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31.10.16

Jewish religious teachers desire control.

Religious teachers desire control.

Their statements are subtle but the reality is to get you to accept their interpretation as a continual revelation from Hashem {God}  and the need for you to come under their control. The religious teachers present themselves as gurus to Jewish people. To people that are supposed by them, unable to know the truth and understand the times by the Law of Moses, but in need of intense and constant clarification by the religious  leadership of what God is saying to us by what He didn't say. 


The trouble is that people are afraid of calling these religious groups by their proper name: cults.


Besides that above mentioned thought I had a few more thing I wanted to say today that are kind of relevant. One is that cults vary by measures. So for example Litvak yeshivas might seems to exercise  some measure of control but that does not make them a cult but rather human institutions that do their best to teach and keep the Written and Oral Law of Moses. That is legitimate. In my first yeshiva Shar Yashuv there were even more aspects of control, but it was not a cult but rather an effective institution designed and built to further the learning and keeping of the Torah. I have to say I think the level of learning was at least as great as the Mir Yeshiva in NY.

The other thing I wanted to add is that sometimes even a rel cult can be a lot better than other cults. It is all a matter of perspective. So if someone is involved in some Buddhist group that does not bother me when I realize there are many much worse things.  

 So I am trying to defend the idea that the Torah was given by God to be necessary and sufficient. No need for frauds. No need for magic "sugulot." No need for Occult teachings.Using mitzvot as "segulot" magic means of getting God to do our will is just as much Occult as witchcraft.

30.10.16

To claim a revelation or a miracle represents an attempt, essentially, to add new content to the Torah.


    Many today would affirm a stern rebuke to kabalistic pretenders: "The pretending to extraordinary revelations and gifts of  Ruach Hakodesh [Divine Spirit] is a horrid thing, a very horrid thing." 
 What is the reason ? Simply because, in history, miracles have come to signify the additional revelation of qualitatively new  doctrines, principally, in Torah. To claim a revelation or a miracle represents an attempt, essentially, to add new content to the Torah.
    The modern conflict over the cessation of miraculous gifts has antecedents as old as the fairly sophisticated arguments of Talmud. But the cessationist doctrine found its classic expression in these ways 1) The essential role of the miraculous is  to accredit normative Torah doctrine and its bearers. 2) While God may providentially act in unusual, even striking ways, true miracles are limited to epochs of special divine revelation, i.e., those within the Torah and prophets  period. 3) Miracles are judged by the doctrines they purport to accredit: if the doctrines are false, or alter authentic Torah doctrines, their accompanying miracles are necessarily counterfeit.


The role of miracles in the religious Jewish world is universality in order to add doctrines to Torah and to promote some kind of idol worship of some religious mad man.  The trouble is not the Sitra Achra--miracles from the Dark Side but rather miracles from the Intermediate Zone which is a mixture of good and evil.The fact that it has good in it makes it hard to discern.

I do not want to seem too dogmatic about the basic world view  of Torah. Rather it is when the world view of Torah is replaced by a completely foreign ideology of worship of people and then they call that "Torah," then I get riled up. In any case, I am happy to express these ideas here to give clarity to why the Gra signed the excommunication חרם. I mentioned this before but here I gave a little bit of insight I hope to why he signed it.




28.10.16

(Isaac Luria)

While I have great respect for Rabainu the Arizal (Isaac Luria) , still his path and teachings definitely lead into idolatry and the Sitra Achra [Dark Side] by means of the slippery slope. How many people have you seen that became more compassionate and decent people because of learning the Ari?

The trouble is not that it is liable to misuse and misrepresentation. Rather that it almost automatically falls into misuse and delusions.


The truth be told I have no idea how mysticism got to be considered a legitimate part of Torah. The fruits seems to be uniformly bad. What is wrong with just learning and keeping the Law of Moses straight and simple? [That is the written Law of Moses plus its Oral Commentary, the two Talmuds Bavli and Yerushalmi.]


The trouble is that there is a difference between Torah and mysticism. Torah is not about mystic experience. The whole inner essence of what it means to learn and keep the Torah is  opposite of mystic experience. And yet the mystic approach is the default position of the religious world.
[That is either to gain mystic experience; or to believe in some religious crazy person;s ecstatic experience and revelations. That nut case's delusions then become so important they take the place of authentic Torah. They become more authoritative that the holy Torah]



I saw plenty of "kabalists" and teachers but never the slightest bit of truth or even simple human decency in any of them. With no offence intended towards the Ari himself, I think it is best to avoid.

When Bava Sali came from Morocco to visit Jerusalem [cira 1970] and accepted the people for blessing and advice he gave instructions to not let any "kabalist enter."

The trouble is today all teachers along supposedly along the lines of the Ari are deceivers and frauds and know little if anything about the holy Torah or even the Ari's system. It is all part of the New Age Movement.


The basic ideas of the kabalah are not all that original. The "sparks of holiness" idea is from the Gnostics. The "Tzitzum" is from the pre Soctratics. The ten sepherot from Ptolemy, etc. That does not invalidate it, but it certainly to me makes it a lot less interesting.

And why people appeal to its authority? That is in order to get people to worship their mini gods, religious people that they follow. The do this by pretending to some secret knowledge.


 The answer to this is from the Gemara circa Sanhedrin 65. "What is the difference between him and us?" [The Gemara there brings an argument. If a  person says "serve me" he obviously gets the death penalty for being a seducer to do idolatry. The question is if someone says "yes." One opinion is the person that said "yes" was just making fun of him because "What is the difference between him and us?" The other opinion is the one who said "yes" does get the death penalty. ]

The trouble is nowadays there are too many false religious leaders that have been absorbed into the intermediate zone. The kelipa that is a mixture of good and evil.

The trouble seems to be השחתת המידות destruction of good character traits when one gets involved.


 The Zohar itself was accepted by sincere people. Still it is not from R.Shimon Ben Yochai as אם כל דא is a medieval expression invented by the Ibn Tibon family and it appears all the time in the Zohar.



Some suggest it was written by גילוי נשמת ר' שמעון. That does not seem much better because of the problem of דורש אל המתים. In any case the fact that sincere people were fooled does not mean it is legitimate.


