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23.8.17

The path of reaction is not a bad path. That is to identify one's own faults and to strive to correct them. In the absence of some tzadik  that could guide people, this seems like the closest one can get to figuring out in what areas he of she needs to do the most work

You use your best judgement to see what kinds of actions seem to be the direct and immediate causes of bad things to happen to you and you try to work on those areas.

This is I admit a kind of בדיעבד ad hoc [after the fact] kind of scheme. It is not a Pro-Active Approach. But it seems the best thing to do in the absence of any other kind of reliable guide.
Reb Nachman seems to have taken this approach in his being against doctors. It is clear that he was reacting to the dismal state of medicine in his days [though it is arguable if there really has been much progress since then.] Reacting to  a bad situation and making some kind of corrective measure is clearly the idea behind measures taken by the sages to make laws to safeguard the Torah.

The Rambam in the Guide says many of the Laws of the Torah are in fact Divine safeguards against flaws in human nature.
בבא מציעא י''ד:ב תוספות says the argument between רב and שמואל on page י''ד is the same as their argument as on page ק''א. But on page ק''א the גמרא concludes that there really is no argument because the spoke about different situations. So if on page ק''א there is no argument and on page י''ד there is, how can תוספות say it is the same law in both places?


בבא מציעא י''ד: ב תוספות אומר הטיעון בין רב לבין שמואל בעמוד י''ד זהה לטיעון שלהם בעמוד ק''א. אבל בעמוד ק''א הגמרא מסכמת כי באמת אין שום טיעון כי הם דברו על מצבים שונים. אז אם בעמוד ק''א אין ויכוח ובעמוד י''ד קיים ויכוח, איך תוספות יכול להגיד שזה אותו דבר ואותו החוק בשני המקומות?

To answer this question, it is possible to answer that תוספות holds there is no argument between רב and שמואל on page י''ד  and that that is the exact explanation of their argument on page ק''א. That is  in the שיטת תוספות  ידו על העליונה means he gets the קרן ושבח and ידו על התחתונה means  he gets only the קרן and the first case is when the שדה is עשוי לטעת and the other case is when it is not.


כדי לענות על שאלה זו, אפשר לענות  שתוספות מחזיק שאין ויכוח בין רב לבין שמואל בעמוד י''ד, וכי זהו ההסבר המדויק של הטיעון שלהם בעמוד ק''א. כלומר לפי שיטת התוספות ידו על העליונה אומר שהוא יקבל את הקרן ושבח, וידו על התחתונה אומר שהוא מקבל רק את הקרן.  המקרה הראשון הוא כאשר השדה הוא עשוי לטוע והמקרה השני הוא כאשר הוא לא.

Bava Metzia page 14b Tosphot says the argument between Rav and Shmuel on page 14 is the same as their argument as on page 101. But on page 101 the gemara concludes that there really is not argument because the spoke about different situations. So if on page 101 there is no argument and on page 14 there is how can Tosphot say it is the same law in both places?


22.8.17

I think that there have been others that have thought the idea of a synthesis between Torah and Reason is in some need a revision after the 800 years since the Guide for the Perplexed. The basic problem starts with the fact that 20th century philosophy is obviously false and based on mistaken ideas. The ideas starts out innocuously enough with some good  suggestions from Frege about expanding the category  of a priori. But then it devolved into pure incoherent nonsense. The Ari [Isaac Luria] did not fare much better.
So the first task is to identify what needs to be rejected.

The Nefesh HaChaim of Reb Chaim from Volloshin certainly does a great job in terms of one half of this problem. And The Rambam in the Guide does a great job with the other half. The problem is really how to put both together.
The point almost all religious people are affected by the delusion of moral superiority along with a assortment of various fantasies.. Non religious people have their own set of different kinds of delusions. Finding the right balance is essential,- along with some way of safeguarding that balance.

21.8.17

רמב''ם ה' גניבה פרק א' הלכה י''ד. The רשב''ם holds  בפרק השואל the thief can pay back שווה כסף

The proof of רב שך that the רמב''ם hold by the רשב''ם is hard to understand.
His main point is the fact that the owner of the object can ask for the pieces back.
The point is that if the רמב''ם would be holding like רש''י and the רא''ש that the thief must pay back unbroken vessels or money, then paying back the broken pieces does not fit with that. But the way I see it neither does it fit with the רשב''ם. If he can pay back any שווה כסף Then what gives the owner the right to ask for those piece specifically?

Besides that to seems to me that the רמב''ם states the הלכה openly like רש''י and the רא''ש that the thief must pay back money. If he could also pay back שווה כסף I think the רמב''ם would have to state that.

רמב''ם ה' גניבה פרק א' הלכה י''ד. הרשב''ם מחזיק בפרק השואל שהגנב יכול להחזיר שווה כסף. ההוכחה של רב שך כי הרמב''ם מהחזיק כהרשב''ם קשה להבין. הנקודה העיקרית שלו היא העובדה כי הבעלים של האובייקט יכולים לבקש בחזרה את החלקים. הנקודה היא שאם הרמב''ם  מחזיק כמו רש''י והרא''ש כי הגנב חייב להחזיר כלי שלם או כסף, אז לשלם בחזרה את השברים לא מסתדר עם זה. אבל כמו שאני רואה את זה,  זה גם אינו מתאים עם הרשב''ם. אם הוא יכול להחזיר שווה כסף אז מה נותן לבעל הזכות לבקש אלה דווקא? חוץ מזה  נראה לי כי הרמב''ם קובע הלכה בגלוי כמו רש''י ואת רא''ש כי הגנב חייב להחזיר כסף [דמים] . אם הוא יכול גם להחזיר שווה כסף אני חושב שהרמב''ם יצטרך להצהיר על זה.

Rambam laws of theft. Chapter 1, law 14.

Rambam laws of theft 1:14. The Rashbam holds Bava Metzia פרק השואל the thief can pay back שווה כסף [not just money, but rather anything that is worth money.]

The proof of Rav Shach that the Rambam hold by the Rashbam is hard to understand.
His main point is the fact that the owner of the object can ask for the pieces back.
The point is that if the Rambam would be holding like Rashi and the Rosh that the thief must pay back unbroken vessels or money, then paying back the broken pieces does not fit with that. But the way I see it neither does it fit with the Rashbam. If he can pay back any שווה כסף (anything that is worth money). Then what gives the owner the right to ask for those piece specifically?

That is one way or the other we need to find some reason the owner can ask for the pieces back. But what ever that reason is can not have anything to do with the argument between the Rashbam and Rashi and the Rosh.
It would be a worth while project to defend the basic Litvak path of straight Torah based on the insights of my predecessors. That would mean making full use of  Ari and the Kant and Hegel while not drifting off into mysticism nor sterile philosophy..
This would not be all that different than the Rambam's Guide. But it would need someone of that kind of stature to do this.[I mean to say I would come out with a neo Platonic approach anyway just like the Rambam did.]

My own personal defense of Torah really began with Dr Kelley Ross's web site where he has an approach based on Kant, Schopenhauer, and Fries. It of course did not hurt that I was aware of the Ari's  interpretations of Torah based on the Talmud and his own insights.
But this has all been personal, and rarely do I ever share insights in this regard.
And any serious effort in this regard would have to take into account the important results of Hegel. So even to get the philosophical part of this project worked out could not be easy as it would have to plow a middle path between the Kant School of Dr. Ross and Hegel.--no easy task.

Or one could  just simply depend on the Rambam's Guide which is a perfectly valid approach. But it seems that after the Ari and Kant and Hegel there is considerable work to be done. 

fear and love of God

In terms of coming to fear and love of God, the Rambam's position is not usually considered. It seems paradoxical of the face of it. No one that I have heard of ever thought that learning physics and metaphysics of Aristotle brings to fear and love of God.  No one except the Rambam that is.

They way people usually translate him in the religious world is that he meant something like mysticism even though he refers specifically to the physics and metaphysics of the ancient Greeks which clearly is not the same thing.

I have usually defended the Rambam's based on the idea of the hidden Torah that is concealed in the work of Creation which you do find in the Ari. But that does not mean the Rambam is referring to the Ari.
[The hidden holiness in creation is a fairly big subject mentioned by Reb Nachman.]

And even though I do hold the Rambam was right, I still feel the learning "Musar" the ethical works written during the Middle Ages is important in order to come to fear of God.--

Reb Nachman's own objections to what is called secular learning has to be understood as a reaction to the over-sided emphasis on on secular learning that the enlightenment had. Both the gentile enlightenment and later the Jewish one. As a reaction to that, Reb Nachman's ideas can be understood. Certainly the Enlightenment was not aiming towards fear of God of learning Torah.
My own emphasis of Physics and Metaphysics can also be seen in the light of my experiences in the religious world where I saw over religiosity does not bring to fear of God. Just the opposite. Over religiosity often  comes with exaggerated degrees of wickedness as anyone in the religious world can bear witness to.


[Using Reb Nachman as a source and an authority seems to be an venerable Litvak practice. I never even heard of any Litvak gadol  in Torah claim otherwise. Though there is an an awareness that Breslov is a cult, still people freely borrow and make use of the ideas of Reb Nachman pretty much all the time and I approve of that

The truth is my history with Reb Nachman is long. But the sum total of my observations is easy to sum up. People that become Breslov go downhill very fast. People that stay Litvak and simply learn Reb Nachman privately gain a lot. Nothing could be simpler.




20.8.17

In other words, in my way of understanding, הלכה י''ד is complete. The first part deals with the case the כלי went down in value whether it was broken of not and then we go by the time of העמדה בדין. And that is not like the רשב''ם. For the רשב''ם holds אין שמין לגנב tells us one thing that we go by שעת העמדה בדין when the כלי  was broken. It matters not if it went up or down in value before that.

במילים אחרות, בהבנתי, הלכה י''ד שלמה. החלק הראשון עוסק במקרה שהכלי ירד ערך, אם הוא נשבר או לא, ואז אנחנו הולכים לפי זמן של העמדה בדין. וזה לא כמו הרשב''ם. כי הרשב''ם מחזיק אין שמין לגנב אומר לנו שאנחנו הולכים לפי שעת העמדה בדין כאשר כלי נשבר. זה לא משנה אם זה עלה או ירד בערך לפני זה.

And therefore the Rambam can not hold by the opinion of the Rashbam. Then we still are stuck because Rav Shach brings  a proof of the exact opposite.

