The Gra tried to deal with this problem by putting his signature on the letter of excommunication that warned people about these fake scholars that are actually demons.

The trouble is that until this problem is taken care of there is really almost no way to keep Torah. The entire religious world is a den of the Satan and his minions. So one can try to keep and learn Torah by oneself. In fact nowadays that might be the only way. [Though I think of  few places that are still pure, like Ponovitch and the great NY Litvak yeshivas. But these kind of places are rare.]
Clearly the ideal way to go about learning Torah is to combine two factors (1) accepting the yoke of Torah. That is to be committed to sit and learn Torah no matter what the cost. (2) Trust in God with no השתדלות No effort.

The problem with this in Israel is the way the system is set up. It only works in such a way that one need to use Torah to make money--or he can't be learning at all. That is the whole system is set up in such a way as to make only Torah not for its own sake possible. Not Torah for its own sake.

The USA has at least in NY where the system is set up as to make Torah for its own sake possible. But in Israel the only place that seems to work is in Bnei Brak in Ponovitch.

Just one example would be the idea of taking tests to show you did the learning in order to get the paycheck. An open violation of the prohibition of learning Torah to make money.
To me it seems the only way to learn Torah for its own sake in Israel is to do it own one's own time and expensive. And in some way that is probably a good thing because the religious community there is anyway pretty messed up. The leaders tend to be demons in human form and their vicious anti Israel agenda just goes to show it.
The general path that was accepted in the Mir and also in Shar Yashuv was that Torah should be learned without any intention of using it for money. As for a vocation, the general advice was to go and learn a trade or go to university. How it got to be accepted to use Torah to make money as the entire religious world does today is a complete mystery to me.  I thought that everyone knew that Torah should not be used to make money or to be asking for donations. It is not just that it is in Pirkei Avot. It is something I thought was common knowledge. But hanging out in the religious world I found out that using Torah for money seems to be perfectly acceptable nowadays.--even admirable.
And in terms of kollel which comes under the category of accepting money to learn Torah--if it is done in that way then it is OK to Rav Joseph Karo the author of the Shulchan Aruch, but that is not how it is done nowadays.


Though natural law became a big thing in the West because of Aquinas, I have come to see that to the Rambam there is no essential difference between Torah Law and natural law. Torah Law is simply the fulfillment of natural law.

Divine Law has always been a problem in the West because of the Antinomianism of Paul. Even Catholics when they appeal to something in the Law of Moses always suggest the reason is because of Natural Law.

Though חוקי השכל [laws of Reason] really was suggested as the reason for the laws of the Torah by Saadia Gaon, still no one made much of a distinction between the laws of reason and the laws of Torah until Aquinas.

There is a famous law in Sukka גוד אסיק מחיצתא we consider the walls of a roof to be extended upwards in order to make the Sukka valid. The Rambam brings this in Law of Suka 4:11 [if memory serves correctly.] It says there that if one builds the Suka on the roof with just four poles the walls of the roof are considered to extend upwards to make it valid.

 But then he also brings the law of a mound of dirt in 4:14 to say the walls are not extended upward. There it says if one has a Suka in which the covering branches are too high (above 20 yards) and puts in a mound of dirt (10 hand-breaths high)in the middle to make the difference between the floor and cover to be less that is not valid.
Reb Chaim Soloveitchik brings down this question and so does Rav Shach.
Rav Shach adds an additional piece of information that a mound of dirt is considered a private domain in Shabat.  That means even for a mound of dirt we do say גוד אסיק מחיצתא we bring up the walls even though there is nothing to distinguish between the mound itself and what we would be calling its walls.

I do not know why no one seems to say this but to me it seems the main difference must be that we do not say  גוד אסיק מחיצתא to make the covering branches valid but we do say it to make the wall valid.
I still do not have any idea why this would be so but to me it seems clear that this is the only possible explanation for this problem.


The רמב''ם brings in הלכות סוכה ד:י''א גוד אסיק מחיצתא we consider the walls of a roof to be extended upwards in order to make the סוכה valid.  If one builds the סוכה on the roof with just four poles, the walls of the roof are considered to extend upwards to make it valid. But then he also brings the law of   הלכות סוכה ד:י''א  א that is if one has a סוכה in which the סכך is too high למעלה מעשרים אמה and puts in a תל of dirt עשרה טפחים גובה in the middle to make the difference between the floor and cover to be less that is not valid. The מחיצות are not extended upward. צריכים מחיצות הניכרות כמו שאמר רבא.
רב חיים הלוי brings down this question and so does רב שך.
רב שך adds an additional piece of information that a תל of dirt is considered a רשות היחיד in שבת.  That means even for a תל of dirt we do say גוד אסיק מחיצתא we bring up the מחיצות even though there is nothing to distinguish between the תל itself and what we would be calling its מחיצות. To me it seems the main difference must be that we do not say  גוד אסיק מחיצתא to make the סכך valid but we do say it to make the מחיצות valid. I still do not have any idea why this would be so but to me it seems clear that this is the only possible explanation for this problem.

רמב''ם מביא הלכות סוכה ד: י''א גוד אסיק מחיצתא אנו רואים קירות הגג להתארך כלפי מעלה על מנת להפוך את הסוכה תקף. אם אחד בונה את הסוכה על שפת הגג עם רק ארבעה עמודים, קירות הגג נחשבים להאריך כלפי מעלה כדי לגרום לזאת תוקף. אבל אז הוא גם מביא את החוק  בהלכות סוכה ד: י"ד לומר אם לאחד יש סוכה ובה סכך גבוה מדי (למעלה מעשרים אמה) ומכניס עמוד בגבוה עשרה טפחים באמצע כדי להשלים את ההבדל בין הרצפה ולסכך להיות פחות כי הוא לא תקף. המחיצות לא הוארכו כלפי מעלה. צריך מחיצות הניכרות כמו שאמר רבא. רב חיים הלוי מביא את השאלה הזו וכך גם רב שך. רב שך מוסיף   של מידע נוסף כי תל  נחשב רשות היחיד בשבת. כלומר, אפילו עבור עמוד ותל אנחנו אומרים גוד אסיק מחיצתא, אנו מעלים את המחיצות אף אם אין להבחין בין העמוד או התל עצמו ומה שהיינו קוראים מחיצות שלו. לי זה נראה ההבדל העיקרי חייב להיות שאנחנו לא אומרים גוד אסיק מחיצתא להפוך את הסכך חוקי, אך אנו אומרים את זה כדי להפוך את המחיצות תקפות. אני עדיין אין לי שום מושג למה זה יהיה  כך אבל לי זה נראה ברור כי זהו ההסבר היחיד האפשרי עבור בעיה זו.


I am not sure how to put this in short. I saw that Rav Shach has an answer for the Rambam [Laws of Forbidden Sexual Relations 12:1] that is a little different than the answer I put down in my little booklet on Bava Metzia.

In short the Rambam says it is a prohibition from the Torah to marry a gentile. The curious thing about this is that it seems to be going like R Shimon that we look at the reason for  a verse. The gemara in Kidushin and Yevamot says one can not marry a gentile. It asks why not? To R. Shimon it is clear because the verse says בתך לא תתן לבנו Do not give your daughter to his son nor your son to his daughters because they will tilt the hearts of your children towards idolatry. {Deuteronomy.}
But that is only to R. Shimon who looks at the reason for a verse. But to R. Yehuda the verse is only talking about the seven Canaanite nations.[The Gemara answers it is a decree.]

In short Rav Shach brings another argument in Sanhedrin about the verse that says a king should not have many wives because they might tilt his heart. The Sages say no more than 18. R. Yehuda says He can marry more than 18 as long as they do not tilt his heart. R. Shimon says even one that tilts his heart is forbidden. Then why say "He should not have many"? To tell us even if they are a righteous as Abigail.
 The way Rav Shach says it is that we see R. Yehuda holds דורשין טעמא דקרא (we go by the reason for the verse, not the literal meaning) if the reason is stated in the verse. So to R. Yehuda only the seven nations would be forbidden because they are very attached to idolatry but others not. However the Sages would hold that the simple explanation of the verse would be referring to all gentile nations. [This is different than my own explanation  but still closely related.] One problem I see with this is that R Yehuda holds if the reason for the verse is stated then it would mean you could marry anyone as long as they do not tilt your heart. That is one possible question on Rav Shach's approach.

[That is the exact parallel to what R. Yehuda says about a king where there also is written the reason for the verse.]

[I might mention that the Tur, the son of Rabbainu Asher decided the halacha like R. Yehuda that we do no go by the reason for the verse, but rather by the literal meaning which in this case means only the seven Canaanite Nations are forbidden.]

 It is also important to point out that idolatry is not limited to gentiles. Thus anyone doing idolatry would be forbidden to marry. כל המסירות all that could cause one's heart to stray from God to serve false gods.will be forbidden. And the religious world is sadlly jam packed with false gods-(non with standing the extreme emphasis on rituals).


