There is a lot of stuff going on in Gitin about what constitutes a valid divorce.

The interesting thing is that apparently the Rif and Rambam both said that R. Elazar who said עדי מסירה כרתי [the witnesses that see the giving of the document cause the divorce to be real] really meant אף עדי מסירה כרתי [also the witnesses that see the giving of the document cause the divorce to be real]] which is a surprise to me. [R. Meir said the witnesses on the document cause it to be real and valid. So the argument is only in that R Meir disagrees with R Elazar. But R Elazar agrees with R Meir.]

[Not that I ever learned that tractate very well anyway.] In any case, I saw Rav Shach brings up the larger subject of what constitutes any valid שטר (document). And he says that a valid document to be valid at all needs witnesses. But כתב ידו [one's own handwriting] also counts as a valid document.

That is he says that famous Rambam about  a document that says שדי קנוי לך ("My field is acquired to you") is valid even with no witnesses- is talking about כתב ידו (handwritten).
This is what leads to the famous practice in Litvak yeshivas that when someone asks for a loan, they write a small note, "I owe you $10." (for example). [That practice is based on two principles. (1) One should not make or receive a loan without a document or witnesses. (2) The other is כתב ידו (a handwritten document has the category of a valid document) is מחייב (obligates).]

Keeping one theology simple and in accord with Reason.

I recall Steven Dutch having some great essays about this subject. One point of his that I vaguely recall is  the simplest theology wins.But I would have to look up his essays again to remind myself. In any case, I think one other point of his is that it helps to have reason on your side.

Thus it seems Christians throwing out Aquinas was not the smartest move. [I only say this because at least I did a drop of work on Aquinas. I just never got to St. Augustine--though I am aware that some of St. Augustine's good ideas were accepted into the Jewish world. Like time and space being creations.] [Even Aquinas I had a very limited ability to spend time on.] Dr. Ross also has some interesting thoughts on the subject.]. In any case it is a good idea to keep things simple and limit one's claims in areas he knows nothing about as Kant said.

Hegel was clearly trying to do what Aquinas had tried before him.

In any case the combination of Reason with Faith was a hard thing to get to as you can see from Hippolytus . It is a very specific approach of the Middle Ages. And for  Protestants to throw out that approach I think was a terrible mistake.

The basic approach of Reason with Faith you can see in Philo how it can result in something far from Torah. It was really the Rambam and Saadia Gaon that made a reasonable combination.

[I might mention that the Ari and Reb Nachman both go a long way in making the bridge between human reason and Torah.] That is in at least making it as understandable to human reason as possible.

I would have trouble explaining my own position because as the basic structure I go with the Rambam. But the Rambam himself is a neo Platonic thinker which means that one can fill up missing gaps in his structure with insights from the Ari and Reb Nachman

My basic idea of what Torah is about is to things: Good character and devakut [attachment with God.]. Thus anything which leaves to either of these results, I consider good. [Attachment with God is one of the 613 commandments.]

The trouble with the devakut thing is the tendency is for self deception. People that are part of a religious tradition believe they are good because they are part of that tradition. Not because they actually are good or decent people at all. And the more spiritual it is the more there is a tendency to let in a surge of immorality,. People begin to believe they are Divine. A small part of large creek in an ocean of divinity. Especially their leaders they think of as divine. Worship of their leaders is not uncommon. The "great leader" thinks his unrelated wishes are Divine Revelations. They have no law but their own will and twist the holy Torah any way they please in their pretense to be knowledgeable. There is no stopping their grossest desires. The thin film that divides religious fervor from passion and delusion is dissolved and  erased.

As for good character I think Reb Israel Salanter was absolutely right about the Musar Movement.[That is to learn Medieval Ethics.] In fact, it was in my learning Musar that I began to realize how much the Torah requires good character. Still, Musar was subject to debate and many people thought it was a distraction from Torah learning. I am not sure. Rav Shach credits Reb Israel Salanter a lot but I am not sure if that means the approach of combining Musar with yeshivas or if it is general agreement with Rav Salanter. I just can not tell..


What was it about those Spartans? A king of Sparta (Demaratus) that had been thrown out of Sparta (and bore no love for Sparta anymore. He was stateless and was welcomed by Darius.) told Xerxes -1.7 million men against 300 Spartans is not an even contest. There simply was no way Xerxes could win. [The number 1.7 was obtained by crowding 10,000 men into a walled space. Doing this many times in succession resulted in the number 1.7 million. That is the number given by Herodotus. Recent historians put the numbers much less from one million to 600,000]

 Demaratus told Xerxes, the most important thing to the Spartans was to obey the law. And they only had one law. Never Retreat.

I think there was something about Sparta that had a lot to do with training. In the Armada of Xerxus there were plenty of Ionians and other people of the exact same ethnic group as the Spartans. (Dorians were in the Armada of Xerxes.) So it was not DNA. It must have been training and mental attitude.

Xerxes is more well known in the Jewish world as Akashverosh. The reason this is not known is that Xerxes in the way Herodotus  was translated into Latin. But the actual pronunciation sounds exactly like Akashverosh in Hebrew. He was the son of Darius. Mordechai does not seem to be in the picture when Xerxes was considering to invade Europe or not. [Neither Haman nor Mordechai appear as advisers.]

I might mention that that expedition came as the result of a few very forceful dreams warning Xerxes what would happen to him if he did not undertake that war. He then placed his adviser Artabanus on his throne and he got the same warning.  [A warning to people that listen to insistent dreams.] [Artabanus was the same person that killed Xerxes later.]

I was never convinced by the "Black is beautiful" slogan. I thought black is in fact kind of ugly. But I also did not identify any kind of agenda behind the slogan. Only time has shown that it was not as innocent as it sounded.

As it turns out there is a great deal of hidden animosity towards white people. This even exists in the Jewish world as I sadlly began to notice when Sefardim seem intent on finding some fault with Ashkenazim and then pounce on it as soon as they imagine they have got it. The trouble is it is not all Sefardim. There does not seem to be any way of telling. It would be easy to deal with if it was uniform. But it is not. There were great sefardim tzadikim and a lot of sefardim are great people [like the descendants of Bava Sali]. That complicates the issue.
I would even venture a guess that among the descendants of Reb Yaakov Abuchatzeira there are still hidden tzadikim.[My guess would be from the daughter of Bava Sali Avigail Buso and also the descendants of the older brother of Bava Sali, Reb David who was killed on kidush Hashem.]