People do have  a world view whether they like it  or not. See the CPR of Kant. Kant's ideas can be further expanded by means of Howard Bloom. That is besides the eye glasses that we must see the world by [space an time and the categories,] there are world views that we adopt. Bloom uses the idea of the meme. That is a constellations of beliefs around a central belief. This does not have to be conscious. The more pervasive and powerful the beliefs are the more one is unaware that he has them. They seem simply obvious.


You  could use this idea to provide an argument for learning Musar [Mediaeval Ethics.] That is to learn the classic books of the middle ages חובות לבבות אורחות צדיקים שערי תשובה along with the writings of the Gra, and the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach. That is in order to gain a Torah perspective.
Many people have been greatly impressed by  cults. Designed to be an introduction to the Torah through talks, video presentations, small-group discussions and a special weekend-away, lots of synagogues are now employing cult approaches  as part of their outreach.

Cults have been a run-away-success, and their fame has spread far over the whole world,

  Cults have been adapted so as to be accessible to young people, and have also proved versatile enough to be used in prisons, schools and places of work.

Are the popular cults leading people astray?

Synagogues in  cities and rural areas have found cult teaching sufficiently flexible for their needs. Future plans for expansion suggests that cult teaching is very much here to stay. What is more, many people claim to have been helped through going to cults  and believe they has bought them an understanding of God and how to respond to Him. Accounts of wonderful things that have happened to individuals abound; In the light of all this, surely there cannot be anything wrong with it?

With so many in today's society gripped by materialism and atheism, can cults be anything other than  good things? As young people become hopelessly enmeshed in a godless culture, should we not applaud the efforts of cults and help make them a success?

We wished that the answers to these questions could be an emphatic Yes. But closer examination of cults prevents such a clean bill of health being given. Why this concern? There are vital reasons I would like to bring to your attention.

1. The God of cults is not the God of the Abraham Isaac and Jacob. 

Cults quote from the Torah a lot. But for all this, they do not present us with the God who has revealed Himself in the Torah. There is much we could say about the God of the Torah. He is the Creator of the universe and the one who upholds it and maintains it. He is a great King and Sovereign over all He has made. We are challenged to ponder:

" To whom then will you liken me. Or to whom shall I be equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of his might and the strength of his power; Not one is missing." (Isaiah 40:25-26)



Now of course much more could be said. But you will have to search hard and long in cults to find a God that resembles the One just described. Nothing about Him as Creator, nothing about Him as a great King. He is assumed to be everything.


5. The Ruach Hakodesh (unholy spirit) of cults is not the Ruach Hakodesh  (holy spirit) of the Torah.

It is because cult's unholy spirit is the agent for giving to people an 'experience'.

The main focus for this is the cults People doing cults are told to expect all manner of things might happen to them.



This is all very interesting but it has nothing to do with the Torah.  Nowhere are any phenomena such as these attributed to the spirit of God. Cult's unholy spirit appears to work in ways that lie outside the confines of Torah. Whoever it is that people are 'introduced' to at the cults, it is not the Holy Torah.



For all their efforts, cults do not help us to know God. They do not describe the true and living God for us. They does not diagnose man's condition accurately enough. They substitutes an un-Torah view of God. To cap it all, the whole issue of Torah is grievously misunderstood.


The needs of our souls for the living waters of the Law of Moses and life-saving truth are far too precious and important to be ought down to this level. WE need the unvarnished truth of the  Law of Moses.


To leave someone believing they are in Torah when they are not is an awful prospect. Yet that is what we are risking using defective tools such as cults, 'having a form of rituals but denying  Torah  We must do better. Failure is too high a price to pay.

27.10.16

“social justice.”

An Italian priest, Luigi Taparelli D'Azeglio,  wrote a book about the need for recovering the ancient virtue of what had been called “general justice” in Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, but in a new contemporary form. [ See Luigi Taparelli D'Azeglio, S.J., Theoretical Treatise on Natural Right Based on Fact (1840-1843).] He gave it the term “social justice.” The term was given prominence by Antonio Rosmini-Serbati in La Costitutione Secondo la Giustizia Sociale in 1848. (Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 2The Mirage of Social Justice, p. 176. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Lecture/Social-Justice-Not-What-You-Think-It-Is#_ftn7#_ftn7)


First: many promoters have brought in the Torah to validate this practice. They claim Torah is teaching socialism. Second: The United states governmental system, is not perfect, it was based on some Torah principles and the overarching theme was to give freedom, self - governance to individuals, not government control over the minute aspects of our lives, especially on our finances. This was different than every other government existing at the time.

One of the main framers of our constitution stated: “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816).


Social Justice = Theft via the government. 

Though my family went to Temple Israel in Hollywood [which is a great place], still when the message about social justice was announced there my mother and father were cold in their reaction. They did not think that the Torah was about social justice but rather about real justice. "Thou shalt not steal,"  is an important principle even if the theft is done by means of government.

I should mention that in the Torah there is מעשר עני the tenth of the crops that go to poor people on the 3rd and 6th year of the Shemita cycle plus the fact that on the Shemita anyone can come into one's field and gather what grows by itself. 

This however is not a blank check for the government to take what it wants and redistribute it to those that vote for it.



26.10.16

the Law of Moses [that is the written Law and its Oral commentary in the Talmud] is necessary and sufficient.

My basic feeling about the Law of Moses [that is the written Law and its Oral commentary in the Talmud] is necessary and sufficient.
That is it is needed and nothing more is needed. 

That is all the cults that come along and say the Law of Moses is needed but there is this new thing that is also needed are all wrong. Belief in the Law of Moses [that is the Written and Oral Law] means you believe nothing else is needed. 

But that does not means it can't be misused by unscrupulous people. And that does not mean that it is a cure all for all human problems.

That does not mean the Torah is for creating a political state.
I think a lot of people went along with the Enlightenment from motives of good. There is some support for the types of governments that sprouted up as a result of Enlightenment principles. While it is becoming more obvious that those principles do not work well, that is no reason to assume everyone that went along with them were bad hearted.

The progress made in the USA and Europe when Enlightenment kinds of laws and constitutions were adopted does not seem trivial.

Socialism mainly uses Hegel for support. Other approaches use John Locke, Hobbes, Kant, Goethe, Hume, Berkeley etc and etc.. That is all the thinkers. Not some. That is to say Throne and Altar approach might be  best but it had the weight of the thinkers and the weight of the evidence against it.
 But I am not sure of what would be better than the Constitution of the USA. It seems to me if not for blacks it would work perfectly well.


