of Greek and Christian Philosophy.

    Kabalah is a modification of Greek and Christian Philosophy. This is not a bad thing but it ought to be acknowledged. What happens instead is people insult Aristotle and ascribe beliefs to him that he did not believe while in the meantime taking ideas from him and claiming them as their own.

    Often you find that people bring some question that the ancient philosophers asked. Then they make fun of the question. Then they say over the answer that the philosophers answered, and claim the answer as their own. It is kind of dishonest.

    [1] Ten Sepherot. This is the most famous concept in Kabalah. (Lekutai Moharan vol 2: chapter 7).
    The Ten Spheres are explained in the Zohar in a spiritual sense (published 1280 C.E.), the Sefer Zohar and the Bahir (published in the eleventh century C.E. in France.) [The word "sphere" is not Hebrew.]
    This model had been suggested by Parmenides. [circa 500 b.c.e.] Aet 2;1 Dox 827 "Parmenides taught that there were crowns encircling one another in close succession.." He goes on to paint this scheme. Except he does not place the earth at the center. Neither do the Pythagoreans.
    Later, Plato was the first person (on record) to ask for a rational mathematical explanation of the wandering of the planets [in the book, Timaeus, circa 350 B.C.]. To give an approximate answer, Plato sketched a model of a spherical earth in the center of a vast, rotating sphere containing fixed stars (note 3). Inside of this celestial sphere were concentric spheres, like an onion, each carrying one of the planets. Then he asked for a precise mathematical explanation of the reason for the wandering of the planets. His disciple, Eudoxus came up with the mathematical details to complete geometric model.
    This model was still accepted in the days of Aristotle (384 -322 B.C.E. about a hundred years before the miracle of Chanukah in 165 B.C.). He put this onion model into his writings and from then on was widely known and accepted.
    But a better model was discovered by Apollonius (262-190 B.C.) of wheels and smaller wheels (epicycles) revolving on the larger ones. But the spheres remained as a picture of the location of the planets though they were not used any longer to explain the motion of the planets. [Their problem was they could not explain why the planets get brighter and dimmer.]
    By the time of R. Shimon Bar Yochi (about 500 years after Plato) the spheres were well known. The Almagest (published by Ptolemy in 150 C.E.) is a mathematical extremely well detailed account of the motions of the stars and planets. It consists of 13 books. The first one contains an outline of the spheres. The Almagest was translated from the Greek into Latin in 1160. "On The Spheres" by Johannes Sacroboso published in 1220 (30 years before Moshe De Leon 1250-1305) was a standard university text and described the spheres. (You can still see the onion picture in many textbooks that describe ancient astronomy. The mechanical wheel model of the Solar System is still found in some museums.) [The Ten Spheres are the spheres of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Celestial Sphere of the stars, the Crystal Sphere and the Primum Mobile. Outside of all that is the habitation of God.]
    Mediaeval Aristotelians (Al Farabi and Avicenna) believed The One created the first intelligence, and that intelligence is aware of the duality, and so created a third thing. This process continues until you get ten intelligences and nine spheres.
    The Kabalah took this conceptual scheme and extended the spheres to the spiritual realms also. In the Eitz Chayim, the spherot of igulim are spiritual spheres. (note 4)
    But Nachman almost never refers to the sepheres directly (Vol II chapter 7) but to Divine attributes and levels of prophecy and the Ten Commandments and Ten Statements by which the world was created (Vol II chapter 8).
    Incidental, Ptolemy had only eight spheres. The celestial sphere is the eighth. I once saw a book that said there was added a Sphere in the Middle Ages because of the precession of the north pole. Ptolemy himself knew about the movement of the North Pole (It was discovered by Hipparchus in about 130 B.C.E.) but he did not add any sphere because of it. Another astronomer during the Middle Ages suggested "trepidation" but not another sphere. As far as I know the ninth sphere, "the crystal sphere", was added in response to the verse about "waters above the firmament" in Genesis. The Tenth was the Primum Mobile. (The ninth was sometimes not counted.)