I am really not sure what to make of all this.
 I think there is a proof that the רמב''ם does not hold like the רשב''ם but that אין שמין לגנב means he must pay כלים שלמים or כסף.
רב חיים הלוי says there is  a doubt about this, and רב שך brings a proof that the רמב''ם does hold with the רשב''ם that the גנב can pay שווה כסף
The proof I have that the רמב''ם does not hold by the רשב''ם is from הלכות גניבה פרק א' הלכה י''ד.
My reason is simple. If the רמב''ם would hold by the רשב''ם then why does he not write simply if the גנב broke the כלי we evaluate it according to the time of העמדה בדין? Why does he divide הלכה י''ד into two parts? One is which the value of the כלי went down and we go by שעת הגניבה and part two is where it went up in value and then he broke it and we go by שעת העמדה בדין?
Part one  by itself is not a question on the idea that that רמב''ם hold from the רשב''ם because it only is referring to a case where the כלי was not broken. But if we look at הלכה י''ד  in its entirely it is obvious something is missing in part one. That is the case where the כלי went down in value and then it was broken. If the רמב''ם really would be holding from the רשב''ם then he would say if the vessel went down or up in value and then it was broken we go by שעת העמדה בדין.
So instead according to the way I see it, אין שמין  has nothing to do with the time of evaluation but the fact that the thief must give back כלים שלמים or כסף.
However the proof of  רב שך  is also valid. Thus we are left with a doubt about what the רמב''ם really holds.
אני חושב שיש הוכחה שהרמב''ם לא מחזיק  כמו הרשב''ם, אלא אין שמין לגנב אומר שהוא צריך לשלם כלים שלמים או כסף. הרב חיים הלוי אומר שיש ספק לגבי זה, ועוד רב שך מביא הוכחה שהרמב''ם מחזיק כרשב''ם שהגנב יכול לשלם שווה כסף. ההוכחה שיש לי שהרמב''ם אינו מחזיק כרשב''ם היא מתוך הלכות גניבה פרק א' הלכה י''ד. הסיבה שלי היא פשוטה. אם הרמב"ם יחזיק כרשב''ם אז למה הוא לא כותב פשוט אם הגנב שבר את הכלי אנו מעריכים אותו לפי שעת העמדה בדין? מדוע הוא מחלק את ההלכה לשני חלקים? אחד הוא מצב שערך של הכלי ירד למטה ואנחנו הולכים לפי שעת הגניבה וחלק שני הוא כאשר הוא עלה בערך ואז הוא שבר אותו ואנחנו הולכים לפי שעת העמדה בדין. החלק הראשון, כשלעצמו, אינו שאלה לגבי הרעיון שהרמב"ם מחזיק כרשב''ם משום שהוא מתייחס רק למקרה שבו הכלי לא נשבר. אבל אם נתבונן  בה בכלל, ברור שמשהו חסר בחלקו הראשון. זה המקרה שבו הכלי נפל בערך, ולאחר מכן נשבר. אם הרמב''ם באמת מחזיק כרשב''ם, אז הוא צריך להגיד אם כלי ירד או עלה, ואז הוא נשבר, אנחנו הולכים לפי שעת העמדה בדין. אז על פי הדרך שאני רואה את זה, לדין אין שמין אין שום קשר עם הזמן של הערכה, אבל אלא כי הגנב חייב להחזיר כלים שלמים או כסף. אולם גם הוכחת רב שך תקפה. כך נותר לנו ספק לגבי מה שהרמב''ם מחזיק באמת.
I am not sure how to say this simply but basically I think there is some proof that the Rambam does not hold like the Rashbam but that אין שמין לגנב means he must pay כלים שלמים or כסף.
Reb Chaim says there is  a doubt about this and Rav Shach brings a proof that the Ramabm does hold with the Rashbam that the גנב can pay שווה כסף
The proof I have that the Rambam does not hold by the Rashbam is from הלכות גניבה פרק א' הלכה י''ד.
My reason is simple. If the Rambam would hold by the Rashbam then why does he not write simply if the thief broke the vessel we evaluate it according to the time of העמדה בדין? Why does he divide halacha 14 into two parts? One is which the value of the vessel went down and we go by שעת הגניבה and part two is where it went up in value and then he broke it and we go by שעת העמדה בדין?
Part one  by itself is not a question on the idea that that Rambam hold from the Rashbam because it only is referring to a case where the vessel was not broken. But if we look at halacha 14 in its entirely it is obvious something is missing in part one--then case where the vessel went down in value and then it was broken. If the Rambam really would be holding from the Rashbam then he would say if the vessel went down or up in value and then it was broken we go by שעת העמדה בדין.
So instead according to the way I see it, אין שמין  has nothing to do with the time of evaluation but the fact that the thief must give back כלים שלמים or כסף.
However Rav Shach's proof is also valid. Thus we are left with a doubt about what the Rabam really holds.

The Torah is not at all exclusive about who can come to true holiness. It does give objective standards, but as far as the Torah is concerned, anyone who fulfills those standards graduates.

(1) Accepting the yoke of Torah is not the same thing as being "Davuk"(attachment)  to God --but it is close.

(2) Some people think their feelings of a spiritual high are automatically classified as being "Davuk" to God. But as a rule,- feelings of spiritual highs are not from the realm of holiness. These come from counterfeit Torah, and counterfeit spirituality. And counterfeit spirituality can be awesomely powerful; and in externals it can look and sound just like real Torah.

(3) Accepting the yoke of Torah does not automatically lead to true devekut ((attachment)) but it tends to protect from the false kind of spiritual highs that are common in the religious world.

(4) Devekut is a part of Torah. The reason it is legitimately ignored by the Litvak world is because it so easily decays into its opposite, and the fact that it has a short half life.  But attachment with God is in fact one of the 613 commandments. [It is mentioned twice in Deuteronomy as being one of the three purposes of the Torah which are to come to (1) Love of God, (2) Fear of God and (3) Attachment with God. ]
(5) But a spiritual high is not the same thing--but it can be from the realm of holiness. It is what is called numinosity. But a spiritual high can be from (1) holiness or from (2) its exact opposite or (3) some mixture of the two (as usually happens to people when they enter into spiritual practices). They get caught in the Intermediate Zone.

(6) One difficulty about all this is the fact that the Torah is not at all exclusive about who can come to true holiness. It does give objective standards, but as far as the Torah is concerned, anyone who fulfills those standards graduates. גדולה לגימא שמשרה רוח הקודש על נביאי הבעל. "Great is bringing in guest for it brings true prophecy even to false prophets."
This idea is brought in the Gra on Shir Hashirim chapter 2, and in a Midrash mentioned in the Talmud that is a set of statements given by Eliyahu the Prophet to an Amora. [It is a well known Midrash, but it is not the same as Midrash Raba or Midrash Tanchuma.]

(7) That is to say the giving of the Torah is a one time event in history, but the standards it sets are set in stone,-- objective morality. Anyone that fulfills its conditions gets the prizes.
Being a part of any group does not count towards holiness. It is how one acts that matters.

(8) The standards of Torah are well defined in the classical Musar books. Musar is not a purely Litvak thing. The daughter of Bava Sali was telling me how important Musar is, along with the basic books of Rav Joseph Karo.
(9) Good character is the basic thing Torah wants. This is explained best by Rav Sar Shalom Sharabi in his Nahar Shalom on the Eitz Chaim.







19.8.17

בבא מציעא יד: The case is there is a מלווה a לווה and a לוקח of a שדה from the לווה. In case of default on the loan the לוקח collects his improvements from בני חורין of the לווה and the essential price of the field even from משועבדין of the borrower. תוספות asks why is there a second sold field? Why did the מלווה not collect from it? Perhaps we could prove from this "מה שאקנה יהיה משועבד לחוב הזה" is not valid?
The רמב''ם in fact answers the question of תוספות  that in fact property that the borrower buys after he received the loan is not obligated unless he wrote it own explicitly.  That is obligation is considered to exist even if he did not write it down, but not for future property.
That is how רב שך explains the  רמב''ם. That is-Rav Shach asks that the Rambam says מה שאקנה משועבד and yet here he says future property of the לווה is not משועבד. He says the Rambam means this last statement for when שיעבוד was not written down.
The two essential הלכות in the  רמב''ם are in הלכות מלווה ולווה פרק י''ח ה''א ופרק י''ט ה''ח
In פרק י''ח ה''א the  רמב''ם says property that the borrower acquired after the loan is not משועבד to the loan.
In פרק י''ט ה''ח he says in a case the the מלווה wrote to the לוקח שני "I will not collect my debt from property you buy from the לווה" that the מלווה can not go collect his debt from the לוקח ראשון because the first buyer can say to him "I left free property of the borrower  for you to collect your debt from." That means the borrower had two fields at the time of the loan and he sold the first one and then the second one.
If the מלווה says to the first buyer דין ודברים אין לי עמך I will not collect from you, he can still collect from the second buyer and then the first buyer can collect from him. [The reason is that at that point the second buyer will try to collect his debt from the first buyer for his loss of the field.] But the opposite way not.
Though I had written that to the  רמב''ם the lender could collect his debt from either field that would have to be only in the case where the borrower had written explicitly what I will buy will be obligated to this loan.

בבא מציעא יד: המקרה הוא קיים מלווה לווה וכן לוקח של שדה מן הלווה. במקרה של ברירת המחדל על ההלוואה הלוקח גובה את השיפוצים שלו מבני חורין של הלווה ואת המחיר הקרן של השדה אפילו ממשועבדין של הלווה. תוספות שואל למה יש שדה שני? מדוע המלווה לא אסף ממנו? אולי נוכל להוכיח מזה "מה שאקנה יהיה משועבד לחוב הזה" אינו תקף? למעשה, הרמב"ם עונה על שאלת התוספות, שלמעשה הרכוש שרכש הלווה לאחר שקיבל את ההלוואה אינו משועבד אלא אם כן כתב זאת במפורש. שיעבוד טעות סופר. שיעבוד קיים גם אם הוא לא כתב את זה, אבל לא עבור רכוש עתידי. ככה רב שך מסביר את רמב''ם. שתי הלכות הנוגעות ברמב''ם הן בהלכות מלוה ולוה פרק י''ח ה''א ופרק י''ט ה''ח. בפרק פרק י''ח הרמב''ם אומר כי נכס שהלווה רכש לאחר ההלוואה אינו משועבד להלוואה. בפרק י''ט ה''ח הוא אומר במקרה שהמלווה כתב אל לוקח השני, "אני לא אאסוף את החוב שלי מהרכוש שאתה תקנה מהלווה" כי המלווה לא יכול ללכת לאסוף את החוב שלו מן לוקח ראשון, כי הקונה הראשון יכול לומר לו "הינחתי רכוש חפשי של הלווה לך לאסוף את החוב שלך". כלומר, ללווה היו שני שדות בזמן ההלוואה והוא מכר את הראשון ולאחר מכן את השני. אם המלווה אומר לקונה הראשון דין ודברים אין לי עמך (אני לא אאסוף ממך), הוא עדיין יכול לאסוף מהקונה השני ואז הרוכש הראשון יכול לאסוף המלווה. [הסיבה היא כי בשלב זה הקונה השני ינסה לאסוף את הפסד שלו מן הקונה הראשון על אובדן שלו בשדה.] אבל ההפך לא. למרות שכתבתי  שלדעת הרמב''ם המלווה יכול לאסוף את החוב שלו מאיזה משני השדות זה  רק במקרה שבו הלווה כתב במפורש מה אני אקנה יהיה מחויב הלוואה זו.