Torah and Ruach HaKodesh. Unbelief in cults is a sign of faith in Torah ! [Ruach HoKodesh usually refers to some kind of Divine Spirit people assign to what they think are tzadikim. Usually this is by mistake and is simply a consciousness trap.]

Torah and Ruach HaKodesh

The question is HOW we test things. 


Supporters of a cult frequently make two pleas to people who wish to assess
or criticize it. FIRST, we are urged to approach it with an open mind. We are told to attend
meetings for ourselves - and not critically. SECOND, we are urged to judge the phenomenon by its fruits - to look at the long-term results, not the immediate manifestations. 

See for Yourself ...
However, it is far from an invariable Torah principle EITHER that we should assess claims
to God's activity personally and uncritically, OR that we must look at the fruits to make an
assessment. 
Unbelief in cults
is a sign of faith in Torah!
 

Look at the Fruits ...
Similarly the challenge to assess a cult by its fruits can be met. We need to
take seriously Torah warning about the plausibility of false prophets.

But again, as one writer has already observed, it is difficult to assess a movement by its fruits
when the fruit is still not ripe. 

 We must recognize from history that a movement may have a powerful - even beneficial
- impact in the short term and yet be disastrous in the long term because of its fundamental
Torah weaknesses.
 

A Question of System 
How then can we `test' any cult? If we cannot trust personal experience or short
term gains, what can we trust? The answer is basically a matter of system.
 

Unfortunately, system has not been a particularly strong feature of the
Jewish Anglo-American scene for some time. There is hesitancy about religious
systems which seem to claim too much. But there is an important
distinction between a systematic belief  that aims at a SYSTEM, and one that more modestly
aims at being SYSTEMATIC.


We need to recognize that systematic belief is a Torah concept. 


But we also need to recognize WHAT IS the system contained in the Torah. The
best key to this is, I would argue, the Torah approach. The particular feature of
this approach is that it recognizes and identifies in the Torah  CONTINUITY. There is the continuity of ONE great theme, from start to finish and there is
the DEVELOPMENT of that theme through Torah.
 

Only a systematic Torah approach allows us to give coherence to our experience and expectation of
God. And more specifically, only a system allows us to recognize that whilst God
CAN do anything he DOESN'T do everything. 

A Necessary Limitation
Those who reject the cults are often accused of limiting the actions of God.




GOD'S activity IS limited - by God himself - but it is limited in a way which is not simply
arbitrary but consistent with the overall framework of the Torah. Understanding that framework
will enable us to understand the limits of God's activity - not so that WE may limit it, but so that
we may limit what is CLAIMED for it. Thus when we test the cults, which makes
particularly claims about the activity of God , we need
to ask whether it is consistent with the TOTAL picture the Torah presents, particularly in relation to the life of the believer. 


 

System 



The context here is the SUFFICIENCY of the Oral and Written Law of Moses. 



And this is a NECESSARY fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, 

Torah is the NECESSARY and SUFFICIENT precondition for us to receive the
 the blessing promised to Abraham. Positively, this
means the Spirit is certainly received by hearing the Torah with faith. Negatively, it means the
Holy Spirit is only received through hearing the Torah with faith.
 









Questions come to most people in relation to suffering. At the start of our  lives we are
generally ignorant of the fact that suffering can be  a blessing. See the חובות לבבות  It has to be explained from Torah. It is usually only when this is done that we begin to realize
suffering is indeed a  blessing which we can incorporate into our experience. 


 If nothing else, one must admit that cults are packaged impressively for maximum sales. Popularity does not mean that something is true. If it did, Santa Claus would be real. Popularity does not automatically equal truth, nor can it create truth."




25.10.16

war against boys

Things were difficult in the USA as far as I could tell in the 1990's. That is when the war against boys started in earnest. . A kind of collective insanity seemed to be taking over women's minds. Perhaps it is biological in original as Sapolsky would probably claim.  https://youtu.be/m3x3TMdkGdQ.


That is he would claim that just like Toxoplasmosis controls the mind of rats so there might be many other parasitic organism that also get into people and control their behavior. 

24.10.16

Bava Metzia ch.6

Bava Metzia ch.6 and also in Shavuot pages 43 and 44.
We have a lender that got a pledge. Shmuel says if he loses the pledge, he loses the whole loan. R. Eliezer said he takes an oath that the pledge was lost by accident, and collects his loan. R. Akiva says he loses the amount the pledge is worth. The Gemara in two places asked, "This looks like they disagree?" The Gemara answered, No. One case is when he explained, and one case is when he did not. Rashi said the Gemara means Shmuel is when no one said anything, and the argument between RE and RA is when someone did explain. In Bava Metzia the Gemara tries to get the mishna there to be like both RE and RA and can not do it. The Mishna there says the lender is a paid guard concerning the pledge.

Rabbanu Chananel says the argument between RE and RA is when no one made any conditions..

I want to say this:
כל תנאי שבממון קיים. Every condition in money is valid. So when a guard makes a condition not to be obligated, that is valid. .
So it looks like one can bring a proof to Rabbainu Chananel.

Therefore when no one said anything that is a regular loan and the lender is like a paid guard and loses the amount of the loan. But when the lender made a condition then his level of obligation goes down. Thus there is a simple way to get the Mishna in Bava  Metzia to be like Re and RA. Just say it is talking about when no one said anything and the lender would be like a regular paid guard. But if he said something, then the level of obligation goes down. So if Rashi would be right, then why did not Gemara not use this simple way of getting that Mishna to be like RE and RA --that is a case when no one said anything, and all would then be in agreement like Shmuel that he is a paid guard?

[With no Gemara in front of me I am just making a guess. I think this is what Tosphot meant to ask though the way it was written down came out that he was asking on Rabbanu Chananel as far as I recall. And the Maharsha asked on this question of Tosphot. So based on the little bit that I can recall, I am trying to explain what I think Tophot must have been asking.]







Psychology. Science or Religion? The best advice is to go to the books of Ethics from the Middle Ages [Musar].