    [2] The wheels. Nachman says the "Higher Intellect" is what makes the "galgalim" גלגלעם (lit. "wheels") go around.(Lekutai Moharan 1:61) [See Plotinus that says the One emanates the Mind and the Mind controls Nature/Soul.]
    During the Middle Ages the motion of the planets was accounted for by their being attached to large wheels in the heavens that went around.

    [3] The "Zimzum" צימצום (condensation) process of the  Isaac Luria  mentioned by  Nachman in volume 1 chapter 49 and 64 is a is from  Anaximander's [611-547 B.C.E.] theory of creation: that an empty space formed in the middle of the original primordial unlimited stuff of the universe; the warm stuff moved outward and the cold sank inward (that made the empty space)- the reunion of the two created life.
    The Greek Philosophers after him modified his ideas in different ways but the same principle still seems to apply to them. First there was an original Primordial unlimited, unchangeable substance. Then somehow it was separated into different things. Then those opposite things came together to create life. Anaxagoras and Empedocles modified this idea to get gradiated levels coming down from the first undifferentiated substance. Thus with Empedocles you get four elements.
    Isaac Luria extended the idea of the condensation process into the spiritual realm.

    [4] Four elements. [Lekutai Moharan (L.M.) volume 1 chapter 4)] The first one to suggest these as the essential elements was Empedocles. [Born 492 B.C.E.,--the beginning of the Second Temple period.] It is true that the Kabalah also uses this. But R. Shimon bar Yochai lived 600 years after Empedocles.
    You could say Empedocles heard it from some Jew. But it was not pulled out of thin air. It came after a long process of thought and argument and debate starting with Thales of Miletus [640 B.C.E.(during the period of the First Temple)] who declared water to be the basis of all matter. Next came Anaximander who wrote that all matter comes from an primordial stuff called "the unlimited" , -- an (apeiron) ether. (Brought in LM 2:67)
    Anaximenes took this idea and said the first substance is air which can be modified into fire, water and earth. Heraclites assumed the original substance was fire. This corresponded with his basic idea that the most basic essence of everything is change. Empedocles then came and said there are actually four basic original substances: fire, air, water and earth, built up by two working principles or forces -- Love as the cause of union and Hate as that of separation.
    Maybe then too you could say they all got it from the Jews -- but the Jews of that period wrote nothing on science, music, art, and philosophy. There were no writings on principles of existence, space, time, matter, substance or science. There is no evidence that anyone was interested in these subjects. The world was looked upon as God- saturated. God could intervene in all aspects of the world ,- in particular human life. The natural order was looked at as something to change, not understand.

    R. Natan understood . Nachman to mean the wheels are real. See L.M. vol 1 ch 61. That chapter was said by Nachman but written by  Natan. There it is clear that the wheels are not orbits. The Divine Intelligence makes the wheels go around and on them are attached the planets. It seems  Natan believed in the "wheels" as he reported  Nachman to have said, "The earth does not move." After all, in the wheels model of the solar system, the earth is at the center.
    As a side note, -- the earth does move. You can see this from the way your cell phone works. The satellite that makes it work is in stationary orbit around the earth (i.e. stationary above the ground). The way it got there was by sending it up at an angle. So as it moves around in its orbit and the earth moves under it it seems stationary. If the Earth did not move only sending it up straight would make it stationary. But then it would fall down.
    Perhaps R. Nachman really said everything moves relative to the earth. -i.e it is stationary reference frame.
    At least we know from General Relativity that you can choose any frame of reference that you want including an accelerating one. So from the standpoint of General Relativity, Reb Nachman. might have said you can take the earth as a steady frame of reference. But that is not the same as saying it does not move.