The Tosphot in Bava Metzia and also in Bava Batra clearly are not going like this Rambam, but in what ways is not clear to me this minute.This is an area that requires more work.


18.8.17

The New Moon and "seeing is better than hearing."

It seems to me that  ראש חדש ought to be calculated according to the actual time of the מולד. One reason I have already mentioned comes from סנהדרין ד''י ע''ב that several אמוראיים say that  ראש חדש is not dependent on the court. This goes along with  the opinion of ר' אלעזר בן עזריה  that if the court does not sanctify it on time, they sanctify it from heaven. But a further reason comes from the fact that a person that murders in front of a court is killed because דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה. That is, certain kinds of things do not depend on the court knowing them through hearing. If they know the facts from a more accurate source of information (e.g. if they saw the events themselves), that is even better than hearing. There  in סנהדרין ע''ח ע''א where תוספות brings this it only says that seeing is better than hearing. But to me it seems the same idea applies.  You can see this from the מלחמות of the רמב''ן where the רמב''ן brings this idea about קידוש החודש specifically. [See האבי עזרי של רב שך  הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א where רב שך  brings these מקורות.]
[That is to say even if there was a Sanhedrin that sanctified all future new moons there is no reason to think that meant the present day calendar which was only adopted later in the time of the geonim.]





נראה לי כי ראש חדש צריך להיות מחושב לפי הזמן בפועל של מולד. סיבה אחת כבר הזכרתי בסנהדרין ד''י ע''ב, כי כמה אמוראיים אומרים כי ראש חדש אינו תלוי בבית המשפט. זה הולך יחד עם דעתו של ר 'אלעזר בן עזריה כי אם בית המשפט לא קידשו אותו בזמן, הם מקדשים אותו מן השמים. אבל סיבה נוספת נובעת מכך שאדם שרוצח בחזית בית המשפט נהרג כי "דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה". כלומר, סוגים מסוימים של דברים אינם תלויים בשמיעת בית המשפט מעדים, אלא בראיה. אם הם יודעים את העובדות ממקור מידע מדויק יותר, למשל אם הם ראו את האירועים עצמם, זה אפילו טוב יותר מאשר לשמוע. שם בסנהדרין ע''ח ע''א תוספות מביא את זה. אבל יש להעיר  שזה אומר כי ראייה טובה יותר מאשר לשמוע. אבל בעיני זה נראה אותו רעיון. אתה יכול לראות את זה מהמלחמות של הרמב"ן שבו הרמב"ן מביא את הרעיון על קידוש החודש במיוחד. [ראה האבי עזרי של רב שך הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א שבו רב שך מביא את המקורות של: שלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה

It seems to me that the new moon ought to be calculated according to the actual time of the conjunction.

It seems to me that the new moon ought to be calculated according to the actual time of the conjunction. One reason I have already mentioned comes from Sanhedrin page 10 that several amoraim say that  the new moon is not dependent on the court. this goes along with r the opinion of R. Elazar Ben Azariah that 'If the court does not sanctify it on time , they sanctify it from heaven." But a further reason come from the fact that a person that murders in front on a court is killed because דלא תהיה שמיעה גדולה מראיה that is to say certain kinds of things do not depend on the court knowing them through hearing. if they know the facts from a more accurate source of information e.g if they saw the events themselves, that is even better than hearing. There in Sanhedrin 78a where Tosphot brings this, it only says that seeing is better than hearing. But to me it seems the same idea applies.  You can see this from the מלחמות of the Ramban where the Ramban brings this idea about Kidush Hachodesh specifically. [See Rav Shach's Avi Ezri הלכות סנהדרין פרק י''ד ה''א where Rav Shach brings these sourses.]

accepting the yoke of Torah

So in essence --the way it looks to me today is my major problems have been from simply not accepting the yoke of Torah and trust in God.
Even though there are for me lots of "קושיות" on this path, but I figure that the unscrupulous people that misuse the path of Torah do not present  a real question on it, and that I ought to simply get back to the straight and narrow path. [Gemara and Musar]
That is more or less based on the Mishna in Pirkei Avot כל המקבל על עצמו עול תורה מעבירים ממנו עול מלכות ועול דרך ארץ "The yoke of the government and the yoke of the way of the world is removed from him who accepts the yoke of Torah".

Not that this takes care of everything. Sometimes there comes a time when you stop praying and get up and do what needs to be done. "מה תצעק אלי דבר אל בני ישראל ויסעו" 

 When the Jewish people were at the Red Sea and calling to God for help God said to Moshe Why do you call upon me/ speak to the children of Israel and tell them to MOVE.
However though my own mistakes in leaving off learning Torah seems is clear, how to share this information is not since since most teachers of Torah are really just plain terrible people. They to me do not seem to follow Torah a lot.








The entire religious world is basically a large bunch of cults. Even though they all claim Torah, there sadlly is little there that is kosher in any sense of the word.

My own approach is based on a statement of the sages אין יסורים בלא עוון. There are no troubles without sin. But when I try to figure out what exactly are my sins I do not get very far. Some things definitely seems to fit the bill  but they contradict other actions that also seem to fit the bill.

I have actually made a sort list on this blog a few times. But since I anyway have trouble identifying what exactly are my sins, I fall back to another statement of the sages. פישפש ולא מצא יתלה בביטול תורה One who has troubles should examine his deeds. One has examined his deeds and not found anything, should attribute the problems to lack of learning Torah.
[Essentially my sins seems to be leaving the straight path of Litvak Torah. I.e. the Gra's path.]



In any case what I think are the major causes of sin are that people join cults, and then their whole world view changes. Straight Torah no longer holds the charm it once did for people that join cults.
And the entire religious world is basically a large bunch of cults. Even though they all claim Torah, there sadlly is little in the religious world that is kosher in any sense of the word.



[The major issues for me are certainly Bitul Torah. For even when I got to Israel which was a great step up, I slacked off in learning Torah. I also did leave Israel eventually which I think was a terrible sin.]

[This is not intended to disparage kosher places built on straight Torah like the yeshivas that go by the Gra. The trouble is straight simple Torah is hard to hold onto.]

17.8.17

straight Torah

The path of straight Torah is easy to stray from. Or perhaps better said-it was easy for me to stray from it. The major difficulty with sticking with straight, undiluted, unadulterated Torah  is not from enemies of Torah, but from its best friends. "Sure you should learn Torah, but if you come and join our group you will do it so much better! You get the true spirit, not just the words etc." The variations on this theme are endless. But the inner purpose if the same--to get the person out of  authentic Torah into something which seems to have so much more external spirit but is lacking the true essence.

What makes this hard is sometimes there really is something that is an important value--like going to Israel and serving in the IDF. It is just hard to make sense out of it all with so many cults out there.

It is perfectly possible to learn from Reb Nachman and say the Tikun Klali [ten pslams to say if one has done some sexual sin, psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59 77, 90, 105, 137, 150] and even go to Uman for Rosh haShanah, but not get involved in Breslov, but rather to remain in a straight Litvak yeshiva and to follow the path of Straight Torah--the Gra and Musar.

It is also possible to  appreciate the importance of "devekut" (attachment with God) and to stick with straight Torah.

But that is not what usually happens. it is just to easy to get caught up in bitul Torah. And Bitul Torah does not simply mean wasting time what could have been spent learning Torah. It also means anything that causes one's fervor for Torah to slacken and weaken.

One aspect of things was brought up to me -the fact that the Litvak path tends to be dry. People  can be interested in Reb Nachman for perfectly good reasons--as in looking for the inner meaning of life and the Torah.  That is not to say that in everything where people feel taste and and vibrancy is from the realm of Holiness. But I would have to say that in the case of Reb Nachman, it is true that he was a true tzadik and his lessons and ideas are valuable.

One of the difficult aspects however if that of בל תוסיף that is not to add to the commandments. This is prohibition in the Torah and it means that what the Torah forbids is forbidden and what the Torah commands to do must be do. You can not make up new rules and claim the Torah holds that way. And this is the practice of the religious world to transgress this on a constant basis.

[I should mention that I do hold with the Rambam opinion that Physics and Metaphysics are included in the Oral Law. Not just because of seeing this in the Rambam,and the Musar book the obligations of the Heart, but also from my parents emphasis on the natural sciences. In fact I have a new way of learning Physics that I do which is the same way I learned gemara for many years-that is just to say the words in order and go on. In Hebrew that is called "Girsa." That is how I think Physics ought to be learned. But I know it would be hard to convince people of this idea because they do not see every word of  Physics as a mitzvah as the Rambam's opinion. If they do not hold that every word is  a mitzvah then how could I explain to anyone this idea of just saying the words and going on?
[Though the Rambam specifically referred to these subjects as understood by the ancient Greeks i feel Physics today and also Kant and Hegel would be included. But I also would include the Ari, and the two major commentaries on the Ari, Rav Yaakov Abuchatzaira and Sar Shalom Sharabi.






There is some kind of inherent ambiguity about a הלכה in the רמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק ב. He holds if a string gets attached to  a chicken and it is walking around and breaks vessels, the owner of the chicken pays חצי נזק. And he brings a support for this view from בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [a hole that is rolling around in a public domain by the feet of people or animals.
That proof seems to work against what the רמב''ם is saying for נזקי בור  are not obligated for damage to vessels.
If it is considered damage caused by רגל, then it would not be obligated at all in  public space.

How to answer this? The גמרא asks what does  צד השווה in the משנה come to include. רבא says בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה and it is learned from בור ושור. Is it possible the רמב''ם could hold once something is learned from צד השווה It would get the חומרא of both? In our case that would be an obligation in רשות הרבים  and also חייב על נזקי כלים?