 I saw that רב שך has an answer for the רמב''ם   הלכות איסורי ביאה י''ב:א
In short the רמב''ם says it is a prohibition from the Torah to marry a gentile. The curious thing about this is that it seems to be going like ר. שמעון that we look at the reason for  a verse. The גמרא in קידושין and יבמות says one can not marry a gentile. It asks why not? To ר. שמעון it is clear because the verse says בתך לא תתן לבנו Do not give your daughter to his son nor your son to his daughters because they will tilt the hearts of your children towards idolatry.
But that is only to ר. שמעון who looks at the reason for a verse. But to ר. יהודה the verse is only talking about the שבעת העמים.The גמרא answers it is a דרבנן.

Without being aware of what רב שך had written I wrote my own explanation of the רמב''ם that in fact is closely linked to רב שך, but slightly different.

In short רב שך brings another argument in סנהדרין about the verse that says a king should not have many wives because they might tilt his heart. The חכמים say no more than שמנה עשרה. But ר. יהודה says he can marry more than שמנה עשרה as long as they do not tilt his heart. ר. שמעון says even one that tilts his heart is forbidden. Then why say "He should not have many"? To tell us even if they are a righteous as אביגיל.
 The way רב שך says it is that we see ר. יהודה holds דורשין טעמא דקרא if the reason is stated in the verse. So to ר. יהודה only the seven nations would be forbidden because they are very attached to idolatry but others not. However the Sages would hold that the simple explanation of the verse would be referring to all gentile nations.  One problem I see with this is that ר. יהודה holds if the reason for the verse is stated then it would mean you could marry anyone as long as they do not tilt your heart. That is one possible question on רב שך approach.

לרב יש שך תשובה עבור הרמב''ם הלכות איסורי ביאה י''ב: א'. בקיצור רמב''ם אומר שזה איסור מן התורה להתחתן עם גויה. הדבר המעניין בזה הוא שזה נראה שהולך כמו ר. שמעון שהולכים לפי הסיבה של פסוק. הגמרא בקידושין ויבמות אומרת אחד לא יכול להתחתן עם גויה. זה שואל למה לא? ועונה זה ל ר. שמעון  כי הפסוק אומר בתך לא תתן לבנו (אל תיתן בתך לבנו) ולא בנך לבנותיו כי הם יוכלו להטות את לבם של הילדים שלך כלפי עבודה זרה. אבל זה רק  ר. שמעון שמסתכל על הסיבה של הפסוק. אבל אל לר. יהודה הפסוק רק מדבר על שבעת העמים. גמרא עונה היא דרבנן. בקיצור רב שך מביא טיעון נוסף בסנהדרין על הפסוק שאומר למלך אסור להתחתן עם נשים רבות, משום שהן עלולות להטות את לבו. חכמים אומרים לא יותר משמנה עשרה. אבל ר. יהודה אומר שהוא יכול לשאת יותר משמנה עשרה, כל עוד שהן לא נוטות את לבו. ר. שמעון אומר אפילו אחת שנוטה את לבו אסורה. אז למה הפסוק אומר "לא ירבה"? כדי לדווח לנו שאפילו אם הן צדיקות כמו אביגיל. הדרך שרב שך אומר הוא שאנחנו רואים שר. יהודה מחזיק דורשין טעמא דקרא אם הסיבה נאמרה בפסוק. אז אל ר. יהודה רק שבעת האומות תיאסרנה משום שהן קשורות מאוד לעבודה זרה אבל אחרות לא. אולם חז"ל מחזיקים כי ההסבר הפשוט של הפסוק מתייחס לכל אומות העולם. בעיה אחת שאני רואה עם זה היא כי ר. יהודה מחזיק אם הסיבת הפסוק נאמרה, אז זה אומר שאתה יכול להתחתן עם מישהיא, כל עוד שהיא לא נוטה את הלב שלך.
My own answer here was that when the reason for the verse is written then the Sages and R. Shimon agree. [I think that was my answer, but I have not looked it up to check.] But if so then on my answer also there is a question because R. Shimon and the Sages do not look to agree completely in such a case,


Each group seems to have its own particular variety of the evil inclination.

I can see that people feel they are on the side of good just because of some group they belong to. And there is often some reason that justifies their belief. In the groups I have hung out with I have seen this much. But the Sitra Achara--the Dark Side has its own formulas for each group.
There is always some special brand of evil that attaches itself to every group and none are immune.

Dante is a good cure for that delusion.
That is in Dante,  hell is reserved for people with bad character. That is to say when people do evil, they end up in hell and the social group they belonged to does nothing to help them out of it.
I have found this a lot in Jewish groups, but all groups seem to have this problem with unwarranted pride. That however does not mean all groups are the same. Each one seems to have its own particular variety of the evil inclination.

Even though democracy in itself has drawbacks still a lot depends on who is involved. The Athenian Democracy is different than a democracy that has to take blacks into account. It is not the type of government that is the issue but the kind of people involved.

Sparta after all did not produce anything except warriors and the destruction of Athens. Athens on the other hand produced the greatest Art, Mathematics, literature, music, philosophers that the world had ever seen.
From the Rambam's point of view however there would only seem to be one justification and that is that it is a contract. That is whatever system people decide to live under has the force of Torah Law as long as it does not violate other Torah Laws. The reason is because any contract has the force of Torah validity. This applies to government also as is brought in Bava Batra.

Government of course is not the same as private contracts-. But all the more so that gives it a need and validity that goes beyond private contracts. For without government, no private contract is possible as Dr Epstein makes clear in his debate with Dr Michael Huemer.
There is some connection between trust in God with no effort and accepting the yoke of learning Torah. Both of these things are accepted parts of the Litvak yeshiva world but no connection between them is ever spelled out exactly.

The way both are connected are in the sense that it is understood that: if one accepts the yoke of learning Torah, then the troubles and difficulties of making a living will be removed from him. But in fact both ideals on the surface to be totally independent.  What exactly is the connection?
I am not really sure about this even though there is  statement from the Gra about the right path of trust in God is specifically without effort on one's own part. It is not as if the Gra accepts the חובות לבבות opinion about trust in God with effort on your own part. See Proverbs 3:25 the commentary of the Gra there.


For writing on the computer on Shabat I depend on the Rema in the Shulchan Aruch that the prohibition of writing is Ashurit [and I would imagine also the ancient Hebrew letters called "Ketav Evri."]  along with the idea of the idea brought down on buildig that the form needs to be preserved for twenty four hours -not stored in megabytes.
But I admit there are perhaps many other areas in which I am too lenient. The truth is it is hard to get exactly how to keep the holy Torah. There are inherent ambiguities like honor of one's parents. It is hard to tell how far to take that.
 It is not just when one mitzvah seems to interfere with another. It is that sometimes the actual fulfillment is unclear.
I have written about the problems involved in keeping Torah quite a lot but not in a unified format. Mainly the problems come from the Sitra Achra {the Dark Side}which pretends to keep Torah in external form but internally is demonic. That makes trusting anything that the religious world says about Torah almost certainly wrong.

Some of the basic difficulties and ambiguities  are:
(1) The attitudes towards Reb Nachman, who was certainly a great tzadik, but when people get involved in Breslov they definitely get caught up into the Sitra Achra
(2) The ignoring of the signature of the Gra on the letter of excommunication. This is not simply ignored but outright declared wrong. To me it is clear that the Gra was 100% correct. [But that it would not apply to Reb Nachman for reasons that are easy to see if you read the actual letter itself.]
(3) The attitude towards the State of Israel. I would rather not go into this right now but service in the IDF and general support of Israel I consider very important.
(4) Attitudes towards what are called secular studies. To the Rambam there is no such thing as secular studies. Physics [in his terminology means also Chemistry] and Metaphysics are holy studies that are part of the Oral Law. Other things that are considered secular are simply treif, nevela, in the opinion of the Rambam.
(5) Attitudes towards kollel. This really is not that ambiguous in practice because you can pretty much tell whether people in any institution are using Torah to make money or if they are accepting money in order to learn Torah. If the later, then  clearly it is  great thing what they are doing.

(6)My own mistakes seem to be in the area of the Mir Yeshiva in NY. On one hand you might say it was important to get to Israel but that seems to have caused a lot of bitul Torah and getting involved in pretty dumb sitra achra stuff. What perhaps I might have done would have been to find  a Litvak kollel in Israel. But even that is hard to say could have made up for the loss of not learning in the Mir.

There was on America's Most Wanted a story about a father and son Taylor and Taylor that had been kidnapped for the apparent reason that they had found some means of commutation  or communication with distant regions of space. I can not imagine what it was, but I assume that there in fact might be something like that. If forced to I could think of a few things. If some small particles are black holes, they might have thought to combine enough together to make a worm hole.Also since their experience was in electrical engineering maybe they had thought of some aspect of electricity which always  involves imaginary time. Another suggestion would be that if one takes the paper of Feynman about two arrows of time and puts it together with two more arrows of entropy he gets results that are remarkable and suggestive of some deeper structure. 

Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust

Humans Naturally Dislike Mixing of Race.

Study 1   demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples.

The fact is that everyone knows that if you are mixing races, you have turned your back on your heritage. This puts you in the camp with traitors, cowards and profiteers.
Next, they realize that you are an unfortunate person. Other than for novelty points at the bar, you will never have a real identity. Instead, you will always be flogging your “uniqueness” while neither of your constituent groups accepts you.
Finally, looking into miscegenation shows us the inner workings of life. We do not like to think about it, but we are biological beings with our personalities arising from genetics. Miscegenation breaks apart the visions of people that we process socially, and shows us that beneath the level on which socialization operates, we are animals and can be bred as such.
As the age of ideology ends, tribe becomes more important. The result of this is that people are struggling to find their identities and live within them, lest them become people without a nation or origin, which in a time where identity is more important than elective categories like political alignment or religion, makes them the loneliest people in the world.
What makes the current study, published in the February issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, more conclusive is its size. The study is by far the largest, consisting of 3,636 people who all identified themselves as either white, African-American, East Asian or Hispanic. Of these, only five individuals had DNA that matched an ethnic group different than the box they checked at the beginning of the study. That’s an error rate of 0.14 percent.
Neil Risch, PhD, a UC-San Francisco professor who led the study while he was professor of genetics at Stanford, said that the findings are particularly surprising given that people in both African-American and Hispanic ethnic groups often have a mixed background. “We might expect these individuals to cross several different genetic clusters,” he noted. That’s not what the study found. Instead, each self-identified racial/ethnic group clumped into the same genetic cluster.
Over the long term, people resist miscegenation because it destroys who they are, which they innately know is tied to genetics and history even if these concepts offend their notions of “free will” and individuality. In other words, having an identity that gives the individual a starting point in their narrative of self — origins, purpose, rank — is more important than joining the generic, mixed-race social group.
For this reason, they also dislike and instinctively are disgusted by miscegenation. The mixing of racial groups constitutes the destruction of those groups over time, so in the practice of miscegenation, people see the erasure of their identity. As a result their is a natural revulsion to loss of identity, which is in part a destruction of the self.


Bias against interracial romance is correlated with self-reported feelings of disgust.
Interracial couples elicit a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation.
Manipulating state disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples.
Findings suggest that meaningful social units (e.g., couples) influence person perception.


.So if one is in a place of authentic Torah like the Mir yeshiva in NY there are always little whisperers telling him "Perhaps someplace else is better."

Every area of value seems to have an equal and opposite area of value that is indiscernible from the real thing. The reason seems to be what you have in the Armed Forces "the need to know."
Merit does not seem to depend on finding the right path, but rather in every path there is good and evil. Merit depends of some ability to discern evil on one's path and avoid it.  Not on finding some  abstract right path.

To be a little more explicit:
 Value starts with things like Formal Logic  in which the sentences are empty and can stand for anything but the rules are formal. If A implies B and B implies C and A is true, then C is true.
Up the scale you get Mathematics which has more content but can not be reduced to formal logic as Godel showed. Value gets greater as content increases  and form gets less. E.g. Music.
But every area of value-whether is has much or little content has an equal and opposite area of value which in externals looks exactly the same. That is so that there should be free will.

[I have mentioned this a few times. But the new idea I wanted to bring out is that this ignorance is the realm of the Dinge An Sich--Kant's Thing in Itself--is intentional. To choose good otherwise would be simply a mater of finding the right path and following it. Certainly some people assume that is the case. But then there would be no room for free will. The way the world was made it self there is room left for anyone to choose good or evil on what ever path they were born into. Most people think since they were born into some path which to them seems good, they can basically do what they like.

In this I am building on Dr Kelly Ross (Kant-Friesian School) and the Rambam.

Dr Kelly Ross taught in a CA Community College. I think the whole system has gotten so messed up that you can find idiots that teach at Harvard and geniuses that teach in a community college.
Recently Dr Ross taught at an ivy league school on the East Coast (Rutgers). It is nice that someone finally recognized him for the genius  he is.
That being said I thing the curriculum is too much. If possible I would reduce the requirements to the Natural Sciences, Music. No "Humanities" or "social studies"  which nowadays are just propaganda.

To make this seem less abstract: Let's say you are on a Torah path. In itself that is great. The trouble is the Sitra Achra that comes to greet anyone that starts out on that path.So if one is in a place of authentic Torah like the Mir yeshiva in NY there are always little whisperers telling him "Perhaps someplace else is better."

In summery, there are any areas of value-but whatever area you go into it is important to choose the authentic thing.


to learn fast--(just to say the words in order and go on) t

Even though most of the time I try to learn fast--(just to say the words in order and go on) that is whether it is Gemara or Physics, etc, still there are times that I revert to an idea of saying the words forwards and backwards that seems to help in understanding complicated issues.
This idea of saying the words forwards and backwards you can even find in the sidur itself and it is brought by Rav Isaac Luria. Still I never heard of anyone applying it to math which is where I found it the most useful. [Forwards and backwards is how I manage to get through my Physics and Chemistry  courses at Polytechnic Institute of NYU. But it is only for a very concentrated type of learning. Most of the time I think it is best to do בקיאות fast learning.]

For example in learning Gemara or Reb Chaim Solveitchik, I have found it is best just to plow through a whole section or a whole page and then the next day to just repeat that same section. [and do this for many days in a row]


the belief system of the Torah is Monotheism

"And though all the forces of the sphere pervade all the existents..."
chapter II, 10 of the Guide
The Rambam far from having a mechanistic view of the universe, actually sees the cosmos as a single organism. A sort of "Gaia hypothesis" stretched to include the heavens!
But that Gaia spirit of the higher spheres is not the same thing as God. Worship of the spirit that permeates everything is to the Rambam idolatry.

The Rambam and all rishonim understand the Monotheism of the Torah to mean God made the world, and he is not the world.
The fact that the belief system of the Torah is Monotheism is so trivial that it really should not have to be brought up except for people that claim it holds differently. That is the almost universal belief of the Jewish religious world, and they definitely worship the spirit that pervades everything. That is pure idolatry to the opinion of the Rambam 


DNA does seem to determine a lot.

It is a good point that England was a caste society and reached its peak and greatness when that system was in operation. And in fact DNA does seem to determine a lot. I see this all the time. There are people who seem predisposed towards theft, others seem predisposed towards robbery with violence, others towards other bad traits. According to Sapolsky {Stanford} genes do determine a lot.
To me it seems certain belief systems help people to restrain bad traits and come to good traits. Other belief systems seem to aggravate already existing bad traits. But little comes close to the power that DNA has on people.
Reb Israel Salanter already noted the difficulty in one's correcting his own bad traits.
It seems pretty clear to me that when people think they are repenting, they are as a rule just reinforcing in themselves their own messed up ideas.It is clear like Rav Salanter said:One can have good traits without Musar. But one can not go from bad traits to good traits without Musar.

[Musar [ethical works from the Middle Ages] has a limited definition. Not everything people claim is Musar is actually Musar.
There are also however specific lessons  to accept from certain tzadikim. The Gra revealed the importance of learning Torah. The aspect of learning in depth however really is  a Litvak thing.

In any case if one would thing about the caste system idea the most likely place to look would be the descendants of Rav Yaakov Abuchatzaira. That is not from DNA, but rather some kind of אור מקיף divine light that seems to surround that family. Not that it is same thing as it used to be; still there is some aspect of the whole Bava Sali thing that I think is still there.

The descendants of Rav Abuchatzeira are mostly located in Israel.


natural law and Divine Law to the Rambam.

I am beginning to wonder if there is any real difference between natural law and Divine Law to the Rambam. The reasons for the laws we know were implicitly understood by the Chazal (Sages) except for the Red Heifer. But only later the Rambam spelled out the reasons.

But there does not seem to be any definite account of what Avraham Avinu's natural law approach might have been in the Guide. (That is Abraham the Patriarch). It is almost as if the Rambam is saying in order to get to natural law you have to keep the Torah. He certainly does not think of the legal structures of Ancient Greece as fulfilling the requirement of natural Law.
He puts the nomoi (laws) of the Greeks into the same area of the ravings of the Sabians in the Guide.
In the Guide, the Rambam makes clear most of the laws of the Torah are to bring to things that he considered natural law.

Socialist programs are not part of the constitution and not the Torah

Socialist programs are not part of the constitution and  not the Torah.  Dr Epstein (NYU) pointed out the general welfare clause is not a permission to benefit one part of the population at the expense of the other parts. It is almost always taken out of context.

I have long thought the voting for socialist programs which benefit the religious is against the Torah. Pretty soon after I got to Israel and realized the basic problems with the system- Torah for money, and  the religious voting for themselves other people's money, I dropped out of the system. I learned on my own at home or in the fields around Safed. That was not much learning, but at least it was for the sake of Torah, and not for money.