    [5] Ether (Iyuli) (Sichot Ha'Ran 40. LM 2:67). Aristotle conceived the Iyuli to account for the fact that the heavenly spheres don't seem to follow the same laws as air, fire, water, earth.
    The problem is this. Matter if left alone comes to a stop. All matter. All matter that is except the heavenly spheres. So they can't be made of ordinary matter. And they need to be strong enough to hold the stars in place. So the spheres must be made of a perfectly transparent, Fifth element Iyuli [ether].
    Now I have thought for years that the Aether that is mentioned by kabalists and RN could be said to refer to some relevant concept like quantum foam. But here I am only giving one source from where the concept came from.
    Perhaps you can say RN referred to some advanced concept and Aristotle to some primitive concept. But Aristotle seems to have anticipated the modern approach. He rejects empty space completely. This seems corroborated by modern physics. What we call empty space definitely has a deep mathematical structure to it. (See the  Bohm effect.) (Do the classical scattering experiment of quantum mechanics, but put a solenoid nearby and you will see this. Space itself changes its structure.) Space is filled with quantum foam or something like it.

    [6] R. Nachman says Matter and Form equals Body and Soul [LM Volume 1 chapter 37].This is straight from Plotinus.
    The first one to suggest that all things consist of matter and form was Aristotle (Metaphysics book 7). Together they equal substance. This idea came as an answer to a question that had bothered philosophers for hundreds of years, i.e. what exists? We see physical things change. What part or aspect of physical things is it that has essential existence? (Matter itself can't be said to have existence as a basic part of its essence because it can be destroyed and changed. Since existence must be, therefore any given piece of matter that might not be can't be said to have essential existence. There must be something that possesses existence itself. Or maybe not. Maybe everything changes. That is the question the Greeks were trying to answer.) Some said only fire exists. Others said water. Empedocles said four things: fire, air, water, earth.
    Aristotle answered matter and form. From this idea, he came out with a system that looks very much like the four worlds of the Kabalah. For Aristotle saw the universe as being between two extremes - pure Form with no matter and pure Matter with no form. Matter is pure potential. Form is pure Action. The process going from potential into action is in four stages (by four causes: material cause - "out of which", efficient cause - "by which", formal cause- "essence", and final cause-"for what purpose".)
    Plotinus suggested that Matter and Form equal Body and Soul. (The Six Enneads. Ennead 1. written in Rome 260 C.E. - during the period of the Amoraim.)

    [7]  Nachman say ones entire portion in the next world depend on "Acquired Intelligence" [Lekutai Moharan vol. 1 chapter 25]. "What is left over from a person after his death is his acquired intelligence. That is- that by which he knows everything a human being can know (in one thought)."
    The First person to suggest that virtue and wisdom are mutually dependent was King David. But that ones portion in the next world depends on wisdom seems to be unique to the Rambam.
    The first one to suggest potentiality and actuality as basic components of nature and the mind in particular was Aristotle. ["Physics" and "On Generation" pg. 319b-320a] This also was not pulled out of a hat like a magic trick. It was the sum result of a complicated long train of thought. Aristotle asked how we conceive things. He used his idea of actuality and potentiality to answer this question. He said there is potential intelligence. It is passive. But there is also an Active Intelligence that sets up categories in the world to make it conceivable. Without it, it would be impossible to understand anything. The idea that ones portion in the next world depends gaining this intelligence is from the Rambam (More Nevuchim 3:27). This is a very radical opinion and disagrees with normative Judaism that says one's portion in the next world depends on doing good deeds. It is surprising that R. Nachman bring this idea from the Rambam. (It is not from the ancient Greeks.)
    So the Rambam himself has a source for this;-- Socrates. In the opinion of Socrates Know edge equals virtue. The Rambam made a simple deduction. If knowledge is virtue and ones portion in the next world depends on virtue then ones portion depends on knowledge. I think the reason is Knowing God's will gives a vessel or God's will to come on one and take hold of him and his life.
    RN seems to contradict this later in the stories and in many other places in the LM but in Vol 1:25 it is what he says.
    I am not aware of any place Socrates might have said ones portion in the next world depends on knowledge. Plato certainly believed being attached and included in the One is the sum total and goal of all virtue, but did he make it dependent on knowledge like Socrates did? I don't know. If not then the idea of the Rambam is his own or Ibn Rushd's.
    The implication is that few people can come to the level of knowing everything that a human being can know. Therefore few people can even hope for any portion in the next world unless one is connected to a true tzadik who does have this knowledge.
    One needs to come to and be one entity with the Mind of God or be connected with a true saint who is so connected.
    (RN does say to learn the Shulchan Aruch which starts with a quotation from the More Nevuchim,Guide for the Perplexed  in the Rema so don't be surprised if he quotes from it in the Lekutai Moharan.)
    The Rambam also says in Hilchot Teshuva says that one portion in the next world depends on deeds and wisdom. Wisdom he says in the first chapter of the Eight Chapters is synonymous with knowing the nature of unchanging things, i.e. metaphysics.