Psychology. Science or Religion? Kant held no kind of empirical psychology can yield necessary truths about the mind. So by that standard all psychology is false, pseudo science. Outside of that Karl Popper said it fits into the perfect definition of a false science. It can not be falsified. There is no conceivable observation that would prove anything in it to be wrong.







It is paradoxical that at a time when secular psychological researchers are demonstrating less confidence in psychological counseling, more and more professing people are pursuing it.  Counseling centers are springing up all over the nation.. Furthermore, people look to psychologists for advice on how to live, how to relate to others, and how to meet the challenges of life.

In their attempts to be relevant, many  teachers, counselors, and writers promote a psychological perspective of life rather than a Torah one. Psychology overshadows the Torah, and psychological jargon contaminates the Law of God.

Psychology is a subtle and widespread leaven. It has permeated the entire loaf and is stealthily starving the sheep. It promises far more than it can deliver and what it does deliver is not the food that nourishes. Yet multitudes view psychology with respect and awe.

Now, when we speak of psychology as leaven we are not referring to the entire field of psychological study, such as valid research. Our concern is primarily with those areas that deal with the nature of man, how he should live, and how he can change. These involve some values, attitudes, and behavior that are diametrically opposed to God's Laws. We will see, therefore, that psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have no compatibility with the Torah

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FOUR MYTHS ABOUT PSYCHOLOGY

There are four major myths about psychology:

The first major myth is common to: that psychotherapy (psychological counseling along with its theories and techniques) is a science -- a means of understanding and helping humanity based on empirical evidence gleaned from measurable and consistent data.

The second major myth is that the best kind of counseling utilizes both psychology and Torah. Psychologists who also claim to be observant generally claim that they are more qualified to help people understand themselves and change their behavior than  whom are not trained in psychology.

The third major myth is that people who are experiencing mental-emotional behavioral problems are mentally ill. They are supposedly psychologically sick and, therefore, need psychological therapy. The common argument is that the doctor treats the body, and the psychologist treats the mind and emotions. 

The fourth major myth is that psychotherapy has a high record of success -- that professional psychological counseling produces greater results than other forms of help, such as self-help or that provided by family, friends, or pastors. Thus, psychological counseling is seen as more effective than learning Torah. This is one of the main reasons why so many people are training to become psychotherapists.

IS PSYCHOLOGY A SCIENCE?

Men  of God seek wisdom and knowledge from both the Torah and the physical world.

Scientific study is a valid way of coming to an understanding of God's work, and can be very useful in many walks of life.

True science develops theories based on what is observed. It examines each theory with rigorous tests to see if it describes reality. The scientific method works well in observing and recording physical data and in reaching conclusions which either confirm or nullify a theory.

During the mid-19th century, scholars (philosophers, really) desired to study human nature in the hope of applying the scientific method to observe, record, and treat human behavior. They believed that if people could be studied in a scientific manner, there would be greater accuracy in understanding present behavior, in predicting future behavior, and in altering behavior through scientific intervention.

Psychology, and its active arm of psychotherapy, have indeed adopted the scientific posture. However, from a strictly scientific point of view, they have not been able to meet the requirements of true science.

In attempting to evaluate the status of psychology, the American Psychological Association appointed Sigmund Koch to plan and direct a study which was subsidized by the National Science Foundation. This study involved eighty eminent scholars in assessing the facts, theories, and methods of psychology. In 1983, the results were published in a seven-volume series entitled Psychology: A Study of Science. Koch describes the delusion in thinking of psychology as a science:

"The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavor to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science."

Koch also says, "Throughout psychology's history as 'science,' the hard knowledge it has deposited has been uniformly negative."

The fact is that psychological statements which describe human behavior or which report results from research can be scientific. However, when we move from describing human behavior to explaining it, and particularly changing it, we move from science to opinion.

To move from description to prescription is to move from objectivity to opinion. And opinion about human behavior, when presented as truth or scientific fact, is mere pseudoscience. It rests upon false premises (opinions, guesses, subjective explanations) and leads to false conclusions.

The dictionary defines pseudoscience as "a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific." Pseudoscience, or pseudoscientism, includes the use of the scientific label to protect and promote opinions which are neither provable nor refutable.

One aspect of psychology riddled with pseudoscience is that of psychotherapy. Had psychotherapy succeeded as a science, we would have some consensus in the field regarding mental-emotional-behavioral problems and how to treat them. Instead, the field is filled with contradictory theories and techniques, all of which communicate confusion rather than anything approximating scientific order.

Psychotherapy proliferates with many conflicting explanations of man and his behavior. Psychologist Roger Mills, in his 1980 article, "Psychology Goes Insane, Botches Role as Science," says:

"The field of psychology today is literally a mess. There are as many techniques, methods and theories around as there are researchers and therapists. I have personally seen therapists convince their clients that all of their problems come from their mothers, the stars, their bio-chemical make-up, their diet, their life-style and even the "kharma" from their past lives."

With over 250 separate systems of psychotherapy, each claiming superiority over the rest, it is hard to view such diverse opinions as scientific or even factual.

The actual foundations of psychotherapy are not science, but rather various philosophical world views, especially those of determinism, secular humanism, behaviorism, existentialism, and even evolutionism. World-renowned research psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey is very blunt when he says:

"The techniques used by Western psychiatrists are, with few exceptions, on exactly the same scientific plane as the techniques used by witch doctors."

PSYCHOLOGY AS RELIGION

Explanations of why people behave the way they do and how they change have concerned philosophers, theologians, cultists, and occultists throughout the centuries. These explanations form the basis of modern psychology. Yet psychology deals with the very same areas of concern already dealt with in Torah.

Since God's Law tells us how to live, all ideas about the why's of behavior and the how's of change must be viewed as religious in nature. Whereas the Torah claims divine revelation, psychotherapy claims scientific substantiation. Nevertheless, when it comes to behavior and attitudes, and morals and values, we are dealing with religion -- either the Torah or any one of a number of other religions, including secular humanism.

Nobelist Richard Feynman, in considering the claimed scientific status of psychotherapy, says that "psychoanalysis is not a science" and that it is "perhaps even more like witch-doctoring."

Carl Jung himself wrote:

"Religions are systems of healing for psychic illness. ... That is why patients force the psychotherapist into the role of a priest, and expect and demand of him that he shall free them from their distress. That is why we psychotherapists must occupy ourselves with problems which, strictly speaking, belong to the theologian."