I have tried to keep down my critique on this because on rare occasions some good comes from it. But in general I think the Rambam was right that there should not be monetary payment for learning or teaching Torah.  When money gets involved with it, it ruins the holiness.

However there are great yeshivas where you can feel just when you walk in, that the Torah there is learned for its own sake and for those kinds of places I think it is  a great thing to support them.

Learning Torah for its own sake [not for money] constantly and with energy

Learning Torah for its own sake [not for money] constantly and with energy (with תמידות and מרץ) is an issue that comes up in Litvak yeshivas. Some people have found that making a yeshiva is  a good way to make money so they pretend that this goal of learning constantly and with energy is in fact their goal. Others are straightforward enemies of this goal. They hate the idea of people learning Torah for its own sake. But if it is for money [like they do] -then it is OK.
This is not just an issue of a some intellectual puzzle, but for me was and still is a very personal issue.

The reason kollels were created [the original idea started with Reb Israel Salanter] was to remove one of the biggest obstacles of learning Torah--marriage.

That to some degree might seem to help, but to me it looks like it just contributes to the problems of people using Torah to make money.

The best idea to marry a "Bat Talmid Chacham" (the daughter of a authentic Torah scholar) [not the phony types].

The general answer to this problem is not known to me except that people ought to be taught the importance of learning Torah for its own sake and to do so on one's own and to support the Litvak yeshivas which in fact do this.

I had a long history in this subject. To go into it in detail seems too much for me right now. but in short the issue can be divided into several time periods.
Time Period I: Yeshiva. That is where I first encountered the concept. Later reading the Nefsh Hachaim made it more clear. [The issue was not really dealt with in more general books of Musar]
Time Period II. Getting married. The girl I married was not exactly a Bat Talmid Chacham (the daughter of a authentic Torah scholar) but she certainly appreciated what I was doing in yeshiva.[Her father was a working guy.] Something about what I was doing seemed to affect her in some kind of deep way--enough to get her to run to NY an chase me for years in spite of my constant refusals. I guess you would have to say that something of the spirit of Authentic Torah must have touched her soul.

Time period III. Getting involved in Breslov. In some ways great. But as far as learning Torah goes, it caused me to lose interest. It is given lip service but the actual essence is gone. Still that was a great period in many ways. It gave me interest in getting to Israel and for the seven years I was there there was a kind of opening into a higher consciousness.

Time Period IV.  I found out how nasty the religious world really is.  A tremendous effort was spent after I returned to California  to separate me from my wife and children all because I was learning Torah.  That is learning the hard way to stay away from the religious world and the demonic "Torah teachers" that are obviously into Torah because that is where the money and power is.

Time Period V: trying to figure it all out. One good approach I discovered is Schopenhauer. He does deal with this question in a straightforward way. Human good is not something that interests the "Will."
That is however not very satisfying in my own case since it seems clear that in any case for the seven years in Safed i was not doing much learning Torah anyway. So it is kind of expected that hen one has gone away from learning and then tries to get back to it, that obstacles will be encountered.

In any case I am no poster child for this particular position. If I got back into learning at all, it is a lo due to David Bronson with whom I learned Gemara with after all the above mentioned events.


The thing is the Greek States choose their form of government. And that is what made them free as opposed to Persian rule. But I see that any form of government can be corrupted. That is a good point. The Democrats definitely have shown that point all too well.

The Rambam does not put any form of government in the category of natural law. I assume he had read Aristotle's/ book on the constitutions of the Greek states.
He puts the nomoi of the Greeks and ravings of the Sabians all into one category. Clearly to him only the Torah itself can guarantee natural law.
This leaves one wondering nowadays when one finds religious neighbors to be particularly obnoxious, what could the Rambam have answered? That they are not keeping Torah well enough? Then what kind of state did he envision? One in which everyone is a tzadik?It is well known living under the rule of religious authorities is a Kafkaian nightmare.  

laws of neighborhoods and my own problems with neighbors.

Little is known about the laws of neighborhoods and neighbors outside the Litvak yeshiva world where chapter two of Bava Batra is learned  once every seven years. The religious world focuses on religious rituals, and thus the aspects of Torah which deal with relationships between neighbors is ignored. This is just one example of what I have been saying for  along time. The Jewish religious world has nothing to do with Torah.

In any case, there are three basic opinions concerning things that cause damage to a neighbor's.  property. The Ri MiGash that to put things that would cause damage to a neighbor's wall if there was a wall are permitted to put there as long as there is no wall. If the neighbor puts up a wall then the things that cause damage must be removed. Another opinion is if the things were put there before the wall is built, they do not need to be removed. Another opinion is they can not be put there ever, because the neighbor might build a wall.

There seems to be a contradiction is the Beit Yoseph's Shulchan Aruch concerning this where he goes by the Ri MiGash.[I noted that Rav Shach goes into this in some detail.]

I noticed years ago that Reb Ahron Kotler had a big piece on this in his collected writings on Shas but never got a chance to learn it. My own study in Bava Batra was very limited to "Girsa" saying the words and going on along with the English Soncino. I never got much of a chance to do it in depth. [This was in spite of the fact that they had begun this in the Mir in NY when I was there, but by that time I was off into Seder Moad and also getting ready to come to Israel. Rav Ernster was given a Kirya in Safed by the Israel Government on condition that he fill it. Thus I was invited to Israel at that time. [I believe it was a Labor government at the time, since I am pretty sure the Likud never got into power until later.]
Hindsight suggests to me that being in Rav Ernter's kollel would not have been a bad option but at the time I though the taking tests to prove that you did the learning was along the lines of using Torah to make money. I still wonder about that. Some time later I saw that Shimon Buso was talking part in a program to learn and take tests  though clearly his intention was to  have an extra kind of motivation for the learning. If I had been smart I think I would have gone to Rav Fievelson's kollel in the old city of Safed--a litvak kollel. But in any case I was Moharosh's orbit {Rav Shick} at the time.That is hard to judge. Rav Shick had some good points and there was a kind of opening into the Infinite Light that seems to be connected with him. The negative things are perhaps better left unsaid. Still I was not into learning since after getting involve in Breslov my basic worldview had changed.

The Kirya of Rav Ernster was great for most of the time I was there. It got after some time people that were less than desirable neighbors. towards the end people took telling their children to stone my kids to indicate to me that I was not wanted there.


It was noted before that economists tend to look at things from the aspect of economy. The economic advisers to the White House during the Vietnam War looked at the war from the perspective of cost analysis to the North Vietcong. Their advice was based on the idea that if the war could be made non cost effective to the Vietcong, they would give up. It is hard to imagine worse advice.

If you would do that enough, all you will get is another Cambodia. Open Borders

Dr Caplan is the author of some really great essays. But it is true that on this  a few other issues he seems to be less that at his peak. This in fact is one of the reasons I stopped looking at that blog that he contributes to.
That author of the essay in "The Economist" writes
"Workers in rich countries earn more than those in poor countries partly because they are better educated but mostly because they live in societies that have, over many years, developed institutions that foster prosperity and peace. It is very hard to transfer Canadian institutions to Cambodia, but quite straightforward for a Cambodian family to fly to Canada. "

 If you would do that enough, all you will get is another Cambodia.


I was stolen from this morning as I went out to buy stuff for Shabat. Stealing is not uncommon in the Ukrainel.(It almost impossible to guard oneself from this.) But this event seems worse than usual, since it was my bank card along with money.
This probably means a lot of trouble for me to replace old documents. Mainly I consider things like this to be reminders to repent on my sins even though my repentance does not seem to ever last long.
The basic path of Torah is pretty well defined by the Litvak yeshiva [which concentrates on learning Torah] where mainly Gemara Rashi Tosphot are learned along with the idea of trust in God to provide. What some yeshivas added was the idea of learning in depth. That path was once unsure and not written down but nowadays it is pretty well contained in the חידושי הרמב''ם by Reb Chaim Soloveitchik and the Avi Ezri by Rav Shach.

The idea of Parnasah making a living is really well defined.It is to trust God for a living. And if after one is married, paranasa does not just how up, than it is permissible to go and find work. There is no allowance for using Torah to  make money. But the kollel system where the State of Israel gives money to the Rosh Yeshiva according to the number of people in his kollel; and he divides it up has been accepted for some time already by almost all Torah scholars. This has some support from the fact that that seems to be the way the yeshivas in Babylonia were run during the time of the geonim.

The geonim themselves were were supported by the community.


We already know the respect the Rambam had for Aristotle. [It shows up in the commentary on Avot but is mainly in the Guide.] That is no secret and it caused alarm and disgust in his contemporaries as much as it does today.
This comes from two directions One is his high respect for Physics and the Metaphysics of Aristotle and Plato and Plotinus and this learning being the fulfillment of the mitzvahs to love and fear God.