An idea of רב שך  concerning the רמב''ם in הלכות אישות כ''ג:ג. The רמב''ם says when the husband מתנה שאין לו זכות in the פירות of her נכסי מלוג, then land is bought with them and he eats the fruit of the fruit. The question of the רא''ש is that that does not fit with the גמרא כתובות פ''ג ע''ב. at all.
 גמרא כתובות פ''ג ע''ב. A question was raised. A husband removes himself from any right to the fruit of the fruit. Has he remove himself from the everything--that is also the fruit, or not? It must be he removes himself from everything because if he did not remove himself from the fruit and he eats it then from where comes the fruit of the fruit? But then according to that reasoning what about the משנה that says  ר. יהודה says he always eats the fruit of the fruit.  When he removes himself from the fruit he still eats the fruit of the fruit. How can that be? So it must means some of the fruit was left over. So in our case some of the fruit remained unused. From this גמרא the רא''ש asks on the רמב''ם הלכות אישות כ''ג: ג. The גמרא is clear that she has let over from the fruits, and if that happens, then land is bought with it and the husband eats the fruits of the land. That is פירי פירי. It can not mean that the husband left over from it, because he has no right to it in the first place after he סילק את זכותו  from them.  That means she might leave over from the fruits. If so then we sell them and buy land and he eats the fruits of the fruits. But it does not seem to mean she must sell the fruits. רב שך shows how there existed another version of the גמרא. The original version was this: They asked if he removes himself from the fruit of the fruit does he eat the fruit?  The answer must be yes. If that was not the case then  from where would the fruits of the fruits come from? Answer. he left some of the fruits.
I want to show how important it is that the גמרא means the husband leaves over from the fruit. For if that is the right גירסה, then the רמב''ם comes out perfectly, because the husband anyway has made a condition that he has no זכות in  the fruit. So the only thing it could mean is the he lacks some זכות in the fruit. Frankly I can not see how any other version of that גמרא could possibly make any sense. Just think about it in the version we have with רש''י. The גמרא is bothered by the question: from where the the fruit of the fruit would come from if there is no fruit, היינו he eats the fruit? That means it should be perfectly happy with the opposite scenario of his eating the fruit of the fruit, but not the fruit. But then that is the exact thing the גמרא asks on! The beginning of the גמרא does not and can not fit with the end. The only reasonable version is that that רב שך מציע. And if that is the case then we are left with the original question; what could it mean he leaves over from the fruit if he anyway removed himself from it? So to make sense of  this the רמב''ם had to say the the husband lacks ownership in the fruit. He can eat it but he does not own it.

רמב''ם ב הלכות אישות כ''ג: ג. רמב''ם אומר כאשר הבעל מתנה שאין לו זכות  בפירות של נכסי מלוג שלה, אז קרקע נרכשת איתם והוא אוכל את הפרי של הפירות. שאלת הרא''ש היא שזה אינו מתאים עם גמרא כתובות פ''ג ע''ב. עלתה שאלה. בעל מסיר מעצמו כל זכות הפרי של הפרי. האם הוא הסיר את עצמו מן הכל - (גם פרי), או לא? זה חייב להיות הוא מסיר את עצמו מכל מה שכן אם הוא אינו מסיר את עצמו מן הפרות והוא אוכל אותם, אז מאיפה מגיע הפרי של הפרות? אבל אז בהתאם לזה מה לגבי המשנה שאומרת ר. יהודה אומר שהוא תמיד יאכל את הפרי של הפרות. היינו כשהוא מסיר את עצמו מן הפרי הוא עדיין יאכל את הפרי של הפרות. איך זה יכול להיות? ולכן הוא חייב להיות שהפירוש שחלק הפרי נשאר. אז במקרה שלנו גם כן כמה פירות נותרו ללא שימוש. מכאן הרא''ש שואל על רמב''ם הלכות אישות כ''ג: ג. הגמרא ברורה כי אם היא מותירה מהפרות,  אז קרקע נרכשת עם זה ובעל אוכל פרותיהם. כלומר פירי פירי. זה לא יכול להיות שהבעל השאיר, משום שאין לו שום זכות עליה מלכתחילה לאחר שהוא סילק את זכותו מהם. כלומר, היא השאירה  מהפרות. אם כך שזה קרה אז אנחנו מוכרים אותם וקונים קרקע והוא אוכל פירותיהם של פירות. אבל זה לא נראה שהיא חייבת למכור את הפירות. רב שך מראה כיצד התקיים גרסה אחרת של הגמרא. הגרסה המקורית הייתה זו: הם שאלו אם הוא מסיר את עצמו מן הפרי של פירות האם הוא יכול לאכול את הפירות? התשובה חייבת להיות כן. אם זה לא היה המצב, אז מאיפה  הפרות של הפרות באים? תשובה. הוא השאיר כמה פרות. אני רוצה להראות כמה זה חשוב כי הגמרא אומרת הבעל משאיר מפרי משום שהבעל ממילא עשה מצב שאין לו זכות בפרי. אז הדבר היחיד שהוא יכול להיות הוא, הוא חסר קצת זכות בפרי. למען האמת אני לא רואה איך כל גרסה אחרת של אותה הגמרא יכולה לעשות נכונה. רק תחשוב על זה בגרסה שלנו עם לפי רש''י. לגמרא  הטרידה  השאלה: מהיכן הפרות של הפרי יבואו אם אין פרי, היינו הוא שאכל את הפרות? כלומר, זה צריך להיותשהגמרא תהיה שבע רצון לחלוטין עם התרחיש ההפוך שהוא רשאי באכילת הפרי של פירות, אך לא את הפירות. אבל  זה הדבר המדויק שהגמרא שואלת! תחילת הגמרא לא יכולה להתאים עם הסוף. הגרסה הסבירה היחידה היא שרב שך מציע. ואם זה המקרה, אז נותרנו עם השאלה המקורית; מה זה יכול להיות שהוא משאיר מעל מפרי אם הוא ממילא הסיר את עצמו ממנו? אז כדי להבין את זה הרמב''ם מחזיק הבעל חסר בעלות בפרי. הוא יכול לאכול את זה אבל הוא אינו הבעלים זה. היינו הוא אוכל את הפירות? הוא יכול לאכול את זה אבל הוא אינו הבעלים זה.

The major thing I added here was to show how only the Rambam's way can get the Gemara to make sense.
It's things like this that gives me a great deal of confidence in the Rambam about other things.

I do  not recommend religious teachers even when they claim to be teaching Torah. The main reason is experience and also from what I have heard from many other people in Israel.  Even in the religious world it is well known that most supposed teachers of Torah are false prophets. They tend to destroy Jewish families rather than build them. They are a kind of test that one who really wants to come to Torah has to go through.

Reb Nachman in fact dealt with this problem in his magnum opus but it is generally ignored.
In any case the fact that people give themselves a title does not mean that the rest of the Jewish people think anything good about them. On the contrary--they already have a bad reputation for ruining families and causing divorce, and their reputation gets worse by the day. Their actions speak louder than their words.

The problem however is a little different than the way Reb Nachman puts it. Or perhaps better said--Reb Nachman was right about the particulars, but I believe he missed the global issue. That is to say he was right to identify most teachers of Torah as agents from the Dark Side. But the larger issue is why do people get attracted to them? This has to do with anti-nomianism. Anti Law. Secular society mainly  says do what you like. but the spirit of man wants to soar above this world. So the Dark Side laws a trap such. So people that parade themselves as something higher and able to bring one higher in fact bring people into the very dungeons of the Dark Side itself.