. Jung had repudiated Torah and explored other forms of religious experience, including the occult. Without throwing out the religious nature of man, Jung dispensed with the God of the Torah and assumed the role of priest himself.

Jung viewed all religions as collective mythologies. He did not believe they were real in essence, but that they could affect the human personality, and might serve as solutions to human problems.

In contrast to Jung, Sigmund Freud reduced all religious beliefs to the status of illusion and called religion "the obsessional neurosis of humanity." He viewed religion as delusionary and, therefore, evil and the source of mental problems.

Both Jung's and Freud's positions are true in respect to the world's religions, but they are also anti-Torah. One denies Torah and the other mythologizes it.

Repudiating the God of the Tora, both Freud and Jung led their followers in the quest for alternative understandings of mankind and alternative solutions to problems of living. They turned inward to their own limited imaginations and viewed their subjects from their own anti-Tora subjectivity.

The Torah was displaced by a substitute faith disguising itself as medicine or science, but based upon foundations which are in direct contradiction to the Torah.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, in his 1978 book The Myth of Psychotherapy, says, "The basic ingredients of psychotherapy does not always involve repression." He points out that while psychotherapy does not always involve repression, it does always involve religion and rhetoric (conversation). Szasz says very strongly that "the human relations we now call 'psychotherapy,' are, in fact, matters of religion -- and that we mislabel them as 'therapeutic' at great risk to our spiritual well-being." Elsewhere, in referring to psychotherapy as a religion, Szasz says:

"It is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion."

Szasz also says that "psychotherapy is a modern, scientific-sounding name for what used to be called the 'cure of souls.'" One of his primary purposes for writing The Myth of Psychotherapy was:

... to show how, with the decline of religion and the growth of science in the eighteenth century, the cure of (sinful) souls, which had been an integral part of the Torah, was recast as the cure of (sick) minds, and became an integral part of medicine.

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TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOTHERAPY

Although all forms of psychotherapy are religious, the fourth branch of psychology -- the transpersonal -- is more blatantly religious than the others. Transpersonal psychologies involve faith in the supernatural -- something beyond the physical universe. However, the spirituality they offer includes mystical experiences of both the occult and Eastern religions.

Through transpersonal psychotherapies, various forms of Eastern religion are creeping into Western life. Psychologist Daniel Goleman quotes Chogyam Trungpa as saying, "Buddhism will come to the West as psychology." Goleman points out how Oriental religions "seem to be making gradual headway as psychologies, not as religions." Also, Jacob Needleman says:

"A large and growing number of psychotherapists are now convinced that the Eastern religions offer an understanding of the mind far more complete than anything yet envisaged by Western science. At the same time, the leaders of the new religions themselves -- the numerous gurus and spiritual teachers now in the West -- are reformulating and adapting the traditional systems according to the language and atmosphere of modern psychology."

PSYCHOLOGY PLUS THE Torah. Jews not escaped the all-pervasive influence of psychotherapy. Jews have unwittingly and eagerly embraced the pseudoscientisms of psychotherapy and has intimately incorporated this spectre into the very sinew of its life.

Because of the confusion between science and pseudoscience, religious leaders have elevated the psychotherapist to a position of authority . Thus, any attack on the amalgamation of psychotherapy and Torah is considered to be an attack on the Torah itself.

In my opinion, advocating, allowing and practicing psychiatric and psychoanalytical dogmas  is every bit as pagan and heretical (and therefore perilous) as propagating the teachings of some of the most bizarre cults. The only vital difference is that the cults are less dangerous because their errors are more identifiable.

Psychotherapy is a most subtle and devious ghost, because it is perceived and received as a scientific salve for the sick soul, rather than for what it truly is: a pseudoscientific substitute system of religious belief.

The Law of God is applicable to all problems of living and does not need to be superceded by talk therapies and talk therapists.

 If so, it is because people believe the myth that psychological counseling is science when, in fact, it is another religion and another Torah.

The conflict between the psychological way of counseling and the Torah way is not between true science and religion. The conflict is strictly religious -- it's a conflict between many religions grouped under the name of psychotherapy (psychological counseling) and the one true religion of the Torah.

The worst of the  promises of  psychology is thait the Torah plus psychotherapy can provide better help than just the Torah alone. While this idea has been promulgated and promoted by many  psychotherapists, there is no research evidence to support it. No one has ever shown that the Torah needs psychological augmentation to be more effective in dealing with life's problems.

In spite of the hodge-podge of unscientific opinions and contradictions, psychologists proclaim, "All truth is God's truth." They use this statement to support their use of psychology, but they are not clear about what "God's truth is." Is God's truth Freudian pronouncements of obsessive neurosis? Or is it Jung's structure of archetypes? Or is God's truth the behaviorism of B. F. Skinner? Or is God's truth "I'm OK; You're OK"?

Psychology, like all religions, includes elements of truth. Even Satan's temptation of Eve included both truth and lie. The enticement of the "All truth is God's truth" fallacy is that there is some similarity between Torah teachings and psychological ideas. However, similarities do not make psychology compatible with Torah any more than the similarities between Torah and other religious systems of belief. Even the writings of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Moslem religions contain statements about attitudes and behavior which may be similar to some Torah verses.

The similarities between psychology and Torah merely indicate that the systems of psychological counseling are indeed religious. People should no more turn to psychologists than to Muslims to find wisdom and help with problems of living.

Since there exists no standardized  psychology, each so-called  psychologist decides for himself which of the many psychological opinions and methods constitute his ideas of  "truth." In so doing, the subjective observations and biased opinions of mere mortals are placed on the same level as the inspired Law of God.

The Law of God contains the only pure truth of God. All else is distorted by the limitations of human perception. Whatever else one can discover about God's creation is only partial knowledge and partial understanding. It cannot in any way be equal to God's truth.

To even hint that the often conflicting theories of such unredeemed men as Freud, Jung, Rogers, etc. are God's truth is to undermine the very Law of God. The revealed Law of God does not need the support or help of psychological pronouncements. The Law alone stands as the truth of God.

THE GOSPEL OF SELF

One of the most popular themes in psychology is that of self-fulfillment. Although this is an extremely popular theme, it is a theme of recent origin, having arisen only within the past forty years [late-1940s] .