But also what dismayed people was the natural law concept of the Rambam which he in fact does not spell out but which hearkens back to Aristotle and Plato's discussion about justice and human good.
 If anything the Rambam had to be thinking of Aristotle's' political system of Aristocracy as natural law, not democracy nor Sparta's system.

HOWEVER-it is easy to confabulate and confuse this with the actual political systems of Athens and Sparta. In fact just the opposite. The Rambam places the Nomoi (laws) of the Greeks in the same category as the raving mad speculations of the Sabians.

As Sunwall puts it: "Although the ancient republics, on the whole, ended rather badly, as indeed modern studies of public choice would tend to predict, modern interpretation persists in seeing deliberative legislation as completely different from, and qualitatively superior to oracular law, judicial astrology, and the political use of divination.
It is precisely this distinction which Maimonides, in linking the "nomoi of the Greeks" with the "ravings of the Sabians" refuses to admit. Although as a rationalist, Maimonides makes a clear psychological distinction between reason and the imaginative faculty, he calls into question, by linking the Greeks and the Sabians, whether deliberative acts of legislation (nomoi) are entirely rational. For Maimonides an essential attribute of rationality is its transhuman quality. Unlike mathematics, but rather similar to poetry and other imaginative productions, legislation is clearly the result of the exercise of human will. Thus in a broad sense idolatry and legislation can both be seen as works of the human imagination. Therefore the Greeks and their nomoi can be grouped together with less obviously rationalistic cultures, not on the superficial basis that the Greeks used an elaborate iconography to represent the divine, but because their institutions like those of other pre-monotheistic cultures, were the result of arbitrary human innovation."

The Rambam does not respect any system of law that is anything other than straight Torah. He is not thinking of the Democracy of Athens or the Republic of Rome as being a fulfillment of natural law.

Appendix: The idea of the Rambam of the Physics and Metaphysics is in a few places  in the Guide and Mishe Torah but the most famous is the parable of the king. In this parable there are many levels of closeness with the king. The lowest level is people outside of his country. The next level is people in the country. Then people in the capital city. Then people near the palace. Then people in the palace. Then people in the inner parts of the palace. This is a parable concerning God. People outside the country are the barbarians. People in the country and in the capital city have natural law. People around the palace are people that keep and learn the Oral and Written Law. People inside the palace are the Physicists.    People in the inner corridors of the King are the prophets and Philosophers.
You can see how this parable would have bothered many people


Chafetz Chaim made known the problem of slander,

ואם לא יגיד ונשא עוונו if he does not tell then he will bear his sin. That is there is an obligation to give testimony that one saw whether he is asked to testify or not.
[I should mention a curious fact-that the Rambam says the obligation to testify is only if the plaintiff or defendant ask him to come to court when the issue is דיני ממונות- an issue of money. But when it is an issue of דיני נפשות human life, then he must testify whether he is asked to or not. That is what the Kesef Mishna says right there on the Rambam himself--that in issues of human life he has to testify whether asked to or not. The trouble with all this is ספר המצוות מצוות לא תעשה רצ''ז where the Rambam says even in issues of money one must testify  if he saw the events whether asked to testify of not because of the verse לא תעמוד על דם רעיך. This looks like  a problem since in Mishne Torah the Rambam says in הלכות עדות that one must testify only if asked to.

The Chafetz Chaim made known the problem of slander, but this is emphasized in the religious world mainly to give them a blank check to do their abuses and crime and then when an innocent baal teshuva speaks up he is accused of lashon hara,
People that know that teachers of Torah are fraudsters need to speak up because they know testimony that others need to hear.
The astonishing amount of damage the supposed teachers of Torah do is so out of proportion to the expected normal bell curve that I suspect that Reb Nachman was right that they are demons. [LM vol I ch 12: Torah scholars that are demons etc.] [According to the normal distribution, you would expect some to be good, some to be bad and the vast majority around average. But what you actually find Torah scholars do an astounding amount of evil and damage. The curve it tilted far by far towards evil. Perhaps it is because they are not Torah scholars at all but demons using the Torah to make money? That would seem to have been the Rambam's view.]
It does no good to do like Na Nach to just simply complain about them in general. People need to make known specific events of abuse and to shout it from the rooftops.
Because of this problem I simply avoid the religious world and stay away from them as far as possible.

Is there any correction for this problem? Not that I know of. The Litvak world which is by far the best is also infected. The supposed solutions I tend to believe actually aggravate the problem.
The best thing thus is to learn Torah and Musar  on your own and forget about the organizations that claim Torah. Something of the Dark Side has taken control of the religious world.
One thing that lends itself is the occult. Though the Ari and his system is very impressive, still it lends itself to empower these teachers  by their claims to secret knowledge. It is just a perfect trap for naive people that want a taste of the supernatural.

I was not very happy with the Left even  before they became Anti-Semites. The reason was simply because their values were against Torah.  Good examples are private property, abortion. Dr. Kelley Ross thinks the Left is Satanic. See this essay: I would not go so far because i think Leftists were at first idealist and as Nietzsche did they saw the abuses in religion and of princes and kings. Maybe not all. But a lot were simply interested in Justice and were upset with the abuses they saw in the System [in Russia and the USA.] And as Bezmenov pointed out, the KGB did not need to create Leftists in the USA. They were already there. They just needed to give them a little extra help. {I can not go into this here. See his long lecture on Utube}
(1)It takes some kind of merit to be worthy of learning the Gemara [The Two Talmuds] that apparently I do not have. Thus it can happen that one [e.g. I] learns Gemara for a while, and then drifts off into other things that seem more spiritual.
I wanted to deal with this problem from the standpoint of Maimonides and Rosenzweig.

(2) If possible I would like also to go into the problem of זה לעמת זה עשה אלהים. That in every area of value there is an equal and opposite area of value that is its exact opposite, and yet externally looks exactly the same as the original authentic thing. This opposite is not just a lower level of the first, but rather the exact opposite. [That is: It looks like Torah and dresses up in clothing which seem Torah'dick, but the inner essence is of the Devil (Sitra Achra)--which is most of the  religious world. The Gra already pointed out this problem but for some strange reason he was ignored and still is.]

(3) As for the first issue I would like to mention the Maimonian concept of the Giving of the Torah as being a one time event in history with no second upcoming event to supplant it, or take its place.
The Rambam (Maimonides) concept here is  contained in the Guide for the Perplexed.

As Sunwall puts it: "Historically there is only one revelation defining absolute and transhistorical standards of human behavior and opinion, that of Moses from Sinai. Everything else throughout history which is not imitative of it is the product of reason, imagination, or madness."
So we learn Gemara to understand the the laws of the Holy Torah. What cults do is to give lip service to the Law of Moses, but to claim priority status for their leader's book where are written his delusions.

(4) As for the second issue , the best thing is to make an authentic Litvak yeshiva in one's neighborhood in order to have a place to learn genuine Torah -the Oral and Written Law in depth with Rav Shach's Avi Ezri,  and Musar. 


President Trump offered a concise, powerful statement of western achievements and why they are worth defending. “We write symphonies,” he said. “We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. . . . We cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything.”-
Reminds me of Pericles. On the other hand the basic things I think are important about the West are actually more limited. The Law of Moses, Aristotle, Plato, Physics and Music. Most of the literature I am not happy with. Music sadlly fell after Beethoven. Philosophy after Hegel and Schopenhauer is vacuous.
Even in terms Attic Greek literature  am not sure of how much is of value. I think the West does best when it looks back towards Attic Greece, Rome, the scholastics of the  Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. That gives it direction and stability.

To the Rambam and the Gra there is a limit to how much is of value. The Rambam has Physics and Metaphysics and the Gra the Seven wisdoms (Trivium and Quadrivium). Outside of that it is all pretty much "Bitul Torah"  wasting time from Torah.
Myself I would have to add survival skills and the Boy Scouts as being important.
Learning a vocation was very low on Rav Shach's list. Not that he forbade it but rather he said people ought to learn Torah and after they get married of they need to to just to do any kind of vocation that presents itself. Not to waste years of bitul Torah in university learning nonsense just to get a piece of worthless paper.

[A great deal of what is taught in high school and 90% of what is in universities is all bitul Torah--wasting time from learning Torah, plus the obvious fact that most of it is positively destructive.]

The truth  told -the Musar movement needs repair.It has basically gone into high gear into fanaticism. And that is not what Torah is about. The basic idea was to come to good character and fear of God. Not extra doses of religious insanity.
There were a few great disciples of Reb Israel Salanter that managed to get the high ideals of Musar into the great Litvak yeshivas but nowadays the work on character has fallen off and been replaced by Anti-Israelism.


t80 D major unedited. I can not tell how this sounds until I get headphones.
One of the difficulties in Israel are the Trojan Horses. It seemed to me that when I was there, everyone was more or less on a crusade to get rid of me. Sefardim certainly did their utmost to get rid of me as I certainly am not one of them. The religious certainly did their utmost to get me as  I was not one of their sick cults.  Arabs never tired of trying to kill me whenever they got a chance.  The few friends I had were mainly terms of any help. [Not that all Sefardim are like that. The trouble is there always is at least one like that in every group, and none of the others does anything to stop them. ]

My advice to Zionists: If you want to build a state, don't invite your enemies. And if your enemies are already there, then ask them politely to leave. Otherwise they will make it impossible for people that really want to help to be there. Get rid of the sick religious cults and the Arabs, and you will be swamped by millions of people making aliyah that really appreciate the State of Israel.