[Solution is mainly to learn Torah on your own at home. There is also the fact that the NY Litvak Yeshivas tend to be about straight Torah. So given the possibility of learning in an authentic Lithuanian kind of yeshiva this warning would not apply. In fact if possible it is highly recommended to attend a decent Litvak yeshiva. I would have to say Ponovitch in Bnei Brak. 
Trust in God has a drawback that when one does not get what he trusts in God for, then questions arise. Thus I have tried to limit the actual amount of trust in God. This might be a mistake but it seems to be the only option once things stopped going my way.

I am not saying trust in God doesn't work. It works and it works and it works. It makes not difference one's doctrines or degree of righteousness. That is not the issue. The issue is one can fool himself to believe he is trusting in God, when in fact trusting in the system.--And why not since anyway everything is going his way. But in the religious world what passes for trust is often self deception.


Faith in God I think has little to do with doctrines. But it is not completely unrelated to doctrines either. Mainly doctrines help to direct one's faith towards God. That is so that one should not by accident be putting one's faith in some aspect of the Dark Side.

Thus this idea of faith in more like personal trust in God more than faith in any set of doctrines.

[I must have mentioned this a long time ago. But basically the idea then of faith in God from a Torah standpoint is to learn the Oral and Written Law and to believe in God to take care of one's needs with a minimum of effort. But it does not mean to make Torah into a charity box. That issue of using Torah for money has been disguised as trusting in God for too long. People say they are trusting in God when in fact they are using Torah as a mean to make money. Not everyone of course. My impression of the great Litvak yeshivas of NY and Bnei Brak is that in fact they are quite sincere in their trust in God and only accept charity from the State of NY or the State of Israel in order to learn Torah. That seems to me to be perfectly fine.]

I also suggest to learn with faith. That is in learning the four major subjects that the Rambam emphasized: The Oral Law, the Written Law, Physics and Metaphysics-to not think if you understand or not. Rather to say teh words and go on and believe that God will eventually grant to you to understand.

 A wife can have a few kinds of property. One is נכסי מלוג -property she brings into the marriage that is written into the ketuba that she takes out of the marriage. The other is נכסי צאן ברזל stuff not written in the ketuba. The husband אוכל פירות eats fruit.
This is important to know because it is often confused with the issue of מעשה ידיה [work of her hands] which is actually owned by the husband.  In other words- there is a big difference between property she brings into the marriage,- and a salary she gets for working or profits she makes in business. There is another issue of a present given to her on condition the husband can not use it.
One can go through the entire tractate of Ketubot and still not have these issue clear. The reason is this. There is an essential argument between the Rambam and the Rif about what it means for the husband to "eat fruit." And that issue comes up only in one very obscure place: a thief steals a calf of an animal of נכסי מלוג.

Rav Shach brings up the very important point that the Rambam says the thief pays the wife the כפל (double).  The reason is that the fact that the husband eats the fruit does not mean he owns the fruit.

The reason I bring this up is that it comes up in Bava Metzia chapter 8 השואל. There the issue is what is the category of a husband with the property of his wife - a borrower or a guard? 
My question is to what kind of property does that Gemara refer to?

[The Rif also holds the thief pays the double כפל of the ולד calf  to the wife, but if he stole the actual cow itself of מלוג he pays the double to the husband. That is he thinks of the double as fruit of the cow The Rambam on the other hand seems clear that either cow of the calf-in any case the thief pays the double to the wife. Rav Shach's point is simple. Whether you go by the Rambam or the Rif it does not matter because it is an open Gemara that the thief pays back the double for the calf to the wife. כתובות עט: הגונב וולד בהמת מלוג משלם תשלומי כפל לאשה משום דפירי פירי לא תקנום חכמים
But if the calf which is פירי fruit is owned by the husband then why would the thief pay the wife? So no matter how you look at it from the Rambam or the Rif, the husband only eats the fruits but does not own the fruits of נכסי מלוג or נכסי צאן ברזל. The reason I probably missed this point completely when I was doing Ketubot perhaps is the fact that Tosphot seems to be pretty clear on page 47 that the husband actually owns the fruit. See Ketuboth 83 and 79B for the related sugiot. 
[If anyone actually owns a copy of Bava Metzia they might look up the Rosh over there because I recall in the commentary on the Rosh in the regular Vilna Shas there is a long note about the issue of the husband's status in  as a borrower or  a guard. Also there s a Tosphot there that I never had time or opportunity to go into in depth.  ]

As I think about this  few hours later, I still wonder. After all the husband takes the fruit from the buyer of the field if his wife sold it. That is also to the Rambam. This is not a question so much as a point to consider. Also in terms of the Tosphot on page 47 of Ketubot, he does not actual say the husband owns the fruit but rather that it is like הקונה דקל לפירותיו. That does seem that he owns the fruit. But I am not sure. I still need to think about this.

Besides the issues that I am wondering about in Bava Metzia I want to mention how the Rambam learn the Gemara in Ketubot which forms the main issue here. The actual gemara in chapter הכותב  on page 83 says If a husband writes to his wife I have no fruit of the fruit does he get the fruit? The gemara answers it is obvious he has removed himself from the fruit also because otherwise if he still can eat the fruit then from where would the fruit of the fruit come from?The way our Gemara continues is this Then according to you what about this statement of R. Yehuda.... Rather it must men she left over property. Rashi indicates that version. But you can see fro Rashi there existed another version in which the gemara answer the husband left over.  That is he could eat the fruit but did not and instead bought property with it and from the fruit of that property he removed himself.

"What is it with me? I taught Torah for free. So must you teach Torah for free". מה אני בחינם אף אתם בחינם

Teaching Torah for pay.

There are several issues here. One is teaching Torah. The Mordechai brings this (That Hashem said: "What is it with me? I taught Torah for free. So must you teach Torah for free." מה אני בחינם אף אתם בחינם) in reference to the problem of paying for "melamdim." [teachers of Torah.] 
 [The Mordechai was a friend of the Rosh and both learned from Rabbainu Gershom.]

The other issue which I brought up here  a few times is learning Torah for pay. That issue is much more well known as being a debate between the Rambam and the Keseph Mishna.

I have tried  in the past to explain that the basic difference between the Rambam and the Tashbatz [which is the source of the Beit Yoseph] refers to the question: Is it allowed to accept charity for learning Torah?, not if one can use it as a means to make money. It is thus not considered "working."  

Normally speaking I would try to justify the practice of learning and teaching Torah for money-- except for a great deal of really bad experiences I had with people doing just that. [At least they looked like people. I am not so sure anymore.]  I mean to say,- I would (like the Beit Yoseph) try to find excuses. But today, I am less likely to justify the practice because of the types that ruin the whole thing by making a business of it.