יש איזשהו אי בהירות מובנית לגבי הלכה ברמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק ב. הוא מחזיק אם מחרוזת מחוברת לעוף וזה מסתובב ושובר כלי, הבעלים של העוף משלמים חצי נזק. והוא מביא תמיכה לחוק זה מבור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [בור המתגלגל במרחב ציבורי על ידי רגלי אנשים או בעלי חיים.] נראה כי הוכחה זו פועלת נגד מה שהרמב"ם אומר שנזקי בור אינם מחויבים לנזק לכלים. אם זה נחשב נזק שנגרם על ידי רגל, אז זה לא יהיה מחויב בכלל במרחב הציבורי. איך לענות על זה? גמרא שואל מה הצד בשווה מגיע במשנה לבוא לכלול. רבא אומר בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם  והוא בא על ידי בור ושור. האם יתכן שהרמב''ם יכול להכיל משהו שנלמד מן הצד השווה לקבל את חומרא של שניהם? במקרה שלנו זה יהיה חובה ברשות הרבים וגם חיוב על נזקי כלים.
This would be not like the רא''ש nor the other opinion the רא''ש brings that when something is learned from צד השווה we go by the most lenient aspect.
However this might be the opinion of the רמב''ם and a support for this can be found in רב שך in the אבי עזרי רמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק א' ה''ח  where he brings the fact the גמרא learns כופר for רגל. There he brings the idea that the whole reason we learn מצד השווה is to tell us why each of the four אבות נזיקים needs to be written. But after they are written,  the rules that apply to each are not limited to what could be deduced from מצד השווה.

זה לא יהיה כמו הרא"ש וגם הדעה האחרת שהרא''ש מביא כי כשמשהו נלמד מתוך צד השווה אנחנו הולכים על הצד הכי קל. עם זאת, ייתכן שזו דעתו של הרמב''ם ותמיכה לכך ניתן למצוא אצל הרב שך באבי עזרי ברמב''ם נזקי ממון פרק א 'ח', שם הוא מביא את הגמרא שלומדת כופר עבור רגל ברשות היחיד. הנה הוא מביא את הרעיון כי הסיבה  שאנו לומדים את הצד השווה הוא לספר לנו למה כל אחת מארבעה אבות נזיקים צריכים להיות כתוב. אבל אחרי שהם כתובים, הכללים החלים על כל אחד מהם אינם מוגבלים למה שניתן להסיק מן הצד השווה.


There is some kind of inherent ambiguity about a halacah in the Rambam. [נזקי ממון פרק ב] He holds if a string gets attached to  a chicken and it is walking around and breaks vessels, the owner of the chicken pays 1/2 damages. And he brings a support for this view from בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה [a hole that is rolling around in a public domain by the feet of people or animals.].
That proof seems to work against what the Rambam is saying for נזקי בור [damage caused by one digging a hole in a pubic place] are not obligated for damage to vessels. considered
If it is considered damage caused by "feet", then it would not be obligated at all in  public space.

I am being short in this above paragraph because I am not sure how to answer this. The Gemara asks what does  צד השווה in the mishna come to include. Rava says בור המתגלגל ברגלי אדם ובהמה and it is learned from בור ושור. Is it possible the Rambam could hold once something is learned from צד השווה It would get the חומרא of both? In our case that would be an obligation in רשות הרבים  and also חייב על נזקי כלים?


16.8.17

המשנה בתרומה אומרת, המפריש מקצת תרומות ומעשרות מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום אחר. ר' מאיר אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר.


If this משנה would only be talking about מעשר it would be simple. And if it was only talking about תרומה, it would also be simple. What makes it difficult to understand is the fact that it puts both together.
Let's say we were only talking about מעשר. And instead of his separating one tenth, he separated one twentieth. And we have the principle אין ברירה. That principle says for example if two children of an idolater inherit his wealth. But one son became a גר.  If we would say יש ברירה , then he could tell the other son, "You can take the idols, and I will take the other property."  And by that it would be revealed that even at first, the idols fell to the portion of the idolatrous son and the convert could take his own portion.  But if there is not retrograde choice, then he could not do so. He would have to take an even portion with the other son, and then the idols that fall to his portion he would have to destroy.

So in our case also. If we would say יש ברירה, then it would be simple to say he simply takes another one twentieth, and the stack of grain is fixed. If אין בררה then it is clear that  the stack of grain is mixed with טבל and חולין. And there would be no physical way to fix it. But he could take another twentieth and say this twentieth is the remaining part מעשר for what ever טבל is left in the כרי
If we were only talking about תרומה, then also it would be perfectly clear. The law of the Torah is   אפילו חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי
Even one grain fixes the entire stack.



אם משנה הזאת רק היתה מדברת על מעשר הכל יהיה פשוט. ואם זו רק היתה מדברת על תרומה, הכל יהיה גם פשוט. מה שמקשה עלי להבין את זו הוא העובדה שהיא מכניסה את שניהם יחד. נניח שדיברנו רק על מעשר. ובמקום שהוא היה צריך להפריד עשירית אחת, הוא הפריד אחת מעשרים. ויש לנו העיקרון אין ברירה. העיקרון הזה אומר למשל אם שני ילדים של עובד אלילים יורשים את עושרו. אבל בן אחד הפך לגר. אם היינו אומרים יש ברירה, אז הוא יכול להגיד  לבן השני, "אתה יכול לקחת את האלילים, ואני אקח את הנכס הנשאר." ועל ידי זה היה מתגלה כי גם בהתחלה, האלילים נפלו לחלק של הבן  העובד אלילים והגר יכול לקחת חלק שלו. אבל אם אין ברירה לאחור, אז הוא לא יכול לעשות זאת. הוא יצטרך לקחת חלק שווה עם הבן השני, ואז האלילים הנופלים לחלק שלו הוא יצטרך להרוס. כך גם במקרה שלנו. אם היינו אומרים יש ברירה, אז זה יהיה פשוט לומר שהוא פשוט לוקח עוד אחת מעשרים, ואת ערימת הדגן הוא מתוקנת. אם אין ברירה אז ברור כי ערימת התבואה מעורבבת עם טבל וחולין. ולא תהיה שום דרך פיזית לתקן את זו. אבל הוא יכול לקחת עוד אחת מעשרים ולומר זו האחת מעשרים  היא החלק הנותר מעשירית על  הטבל הנשאר בכרי. אם רק דיברנו על תרומה, אז גם יהיה ברור לגמרי. החוק של התורה  חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי. (אפילו גרגר אחד מתקן את הערימה כולה)








המשנה בתרומה אומרת, המפריש מקצת תרומות ומעשרות מוציא ממנו תרומה עליו אבל לא למקום אחר. ר' מאיר אומר אף מוציא ממנו תרומה על מקום אחר.

The Mishna in tractate Trumot says when one separates  truma and maasar {1/10} in part, he must separate truma from it but not for another place. R. Meir says also truma for another place.


It seems to me that if this mishna would only be talking about maasar it would be simple. And if it was only talking about truma, it would also be simple. What makes it difficult to understand is the fact that it puts both together.
Let's say we were only talking about Maasar. And instead of his separating 1/10, he separated 1/20. And we have the principle אין ברירה. (No choice). [That principle says for example if two children of an idolater inherit is wealth. But one son became a convert.  If we would say יש ברירה (there is choice), then he could tell the other son you can take the idols and I will take the other property.  And by that it would be revealed that even at first, the idols fell to the portion of the idolatrous son and the convert could take his own portion. ] But if there is not retrograde choice. then he could not do so. He would have to take an even portion with the other son, and then the idols that fall to his portion he would have to destroy.

So in our case also. If we would say יש ברירה then it would be simple to say he simply takes another 1/20 and the stack of grain is fixed. If אין בררה then it is clear that  the stack of grain is mixed with טבל and חולין.
If we were only talking about Truma, then also it would be perfectly clear. The law of the Torah is  is  אפילו חיטה אחת פוטרת כל הכרי
Even one grain fixes the entire stack.







15.8.17

Reb Nachman's thought is often presented as Eastern Mysticism. This started with Reb Aryeh Kaplan and continues. I think the reason this is done is to try to get people whose thoughts are already influenced by Yoga and eastern religions.
However there are differences. One aspect of the difference is simply the existence of good and evil.
In Torah thought, there is evil, and one must actively avoid it.

M own feeling about all this is more or less based on Dr. Kelley Ross's essay "The Dark Side of the Tao" in which he posits a difference between religions that have a conflict between good and evil with good eventually winning--  as opposed to religions that say there is no such conflict.

My own background in the Mir Yeshiva in NY indicates to me a more Musar based approach. But my main thought here is that I must have  a blind spot in which flaws in my own thinking and world view are not apparent to me -in the same way I see people in Eastern religious though (including Reb Nachman's groups) also seem to have a blind spot.

13.8.17

The approach of Reb Israel Salanter [the founder of the Musar Movement] as far as I can see as to consider learning musar [books of medieval Ethics] to be the best way to come to fear of God and good character. But one thing stands out in this whole thing. It is that coming to fear of God is a goal. Perhaps the highest goal. That was at least how I understood it. To some degree you can see this in the verse: אם תבקשנה ככסף וכמטמונים תחפשנה אז תבין יראת ה' ודעת א' תמצא Proverbs 2. "If you seek it like money and like a treasure you search for it, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God you will find." As a goal we do find the the Five books of Moses the idea of the fear of God as being the highest goal.

However to the Rambam the fear of God is reached not in the conventional way but rather by learning Physics and Metaphysics--along with Torah.

At the time I was at the Mir yeshiva I took the approach of Reb Israel Salanter quite literally. I have to say this seems to have in fact resulted in the exact kind of results that he predicted. So I can not really say if my later approach is all that much better.
What leads to right decisions? This seems to be a subject of debate. In the famous speech of Pericles it was mentioned that  discussion always precedes right action.
That is to say that there is an infinite difference between right action and wrong action. The repercussions go on and on forever. But to be able to perceive the difference before action is taken is very hard. each course of action can be argued for and against. The only way the right choice is made clear is by discussion.

If this was the only thing I had learned from Pericles' speech, that would already be enough. For I have heard of many other approaches the supposedly lead to right action and by experience -my own an others-I have found this idea of Pericles to be the best.

[This idea was also mentioned by Reb Nachman when he says that in the future people will get together and discuss their issues and by means of that, the Truth will be revealed. This is exactly what Pericles said. Discussion always precedes right action.

12.8.17

רמב''ם laws of הלכות ממרים פרק ב' הלכות א'-ג' .