    [8] Nachman says the human soul has certain powers: a power  of growth [LM 1:154], and a power of imagination [LM 1:25] and others. These were originally conceived by Aristotle. He placed great importance on the type of soul something possesses. He said plants have a vegetative soul which has only power of growth. An animal has a vegetative and a sensitive soul that can feel and imagine and that is responsible for movement. Humans have the first two and also a rational soul. [Aristotle was the first to make a distinction between the rational soul from the feeling soul (except for Alcmacon). Also, he was the first to attribute powers to the soul, not parts. People had known that people can see and talk but no one had ascribed those abilities to the soul.]
    All the Mediaeval Jewish thinkers (Rishonim ראשונים) that I am aware of accepted this system. But it is not mentioned in the Talmud as far as I remember.

    [9] Theory of Thunder. Nachman says hot vapor goes into a cloud and splits it (LM Vol 1 68:8). This is based on Anaximenedes that the cloud is under pressure like a balloon and you need only to prick it for it to split. RN might have seen this idea in Aristotle. (Meteorology Book II.) But again the remarkable thing about RN is though his terminology is archaic, it is a modification of the Greek idea that corresponds to modern science. For, in fact, there is hot vapor that goes into the cloud from the ground (i.e. electricity) and splits it.

    [10] Rebbi Nachman said "Vision is the result of the power of vision from the eye hitting the object and then returning."[LM 13:4]
    Plato’s theory of vision is thus: There are three types of fire or light. One is daylight from the sun. Second is the light issuing from the eye. It is a current of light or fire. Third is the color of the object. It is "a flame streaming off from every body having particles proportional to those of the visual current so as to yield sensation "when the two meet".
    RN does not use the idea of light or fire but substitutes in its place an idea from Aristotle "the power of sight".
    RN says that when the eye sees a mountain that the mountain is contained in the eye. So the eye is greater than the mountain. The question on this is this: since the mountain is tall, heavy, and full of trees and birds,-- so the eye would have to be tall and heavy and full of trees and birds.
    One way of answering this is with quantum physics that the mountain is just a probability wave until it is observed. So the eye it what makes it a mountain. Another way is a theorem in mathematics that any object can be cut and sliced in such a way as to fit into a smaller object. No one has show a practical way for me to use this theorem when I pack my bags but still it is good to know.
    The idea of Rebbi Nachman about the eye containing the mountain is from Aristotle. "How do we perceive a cat?" Aristotle asks. He says: The form of the cat which is its essence is embedded in the eye and from there into the mind. But whereas the form of the cat on matter makes a cat, the form of the cat in the mind makes a understanding of the cat and the mind becomes formally (in form) identical with the object.
    The question I asked on this idea is from Abelard.
    I once thought perhaps R. Nachman is hinting to this idea from Quantum Mechanics but a careful reading on LM 1:76 and 1:13 reveals that he is just quoting the theory of Aristotle about perception (the containment theory.)
    --but in a way consistent with quantum mechanics.