In terms, of the Rambam at the end of laws of Shemita, he says, "For one who accepts the yoke of Torah, there is removed from him the yoke of working." But that does not say he can use Torah as a shovel to dig with--to make money.
Nor is שכר בטלה  (being paid for time one takes away from his regular job) a legitimate excuse. The reason is שכר בטלה is defined in the Gemara as שכר הניכר recognizable wages. That is one has a regular job, and then takes time from it to judge a case. It does not refer to being able in theory to have  a job.  

The legitimate way of learning Torah after marriage is in general where the wife agrees to work in order to support her husband's learning Torah. Or the father in law. This seems to me to be the only real way that learning after marriage is permitted and practical.


The basic issues in Pirkei Avot are in chapter one and two. דאשתמש בתגא חלף ("One who uses the crown, passes away.") from Hillel. Then in chapter two כל תורה שאין עמה מלאכה סופה בטלה וגוררת עוון וסופו יורש גהינם. ("All Torah that does not have work with it is in the end worthless and brings sin and the end of it is the person that does so goes to Hell.") That is brought as a explanation of טוב תורה עם דרך ארץ ("Torah is good with a job"). 
But the actual commentary of the Rambam on Pirkei Avot that explains that early mishna is later on in chapter four.There the Rambam goes into an unusual amount of detail about yeshivas and roshei yeshiva that say it is  a mitzvah to give them money. He could hardly have been more clear nor more insulting if he had tried. 

In any case, the Beit Yoseph does justify the practice of supporting yeshivas. He does base it on the Tashbatz, but he goes even further. 

So after all that what could I add? Only that it is good to learn Torah, and the best thing is not to use it for money, but to trust in God to send to you your needs.


My basic impression of where things went wrong in my life is: "There is removed from  anyone who accepts the yoke of Torah the yoke of the state and the yoke of work. When one removes from himself the yoke of Torah there is placed on him the yoke of the state and the yoke of work." [Pirkei Avot.]
But this is at most a vague impression. It is not as crystal clear as perhaps it ought to be.
This was also suggested by my learning partner and it does make some sense.--But in a complicated way.

I tried to suggest on this blog before without in specific reference to myself what I think makes the issue cloudy. [I have no idea who reads this blog so the people reading it now might not have seen this. In any case, I suggested that once one has removed the yoke of Torah from oneself then trying to get back to it not only does not work but even backfires and makes things even worse that they already are.]

Mainly to make it short-even though getting to Israel was a big and important step and learning the books of Reb Nachman also is  a great thing, still within that context I am afraid that my spending most of my doing other stuff rather than learning Torah I think could legitimately be called פורק עול תורה. [Not that this is what Reb Nachman intended, but it certainly is the inevitable effect of getting involved with that group. Also I want to mention that Reb Nachman's idea of spending time taking with God in one's own language as a friend is great idea but the tendency is to then start getting off track from one thing into another into another etc and etc. An then even trying to get back into Torah just creates קושיות questions that do not have any answer. For example one might see that other people supposedly learning Torah are far from human perfection.

In any case, I was thinking to mention at the beginning of this day that in any case my idea today of accepting the yoke of Torah would  be as it usually is understood--Gemara, Rashi, Tosphot, but I would have to add Physics and Metaphysics based on the Rambam. This has a great deal of support from Reb Nachman himself I should mention in his idea of the Ten Commandments  being hidden ten statements by which the world was made.
The thing to be aware of if you are interested in this idea of accepting "the yoke of Torah" is the fact of the signature of the Gra on the letter of excommunication. That means in essence that though many places pretend to learn Torah--and that is  a snare and a trap- the only valid place where one can learn Torah that is authentic is a Litvak yeshiva. Everything else is not just fraud but also dens of the Sitra Achra which affect people's character traits and also there seems to be some kind of spiritual toxo plasmosis parasites.

The Founding Fathers were very much aware their system could only work with a "certain kind of person." A WASP who has his feet firmly embed in the Law of God. This is no secret. And this explains the Soviets also. For the Soviets wanted to put into place a just system [like Plato's with all property being shared] but they knew they had to do this without that kind of person that the American Founding Fathers had to build with. The result was the Soviets had to go with a full totalitarian kind of system because of the limits of the kinds of people that were not firmly into values based on the Bible. [For example: "Thou shalt not steal".]

How did the Soviets deal with the problem of people voting for themselves other peoples' money? Simple. Everyone had to work or go to prison. I forget the exact amount of time but I think it was three months. That is if in one's work book there was not listed any working for three months by an employer the person simply went to prison camp--and there he worked. That is there was no such thing as voting for oneself other peoples' money.

[THIS aspect of the founding of the USA is not emphasized in school anymore. But you can see this in the writings of the founding fathers.]
The best way to get into the law of God, is to have two sessions. One fast to get through all the material and the other an in depth session. That is the fast session should get one through the Old Testament, and the two Talmuds (even without Rashi and Tosphot) and all the midrashi halacha and Hagada like te Midrash Raba and the Tosephta etc. The in depth session I think is best with the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach which more than any other book contains the basic essence of learning Torah in depth.


T73 D Major This is slightly edited.
If you look at Dr Kelley Ross he tends to divide between systems that  are based on a dichotomy between good and evil as opposed to systems which think of evil as non existent.

My own impression of this is that in fact there is a struggle between good and evil, but the apparent difficulty with this is when evil disguises itself as good.

Much of what passes as legitimate Torah is part of a general phenomenon of Satanic teachings getting into the realm of Holiness.

[I probably should expand on this theme a drop. My basic point that I intended to get to was that by trying to avoid the Sitra Achra [the Realm of Darkness] the effect is most often to fall into something a million times worse. Something that mimics the Realm of Holiness in outside rituals and appearance but is actually the very core of the Sitra Achra. That was just one point I wanted to bring up. But there are many more side issues.

The simplest thing would have been to trust the judgement of the Gra and thus be saved from the problem without having to realize how right he was after years of wasted time and much damage to one's soul and family.

Both Hegel and Dr. Kelley Ross deal with the issue of Christianity. Hegel is certainly trying to support Christianity. He was not that different than Aquinas in his goal. His means to that goal however were very different. {As many have note that the general effect of Hegel was to weaken Christianity since he sublimated it into philosophy.}

Dr. Ross takes an approach based on Kant and Schopenhauer.

But both approaches come from the Middle Ages of attempting a synthesis between Reason and Revelation-which to me makes the most sense. The trouble with Christianity is when this balanced approach was thrown out the window by Martin Luther. (No offense intended since he did have some good points also.)

In any case, it seems the obvious thing to do would be to get back to that balanced approach of the Middle Ages instead of the modern approach which could be considered thus: Fanatic Christians on Sunday morning and Fanatic secularists the rest of the week.

The modern day approach simply leaves out too much of the Mediaeval period which leaves out a major brick in the edifice of Western Civilization.

The lack of balance sometimes you find in individuals that go entirely in the direction of religion or entirely secular-or you get this combination of Sunday morning as opposed to the rest of the week.