הלכות ממרים פ''ב ה''א ב''ד הגדול שדרשו באחת מן המידות כפי מה שנראה בעיניהם שהדין כך ודנו דין ועמד אחריהם ב''ד אחר לסתור אותו ה''ז סותר ודן כפי מה שנראה בעיניו שנאמר אל השופט אשר יהיה בימים ההם אינך חייב ללכת אלא אחר ב''ד שבדורך.
הלכה ב' ב''ד גזרו גזירה או תקנו תקנה והנהיגו מנהג ופשט הדבר בכל ישראל [ראב''ד-לא אפילו אליהו וב''ד הואיל ופשט איסורן בכל ישראל כדאיתא בע''ז] ועמד אחריהם ב''ד אחר ובקש לבטל דברי הראשונים ולעקור אותה התקנה ואותה הגזרה ואותו המנהג אינו יכול עד שיהיה גדול מן הראשונים בחכמה ובמנין

הלכה ג' בד''א בדברים שלא אסרו אותן כדי לעשות סייג לתורה כשאר דיני התורה אבל דברים שראו ב''ד לגזור ולאסור לעשות סייג אם פשט איסורן בכל ישראל אין ב''ד גדול אחר יכול לעקרן ולהתירן אפילו היה גדול
מן הראשונים
ראב''ד עיטור שוקי ירושלים בפירות קשיא עליו שהראשונים תקנוהו וריו''ח בן זכאי בטלה אחר החרבן מפני שנתבטל הטעם לראשונים ולא היה גדול כראשונים


It occurred to me that the ראב''ד is really saying something significant in the רמב''ם laws of הלכות ממרים פרק ב' הלכות א'-ג' . The thing that I noticed is that the רמב''ם's order goes  from most lenient to most strict. And the ראב''ד has the same thing but with the order moved two steps up.
What that means in plain עברית is this. To the רמב''ם the most lenient is things learned from the שלש עשרה מידות.  For that a later court can reverse the decision even if they are just a small court. The more strict level is  decrees of the sages. For that a later court can reverse the decree if it is greater in number an wisdom. The most strict level are גזירות תקנות ומנהגים made as a סייג to Torah that have been accepted. They can never be reversed. The ראב''ד's system starts with the last thing being the most lenient. He says that that ר. יוחנן בן זכאי reversed the decree to bring the ביכורים to ירושלים and not redeem them. The next level he explains in his comments on מסכת עדויות  where it says why are the words of the דעת היחיד recorded if the הלכה goes by the רוב? Because if a later court sees the words of the minority and agrees with them then it can change the decision if it is greater is number and wisdom.
The ראב''ד there says the later court would not reverse the decree unless the minority opinion was recorded. It comes out then that the later court can go against that majority because it is  a greater majority than the original court that ruled against the minority opinion.


Then the most strict is what is to the רמב''ם the middle level. That is decrees. There the ראב''ד says if it is נתפשט Then it can never be nullified.
Now you could say the ראב''ד is not disagreeing with the רמב''ם's division. But there is good reason to think that the ראב''ד is making the difference between הלכה ב and הלכה ג to be dependent on whether the decree has been accepted, not whether it is a fence to the Torah. You could argue this point  but for the time being let's just say that that is how the לחם משנה and רב שך both understand the ראב''ד.  That means that the ראב''ד is being strict in הלכה ב because as he says the decree was accepted in all Israel. That is why even a later court can not change the decree. And that means that in הלכה ג' where the ראב''ד is the most lenient that is because the decree was no longer accepted.  I mean to say that certainly the decree was once accepted. But when ר. יוחנן בן זכאי came around an the Temple had been destroyed it no longer was the custom to bring first fruits to Jerusalem. So he nullified the decree though he was smaller in wisdom and in number.
Not only that but it would seem like the רמב''ם would have to agree that once the decree was no longer accepted,  it was no longer in force.  For to the רמב''ם how was it possible for ה to nullify a decree when he was smaller in wisdom and number? It was not a case of the 13 principles which is the only case the רמב''ם would have allowed such a thing.


That means that the ראב''ד and perhaps the רמב''ם also are thinking that decrees have force only in so far as they are accepted throughout all Israel. Once they are ignored they no longer have validity because the whole reason for their existence is gone.

So what comes out from all this is significant. That is that the ראב''ד is thinking slightly different from תוספות. What תוספות holds is numerous places is that if the reason for  a decree is nullified the decree itself is nullified. This is like רבה in ביצה page ה' ע''א. What you see from the ראב''ד is that what is determinant if if the decree is presently accepted throughout  all Israel. Not if it once was accepted.  ר. יוחנן בן זכאי certainly did not reverse a decree that had never been accepted.  Or which was based on the 13 principles. Rather it was a decree that had once been accepted  and then was ignored Thus ר. יוחנן בן זכאי could nullify it even though he was smaller in number and wisdom.



ברמב"ם  הלכות ממרים פרק ב 'הלכות א' - ג'. הסדר של הרמב"ם הולך מן הקל ביותר לחמור ביותר. וגם לראב''ד יש את אותו הדבר אבל עם סדר שני צעדים למעלה. מה זה אומר בעברית פשוטה זה. הקל ביותר לרמב''ם הוא דברים הנלמדים מן שלש עשרה מידות. כי בית משפט מאוחר יותר יכול להפוך את ההחלטה גם אם הם רק בית משפט קטן. הרמה החמורה יותר היא גזירות החכמים. כי בית משפט מאוחר יותר יכול להפוך את הצו אם הוא גדול במספר חוכמה. הרמה החמורה ביותר היא גזירות ותקנות  שנעשו סייג לתורה שהתקבלו. לעולם לא ניתן לבטלן. המערכת של ראב''ד מתחילה כשהדבר האחרון הוא הקל ביותר. הוא אומר כי ר' יוחנן בן זכאי ביטל את התקנה להביא את הביכורים לירושלים ולא לגאול אותם. הרמה הבאה הוא מסביר בהערותיו על מסכת עדויות. המשנה שם אומרת מדוע דבריו של היחיד נרשמים אם הלכה הולך על לפי הרוב? הסיבה היא שאם בית משפט מאוחר יותר יראה את דברי המיעוט ומסכים איתם, אז הוא יכול לשנות את ההחלטה אם הוא גדול יותר הוא במספר וחוכמה. הראב"ד אומר שבית המשפט המאוחר לא יבטל דברי הראשונים, אלא אם כן נרשמים חוות דעת המיעוט. אז יוצא כי בית המשפט המאוחר יכול ללכת נגד הרוב הזה, כי הוא רוב גדול יותר מהבית המשפט המקורי שפסק נגד דעת המיעוט. זה בדבר שנלמד ע''י הי''ג מידות. אז החמור ביותר לראב''ד הוא מה שהוא לרמב''ם את הרמת הביניים. זה גזירות. שם אומר הראב''ד אם התקנה נתפשטה, אז לעולם לא תבוטל.  יש סיבה טובה לומר שהראב''ד עושה את ההבדל בין הלכה ב' והלכה ג' להיות תלוי אם הגזירה התקבלה, לא אם זה גדר (סייג) לתורה. אתה יכול להתווכח על הנקודה הזאת, אבל בינתיים נניח שזה נכון שכך רב שך והלחם משנה מבינים את הראב''ד. זה אומר כי ראב''ד הוא מחמיר בהלכה ב' כי כפי מה שהוא אומר הגזירה התקבלה בכל ישראל. לכן אפילו בית משפט מאוחר יותר לא יכול לשנות את הגזירה. ופירוש הדבר כי הלכה ג'  שלראב''ד היא הקלה ביותר היא תקנה שכבר לא מקובלת. אני מתכוון לומר כי בהחלט התקנה היתה פעם מקובלת. אך כאשר ר. יוחנן בן זכאי בא אחר שבית המקדש נהרס זה כבר לא היה מנהג להביא את הפירות הראשונים לירושלים. אז הוא ביטלה למרות שהוא היה קטן יותר בחוכמה ומספר. לא רק זה, אלא שנראה  שהרמב"ם יצטרך להסכים כי לאחר שהגזירה לא מתקבלת עוד, היא כבר לא תהיה בתוקף. עבור לרמב"ם כיצד היה ר' יוחנן בן זכאי יכול לבטל תקנה כאשר היה קטן יותר מן הראשונים בחוכמה ומספר? זה לא היה מקרה של שלש עשרה עקרונות וזה המקרה היחיד שהרמב"ם היה מאפשר דבר כזה. משמעות הדבר היא שגם הראב''ד ואולי הרמב"ם מחזיקים שגם לתקנות יש כוח רק במידה שהן מקובלות על כל ישראל. ברגע שישראל התעלמו מהן אין להן עוד תוקף כי כל הסיבה לקיומן נעלמה. הראב''ד מחזיק קצת שונה מתוספות. מה שתוספות  מחזיק במקומות רבים הוא שאם את הסיבה לתקנה בוטלת אז התקנה עצמה היא בטלה. זה כמו רבה בביצה דף ה" ע''א. מה שאתה רואה מהראב''ד הוא שמה שקובע הוא אם הגזירה מקובלת כיום על כל ישראל. לא אם היא היתה מקובלת פעם. ר יוחנן בן זכאי בהחלט לא ביטל תקנה שלא היתה אף פעם מקובלת. או שהיה מבוסס על שלש עשרה העקרונות.  זאת היתה זה תקנה שהיתה פעם מקובלת ולאחר מכן התעלמה. כך שר. יוחנן בן זכאי היה יכול לבטלה  למרות שהוא היה קטן יותר במספר חוכמה
It occurred to me that the Raavad is really saying something significant in the Rambam laws of Rebellious Judges. The thing that I noticed is that the Rambam's order goes like ABC from most lenient to most strict. And the Ravaad has the same thing but with the order moved two steps up so it goes like BCA.
What that means in plain English is this. To the Rambam the most lenient is things learned from the 13 principles of interpretation. [For that a later court can reverse the decision even if they are just a small court.] The more strict level is  decrees of the sages. For that a later court can reverse the decree if it is greater in number an wisdom. The most strict level is decrees made as a fence to Torah. That can never be reversed. That is A-B-C. The Raavad's system starts with the last thing being the most lenient. He says that that R.Yochanan Ben Zachai reversed the decree to bring the fruit fruits to Jerusalem and not redeem them. The next level he explains in his comments on tracate Eduyot  where there is one of the 13 principles of interpretation that a later court can reverse if it is greater in wisdom and number. The Raavad there says the later court would not reverse the decree unless the minority opinion was recorded. It comes out then that the later court can go against that majority because it is  a greater majority than the original court that ruled against the minority opinion.
Then the most strict is what is to the Rambam the middle level. That is decrees. There the Raavad says if it is נתפשט Then it can never be nullified.
Now you could say the Raavad is not disagreeing with the Rambam's division. But there is good reason to think that the Raavad is making the difference between halacha 2 and halacha 3 to be dependent on whether the decree has been accepted, not whether it is a fence to the Torah. You could argue this point  but for the time being let's just say that that is how the Lechem Mishna and Rav Shach both understand the Raavad.  That means that the Raavad is being strict in halacha 2 because as he says the decree was accepted in all Israel. That is why even a later court can not change the decree. And that means that in halacha 3 where the Raavad is the most lenient that is because the decree was no longer accepted.  I mean to say that certainly the decree was once accepted. But when R. Yochana came around an the Temple had been destroyed it no longer was the custom to bring first fruits to Jerusalem. So he nullified the decree though he was smaller in wisdom and in number.
Not only that but it would seem like the Rambam would have to agree that once the decree was no longer accepted,  it was no longer in force.  For to the Rambam how was it possible for R Yochanan to nullify a decree when he was smaller? It was not a case of the 13 principles which is the only case the Rambam would have allowed such a thing.