The Gra identified idolatry inside the Jewish world

 Idolatry is equivalent  the Sitra Achra [the Dark Side.] This simple thesis I have thought for a long time but have not been able to bring much in the way of proof. But going by this simple identification much becomes clear as to why the Torah makes such a huge issue out of it.   And this has more practical consequence nowadays than people realize. For many of the mitzvot have a purpose to keep one away from idolatry and to in fact do everything just the opposite of what idolaters do.
There are numerous instantiations of this in the "reasons for the statutes" portion of the Guide. These all involve turning some idol custom around to its opposite. For example, the idolaters are clean-shaven, the Jewish men are to wear beards (Guide III, 37); the idolaters practice hybrid aboriculture, the Jews are forbidden to graft certain trees onto one another (ibid. III, 37); the idolaters pray to the morning sun in the east, the Jews are to set the Holy of Holies in the west and pray in that direction (ibid. III, 45); the tolemistic animals of the idolaters become the sacrificial animals of the Mosaic covenant (ibid. III, 46).
So while idolatry per se  nowadays can be hard to identify, the Dark Side is a lot easier.

The Gra helped a lot in this subject by identifying idolatry inside the Jewish world that was pretending to be keeping Torah. The verse in Proverbs also helps אוהב מוסר אוהב דעת ושונא תוכחת בער. People that hate Musar are from the Sitra Achra.
I should mention a few years ago there was a great edition of all the major works of Musar from the Publishing House Eshkol. They had all five books in one set. חובות לבבות, מסילת ישרים, שערי תשובה אורחות צדיקים ספר היראה המיוחס לרבינו תם. [I managed to get through them in my spare time and that added  a lot to character I think.]
I was looking at my notes on bava metzia page 101 and I realized my treatment of the subject there was incomplete. here is a new link Ideas in bava metzia.

I added a drop but in truth I realized there are a lot of issues I did not deal with over there that really need to be addressed. Besides that even my explanation was not written out completely.

here is one thing I added:סנהדרין לג. המשנה בסנהדרין אומרת כשדיין טועה בדין, הדין חוזר. הגמרא שואלת על זה מן המשנה בבכורות שאומרת שהדין קיים והדיין משלם הכיסו. אם אנחנו הולכים לפי גירסת רש''י, הוא מובן שההלכה לרב יוסף הוא שלגבי מומחה הדין חוזר, ולגבי אינו מומחה הוא משלם מביתו.
So the whole few paragraphs are these:) ב''מ קא. אחד נכנס לשדה של חברו ונטע אילנות- מה הדין? רב אמר, בעל השדה משלם את המחיר הכי נמוך של השוק. שמואל אמר, בעל השדה משלם את המחיר הרגיל (לפי הפירוש של בעל המאור). (הגמרא אומרת שאין חילוק בין רב לשמואל. אם השדה עשוי  לטעת, הוא משלם את המחיר הרגיל. ואם אינו עשוי לטעת, הוא משלם את המחיר הנמוך.) רב פפא אמר שהמימרא של רב לא נאמר בפירוש רק מובן מסיפור. מי שהוא בא לרב ואמר, "מי שהוא נטע בשדה שלי בלי רשותי." רב אמר, "תשלם לו." הוא ענה, "אני לא רוצה." רב אמר, "תשלם את המחיר הכי נמוך." הוא ענה, "איני רוצה." רב שתק. איזה זמן אחר זה, רב ראה אותו בן אדם שהוא בונה גדר סביב שדהו. רב אמר לו, "גילית דעתך שזה בסדר לדעתך, ולכן תשלם את המחיר הרגיל ויד העובד על העליונה." לפי המשנה פה, נראה שאחד יכול להמתין עד זמן נטיעת אילנות או עבודות אחרות כגון לתקן גג, ואז לטעת אילנות או לתקן גג בלי רשות,-- ואז להזמין את בעל הבית לבית דין, והם יחייבו את בעל הבית לשלם את המחיר השוק. איך זה יתכן? הרמב''ם ושאר הראשונים מתרצים שלא כן הוא. הבעל הבית יכול להגיד לבן אדם לקחת האילנות שלו ולצאת. (ומה קורה אם עשה עבודה כמו נקיון?)
אבל עדיין לפי פירוש הרמב''ן, הגמרא הזאת מייצגת קושיא. זה נשמע כמו שאנחנו נותנים קנס בגלל השערה ונתונים שלא נוגעים לגוף השאלה.
למה זה משנה אם הבעל הבית בנה גדר? תגיד למשל שהבעל הבית היה משלם מה שרב אמר לו--המחיר הנמוך. וביום המחרת יצא וראה אותו בונה גדר. מה היה קורה? שום דבר. למה? בשביל שרב היה אומר, "עכשיו הוא שינה את דעתו ורוצה לקיים את האילנות." אז שיגיד אותו דבר בדיוק הגם שאתמול הוא לא שילם!

תירוץ: סנהדרין לג. המשנה בסנהדרין אומרת כשדיין טועה בדין, הדין חוזר. הגמרא שואלת על זה מן המשנה בבכורות שאומרת שהדין קיים והדיין משלם מכיסו. אם אנחנו הולכים לפי גירסת רש''י, הוא מובן שההלכה לרב יוסף הוא שלגבי מומחה הדין חוזר, ולגבי אינו מומחה הוא משלם מביתו. היינו אם בעל השדה היה משלם אחר כך רב היה רואה אותו בונה גדר, רב היה אומר שהוא בעצמו טעה בדין והדין היה חוזר.

The other issues are these: to the Rivam there is no such thing as changing one's mind. This comes from the idea that an owner of crops of grain that finishes work on the sheaves in order to sell them is not obligated to give a tithe. The obligation of tithes is only if he finishes the work for his own use, not to sell. But if he did in fact sell them, we say he did not change his mind. rather we say that was his original intention. OK so maybe the source for the Rivam is this Gemara in Bava Metzia? That is one point.
Another point is the beginning on Yoma about sudden change. And in out case was there in fact sudden change or did the owner simply lie?  This is relevant to the subject of: a person that admits  a debt outside a court of law can he deny it in court? plus another important thing is חזקת השתא. We see he is now building a fence. Does that mean yesterday his intention was to build a fence?
[Of course the beginning of Yoma is based on three words in one verse. It might not be that in general we think a sudden unexpected change is worth preparing for. It might be there only that there are three wors that tell us to separate the cohen gadol before Yom kippur and before burning the Red heifer (calf).]

The issues seem to be endless. I do not know where I could even begin to deal with them.
At any rate just for the sake of the couple  of people that might not know Hebrew very well let me just say over the basic gemara in English. A person went into someone else's field and planted trees.They went to the court of Rav. The owner complained. Rav said to the owner "Pay the person that planted." The owner said, "I do not want to." Rav said pay the lowest price. The owner said "I don't want to." The next day Rav went and saw him building a fence around his property. Rav said You have revealed you want the trees. Go and pay the planter the highest price.

(Maybe the owner did not want the trees? Maybe he was just making a fence so that no one else would come in a and plant more trees and then later plans to uproot the trees?)

This whole story is brought by the Gemara as being relevant to what looks like an argument between Rav and Shmuel. The original discussion was this: A person plants in someone else's field. what is the law? Rav said he pays the lowest price. Shmuel said he pays the higher regular price that is available in the market place. The Gemara says there is no argument. One is a case of a field that is meant to be planted. The other is a case in which the field is not meant to be planted. [That is the explanation of the Baal ha'Meor.]

So what was Rav thinking? That is the question. I think he must have been thinking along the lines of Tosphot in Nida page 2 side b. There Tosphot says חזקת השתא and  חזקה מעיקרא have equal strength. [others hold חזקה מעיקרא is stronger. Perhaps Rav was thinking further-that חזקת השתא עדיף? so if we see him building a fence now we say that was his intention yesterday even to take out of חזקת ממון

Just a side note; in the above essay my basic answer for the gemara is that the planter and the owner both have some percentage in the trees. That is the source of the difference between whether the field is meant to plant or not. In any case the issues are just too many to go into right now


The way I understood Paul even before I read the some of the Recognitions and Homilies of Clement of Rome {the first pope, the direct disciple Peter) was the aspect of circumcision that is a part of the process of conversion. My later reading of Clement of Rome {not Alexandria} merely confirmed this reading. In any case, it does seem there was a serious debate about circumcision between Paul as opposed to Peter and James.