The effect of this is that in the Jewish world also there is this lack of balance. Thus my own approach is based Maimonides [the Rambam] with his four step program: (1) The Written Law of Moses. (2) The Oral Law (the Two Talmuds) (3) Physics (4) Metaphysics of the Ancient Greeks. (He did not say Attica or Athens which leads one to wonder if perhaps he was thinking of Sparta along with Athens?)

The balanced approach and appreciation of the Middle Ages was once much more an inherent part of the education in the USA. In any case, it certainly was an still is an essential part of Litvak yeshivas in which the greatness of the "Rishonim" is well recognized and accepted.


The trouble in the Jewish religious world is it is hard to see through the facade of righteousness into the inner rotten core. The whole show and dance about supposedly keeping the Torah is really a trap meant to ensnare innocent naive people.

The major rot really began with the Shatz and his false prophet Nathan from Gaza, but the basic principle of human idolatry seeped in.
So in an highly ironic way, the only movements within Judaism that are kosher are those that do not make a scene of of it: that is Reform and Conservative Judaism, and Religious Zionism.
Of course the great Litvak yeshivas do keep Torah the best, but they have also been infiltrated.

The best idea then is to learn Torah at home. And to be aware of this problem. There are more radical solutions also which do not seem practical. In any case, it is a sure bet that the more people make  a show of keeping Torah, the more moral depraved they are.

Of course this is not news. Everyone already knows this that has any dealings with the religious. It is just that no one seems interested in documenting the events because they always feel they will get no sympathy. [And that is true.] So the majority just go on with their broken lives trying to make sense of it. No one seems able to express the simple truth. The religious world is the Sitra Achra. The show of keeping Torah is just a disguise..
[On the other hand the Na Nach people seem to be perfectly aware of the problem. The  actual Litvak world is thankfully too busy learning and keeping Torah themselves to be too worried about what goes on outside of their circles. Still I find it necessary from time to time to mention this relatively ignored problem.]
[Not all revolutions are equal. It depends on what you revolt against. For example John Locke was for revolution when government tramples natural rights. When you have a government that is trying to bring back natural rights, that would not be acceptable to revolt. In terms of what I am dealing with in this essay, the idea would be after widespread abuse, it would be justified to have  a kind of revolution--something along the lines of what the Na Nach people already do. To learn and keep Torah but have nothing to do with the Dark Side religious people.

In fact I might mention that the best learning partner I ever had in Gemara is a person that happens to be highly sympathetic towards the Na Nach people.

The Redemption of Hegel

If you get your views on Hegel from Popper or Schopenhauer, it is inevitable to take a rather negative and dim view of him. 

I think since he was quoted and attacked quite a lot by leftists, this gave the impression that he him was part of that camp.

A further trouble is that one of the people that I really admire in philosophy is Dr. Kelley Ross in California. And he is straightforward negative about Hegel.
Further it does not help much his style of writing in which it takes a few months to be relatively certain that you have understood one page.. 

Still with all that, a lot of views ascribed to him were definitely very far from his mind.

The differences between him and Dr. Ross are significant but not as vast as some think.

The major difference is that Dr. Ross is essentially a Platonist, and his system is in essence a Kantian modification of Plato. Hegel is essentially an Aristotelian and his system is in essence a modification of Aristotle and Kant.

Someone on Amerika blog said that Hegel was a "court philosopher"--subservient to the Prussian court. But then why did Hegel said in his lectures  on the philosophy of history  "the United States is the land of the future." And in his lectures on Aesthetics:
If one now wants to go beyond Europe, it can only be to America." 
Popper quotes Hegel:
A people can only die a violent death when it has become naturally dead in itself”; but Popper leaves out the end of the sentence as  Hegel continues, “as e.g. the German Imperial Cities, the German Imperial Constitution” . Applied to the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Hegel’s remark makes sense.

While I can see some of the problems in the USA, still that calls for a bit more thought that just to get back to some kind of totalitarian kind of system.

I have got my own  of critique on Hegel mainly on the world spirit and also he leaves out the Platonic notion of Kant about two levels of reality


I would rather spend my time learning Torah but since I am exhausted  and can not  learn let me at least share something that I am thinking about. I think everyone must think that when it comes to the four kinds of damages שור בור מבעה הבער [ox, a pit fire, man] that each has its own separate laws. That is certainly what I thought based on the famous Tosphot in Bava Kama page 6 that seems to indicate this at first glance. The Gemara learns that a rolling pit is liable because the common side of בור ושור (pit and ox). Tosphot asks ox refers to "foot" which is not liable in a public domain and yet still the rolling pit is liable in a public domain.
It turns out even the Rosh  thought that  Tosphot answers that once the principle kind of damage is learned then each has its own laws.

 The gemara says  a proof that a tree or wall that have fallen into a public domain ought to be liable from בור ואש. A pit and fire.
Th fallen tree does not move so it ought not to be liable as fire. So the Gemara learns from pit that does not move and still it is liable. It ought not to be liable since its beginning was not made to cause damage as a pit is. So the Gemara learns from fire that is liable even though its beginning was not made to cause damage.

He brings the opinion that he is disagreeing with there that after you learn different kinds of damages from צד השווה then anything learned from two different kinds of damage can only be liable as the much as either one, not both. That is you go by the least common denominator. So the fallen tree ought to be not liable for טמון hidden things which are not usually hidden in houses or in areas where the fire went. In such case fire is not liable and this other opinion says that though we learn from pit nd fire it ought to have the most lenient aspect of both and thus not be liable for טמון

What I am thinking about is that I discovered that Rav Shach says that the opinion the Rosh is disagreeing with might very well be true. I can not go into the details this minute but I thought it is important at least to bring up this fascinating issue.

In short the main issue where rav shach disagrees with the rosh is  the tree that falls. he asks in what way is it like a pit since the beginning of its creation was not for damage? He says thus even though we do learn from pit to say it is not liable for damage to vessels, it still ought to be also like fire which is not liable for damage to hidden things that are not customary to hid in such a place.

[Just for basic background the basic gemara says this: S.T.O.P; Stone, Tree, Open, Pit. are learned from pit and ox (foot) except for Stone which is learned from pit and fire. That is : a stone knife or bundle that he put on top on a roof and they fell by  a common wind he is liable because of the common denominator of pit and fire. The beginning was made for damage and another energy was mixed in to make it go and cause damage. A tree or wall that fell into a public domain are liable because of pit and ox. So also פותקים ביבותיהם letting one drains drain off into a public domain which cause damage also from pit and ox. Also a pit that rolls [a revolving black hole with no charge] is liable because of pit and ox.]