That means that the Raavad and perhaps the Rambam also are thinking that decrees have force only in so far as they are accepted throughout all Israel. Once they are ignored they no longer have validity because the whole reason for their existence is gone.

So what comes out from all this is significant. That is that the Raavad is thinking slightly different from Tosphot. What Tosphot hold is numerous places is that if the reason for  a decree is nullified the decree itself is nullified. [This is like Raba in Beitza page 5a] What you see from the Raavad is that what is determinant if if the decree is presently accepted throughout  all Israel. Not if it once was accepted.  R. Yochanan certainly did not reverse a decree that had never been accepted.  Or which was based on teh 13 principles. Rather it was a decree that had once been accepted  and then was ignored Thus R Yochanan could nullify it even though he was smaller in number and wisdom

To me this makes sense. I thought at first that if people would be more strict about Torah that that would make things better. But eventually I began to notice there was an inverse relation between strictness and menchlichkeit.








Reb Nachman is not the same as Breslov.

On the subject of Reb Nachman. The positive aspects were pointed out to me. That is that the real thing- authentic Litvak Torah- tends to be kind of flat. Especially for people looking for the meaning of life it does not tend to address issues that are foremost in people's-minds. Reb Nachman was a true tzadik and his approach is a very good synthesis between straight Torah {Gemara Rashi Tosphot} and the Arizal [Isaac Luria].
The drawback is the tendency to get involved in Breslov which is filled with insane people.
For me personally I was not lacking anything as a straight Litvak. Torah and marriage, Israel, devekut,... Getting involved in Breslov changed all that. It is like a door is opened to all kinds of other cults and bad stuff.
The other thing is there is even in the thought of Reb Nachman itself a tendency is to reject the balanced approach of the Rishonim (Rambam, Obligations of the Heart, Musar) of  synthesis between Reason and Revelation.  This is possible to find find in the words of Reb Nachman himself through quilt quotations.
This is not to minimize the importance of Reb Nachman's thought, but it does mean that it is highly advisable to avoid Breslov and all the cults that were put into excommunication by the Gra. Reb Nachman himself was not included in the excommunication, but getting involved with his books tends to open the door to lots of other pretty bad stuff.

Reb Nachman's system is is a synthesis of straight Litvak Torah, Gemara Rashi Tosphot, with the Ari.
 The Rambam's is a synthesis of Torah with Aristotle. The differences are significant and that leaves me wondering . 

music for the glory of God

9.8.17

Gemara Bava Kama 19a

The גמרא in בבא קמא י''ט ע''א is hard to figure out. רב אשי asks if a שינוי , that is doing damage in a different way than is common, applies to צרורות . An example would be if the animal kicked up stones that went and caused damage. The question is if you say שינוי (change) does apply then it would be only a fourth of the damage.
Normally if an animal walks and happens to knock pebbles that cause damage, the owner is obligated is half damage. But what if instead of walking the animal kicked the pebbles on purpose? Is that a further unusual circumstance and so the owner would be obligated only fourth.
The גמרא then asks why not answer it from the question of רבא who asked if העדאה warning applies to צרורות pebbles.
To me the questions seem independent. But clearly the גמרא is thinking that you could not ask about העדאה warning unless שינוי  applied. But even that to me seems hard to understand because let's say רבא had answered "No. There is no העדאה by צרורות". Then we would also not know anything about if שינוי applies.

One reason that is all seems hard to understand is that even העדאה did apply to pebbles, that would be because it would be considered in itself a שינוי. But that would not tell us anything if another kind of שינוי would be applicable.
רש''י understands that רבא was asking specifically on the issue of  a  fourth.  If העדאה to  בעיטה בצרורות applies? That would help to some degree but it still is curious that רבא does not mention anything about kicking בעיטה. He only asks if העדאה is applicable to pebbles, not to any specific case of pebbles. That would suggest his question was if an animal kicked pebbles three times  and the owner was warned each time, then after the last time, he might be obligated full damages.


הגמרא בבבא קמא י''ט ע''א קשה להבין. רב אשי שואל אם שינוי, (שהוא עושה נזק בצורה שונה מהמקובל), חל צרורות. דוגמה לכך תהיה אם החיה בעט את האבנים כשהלך והאבנים גרמו נזק. השאלה היא אם אתה אומר שינוי של שינוי חל אז החיוב יהיה רק כרבע מן הנזק. בדרך כלל אם חיה בהליכתה דופקת צרורות שגורמים נזק, הבעלים מחויבים  חצי נזק. אבל מה אם במקום ללכת החיה בעטה בצרורות בכוונה? האם במצב   שנסיבות יוצאות דופן נוספות אחת על השניה? אם בעלים מחויבים רק רביע? הגמרא אז שואלת למה לא לענות על השאלה של רב אשי מן השאלה של רבא ששאל אם העדאה (אזהרה) חלה על חצי נזק צרורות. מבחינתי השאלות נראות עצמאיות. אבל ברור שהגמרא חושבת שאתה לא יכול לשאול על העדאה אלא השאלה על השינוי נענתה.  גם  לי נראה קשה להבין כי נניח שרבא ענה "לא. אין העדאה  בצרורות". אז אנחנו גם לא יודעים שום דבר אם שינוי חל בצרורות. גם אם העדאה לא תחול על צרורות, זה יהיה כי זה ייחשב כשלעצמו שינוי. אבל זה לא אומר לנו כלום אם סוג אחר של שינוי יחול. רש''י מבין שרבא שואל ספציפית בנושא של הרביע נזק. אם העדאה  בבעיטה בצרורות חלה? זה יעזור במידה מסוימת, אבל עדיין מעניין כי רבא אינו מזכיר שום דבר על  בעיטה. הוא שואל רק אם העדאה שייכת לצרורות , לא במקרה הספציפי של שינוי בצרורות. השאלה שלו היתה אם חיה בעטה צרורות שלוש פעמים והבעל הוזהר בכל פעם, אז אחרי הפעם האחרונה, אם הוא עלול להיות מחויב מלוא הנזקים?


The previous blog entry is to show how I think the Rambam deals with this difficult Gemara.

The fact of the matter is the way that Rav Shach hints to over there in the Avi Ezri seems to be the only way to make sense out of this Gemara because as I mention in this blog entry here the way of Rashi and even Tosphot seems to leave more questions than they solve.

if an animal is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage

I was looking at the אבי עזרי of רב שך and did not understand him. But based on some things he says there I think this is how he understands the רמב''ם.


The רמב''ם in הלכות ניזקי ממון פרק ב' הלכה ה' והלכה ו' says:
היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה, בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה רורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו

That is. if an animal  is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage by צרורות the owner is not obligated, but if the ניזק is תופס a רביע we do not take it from him. Also if the animal is in a private domain and kicks and the pebbles cause damage in a private domain, then if the ניזק is תופס חצי damages we do not take it from him. But at the very least, the מזיק is obligated רביע damages.
We see how the רמב''ם understood the סוגיא  in בבא קמא י''ט ע''א. He said that the question of רב אשי is this: Is  חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? Or is it תולדות הרגל? The idea of the question is we know חצי נזק צרורות is הלכה למשה מסיני but is it תולדות הרגל or קרן התם.
We see the צרורות might not be confined to רגל from the law in the beginning of פרק כיצד הרגל that says חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות

Included in his question is the idea that if it is קרן התם the a שינוי of a שינוי would apply and if you would have צרורות with בעיטה it would be only a fourth נזק
But in any case it would be obligated  in a public domain. That is why the רמב''ם says if the ניזק is תופס 1/4 when it did the צרורות by means of kicking in  a public domain we do not take it from him.
If it would be תולדות הרגל the owner  would be פטור
The question of רבא is  similar. He asks if there is  a warning העדאה? That means also is חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם?. As far as that goes, it is the same question. But רבא does not include the idea of שינוי של שינוי



חיפשתי  אבי עזרי של רב שך ולא הבנתי אותו. אבל מבוסס על הדברים שראיתי שם, נראה שככה הוא מבין את הרמב''ם. רמב''ם בהלכות ניזקי ממון פרק ב' הלכה ה' והלכה ו' אומר: היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה , בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה צרורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו. כלומר. אם חיה נמצאת בתחום הציבורי ועל ידי בעיטה גורמת נזק על ידי צרורות, הבעלים אים מחויבים, אלא אם ניזק  תופס רביע אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. כמו כן אם החיה נמצאת בתחום פרטי ועל ידי בעיטות  בצרורות גורמת נזק ברשות הניזק, אז אם ניזק הוא תופס חצי נזק אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. אבל לכל הפחות,  המזיק מחויב רביע נזק. אנו רואים כיצד הרמב''ם הבין את הסוגיא בבבא קמא י''ט ע''א. הוא אמר כי השאלה של רב אשי היא זו: האם חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? או שזה תולדות רגל? הרעיון של השאלה הוא שאנחנו יודעים חצי נזק צרורות הוא הלכה למשה מסיני, אבל אם זה תולדות הרגל או קרן התם אינו ברור. אנו רואים שצרורות אולי לא מוגבלות להיות תולדת הרגל מן תחילת פרק כיצד הרגל שאומר חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות. מוכלל בשאלה שלו הוא הרעיון שאם הוא קרן התם שינוי על שינוי יחול, ואם החיה היתה  מבעטת בצרורות ועם הבעיטה גרמה נזק, שהמזיק יהיה חייב רק רביע נזק. אבל בכל מקרה זה יהיה מחויב בתוך מרחב ציבורי. לכן רמב''ם אומר אם הניזק תופס רביע אנחנו לא לוקחים את זה ממנו. אבל אם זה  תולדות רגל הבעלים יהיו פטורים. שאלת רבא דומה. הוא שואל אם יש העדאה בצרורות? כלומר, אם חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? היא קרובה להיות אותה השאלה של רב אשי. אבל רבא אינו כולל את הרעיון של שינוי על שינוי.\

Why would the רמב''ם write that he is מחוייב in the domain of the ניזק  at least רביע of the damages. But if the ניזק is תופס a half we do not take it from him?
The reason is that whether it is תולדות רגל or קרן התם that makes no difference in the רשות הניזק. the מזיק is obliged in either case. The only thing that is in doubt is the question of רב אשי if there is שינוי על שינוי. So at the minimum the מזיק is obligated a fourth on the צד there is שינוי על שינוי. But there might not be שינוי על שינוי and therefore it would be regular חצי נזק


מדוע רמב''ם כותב כי הוא מחוייב בתחום של ניזק לפחות רביע הנזק. אבל אם הניזק הוא תופס חצי אנחנו לא לוקחים אותו ממנו? הסיבה לכך היא כי אם מדובר תולדות רגל או קרן התם אינו עושה הבדל ברשות הניזק. המזיק מחויב בכל מקרה. הדבר היחיד שמוטל בספק הוא שאלת רב אשי אם יש שינוי על שינוי. אז המינימום שהמזיק מחויב רביע על צד שיש שינוי על שינוי. אבל אם אין שינוי על שינוי יהיה מחוייב חצי נזק.ולכן על צד הספק לא לוקחים את זה ממנו אם תפס.