As society moved from self-denial to self-fulfillment, a new vocabulary emerged which revealed a new inner attitude and a different view of life. The new vocabulary became the very fabric of a new psychology known as humanistic psychology. Its major focus is self-actualization and its clarion call is self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment, with all its accompanying self-hyphenated and self-fixated variations such as self-love, self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-worth, has become the new promised land. Then as people became psychologized, the emphasis shifted from God to self.

According to the psychologizers , the greatest detriment to a fulfilling life is low self-esteem. In their quest to bring their followers to the realization of their full potential (self-actualization), they substitute one form of self-centeredness (high self-esteem) for another form of self-centeredness (low self-esteem). In either case, self is the focal point of the cure as well as the problem.

Low self-esteem is popular because it's much more palatable to accept the idea of having "low self-esteem" than to confess evil, ungodly, self-centered thoughts and then repent through believing what God has said in His Word. While low self-esteem calls for psychological treatment to raise self-esteem, sinful thinking calls for confession, repentance, restoration, and walking by faith. We would suggest that one look to Torah to discover one's greatest need and to find an antidote to life's problems, rather than  some psychological fad. Mankind's greatest need is for God, not self-esteem.

Unless Torah is molded to conform to the teachings that promote self, the Torah clearly teaches one to be God-centered and other-oriented. Loving God above all else and with one's entire being, and loving neighbor as much as one ALREADY loves oneself, are the primary injunctions of the Bible. The admonition to love oneself or to esteem oneself is missing.

Rather than self-love being taught as a virtue in Torah, it is placed among the diabolical works of the flesh.

The teachings of self-love, self-esteem, and self-worth have been gleaned from the world rather than from Scripture. They are products of humanistic psychologists rather than the truth of God's Law.

 Dr. Richard Dobbins is one example of the many  who have turned to psychology.

In his teaching film The Believer and His Self Concept, Dobbins leads the viewers through a series of steps to end up chanting, "I am a lovable person. I am a valuable person. I am a forgivable person." In Dobbins' exercise is found the confusion between the  fact that God loves, values, and forgives His children and the humanistic psychological lie that we are intrinsically lovable, valuable, and forgivable.

God has chosen to set his love upon us because of His essence, not because of ours. His love, His choice to place value upon us, and His choice to forgive us are by His grace alone. It is fully undeserved. It is not because of who we are by some intrinsic value of our own or by our own righteousness.

The paradoxical, profound, and powerful truth of Torah is that though we are not intrinsically lovable, valuable, or forgivable, God loves, values, and forgives us. That is the overpowering message of Torah. \

The alternative to self-love is not self-hate, but rather love in relationship with God and others. The alternative to self-esteem is not self-denigration, but rather an understanding of the greatness of God dwelling in a weak vessel of flesh. The alternative to self-fulfillment is not a life of emptiness and meaninglessness. It is God's invitation to be so completely involved with His will and His purposes that fulfillment comes through relationship with Him rather than with self.

The realization that the God and Creator of the universe has chosen to set His love upon us, should engender love and esteem for Him rather than for self. The amazing truth that He has called us into relationship with Him to do His will far surpass the puny dreams of self-fulfillment.

The psychologizers are not providing spiritual sustenance to those they try to make comfortable in their self-centeredness. They are robbing them of the riches of God offered to all who will humble themselves before Him.

Humility is not in the language of psychology to any great degree. Dobbins even goes so far as to encourage individuals to express anger at God. [See James Dobson report for this same teaching.]

He says, "If you're angry with God, tell Him you're angry with Him. Go ahead and tell Him. He's big enough to take it." Where in Scripture do we have an example that it's okay to be angry with God? Jonah was angry to his own detriment, but no example can be found where anger at God is condoned, let alone encouraged (cf. Eccl. 5:2).

Whenever psychology is intermingled with Torah, it dilutes the Torah and deludes people. Anger is more complex than the dangerous simplicity that Dobbins portrays. His  basis for expressing anger is weak at best and misleading at least. Dobbins' writings and films are based upon his own personal, unproven psychological opinions. Unfortunately, his opinions and conclusions do not square with reality. Apparently, Dobbins would like us to believe what he says because he says so. However, to subscribe to the defunct hydraulic-ventilationist theory and to prescribe tackling dummies, pounding mattresses, punching a bag, etc. (as he does in his writings), and to recommend getting angry with God without valid research or proof is scientifically inexcusable and  unreliable.

THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck has become an extremely popular speaker and writer. His books People of the Lie and The Road Less Traveled have appeared on a leading  magazine's Book of the Year list. The list is a result of votes cast by a group of  writers, leaders, and theologians selected by the magazine.

Peck's understanding of the nature of God and the nature of man comes from a blend of Jungian psychology and Eastern mysticism rather than from the Bible. He says of God and man:

"God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward godhood. God is the goal of evolution. It is God who is the source of the evolutionary force and God who is the destination. This is what we mean when we say that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" (cf. Isa. 44:6).

Peck continues:

"It is one thing to believe in a nice old God who will take good care of us from a lofty position of power which we ourselves could never begin to attain. It is quite another to believe in a God who has it in mind for us precisely that we should attain His position, His power, His wisdom, His identity."

The only words that approach this description are those of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:13-14. And indeed, Peck claims godhood for those who will take the responsibility for attaining it:

"Nonetheless, as soon as we believe it is possible for man to become God, we can really never rest for long, never say, 'OK, my job is finished, my work is done.' We must constantly push ourselves to greater and greater wisdom, greater and greater effectiveness. By this belief we will have trapped ourselves, at least until death, on an effortful treadmill of self-improvement and spiritual growth. God's responsibility must be our own."

Peck goes further into the morass of Eastern mysticism and Jungian occultism when he says, "To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us. We were part of God all the time. God has been with us all along, is now, and always will be."

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No matter how personable and well-meaning  therapists  may be, they are heavily influenced by the ungodly psychological perspective. Psychology thus becomes the means for both interpreting Torah and applying it to daily living. When one reads the Torah from the psychological perspective of Freud, Jung, Adler, Maslow, Rogers, et al., he tends to conform his understanding to their theories. Rather than looking at life through the lens of the Torah, he looks at the Torah through the lens of psychology.