The way that Rav Shach suggest to answer for the Rosh is that we in fact only learn from pit alone and the tree that falls is liable because he was warned by the court to chop it down thirty days before hand. That is to say: פשיעה is considered like a מעשה כרייה. That is in נזקי ממון.  In chapter 1 law 8 where Rav Shach brings up the question on the Rosh and suggest that the Ramam would disagree with the Rosh, he points to chap 13 law 19 where he brings this alternative explanation of the Gemara in Bava Kama page 6 and says that perhaps that might explain the Rosh

In any case the thing to think about here in my opinion is the chicken with the string attached to his leg on page 19. What I mean in particular is the stone knife and bundle that fell from the roof that we say is obligated from בור ואש because כח אחר מעורב בו.Thus we can see why the owner of the string would be liable because the fact that the chicken is like the כח אחר. But that is just one small point. Rather I am thinking of how to square that Gemara on page 19 {Bava Kama} as the Rambam understands it with the gemara on page 5b and 6a as to how we learn that STOP {stone tree open pit} are liable.

The main issue I would like to think about is how the chicken with the string could be derived in the same way as the gemara derives STOP on page 6.

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States --shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. The problem with this law is that it would be difficult to enforce at the present time. []

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 2, 70 Stat. 623Pub. L. 87–486June 19, 196276 Stat. 103Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2148.)
I believe there are two things that get in the way of learning Torah for myself. One is lack of appreciation  and the other is קושיות (questions). The way to understand this is something that Reb Nachman said concerning tzadikim (saints). That is  saints emulate their Creator. [That is a commandment in to the Torah to walk in God's ways. Just as he is compassionate, so we must be compassionate. That counts as one of the 613 commandments. ] So just as there are questions on God and the way he interacts with the world,- so there must be questions on saints.
You can extend this idea to Torah also. Since the Torah is God's wisdom concerning  how people ought to live and concerning the deeper meaning of life,-- so there must be questions on Torah also. Otherwise our wisdom would be equal to God's wisdom (Heaven forbid.)

I also noticed that Rav Shach says two things are important for Torah--תמידות and מרץ. [That is: time and energy.] But I see the time factor is difficult. When I was in yeshiva in Shar Yashuv and later in the Mir in NY the time factor was not so hard because the system was set up in such a way that it was fairly easy to spend lots of time on Torah each day. But now I am outside of a yeshiva environment and that makes the time factor infinitely more difficult. I am sure lots of people understand what I am saying because even among kollel people I saw the same problem. The solution that I found that works best for me is "small sessions." That is to spend  around an hour on one thing and then to go on to some other subject.

[The time factor is hard also in terms of concentration. Thus you find people that have to be in kollel because their social environment requires it, and yet have a hard time concentrating on Gemara, Rashi, and Tosphot all day (who won't?) and thus  learn false and fake Torah which is easy and fun, but not Torah.]

One thing I found about learning Torah- it helps to have a wife who wants one to learn Torah. Without that there is a kind of drag or friction on one's momentum. If you thin about it you will realize that most great Roshei Yeshiva in the Litvak world had or have wives that appreciate their learning Torah. I mean to the degree of the daughter of Calba Sabua [wife of R. Akiva]to give up everything just so she would have a husband who learns Torah. You might think that that is too much. Who requires that? But that is exactly the point I started out with. If one does not appreciate  Torah then it is hard to merit to it. I can not really explain what it is about Torah that is so special. Even when the Torah grabbed me I do not think I could have explained to anyone what it was that I found so amazing about it. One time my Dad went to visit his brother Alex in NJ and I went along. Just one or two days away from the yeshiva environment I told my Dad I felt like I was drowning. I desperately needed to get back to an environment of learning Torah. It is things like that I find hard to explain.


I noticed that a lot of Christians have a very skewed way of looking at the New Testament.
I must have written about this before but maybe deleted it. If I would even begin to go into the issues there would not be enough time.
So perhaps I should just touch briefly on the topics.
(1) The Trinity has no support. The name of God in the Old Testament is "I will be", not "I am."
[Christian scholars know Greek well enough to be aware that the words "I am" used by Jesus were slightly out of place. So they think to make a interference from that that he was referring to the name by which G-d revealed himself to Moses. The trouble with that is that there is no גזרה שווה  equivalence of two words. Jesus used the words "I am." God used the words "I will be." [see note 1 at end of essay.]
Still that is not meant to detract from the value of believing in a true tzadik as Reb Nachman made clear on many occasions.
(2) ביטול המצוות nullification of the commandments. Also has no support from the Sermon on the Mount. The Christian misreading of that is shockingly, intellectually dishonest.  Jesus is clearly saying the commandments of the Torah are forever and will never be nullified. [That is clear in the law of Moses where it says to keep all the laws of the Torah forever (Deuteronomy ch. 6). And the prophets end with an extortion to keep the law of Moses.]
(3) The inclusion of Paul into the canon of official books certainly puts a twist on the whole thing very different than what you would have gotten if the school of thought of Peter and James had been included as you can see from the Clementine  Doctrines and Recognitions. [German Scholars have already said that "Simon" there is a pseudonym of Paul.] [I wonder if  "Simon" is a composite? I have not seen the scholarship on this issue, but to me it seems that the same name there is used for at least two different people.]
(4) Only people very ignorant of Torah Law can see in anything that Jesus did things that were contrary to law.
In some areas he held one opinion as opposed to others for example mixing dirt with water on Shabat as this is an argument in the Rosh on tractate Shabat. Collecting ears of grain that no longer need nourishment from the soil is certainly not forbidden, and those that accused his disciples of doing something forbidden on Shabat are just the same kind of insane religious fanatics that you see today that love to bark at people, and thus displaying their own ignorance of Halacha. This is common in the insane religious world where they love to make up prohibitions out of thin air just in order to be able to bark like dogs.

In terms of the trial of Jesus, it is hard to find a case in which more legal procedures were violated. That is almost a textbook example of how to do everything wrong and against Torah Law. 

[I would imagine that if people would learn the Recognitions and Doctrines of Clement of Rome would clear up  lot of misconceptions..]

note 1. אהיה means I will be and אהיה אשר אהיה means I will be that which I will be. Rabbainu the Ari [I. Luria], goes into this in great detail in the Eitz Chaim and Mavo Shearim. To me it seems the most simple explanation of this name is that everything in the present time is only potential in relation to the future. Everything in the past were merely the conditions that led to the present. And potential is less perfect than action. Thus God wanted to say that he is pure action, not potential.

I see that Rav Shach calls the "Enlightenment" "the accursed Enlightenment." What does that mean? I assume it refers to the actual Enlightenment philosophers Hobbes, and Hume and Rousseau plus the ideas of the Enlightenment that had come into the Jewish People.  It is unlikely that he meant the Rambam who emphasizes the learning of Metaphysics and Physics as understood by the Ancient Greeks.
The problem that I see is the religious world is a million times more evil than anything in the secular world. The Enlightenment I admit has problems, but the religious world which pretends to keep Torah is so far infinity worse  than anything else out there, I wonder why that side of things was unknown the the great Litvak Sages like Rav Shach. The religious world certainly is not the path of traditional Torah, but rather some kind of insane perversion thought up by mentally-ill religious fanatics.