This debate is almost reduced to nothing in the minds of modern day Christians. it is so to speak "papered over."
That is to put it simply modern day Christianity is Pauline, not Peterine.
[This seems to me to be a serious matter and why it is ignored by all Christians is a mystery to me. The idea of getting back to the core values of the original Christians seems like a worthy goal, but in that case wold it not make more sense to go back to Peterine Christianity? What seems more authentic Paul's version that he knew from hearsay, never from the mouth of Jesus, or Peter and James who knew him personally and heard directly what he had to say? If just hearing in the spirit is enough then why bother to come in the flesh at all?

There is a lot of time and effort in the Christian based on getting back to the original church. This comes a lot from the Protestant side but it is also a general tendency. Still for some reason no one considers the fact that the original church did not include Paul and that he never saw it. The original church only include Jesus, James, Peter, John and the other first disciples.

To get a good description of the original church one would have to go to the actual witnesses.

The direct contractions between Jesus and Paul are numerous. Too many to count. But for the sake of consistency Christians ignore them, and consider Paul to be authoritative and then try to get the words of Jesus to fit with Paul. The place you see this approach is flawed in in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions where the differences between Peter, James and Paul are not edited out but spelled out.

The basic difference is this: to Peter and James there is only one revelation defining absolute and unchanging standards of human behavior and opinion, that of Moses from Sinai. Everything else throughout history which is not of it is the product of reason, imagination, or madness. To Paul, the Torah was a stumbling block. Anti-nomianism it is called-anti Law.
UNDOUBTEDLY the opinion of Peter was based on Jesus, and this opinion you can see in the Sermon on the Mount and in the letters of the apostles.

אוהב מוסר אוהב דעת ושונא תוכחת בער One who loves Musar [rebuke with force] loves common sense, and one who hates rebuke is a jerk. Proverbs of Solomon.
בער does not mean stupid. It comes from the verb לבער to destroy. It means someone who is stupid and malicious. It is what is referred to nowadays as criminally insane. That means people that hate Musar (and they are many) are criminally insane.

The path of Musar is almost unknown nowadays. So at first I would like to say what is.
The common idea is that Musar is good for orientation like on your first day of university. People assume it is good to help you find yourself around in the value system of the Torah. That might in fact be one good use of it. But it was not the idea of Reb Israel Salanter.

The idea of Musar --learning medieval books of Ethics-is in the view of Reb Israel Salanter a way of coming to human perfection. He advocated learning it many hours every day for that purpose. Before I got married I took that idea very seriously and after I was married also. The responsibility of having and raising children weighed heavily on me to the degree that I felt I needed  some kind of help from Heaven that came with making progress in Fear of God and good character.

Eventually this became connected with Litvak yeshivas. But the original idea of Reb Chaim of Voloshin the institution of a independent yeshiva as an institution in itself had only begun 60 years before the Musar Movement got started.The second such institution to come into existence was the Mir. And there was resistance to accepting Musar as part of the curriculum.
Eventually Musar became accepted in almost all Litvak yeshivas but not to the degree that Reb Israel Salanter was advocating.

My own experience with Musar was powerful. But I also can see the dangers of getting off track that happens to many. But at least for me Musar seemed to be a catalyst  for the Divine Light אור אין סוף. So in spite of my misgivings about the whole thing, I think I would have to go along with Reb Israel Salanter on this issue. The benefits seem to outweigh the potential dangers.
I also heard from Eli Spoduk that he was unsure of what Torah was all about until he got to the Musar books of  Rav Moshe Haim Luttzato. That is just one example of how important Musar is. Besides that it seems clear that people that get involve with Torah without Musar inevitably get very anti Torah world views.

What seems clear is that a good dose of Musar every day is indispensable and its value is independent of yeshiva. Authentic Litvak yeshivas are in any case rare. Most yeshivas are country clubs for chatting and blowing the breeze.

There is a common element of disappointment with the religious world. It is as if many baali teshuva (newly religious) feel they have been taken advantage of and been led down a sophisticated maze of deceit. This is generally true. That makes it hard to defend Torah when it is obviously used as a  device of deception to gain power and money. I have tried to deal with this issue in two ways. One is  abusus non tolit usum. That is a Latin phrase for "Abuse does not cancel use." {Thank you my Latin teacher in high school.} I also used The Guide for the Perplexed and the idea of Natural law of the Rambam and Saadia Gaon an the Obligations of the Heart to defend Torah. There was some essays I wrote a long time ago, but in essence I simply used the idea that there is objective morality based on Michael Huemer, Kelley Ross, and John Searle, and then the idea that this objective morality is recognizable or known to reason. For that I borrowed from Fichte and the Intuitionists--and also Dr Kelley Ross. (In that, I ignored the differences between knowing and recognizing.) (I probably could have used Hegel also if I was more familiar with his four books.) At that point, I really depend of the Rambam for the idea of the Law given at Sinai which is a step up from natural law. [Reb Nachman is also helpful in this area since he points out the abuses and does not paper over them like most try to do.]

But that is not at all the issue I wanted to deal with today. I went into a tangent but the actual idea I anted to mention is the Rivam [one of the baali Tosphot.] concerning the tithe. We know there is a rule that if the owner of the crop of grain finishes the work of tying up the stalks to sell them that he is not obligated to take the tithe. The obligation is only if he finishes the work with it in mind to use the crops for himself, not to sell. The Rivam hold that if he did indeed sell the grain that that reveals that that in fact was his original intention. We do not say he changed his mind. So it seems to me that when I or others drift away from learning Torah that must reveal something about our original state of mind. You do not say some bad things happened to make us change our mind but rather our original state of commitment was not as strong as we thought it was. We were learning Torah because we could. Everything seemed to be prepared to a make it easy. When the religious world turned out not to be all rosy and pink and fluffy, it was simple to go away.

But the further related point I wanted to bring out is מגלגלים זכות על ידי זכאי merit comes about through meritorious people and חובה על ידי חייב. I forgot the actual subject but in essence the idea is that sometimes one tends towards some sin or is destined for it in some way. But still the way it is brought about is through bad people. If baali teshuva who are basically innocent and intending good,are exposed to the negative side of the religious world then that is from negative people. That means their complaints are justified.--But it is not the whole picture. There is a another side of Torah which is precious and holy.


Generally I think of transcendence in Kantian terms and Schopenhauer. I am not sure what the American idea is. I never really got that straight. [This was not something treated in high school. My vague impression was the American approach  was tending towards empiricism--not rationalism. Most people did not talk about this much, and to the degree people were interested in that they went into Eastern religions. I though I was impressed with Chinese philosophy I did not see much in Eastern religions.--That is their taste for transcendence was with no limit. There was plain materialism one one side, and if that was not enough, then kids had to find the most exotic religion they could. The more weird, the better.]

[Hegel agreed but though the window into the transcendent was through dialectics which seems to be reason but also takes into account spirit.]

I think perhaps you could say that people were confused. The traditional Judaic-Christian  values did not seem to hold any water. Philosophy, whether European or British-American, was simply all about words and their meanings. If words had any meaning at all was thought to be untrue.
But people would not know their own motivations. They would hide the truth even from themselves.

The major thing was to go into "weird-kite" (weird-ism) as much as possible, and to be sure along the way to get ones needs met. If possible to use the weird-kite as a means to get those physical and spiritual needs met. The main religion was "Weird-ism". It did not matter to which major denominations or world religions it was. As long as it was weird, it was OK and even praiseworthy.

There is not enough time to go into the many variations this unquenchable thirst for weirdness takes even today. I'm sure my readers can supply their own examples in abundance. The trouble with all this is it rarely leads in the realm of holiness. In fact, it seems often to lead into the Sitra Achra (the Dark Realm) disguised as holiness. The more holy they claim to be the more you can be sure of just the opposite.
This would be the perfect spot to write down my solution to this problem--if only I had one! But I do have a workable approach based on my parents which is the Ten Commandments. That is the idea that good character leads to true transcendence in the realm of Holiness. [I really do not know how to put this any clearer. It was a very well known idea during the Middle Ages but since then was forgotten.]


T78 B flat major Not edited and I have no way of really telling how this sounds because of no earphones so I am just presenting it as is and hoping it is satisfactory.
I looked at it again and decided too much bass in the beginning and too high for violins in the end so I put there a piccolo. Still I assume it probably needs more editing.

yoke of Torah

I have been contemplating the problem of repentance  on sin which has this problem. You did a sin and then for some reason you became aware because of events in your life that that was a sin. At that point how can you repent? The problem is you are no longer in your initial position with a similar lack of knowledge. Now you know, and before you did not know. And repentance requires you to be in the original position and then not to make the same mistake.

I think this is is applicable to עול תורה (yoke of Torah). I have myself and heard of others that went out for various reasons from a context of sitting and learning Torah. In most cases I know about, the common feeling is that of regret, and thinking that if one had just sat and learned Torah that things would have worked out better. But how does one repent on something like that? The only reason מקבל עול תורה (accepting the yoke of Torah) ever works in the first place is because it is done from a standpoint of ignorance of whether it really works or not. Once one knows, then he is no longer approaching the issue from the same standpoint of innocence. Thus coming back to it does not really work since it is not done with the same purity of spirit.