Amalgamators add the wisdom of men to fill in what they think is missing from the Torah. They take the age-old sin problem rooted in self-centeredness, give it a new name, such as "mid-life crisis," or some other idea, and offer solutions from the leavened loaf. They integrate psychological ideas with a verse or story here and there to come up with what they believe to be effective solutions to problems they mistakenly think are beyond the reach of Torah.

Psychological counselors undermine Torah and have developed a formula for referral: (1) Anyone who is not psychologically trained is not qualified to counsel those people with the really serious problems of living; and (2) Refer them to professional trained therapists. This is one predictable and pathetic pattern of the psychological seduction of people.

A spokesman for the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a psychotherapeutically trained group of pastors, says, "Our concern is that there are a lot of ministers who aren't trained to handle their parishioners' psychotherapy." And of course, if the pastors are not trained, they are not considered qualified. Therefore, the predictable benediction to the litany is: "refer to a professional."

Within the confines of the psychotherapists' office, the pastoral message confronting sin in the individual's life is subverted. There has been a subtle change in the meanings of words and phrases. The word sin has been substituted with less convicting words such as shortcoming, mistake, reaction to past hurt. Words such as healed and whole replace sanctified and holy. In fact, the word holy has been redefined to mean some kind of psychological wholeness. For the psychologizers, what is literal in Scripture often becomes metaphorical, and what is metaphorical becomes literal.

But these redefinitions are not received only by those who pay the price to receive them from psychotherapists; they have become standardized through the influence of psychotherapy in books, magazines, and in the  media.

Is it any wonder that the few godly pastors that are left today are at their wit's end in attempting to counsel from Scripture those under their care?

Ultimately, those who trust in psychotherapy rather than in Scripture will suffer because they are not brought face-to-face with their sin nature. What psychological system justifies a person before God and gives him peace with God? What psychological system gives the kind of faith in which a person can live by all of God's promises? What psychological system fulfills its promises the way God fulfills His? What psychological system gives the hope? What psychological system enables a person to exult in the midst of tribulation? What psychological system increases the kind of perseverance that builds proven character, gives hope, and produces divine love -- love that extends even to one's enemies?

Throughout the centuries, there have been individuals who have suffered from extremely difficult problems of living who have sought God, and they have found Him to be true and faithful. They looked into the Word of God for wisdom and guidance for living with and overcoming the problems of life. The lives of those saints far outshine the lives of such pitiful souls as those who have followed the siren song of psychotherapy.

IS PSYCHOTHERAPY SUCCESSFUL?

Because of the great faith in what is believed to be science and the ever expanding numbers of people labeled "mentally ill," psychotherapy continues to flourish with promises for change, cure, and happiness. Assurances are undergirded by testimonies and confidence in psychological models and methods. Yet research tells us something different about the effectiveness and the limitations of psychotherapy.

The best-known earthly research on the success and failure rates of psychotherapy was reported in 1952 by Hans J. Eysenck, an eminent English scholar. Eysenck compared groups of patients treated by psychotherapy with persons given little or no treatment at all. He found that a greater percentage of patients who did not undergo psychotherapy demonstrated greater improvement over those who did undergo therapy. After examining over 8,000 cases, Eysenck concluded that:

"... roughly two-thirds of a group of neurotic patients will recover or improve to a marked extent within about two years of the onset of their illness, whether they are treated by means of psychotherapy or not."

The American Psychiatric Association indicates that a definite answer to the question, "Is psychotherapy effective?" may be unattainable. Their 1982 research book, Psychotherapy Research: Methodological and Efficacy Issues, concludes: "Unequivocal conclusions about casual connections between treatment and outcome may never be possible in psychotherapy research." In its review of this book, the Brain/Mind Bulletin says, "Research often fails to demonstrate an unequivocal advantage from psychotherapy." The following is an interesting example from the book:

..". an experiment at the All-India Institute of Mental Health in Bangalore found that Western-trained psychiatrists and native healers had a comparable recovery rate. The most notable difference was that the so-called 'witch doctors' released their patients sooner."

If the American Psycho Pathological Association and the American Psychiatric Association (as well as other independent study groups) give mixed reports about the efficacy of psychotherapy, why do so many religious leaders promote the untenable promises of psychology? And if there is so little sound research, and virtually no empirical evidence to support psychotherapy, why are people  eager to substitute theories and therapists for Torah ? These are legitimate questions, especially in view of the obvious religious nature of psychotherapy. Therefore what I recommend is this: today there is no where to go for advice about how to live. No religious nor secular people are any good. The best advice is to go to the books of Ethics from the Middle Ages [Musar]. That is either the actual books or later on disciples of Reb Israel Salanter that made them a little bit more accessible to people.









23.10.16

Fad-Driven Synagogues


… The dictionary defines a fad as "a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal." This could just as well be a description of congregational life of many Jewish synagogues today.


There is a new book, a new program or a new emphasis every year or so. It’s all anyone can talk about;  - for a while. Then, as quickly as it came, it's gone. As eagerly as it was received, it's abandoned and forgotten.

The trouble is the religious world is filled to the brim with false teachers and people that consult with the dead and bring proofs that that is supposed to be OK and in accord with Torah. Almost as soon as you get to an authentic Litvak yeshiva there is some one there to try to convince you that some alternative cult is better.


Welcome to  Fad-Driven  Synagogues.


At first this might not sound like a problem.  Some Jews can remember when the  synagogues didn't jump from bandwagon to bandwagon every year or two. But for others, this is all they have ever known. For them, it is hard to imagine what the  synagogues would be like without the constant ebb and flow of fads. For them, the long list of  fads represents their personal history.  Some  fads come and go, some come and stay. A few are genuinely harmless; most contain serious error. All are popular - while they last In the fad-drive   "exaggerated zeal” has replaced simple plain Gemara, Rashi, Tosphot.


 I've examined  the recent  fads. I am always surprised  - not by the fads themselves, but by something else. I am always surprised by how uncritically people accept a fad, how enthusiastically they embrace a fad and how carelessly they abandon a fad. That is why this article isn't about the fads themselves, but about the kind of people that accept, embrace and abandon fads.


The Life Cycle of a  Fad


Every fad has a life cycle. The fad is first accepted, then embraced and finally abandoned. For the fad driven, this life cycle is a way life.