In the religious path only lays heartbreak and broken families and mental and sexual abuse of one's children and slavery to some kind of  mafioso who pretends to be  a tzadik.

None of that has anything to do with Torah (as  I have tried to convey many times). The Torah and the religious world are direct polar opposites. Almost anything is better.

Still, Rav Shach has point that Musar and the yeshivas developed long the lines of Reb Israel Salanter were on the authentic path of Torah

The secular world gives the main energy of the religious. Its emphasis on sex can only lead to frustration among the majority of guys who are not super Alpha Males with all the brains and brawn  and money. So what does the average guy do? He joins the religious world with its promise of a shiduch. But then later, when  the insanity of the religious becomes obvious, it is too later to turn back.
And even if you know your own motives were pure--to keep God's law, the vast majority of people in the religious world are there only because they are losers and that is the only way they can get sex. They just hide their motivations with high minded sounding phrases of Torah


The thing is that life is confusing and I have found it best to find a small set of basic principles to stick with at all cost. It is also helpful to have an accurate mental model of how the world works. But that does not seem to be as necessary as having a small set of concrete principles. Thus telling the truth at all cost seems to be a very important thing. In my case, also the idea of trust in God seems to be a good thing to stick with. Though I know many people emphasize putting forth lots of effort to get your needs met, but that does not seem to work very well for me,- and in fact usually results in the exact opposite of the desired effect. Rather, it seems best to simply sit and learn Torah and Physics and then hope that what God wants for me will come to me. 

[To learn Physics I used a book by Joos called "Theoretical Physics". Recently I have used other books to learn further. Siegel's, Field Theory was very helpful (and Doron Cohen's Lectures in Quantum Mechanics). In Torah learning I found Rav Shach's Avi Ezri   to be a really great book. Gemara, Rashi, and Tosphot are a great introduction to Rav Shach.] But I do not mean to set up myself as a good example. I can only describe the path I took to get to the Divine Light. That was basically being born into a wholesome wonderful home and going to the Mir (and Shar Yashuv) in NY and then going to Israel. That seems to have been enough to bring down the Divine light on me.  Losing that was mainly a result of getting fooled by counterfeit spirituality in the religious world. That is the reason I recommend avoiding counterfeit spirituality.


nightmarish religious world.Thus the Jewish religious world while not mentally ill in itself still has the trouble that its leaders are mentally ill.

Some people suggest these negative trends in the USA began around 1900. Before that the USA had been WASP more as a religious identity more than an ethnic group. Apparently evolution was a big issue and the Bible being pushed out of schools.People even then were beginning to feel alienated. from the larger society.Then there was the push back which was mainly from Azusa Street and Aimee McPherson. But for some reason that seems to have had a very limited effect. The Leftward trends just kept going. 

My feeling about this is that the basic doctrine was really not as solid as the people like McPherson thought in the first place. As I have pointed out before letting Paul into the canon was like letting an ax into the piston engine. The basic Doctrine up until that time had been "the Constitution and the Word of God." But in the word of God itself as understood by Christians there were already tendencies of "anti Law." [anti-nomian-ism]. This charge was leveled at Protestants in particular after Martin Luther and it seems to me to be perfectly justified. In any case, this anti Law tendency just got worse over time. In Paul's time when Paul saw the effect of his antinomian letters, he pulled back and tried to correct the situation with limited success. But the antinomian letters are still there for anyone to read and still believe they are reading the "Bible". 

In any case, I can see the trouble with the opposite tendencies also--sanctimonious self righteousness, as is obvious to anyone who has lived in the nightmarish religious world for any period of time. To imagine that if everyone would be like that would make everything right is absurd.

I try to limit my critique in that direction however in order to try to come to a balanced approach which I think is best exemplified by authentic Litvak yeshivas and their surrounding communities. Those kinds of places seems to be the best at "not adding nor subtracting from the Law." Not only that but they seems to have this as conscious approach--to simply do what the Torah says, and rely not at all on any "doctrines."

The critique of Christian Anti-Nomian-ism started right with Peter and James. It came to full expression in Saadia Gaon who made clear his two major critiques on Christianity (1) anti-law (2) שיתוף ["joining" a creation with the Creator].

The trouble is the opposite critique has not really received a good definition. That is even though the Torah itself says "לא תוסיף" ''do not add to the Law,'' but the resulting nightmarish world that results when people do this has not really been analyzed.  Even Musar which was supposed to correct both tendencies has gone off the deep end of the pool.   

However I tend to think that the Rambam's Guide is a good antidote against religious fanaticism. 

The main dynamics of fanaticism is the religious leader is often a mentally ill person with OCD and sexual hangups. It becomes OK for him and his henchmen  to come up with new restrictions all the time as long as doing so does not interfere with their getting their own pleasures fulfilled. Thus the Jewish religious world, while not mentally ill in itself, still has the trouble that its leaders are mentally ill.

Music for the honor and glory of God

T-69 E flat Major  This I think is more or less finished. It might need some editing so I ask the forbearance of the readers of this blog for any mistakes.
There is enough of "Down with the USA" from the Left. I do not see any reason for the Right to reinforce this -except a few recently bad presidents with bad policies. But to continue in this vein now seems to defeat the whole purpose. For 200 years the USA stood for everything that is right and decent more than any other nation in history. Even King David and King Solomon did not get anywhere near the 200 year mark. David I think was about 40 years and Solomon I forget. My opinion is that a lot of animosity comes from male white people being severely abused by the last couple of administrations. But now that is stopping and the USA is getting back on track. Why knock it?

Allen Bloom in his The Closing of the American Mind saw all the problems but his solution was limited to education in Plato's Republic. I would propose another solution but also along the lines that he said about the importance of education. My solution would be more or less along the lines of the Rambam of education in four areas the Written Law of Moses, the Oral Law--especially Rav Shach's Avi Ezri which contains the essence of the Oral Law, Physics [i.e. Field Theory which means Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Field Theory, String Theory, and the Metaphysics of Aristotle. I do not mean to discount what Allen Bloom was saying. It is just a matter of emphasis.]

[I do not mean to be exclusive either. First of all clearly the Rambam was also referring to Plato even though he thought more highly of Aristotle. Still I am curious abut what he saw in the Republic. My own feeling is the smaller dialogues are more important. Also in terms of the Oral Law, it is a good idea to learn the whole school of thought of Reb Chaim Solovietchik staring the חידושי הרמב''ם from Reb Chaim himself and including his major disciples.


The amazingly powerful thing about Musar and Reb Israel Salanter's idea of learning Musar is that Musar speaks to people like me. That is to say, I had a great deal of trouble understanding what Torah is all about until I started putting serious effort into Musar.