Rav Shach and Gemara Bava Kama 19a

I was looking at the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach and did not understand him. But based on some things he says there I think this is how he understands the Rambam.


The Rambam in laws of  damages 2:5 and 2:6 says

היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ובעטה והתיזה צרורות והזיקה ברשות הרבים פטור ואם תפס הניזק רביע נזק אין מוציאין מידו שהדבר ספק הוא שמא שינוי הוא ואינו תולדת רגל שהרי בעטה, בעטה בארץ ברשות הניזק והתיזה רורות מחמת הבעיטה והזיקה שם חייב לשלם רביע נזק שזה שינוי הוא בהתזת צרורות ואם תפס הניזק חצי נזק אין מוציאין מידו

That is if an animal  is in a public domain and kicks and causes damage by pebbles the owner is not obligated but if the ניזק is תופס a 1/4 we do not take it from him. Also if the animal is in a private domain and kicks and the pebbles causes damage in the private domain then the מזיק is obligated 1/4 damages and if the ניזק is תופס 1/2 damages we do not take it from him.

We see how the Rambam understood the sugia in Bava Kama 19a. He said that The question of Rav Ashi is this: Is  חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם? Or is it תולדות הרגל? The idea of the question is we know חצי נזק צרורות is הלכה למשה מסיני but is it תולדות הרגל or קרן התם

We see the צרורות might not be confined to רגל from the law in the beginning of פרק כיצד הרגל that says חזיר שהיה נובר באשפה משלם חצי נזק שהוא צרורות דשן כמו שכתבו שם התוספות


Included in his question is the idea that if it is קרן התם the a שינוי of a שינוי would apply and if you would have צרורות with בעיטה it would be only 1/4 נזק. But in any case it would be obligated  in a public domain. That is why the Rambam says if the ניזק is תופס 1/4 when it did the צרורות by means of kicking in  a public domain we do not take it from him.
If it would be תולדות הרגל the owner  would be פטור
The question of Rava is  similar. He asks if there is  a warning? That means also is חצי נזק צרורות קרן התם?. As far as that goes it is the same question. But Rava does not include the idea of שינוי של שינוי. That is to Rava it might one רגל or it might be קרן If it is foot then it would be obligated in a private domain the 1/2. But if it is קרן it would not be obligated in a private domain so the מזיק pays 1/4/

That is why the Rambam writes if it kicked in a private domain and the pebbles went and did damage in the private domain he might be obligated 1/2 damages. This is because the question of Rava does not have the idea of שינוי של שינוי in it, and also because the Gemara has this doubt that it might be תולדות רגל.
So I can see why the Rambam would say צרורות על ידי בעיטה ברשות הניזק would be 1/2 on the צד that it is foot and there is no שינוי של שינוי  but to say that it is clear he is obligated at least 1/4 is not clear to me. The reason is both Rava and Rav Ashi have a doubt if it is קרן התם which would be פטור ברשות הניזק

My own background from Beverly Hills to the Mir Yeshiva in NY. My Dad was not a movie star but an scientist highly valued by the USA. So they recruited him when they needed him for some secret project or other.. An they paid well so we ended up in Beverly Hills

I wanted to make clear my own background so as to not leave a wrong impression as far as my own upbringing is concerned. I wrote once about this but it was lost.
At any rate, I was raised basically as a conservative Jew. We went to Temple Israel In Hollywood and sometimes to Mount Sinai Synagogue. I went to Beverly Hills High School and learned Torah mainly on Shabat. My philosophical interests were fueled and ignited by a general atmosphere of the need to search and find the Truth.  So on the side I did my own philosophical reading. Eventually I concluded the Torah--that is the Oral and Written Law of Moses is correct and went to Shar Yashuv yeshiva in NY to learn Torah.
This means that there is an inherent question about the proper path. My parents were as people and a parents very great. But there were some things in Torah they were not doing. Specifically the very things emphasized by the religious world. Laws about food, nida, and Shabat.  But in other aspects of Torah they were much better than anyone in the religious world. That is in areas of menchlichkiet, being a decent moral, upright human being, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability and so on.
[As far as the religious world goes I have found the emphasis on these three things Nida, food, and Shabat to serve as excuses for being backstabbers. So as far as that goes, I do have to admit the Torah does require care in these things Shabat, food preparation, and nida. But as Reb Israel Salanter noted--these are not the major obligations of Torah even though they are obligations.]
Among the very important lessons I learned in the Mir yeshiva and in Shar Yashuv were the ideas of trust in God to take care of my needs and to sit and learn Torah. That is working for a living is basically not needed if one accepts on himself the yoke of Torah. I went with  this idea for a few years and it really works! But after some time I lost this great ideal. But even if  can not do it I think it is important to relay the message to others that might be able to do this. I went with this while at the Mir but then went to Israel to accept an invitation to join the kollel of Rav Ernster in Meor Chaim in Safed. That was a great period in many ways, but I was not learning much Torah.
Then we went back to the USA and there everything fell apart as is the situation until today.
So I still try to learn Torah to some degree but alone and lonely.
There are lots of important lessons to learn here about the importance of learning Torah and avoiding cults. The main thing in Torah we already know is to avoid cults as it says in Deuteronomy when you go to the Land that God has promised this is the thing to do--destroy all the places of idols. I am not quoting it exactly but you can see for the verse that the major thing is to avoid cults.






8.8.17

The Gemara in Bava Kama 19a is hard to figure out. Rav Ashi asks if a שינוי ["a change," that is doing damage in a different way than is common] applies to צרורות ("pebbles"). An example would be if the animal kicked up stones that went and caused damage. The question is if you say שינוי (change) does apply then it would be only a 1/4 of the damage.

[Normally if an animal walks and happens to knock pebbles that cause damage, the owner is obligated is half damage. But what if instead of walking the animal kicked the pebbles on purpose? Is that a further unusual circumstance and so the owner would be obligated only 1/4]


The Gemara then asks why not answer it from the question of Rava who asked if העדאה "warning"applies to צרורות (pebbles).
To me the questions seem independent. But clearly the Gemara is thinking that you could not ask about העדאה (warning) unless שינוי (change) applied. But even that to me seems hard to understand because let's say Rava had answered "No. There is no העדאה by צרורות". Then we would also not know anything about if שינוי applies.

[One reason that is all seems hard to understand is that even העדאה did apply to pebbles, that would be because it would be considered in itself a שינוי. But that would not tell us anything if another kind of שינוי would be applicable.]
Rashi understands that Rava was asking specifically on the issue of  a 1/4--that is. if העדאה applies. That would help to some degree but it still is curious that Rava does not mention anything about kicking (בעיטה). He only asks if העדאה is applicable to pebbles[[not to any specific case of pebbles. That would suggest his question was if an animal kicked pebbles three times  and the owner was warned each time, then after the last time, he might be obligated full damages.
The way Rav Shach seems to understand the gemara in Bava Metzia about the oven of Achnai is that there are two levels. One is the objective halacha. That would be on the level of the Platonic forms. The other level is when the halacha comes down into this world. When t comes down into this world an added condition is needed that the majority should agree with it. אחרי רבים הטות. That is how he explains the Gemara about the oven in which even though the objective halacha was like R. Eliezer, still it is needed this extra condition of רוב- the majority of sages should agree.
This gives an idea of in another Gemara we have a case in which God said the halacha was one way and the yeshiva in Heaven said the opposite and they went to Raba bar bar Chana to decide which one was right.

[This seems clearly like Aristotle that there is some kind of connection between the Platonic forms and the individuals that embody them that is more subtle than just as a container for the form,]



For background: the oven of Achnai was not cemented together. Would it still have a category of an oven [that can become unclean]? R Eliezer said no. The Sages disagreed.  A voice came from heave and said R Eliezer is right. R. Yehoshua said: Heaven does not decide the halacah. The Torah says to go by the majority of sages.

[The questions here are many; especially since we know the sages can make mistakes as we see in the Torah a special sin offering they must bring in such a case.]

7.8.17

Music for the glory of God

Religious fanaticism leads to anything except good character.]

The basic idea of the Rambam and Saadia Gaon of  a synthesis between Torah and  Greek Thought is important but today a new synthesis would have to  take into account the insights of Kant and Hegel. Most people would rather that the Rambam had never attempted such a synthesis in the first place but that to me indicates a lack of faith in the Rambam more than true faith in Torah.

[The reasons why the synthesis is needed between Faith and Reason is clear to anyone who has observed communities that are based on faith alone, and reject reason. Religious fanaticism leads to anything except good character. Why this should be so is an open question, but a hint can be gained from the Rambam in his showing the intermediate step of Natural Law was necessary between the  "ravings of the Sabians" and the Giving of Torah. Also it is possible to suggest that Torah in its pure form is on the level of the Platonic forms that   the hit the ground of being --the individual. דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה. Another suggestion is it is a kind of Hegelian dialectical process. [I mean to say that being things need a ground of being to exist. Being itself. Platonic forms hit that ground and become individual things]



The goal would be to make full use of the Rambam and the  Ari, the Gra, and Kant and Hegel.
I  mentioned this a few times about 6 years ago. But today it seems all the more necessary.

I admit most of the work in this direction was already done by Dr Kelley Ross. However he does ignore important ideas of Hegel. But the main ideas are already in place. That is you would have to equate what is called immediate non-intuitive knowledge with faith.

Falsification is not how new ideas are discovered. It is an important part of the Kant Friesian system but does not explain the processes of reason. But neither does Dr Michael Huemer where reason simply recognizes universals. However Dr Huemer does have a kind of dialectical process in his system in which things that are recognize by reason can be defeated by other concepts that turn out to have more intuitively clear consequences. So in any case Hegel's dialectical process in fact seem to be at the root of all new advances in reason
But furthermore the dialectical process the way most understand it is confined to reason but there does not seem to be any reason to limit it in that range. It could easily work between conflicting areas of value as per the Kant-Friesian system

Even if I am not the man for this job clearly the job in need to be done. It is perfectly possible to get a good synthesis of Reason and Revelation  and to base it on the labors of predecessors like the Rambam -and also to have the sense of what to reject. [I think people are right for taking the Guide of the Rambam as the best guide to how to go about this. The purpose of this is that without it, authentic Torah is not possible. People go into a whole array of delusions they image are real Torah and you end up with the nightmare world of the religious.