    [11] The peak of knowledge is to know that we don't know. (LM Volume 2 chapter 83). This is directly from Socrates [The Apology 23a-b]. For Socrates went to the oracle of Delphi. She told him he is the wisest of all men. He did not understand because he knew that he knew nothing. So he returned to Athens and went over to someone reputed to be an expert in some field. After a little bit of questioning he discovered that expert really knew nothing. He did this same process over and over again until he finally understood the oracle. She meant he is the wisest of all me because everyone else thought they knew something,--but he knew that he knew nothing. Then he understood that that is what the oracle meant--the greatest knowledge is to know that you know nothing in the way that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens because everyone one else thought they knew what wisdom is an justice etc and Socrates knew that he did not know these things. If you know nothing that is more than someone who knows wrong things. Minus one is less than zero.
    He also explained that he is wise because he knows human wisdom is nothing compared to Divine Wisdom.

    [12] Five differences between Divine and human knowledge. (LM 1:53, More Nevuchim 3:20).
    There is a quantum leap from Creator to created. This is the place where it looks to me that the Rambam wishes to bridge between his own Aristotelian point of view and Plato. I think he must have thought that somehow he had resolved the conflict between them by means of insights from the Torah. I think this is how Avraham Abulafia understood him also when he claimed that the More Nevuchim contained the secret of the redemption.

    [13] RN says (LM 1:25) souls are all one over the other and each a garment for the other. This a clear hint to the Reshash (Shalom Sharabi) that holiness is above. But in the future Z&N will be the same height as father and mother which will be the same height as Arich etc. The spiritual levels will all be internal.

    [14] All souls in their root above are one. Plotinus Enead 4:5 LM vol 1 ch 265

    [15] All souls are on a gradiated scale of perfection like a ladder. (LM 1:25) Aristotle said all creatures are on a graded scale of perfection: the "scale naturae" i.e. the great chain of being.

    [16] The origin of evil from "shvirat hakelim" שבירת הכלים (breaking of the vessels) (a concept beginning in the Eitz Chayim by the Isaac Luria and brought in the Lekutai Moharan in Vol I Chapter 64  is  from Origen. For Origen the regular order of world being created to provide man with an opportunity to perfect himself until some cataclysmic event happened to cause everything to fall.

    [18] Nachan says the Shechina is the mediator between God and Man.
    The thing about a principle is it has to apply across the board (or it is not a principle). Either a mediator is kosher or not. It can't be used against Christians and then somehow forgotten about Jewsih Tzadikim. Yo can't have it both ways. Either it is kosher or not. Period.
    I think the idea of intention really spells out the prohibition (isur) of idolatry completely. It is not so much what one does as much as what one intends. Does he go to the Beit HaMikdash for a bracha from Hashem? Does one go to the ziun of  Nachman for a bracha from Hashem or from R. Nachman?
    We know already the Chazal say that idolatry is intention dependent, so I think "mediator" also is the same.

    [19]  Nachman said one should learn and know the nature of the world. Yet he criticized outer wisdoms and scientists. How does this fit? He spoke at great lengths against doctors, but when the first vaccinations against small pox arrived in the Ukraine (circa 1800), he said one must take his children even in the middle of winter to get them vaccinated.
    RN's polemic was against man-made wisdoms, not against the wisdom of God contained in creation.

    [20] This is not the place to discuss the Zohar but at least for the record, it seems to me that the Torah gives a prerequisite for a prophet - predict a positive event. The Zohar did this,--revival of the dead in the year of the massacre of Jews in the Ukraine (1648-1649). The Gemara also (Avodah Zara pg 9) also did so. It predicts the Messiah before the year 470 C.E. Now none of this is a problem if you don't assume they are Divine. The Gemara does not say it is the word of God, nor does the Zohar. But if one says they are, then there is a serious problem.
    [See testimony of Isaac of Akko in Sefer Ha'Yuchsim.]