Just for the record Musar is mainly a short list of medieval books on Ethics and also one from the Renaissance period the מסילת ישרים.\
This list got added to because some of the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter wrote their own books like the מדרגת באדם and the אור ישראל.
The great thing about this is the is gives one an idea of what simple basic fear of God is.
Nowadays the trouble seems to be that the Sitra Achra got into the fear of God business so it is hard to enter into any religious circles without encountering the agents of the Dark Realm.

Thus you see in the original disciples  of Reb Israel Salanter they were careful to avoid complete anyone or anything that was under the excommunication of the Gra. Apparently they were aware that the Sitra Achra can feign signs of holiness and the Devil can even give people they power to do miracles into order to pervert the holy Torah.

I mean just for one simple example take a look at the whole long list of Musar books given by Rav Isaac Blasser the foremost disciple of Reb Israel Salanter.

I wanted however to mention that as was noted by the other Litvak sages-- Musar has limits. You really do not see much of any effect after a bare basic minimum of effort. People that concentrate a lot on Musar do not seem to gain more in character development than those who spend a small amount of time and then the rest of the day learn Gemara. Thus it became standard to have two short sessions during the day [15 min and 29 minutes.] and the rest of the day to work and learn Torah

אין שמין לגנב Bava Metzia page 96

רב חיים הלוי leaves one option open to say that the רמב''ם hold like the רשב''ם in בבא מציעא page צ''ז ע''א. Another option is to say he holds like רש''י and the רא''ש that the thief has to pay back whole vessels. I showed a few days ago that the ראב''ד has to hold by the רשב''ם. But I think it is clear the רמב''ם has to hold like רש''י and the רא''ש that the thief has to pay back כלים שלמים או כסף
The reason I say this is this. In הלכה י''ד  we find there is a case in which the thief pays back according to how much it was worth at the time of the theft. That is when it went down in value in the meantime. So אין שמין לגנב can not be telling the court to evaluate the object according to the time that the case reaches the court. So all it can be saying then is that the thief can not say הרי שלך לפניך. But if the thief can pay back the original according to שווה כסף ככסף then what is the whole point of the law in the first place. If he would say הרי שלך לפניך then also all he would be doing is giving back the original object according to how much it is worth now and make up the difference in value with other מטלטלים. If the רמב''ם would hold by the רשב''ם then the whole law would become meaningless.
So the only option that is left is to say the רמב''ם holds like רש''י and the רא''ש.

רב חיים הלוי משאיר אפשרות אחת לומר  כי רמב''ם מהחזיק כמו הרשב''ם בבבא מציעא דף צ''ו ע''א. אפשרות אחרת היא לומר שהוא מחזיק כמו רש''י ואת רא''ש כי הגנב צריך לשלם בחזרה כלים שלמים. הראיתי כי ראב''ד יש מהחזיק עם הרשב''ם. אבל  לרמב''ם יש להחזיק כמו רש''י ואת רא''ש כי הגנב צריך לשלם בחזרה כלים שלמים או כסף. הסיבה שאני אומר את זה היא  שבהלכה י''ד אנו מוצאים קיים מקרה שבו הגנב משלם בחזרה על פי כמה שהחפץ היה שווה בעת הגניבה. כלומר, כאשר זה ירד בערך בינתיים. אז אין שמין לגנב לא ניתן לומר לבית המשפט להעריך את האובייקט על פי הזמן שהמקרה מגיע לבית המשפט. אז כל מה שניתן לומר אז הוא כי הגנב לא יכול לומר "הרי שלך לפניך." אבל אם הגנב יכול להחזיר את חפץ המקורי בגלל שווה כסף ככסף, אז מה כל העניין של החוק מלכתחילה. אם הוא היה אומר הרי שלך לפניך אז גם כל מה שהוא היה עושה הוא להחזיר את האובייקט המקורי פי כמה שהוא שווה עכשיו ולשלם את ההבדל בערך עם מטלטלים אחרים. אם הרמב''ם היה מחזיק עם רשב''ם אז החוק כולו יהיה חסר משמעות. אז האפשרות היחידה שנותרת היא  שהרמב''ם מחזיק כמו רש''י ואת רא''ש.

If you put this all together, it means that the Rambam holds with Rashi and the Rosh that the thief has to pay back whole vessels or money, and the Raavad holds he can pay back even any objects according to their worth as the Rashbam says in Bava Metzia 96A.

simple faith

To go completely with simple faith with no reasoning at all seems to get some people far. This is the case even when the principles of simple faith are sometimes in fact at odds with reality. The reason is easy to understand if you go with Kant that there are areas of value that are not accessible to human reason. Not just that, but when human reason attempts to go there, it comes up with self contradictions.
It is even possible come up with a hierarchy of values in which content and form are complementary. Thus the more form, the less content. And we already know that reason perceives form only, not content. For example logic is all form with no content. The objects of logic are sentences that could stand for anything. If A implies B and A is true, then B is true.

So I do not want to knock the path of simple faith alone. In fact it seems to me that great people like Bava  Sali were in fact just going with simple faith, even though he certainly was a great Torah scholar also.

Still my path more or less is that of my parents which in one word could be called "balance." that means basically the same thing as the Rambam with a balance between Reason and Revelation.
The trouble with the path of simple faith is that not everything one thinks is content from the realm of holiness is as such. One can feel tremendous holiness from something that is in fact from the Dark Realm.

The actual doctrines of faith I ought to mention are to Rav Joseph Albo less than those of the Rambam.

I also suggest to learn with faith. That is in learning the four forces: The Oral Law, the Written Law, Physics and Metaphysics-to not think if you understand or not. Rather to say the words and go on and believe that God will eventually grant to you to understand.

Simple faith seems highly related to 'Devakut' attachment with God. But the issues involved attachment with God are unclear to me. As I mentioned before the infinite Divine Light (as the Ari called it) was shining in me and around me in Israel for about seven years until I simply decided that it was too much for me. Clearly leaving the light was a terrible mistake. But in the meantime I have had time to consider the implications and the subject itself.
Mainly I have come to realize that the command in the Torah "to be attached to God" (Deuteronomy 6 is literal. Yet  Klal Israel said at Mount Sinai to Moshe (Moses), "You go to God and hear what he says and tell us an let us not see the Presence of God nor hear his voice any more least we die." That seems like a direct contradiction. One verse saying Devakut is a commandment and to the anonymous commentary o the first four chapters of the Ramam in Mishne Torah  is the highest commandment, and yet Israel refusing to be attached to God and then God agreeing with them?
So we see like Kant said that when one enters into the Realm of the Dinge An Sich self contradictions are manufactured.
I also learned that there is no process by which one can come to attachment with God. There are other commandments that one must do but they are independent areas of value. They do not result in Devakut. Devakut is more like a free gift to who God chooses for some special mission.
Also I learned that there is a lot of religious delusions in the religious world from people that imagine their every thought and desire and insanity is from God. This led to my awareness that the religious world in itself is mainly insane--or rather its leaders are insane and from the Dark Side and have no idea what true attachment with God is nor true Torah. That is once I got to understand the authentic Torah I can tell what counterfeit Torah is .