The cycle begins with acceptance. The fad-driven person is practiced at this. Too close an examination of the fad at the outset might raise too many questions. "After all, this book is a best-seller!" "Thousands of people are doing it, how can we go wrong?" Accept first, examine later, if at all. This acceptance may come through the  active promotion of some or through grassroots popularity. Either way, the fad spreads like wildfire in the congregation.


The cycle continues with enthusiastic embrace. By "enthusiastic" I don't mean excitement or emotion, although those things may be involved. What I mean is that the fad-driven synagogue embraces its latest fad with creedal intensity. While the fad has currency, it is an article of faith. Belief in the fad becomes a mark of loyalty. During this phase of the fad's life cycle, critics of the fad may be dismissed as unloving, judgmental or unconcerned for others. At the very least, they are viewed as troublemakers and obstacles to the  mission. During this phase, in some cases, the fad may dictate what is taught, the content of  study or even the focus of congregational life.


The life cycle ends with the abandonment of the fad. Some fads have a built-in expiration date... most simply linger until something better comes along. The fad-driven person may cling with a martyr's fervor to the fad while it lasts, but everyone knows that its days are numbered. Sooner or later it will have to be abandoned. Accept the fad, embrace the fad and abandon the fad. This is the life of a fad-driven person.  There are exceptions to this life cycle. In a few cases a fad doesn't die; it grows into something bigger than a fad. It grows into a movement... I have often been critical of  fads at the height of their popularity. After several encounters with fad defenders, I noticed something. The seasoned member of the fad-driven congregation will defend his fad today. But he will happily abandon the same fad six months from now. I realized that the fad itself is inconsequential; everyone knows that it will be forgotten sooner or later. People caught in the cycle of  fads must defend a particular fad, because by doing so, they are defending their willingness to accept, embrace and abandon fads in general. They are defending their fad­-driven-ness.


A Lack of Discernment


The need of discernment about idolatry is one of the most frequent admonitions in Torah.\



The Torah is supposed to stand immovable against “every wind of doctrine." By contrast the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue is a windsock. If you want to know which way the wind is blowing, the latest teachings, the newest programs or the most current methods, just look at the fad-driven  Jewish synagogues. If you want to know what the fad-driven  Jewish synagogues will be doing next, just walk through your local Jewish bookstore or page through a Jewish publisher's catalog.


In the fad-driven  synagogues, books, programs and seminars are evaluated primarily by their sales, popularity and attendance records, rather than on their  merit  "False teaching? Why would so many people be reading this book if it contained false teaching?"… Can millions of Jews be wrong? Yes, they can.


Ironically, the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue often excuses its lack of discernment in the name of saving souls. It justifies its appetite for fads: "Whatever it takes" is the creed of the fad-driven  Jewish synagogues. "Whatever it takes to reach the lost" is supposed to be a courageous new strategy.  But "whatever it takes" is not a strategy. "Whatever it takes" is an admission that you have no strategy.  "Whatever it takes” is just another way of saying, "Whatever people want," or "Whatever everyone else is doing." Rather than seeking the lost, the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue is just seeking its next fix.


Some advocates of  Jewish synagogue fads take the "Eat the meat, spit out the bones" approach to false teaching. They claim that practicing discernment means spiting the “bone?” of error while eating the "meat" of truth. There are several problems with this approach. First, it assumes that a  fad contains only isolated false teachings, like so many bones in a fish. But many  fads don't just contain false teaching; they are based on false teaching... Second, the "bone spitting" approach assumes that the errors of the latest fad will be obvious to everyone.

The "inexperienced" are still infants in the Torah. Would you give an infant a fish to eat knowing that there were bones in it?


Finally, the "bone spitting" approach fails to recognize that a continuous stream of fads will erode the synogogue 's ability to discern truth from error. With every new fad, the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue grows less able to recognize the truth. In time, the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue is unable to discern the true Torah.


This is the bottom line. A  Jewish synagogue willing to tolerate some false teaching will eventually tolerate any false teaching - even a false Torah, a false spirit.


Desperation


The idol of relevance  accurately describes the mentality of the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue:






Rather than making the  Jewish synagogue more relevant, this mentality only makes the fad-driven    Jewish synagogues more susceptible to fads and more desperate;


Relevance without truth encourages  “the herd" mentality and the "age of the crowd"




Feverishness is the condition of an institution that has ceased to be faithful to its origins. It is then caught up in "a restless, cosmopolitan hunting after new and ever newer things.


They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. [Jeremiah 2:11-13].  This explains the short life span of so many  fads. It is the result of desperation. The fad-driven  Jewish synagogue's new cisterns are broken. They can't hold water. Even while the last drops drain from the old cistern, the fad-driven  synagogue must desperately dig a new one. But the new cistern is as leaky as the old one, so the digging must go on.


Nothing to Offer; Nothing to Say

  "Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next." Take away the fads, and what is left in the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue? In some cases, what's left isn't the Torah at all, but a collection of principles, practices and ideas that don't add up to anything resembling the Torah faith. Rather than Torah there are only the remnants of past fads.


In the name of saving the lost, the fad-driven is trading the Torah for the newest gimmick. If such a  Jewish synagogue does reach the lost, will it have anything to say? ...Will the fad-driven  Jewish synagogue give authentic Torah, or the latest fashion?


And for the member of the fad-driven  Jewish synagogues who has known nothing but fads, will these fads leave her a Jewess on her deathbed (or will she be left wondering what that whirlwind of best-sellers,  seminars,  video sermons and three-ring binders was all about?)


The  Jewish synagogue that wraps its identity and mission around the evanescent desires of finicky consumers, will run the risk of creating a  Jewish synagogue as ephemeral as those desires. In its "exaggerated zeal for  things new, will it hold fast to the unchanging message of the Oral and Written Law?"


Fad or Faith


We live in an age of pious distractions. We live in an age of  fads. The fad-driven  Jewish synagogue has structured its life around the trends and innovations of the day.  Jewish  publishers and the gurus are ready to provide something new as often as the masses demand it.

The  Torah has something better than any fad. The time has come. Ears are itching. Ears are turning. The  Jewish synagogues must take up authentic Torah. -And throw out all the books of pseudo Torah.