    Part II Mistakes in books of Breslov.

    It is natural in writing down the statements of another person by memory, a lot is lost and mixed up. But since they are written down as if R Nachman said them it is my job to correct them.

    [1]  Natan wrote that the Rambam claimed the first four chapters of Mishna Torah contain all science and metaphysics. But that is not what the Rambam wrote. He wrote: "They contain inyanim (ideas) from science and metaphysics." Not "All". There is a difference between "some" and "all". For example: "I went to the supermarket and bought some products and came home and had a meal." I did not mean to imply I bought the entire supermarket and came home and had the meal to end all meals.
    In that chapter the Rambam writes openly that those chapters are not the whole work of Creation (Maase Merchava) and are not even a drop in the ocean. So how if it possible to accuse the Rambam of saying the opposite of what he really said.

    [2] R. Natan explains LM vol 1 chap 24 in a way different than what RN actually writes in that teaching.

    [3] The dead and the living don't pile up to the sky and the world can still be infinitely old. It is called conservation of matter.

    [4] Aristotle was a monotheist. The statements about him in Sichot Haran and in Lekutai Halachot are not accurate.

    [5] A brief introduction. In Lekutai Moharan 52, R. Natan wrote in the name of R. Nachman that there are apikorsim that say, "It is necessary for the world to exist." He says, Dirt to their faces for the whole creation is only possible to exist. But from where does their mistake come from. It is after Hashem created the souls of Israel that the whole universe becomes "necessary of existence".
    The problem here is taking the statement of the apikorsim out of context and giving it a different meaning. The original question was what exists? It did not seem to make sense to say regular objects exist since they change. If it changes it does not seems to be existing on its own but something else is making it or changing it at will. The philosophers were looking for something that does not change. They came up with "substance", -- some unchanging sublayer.
    Parmenides held, what is must be. And what isn't cant be. For him there is only one unchanging necessary Being--that is and can't not be. Everything that we see, since it changes, can't be existing.
    To get to change as a real thing Plato had to create a world of Forms where things do exist but are not that original unchanging First Being. That is an intermediate stage between God and the physical universe.
    [For Plato that is enough. But Aristotle still finds problems with this world of Forms until you add Form to it and then you get existence i.e. individual existing things.]
    But at any rate, to Plato we see the world of Forms "must be".
    But then in the Middle Ages with people like  Avraham Abulafia arose the question of that is the universe must be then it is not being created very second. The question of contingent and necessity existence and truths had begun with Aristotle.
    On all this basis wrote the following comment on Nachman.
     Nachman said, "the universe became 'necessary of existence' after souls of Israel were formed."
    But there was not time before creation (as R. Nachman says in a different place) and how does that answer the question of change? For the whole idea of necessary existence puts a block on change. If we say now it is necessary of existence, it can't change and answering there are Jewish souls does not help.
    Unless  Nachman means that souls of Israel are universals. But in that case he is not using the phrase "souls of Israel" in the common sense.

    1) The Geon from Vilna did hold from learning Kabalah as understood by him to be the Zohar, Isaac Luria, Moshe from Cordoba. Even though he must have been aware that many of the fundamental concepts of Kabalah come from the ancient Greek philosophers, the pre Socratics. He probably  thought that the concepts were right and that also the Kabalah went beyond the initial insights of the pre Socratics and deveoped a highly sophisticated  metaphysical system that in fact corresponds to reality.

    2)Nachman from Uman    uses Aristotle's theory of sight--but then changes it slightly so that it could be interpreted as the classical quantum experiment and the Kant notion that the seer contributes to the image.

    3) Nachman on the other hand attempts to deal with  the problem of knowledge right away in LM Vol I, Chapter 23.--the problem of the regress of reason. I can't help but wonder if he is not hinting to a type of Platonic knowledge that is not perceived and not thought.)