[The general approach to yoke of Torah is to sit and learn Torah as much as possible, but it does not mean to use the Torah to make money. The basic assumption is actually very simple. It is this: If one sits and learns Torah, his needs will be taken care of with not effort. But if his needs are not in fact taken care of for some unknown reasons, then he should go out and find  job and not use Torah for money. That is the idea in a nutshell. This differs significantly from the religious world in which the primary goal in life is to use the appearance of Torah get secular Jews to give them money.]

{I consider Physics to be included in learning Torah based on the Rambam in Mishne Torah and the Guide where he spells out this idea. In fact, I think the general lack of physics in a normal yeshiva education is  alack that causes many other lacks and problems.]

 Perhaps the question should be just the opposite. Why does the ר''ש say what he says? Maybe the most simple explanation is like רב שך?
 To answer for רב שך you might say here that the ר''ש was forced into his position because of  the משנה תרומה פרק ד is where he intended to separate more and he did not see any difference between this and the case of separating 1/61 instead of 1/60? [In the difference between 1/60 and 1/61 he is intending to separate the right amount right then and there--not a little now and a little later.] But the רמב''ם held there is a simple difference, and so Rav Shach's explanation is the most simple.

אולי השאלה צריכה להיות בדיוק ההפך. מדוע הר''ש אומר מה שהוא אומר? אולי ההסבר הפשוט ביותר הוא כמו רב שך? כדי לענות בשביל רב שך אפשר לומר כאן כי הר''ש נאלץ לתוך עמדתו בגלל משנת תרומה פרק ד' היא מצב שהוא נועד להפריד יותר, והר''ש לא רואה הבדל כלשהו בין זה לבין המקרה של הפרדת אחת מששים ואחת במקום אחת מששים? אבל רמב''ם מעריך שיש הבדל פשוט, ולכן ההסבר שלו הוא פשוט ביותר

The Rambam for all I know might have looked at the Yerushalmi that says that mishna in Trumot ch 4 is when he intends to separate more  and thought then it makes sense why it is not truma or maaser.

The Mishna משנה in Truma (ch 4)

The general way of taking תרומה, the part of the crop that goes to the כהן, is by physically removing that percentage of the crop. The same goes for מעשר the עשירית that is given to the Levi.  This is what I think made the רמב''ם explains the  משנה in מסכת תרומה in a kind of forced way that does not seem to be in accord with its simple explanation. The  משנה in תרומה (ch 4) says simply, המפריש מקצת תו''ם מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום איר אחר ר''מ אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר
ר''ת תו''ם היינו תרומות ומעשרות  "When one separates a part of תרומה and מעשר from a stack of grain, one can not take from it ,"it" masculine gender, תרומה and מעשר to another place but only to itself.  ר. מאיר says: Also to another place.
The simple explanation is like the ראב''ד  that since the part he separated is not the full amount percentage thus the entire stack is still mixed with טבל .  The reason is the general rule held by the sages אין ברירה.  That means he can not take from the stack of grain one סאה and then say this סאה is מעשר for nine סאה in this other stack. The reason? We can not say that in reverse there is choice to say what he now holds is טבל. This is certainly what the משנה sounds like and it goes well with the fact that ר. מאיר says he can do so because ר. מאיר  holds יש ברירה. But then the obvious question is then the same problem exists for that very same stack of grain. Why can he take a סאה and say "This סאה is מעשר for nine סאה in the stack?" If אין ברירה then אין ברירה. If there is no choice then there is no choice. So the רמב''ם in  תרומה פרק ג הלכה  says when one separates a partial amount of תרומה he has to take תרומה from it ,from the grain he separated.  It does not have the category of תרומה at all. The question then the אחרונים  ask is then what about the previous law in the רמב''ם תרומה פרק ג:ו  where it says if he separates 1/61 what he has separated is תרומה and he then goes and take the remaining amount that is needed to complete the right percentage. The ר''ש רבינו שמשון  brings the ירושלמי  that  says the משנה in תרונה  פרק רביעי case he intends to separate more. This the ר''ש says means when he does not intend to separate more, the part he has separated is straight טבל and does not have the category of תרומה at all. My question here is this. Is it possible the רמב''ם holds with ר''ש? 
I mean הלכה ז would be when he does not intend to separate any more and הלכה ו   is when he intended to separate a complete percentage but missed by a drop?
I saw that רב שך explains the רמב''ם exactly the opposite from the ר'ש and I am wondering why this is necessary?  רב שך says the רמב''ם holds when he does not intend to separate any more it has the full category of תרומה and מעשר and when he does intend to separate more it does not because תרומה and מעשר do not work in reverse. Then הלכה ו is simply not a case of working in reverse but of simply then and there not separating enough at one time.

 Perhaps the question should be just the opposite. Why does the ר''ש say what he says? Maybe the most simple explanation is like רב שך?
 To answer for רב שך you might say here that the ר''ש was forced into his position because of  the משנה תרומה פרק ד is where he intended to separate more and he did not see any difference between this and the case of separating 1/61 instead of 1/60? But the רמב''ם held there is a simple difference, and so his explanation is the most simple.

הדרך הכללית של לקיחת תרומה, (החלק של היבול שהולך כהן), היא על ידי הסרה פיזית של אחוז מהיבול. כן לגבי מעשר  שניתן הלוי. זה מה שאני חושב גרם לרמב''ם להסביר את המשנה במסכת תרומה בדרך שלא נראית להיות בקנה אחד עם ההסבר הפשוט שלה. המשנה בתרומה אומרת בפשטות,המפריש מקצת תו''ם מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום איר אחר. ר''מ אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר. ר''ת תו''ם היינו תרומות ומעשרות.  (כאשר אחד מפריד חלק התרומה ומעשר מתוך ערימה של תבואה, הוא לא יכול לקחת ממנו תרומה והמעשר למקום אחר אבל רק לעצמו. ר מאיר אומר: גם למקום אחר. ההסבר הפשוט הוא כמו ראב''ד כי מאז החלק שנפרד אינו אחוז מלוא הסכום ולכן הערימה כולה עדיין מעורבב עם טבל. הסיבה לכך היא הכלל שבידי החכמים אין ברירה. כלומר, הוא לא יכול לקחת מהערימה של תבואה  סאה אחת ואז לומר סאה זה מעשר לתשע סאה בערימה אחרת. הסיבה? אנחנו לא יכולים לומר כי בכיוון ההפוך למפרע יש בחירה להגיד מה שהוא מחזיק כעת הוא טבל. זהו בהחלט איך המשנה נשמעת וזה הולך טוב עם העובדה שר. מאיר אומר שהוא יכול לעשות זאת משום שר. מאיר מחזיק יש ברירה. אבל אז השאלה המתבקשת היא אז אותה הבעיה קיימת באותה ערימה של תבואה. למה הוא יכול לקחת סאה ולומר "סאה זו מעשר  לתשע סאה בערימה?" אם אין ברירה, אז אין ברירה. אז רמב''ם בתרומות פרק ג' הלכה ז' אומר כאשר אחד מפריד כמות חלקית של התרומה הוא צריך לקחת תרומה ממנה, מן התבואה שהיא מופרדת. (זו לא  בקטגוריה של תרומה בכלל.) השאלה אז האחרונים לשאול אז מה לגבי החוק הקודם רמב''ם תרומות פרק ג'  ה''ו שבה כתוב אם הוא מפריד 1/61 מה שהוא הפריד הוא תרומה, ואז הוא הולך לקחת את הסכום הנותר כי הוא צריך להשלים את האחוז הנכון. ר''ש (רבינו שמשון) מביא את הירושלמי שאומר משנה בתרומה הפרק הרביעי  היא מקרה שבכוונתו להפריד יותר. ר''ש אומר כשהוא אינו מתכוון להפריד יותר, החלק שהוא הפריד הוא  טבל ואינו משויך לקטגוריה של תרומה בכלל. השאלה שלי כאן היא זו. האם זה אפשרי שרמב''ם מחזיק עם ר"ש? אני מתכוון הלכה ז' תהיה כאשר אין בכוונתו להפריד עוד, והלכה ו' היא כשאר הוא מתכוון להפריד אחוז שלם אבל חיסר מקצת? ראיתי כי רב שך מסביר את רמב''ם בדיוק ההיפך מן ר'ש ואני שואל למה זה הכרחי? רב שך אומר רמב''ם מחזיק כאשר אין בכוונתו להפריד עוד יש לו את הקטגוריה מלאה של תרומה, ומתי שהוא מתכוון להפריד יותר זה לא תרומה ומעשר בגלל שתרומה ומעשר לא חלים למפרע. ואז הלכה ו' הוא פשוט לא מקרה של למפרע אלא שבו במקום הוא לא מפריד מספיק בבת אחת.