6.8.17

extra degrees of strictness do not help to come to righteousness.

The most remarkable thesis of the Rambam is  the synthesis of Reason with Revelation which scandalizes people today as much as it did in his own days.  I would not have paid any attention to it if not for my encountering problems in the religious world in the most unpleasant  possibles ways.
This is what got me to thinking the strictly religious approach is highly unkosher and that something is really wrong. My first feeling was to go with the idea of the religious not being strict enough. That is I thought they were ignoring essential aspects of Torah while focusing on rituals. Eventually I gave up on that and simply decided extra degrees of strictness do not help to come to righteousness.

A lot of this was based more on observation more than on abstract principles.
My basic set of principles today is different than what I would have said at the time all this was going on.
Today my set of principles  would be (1) Learning Torah with making full use of the great Litvak Gedolim like Rav Shach and Reb Chaim Soloveitchik.
(2) Learning Math and Physics.
(3) The Rambam's approach of combining reason and Revelation but I would not stop at Aristotle as he did but also make use of the German idealism especially Hegel and Kelley Ross.
(4) Learning the Ari, Isaac Luria but avoiding the cults of the Sitra Achra which claim to be going by him.
(5) Bitul Torah  is an even more important concept than learning Torah. Bitul Torah negates the idea of doing things outside of learning Torah as having any great significance. It says that it is  a sin to be doing other things even you could be learning Torah. This concept comes from a verse in the Torah כי דבר ה' בזה ונכרתה הנפש ההיא מקרב ינה For he despised the word of God and that soul shall be cut off from among its people. And the Gemara in Sanhedrim explains that verse as referring to anyone who is able to be learning Torah and does not do so. However I should add the Rambam who considered Physics and Metaphysics as a part of the Oral Law.



5.8.17

This is in fact one of the drawbacks of the religious world which has in it too many groups that are simply Sitra Achra [Dark Side] cults trying to get themselves accepted as valid.

Some of the main ideas I have found most important in Torah I have found in the books of Musar from the Middle Ages, especially the emphasis there on good character. The trouble nowadays
 when people become religious usually their character deteriorates  exponentially.

So this approach of Reb Israel Salanter of combining learning Torah along with Musar makes a lot of sense to me. but besides that I founds lots of very important ideas about practical living in books of Musar.[The idea of learning fast in the אורחות צדיקים is one idea I used in Torah  and also in Physics.]
[Trust in God with no effort I also discovered in books of Musar and that certainly has been a help to when ever i have listened to it.]

It would be hard to put it all into words but some important idea I gained from my parents and teachers in high school. Other very important ideas from my teachers in yeshiva and still more from reading Musar and Dante, Plato and the Rambam.

It might be a good thing to try and consolidate it all. But the main thing I discovered was not what good ideas to adopt but rather the importance of learning common sense about what kinds of people to avoid and what kinds of groups and ideas to avoid.

This is in fact one of the drawbacks of the religious world which has in it too many groups  that are simply Sitra Achra [Dark Side] cults trying to get themselves accepted as valid.
Rambam laws of acquisition 20;14

So now that I have arrived at this conclusion that what matters here is רשות, not ownership, it is possible to raise a question on רב שך. He brings the תוספתא that says  המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו and says that can not be talking about the רשות But rather the time of the קנין. To answer  this question let me just say if this teaching would be like the sages then clearly there would be no question that the seller would have to bring a proof that the theft happened after the sale. But this is סומכוס and so we are not discussing who has to bring a proof. The only question is the time of the sale in relation to the time of the theft.

אז עכשיו שהגענו למסקנה הזו כי מה שחשוב כאן הוא רשות, לא בעלות, אפשר להעלות שאלה על רב שך. הוא מביא את תוספתא שאומרת המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו, ואומר כי לא ניתן לדבר על הרשות אלא הזמן של קנין. [כנראה שלא כמו שפירש את ההלכה ברמב''ם]. כדי לענות על שאלה זו, אני רק אגיד שאם הוראה זו תהיה כמו החכמים אז ברור שלא תהיה שאלה כי המוכר היה צריך להביא הוכחות כי הגניבה קרתה לאחר המכירה. אבל זה סומכוס ולכן אנחנו לא דנים מי צריך להביא ראיה. השאלה היחידה היא הזמן של מכירה ביחס לזמן הגניבה.
I have thought hard on the basic aspects  Nachman from Uman and my basic feeling is that his advice and ideas are very valuable. It is not that all the groups founded that go by his name are very good but that he himself had very important ideas concerning Torah.
The main problem is that people generally associate his name with the groups that the Gra put into excommunication.
 It is a problem that his good ideas get used to seduce and influence others to do bad stuff.

4.8.17

I have vision about the importance of learning Torah as the central focus. But it is like a star in the center of a constellation of related values..
Some people have related values but lack the central focus.

The basic way this works is in the context of an authentic Litvak yeshiva. In such a place the areas of focus become clear. 

What this weary world needs most is clarity of vision

What this weary world needs most is clarity of vision. The problem that most people get into is they find some value they can see is clear and good. Yet they are unaware that that value is connected to other values which are far from good or decent. No value is a value unto itself but is always connected to other values and often those other values are downright evil.
I could go on with many examples but I am sure you can provide your own examples since thss phenomenon is so widespread.


Most consciousness traps work in this way. They emphasis some good and true area of value but unseen with that area are other areas of values that are negative.
For this reason there really is no other choice but to be committed to simple learning Torah and doing what it says.--especially the Ten Commandments and to learn Rav Shach's Avi Ezri and to volunteer for the IDF.
As I think about Rav Shach's treatment of the Rambam, laws of Acquisition 20:14 and 15 I realize there is something deep and subtle going on there that I have not yet grasped. What makes the case of the exchange of animals a case where we consider the owner of the cow to have not yet taken possession of the חמור  even though the owner of the חמור has taken possession of the cow? It is true that the חמור has not yet come into his domain but he still owns it.

The answer to this question is that the essential thing here is it is the domain that matters, not ownership. This is like we see in the Rambam laws of Acquisition 22:9. if one has an object that he has given to another for safekeeping, he can still give it away or sell it because it is considered to be in his domain. But if the person he gave it to for safekeeping denies the whole thing, then the owner can no longer sell it of give it away because it is no considered any longer to be in his domain.
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 רמב''ם , ה'מכירה  פרק כ' הלכה י''ד והלכה ט''ו.  What makes the case of the exchange of animals a case where we consider the owner of the cow to have not yet taken possession of the חמור  even though the בעל of the חמור has taken possession of the cow? It is true that the חמור has not yet come into his domain but he still owns it.

The answer to this question is that the essential thing here is it is the רשות that matters, not ownership. This is like we see in the רמב''ם , ה'מכירה  פרק כ''ב הלכה ט . if one has an object that he has given to another for safekeeping, he can still give it away or sell it because it is considered to be in his domain. But if the person he gave it to for safekeeping denies the whole thing, then the owner can no longer sell it of give it away because it is no considered any longer to be in his  רשות.

 רמב''ם, ה' מכירה פרק כ" הלכה י''ד והלכה ט''ו. מה שהופך את המקרה של חילופי חיות מקרה שבו אנו רואים את הבעלים של הפרה  כמו שלא לקח עדיין ברשותו את החמור אף שהבעלים של החמור קנו  את הפרה?  נכון כי החמור טרם הגיע אל התחום שלו אבל הוא עדיין החמור של בעלים של הפרה. התשובה לשאלה זו היא כי הדבר העקרי הנה הוא הרשות שחשובה, לא בעלות. זה כמו שאנו רואים רמב''ם, ה' מכירה פרק כ''ב הלכה ט'. אם לאחד יש אובייקט שהוא נתן למשנהו למשמרת, הוא עדיין יכול לתת אותו או למכור אתו כי זה נחשב בתחום שלו. אבל אם האדם  שניתן לו למשמרת מכחיש את העניין, אז הבעלים כבר לא יכולים למכור אותו או לתת אותו כי הוא לא נחשב עוד להיות ברשות שלו.

So now that I have arrived at this amazing conclusion that what matters here is רשות, not ownership, it is possible to raise a question on Rav Shach. He brings the Tosephta that says  המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשוך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו and says that can not be talking about the רשות But rather the time of the קנין. To answer  this question let me just say if this teaching would be like the sages then clearly there would be no question that the seller would have to bring a proof that the theft happened after the sale. But this is סומכוס and so we are not discussing who has to bring a proof. the only question is the time of the sale in relation to the time of the theft.


------------
 I am really not sure of what is going on in the רמב''ם and in רב שך. The way I understood the רמב''ם ה' מכירה כ:י''ד is when there is an exchange of animals and one is found dead that the seller of that animal has to bring the proof. That is different than in רמב''ם ה' מכירה כ:ט''ו in which an animal is found טרף  in which case the buyer has to bring a proof.  I thought and I think the reason for the difference is חזקת הגוף. The animal had חזקת כשרות until the last possible moment. In the case the גמרא brings in כתובות ע''ו י''ב the bride was found with a blemish and the father has to bring a proof it happened after the engagement. So there we do not go by חזקת כשרות and חזקת הגוף. Nor in the exchange of two animals do we go by חזקת הגוף that it was alive until the last possible minute. Perhaps it is possible to suggest a a reason for the רמב''ם  that is based on תוספות in נידה ב:ב that חזקת השתא cancels חזקה מעיקרא unless some other חזקה comes along to strengthen the חזקה מעיקרא? But then why would that not work for the טבח In ה' מיכרה כ:ט''ו

I had one or two more points to make today in reference to the ideas I rote own yesterday on Rav Shach's question on the Tosephta.
First of all I am really not sure of what is going on in the Rambam and in Rav Shach. The way I understood the Rambam [Laws of Acquisition 20:14] is when there is an exchange of animals and one is found dead that the seller of that animal has to bring the proof. That is different than in ch 20 law 15 in which an animal is found Treif [it had a puncture in its lung] in which case the buyer has to bring a proof.  I thought and I think the reason for the difference is חזקת הגוף. The animal had חזקת כשרות until the last possible moment. In the case the gemara brings in Ketuboth 76B the bride was found with a blemish and the father has to bring a proof it happened after the engagement. So there we do not go by חזקת כשרות and חזקת הגוף. Nor in the exchange of two animals do we go by חזקת הגוף that it was alive until the last possible minute. Perhaps it is possible to suggest a a reason for the Rambam that is based on Tosphot in Nida page 2b that חזקת השתא cancels חזקה מעיקרא unless some other חזקה comes along to strengthen the חזקה מעיקרא? But then why would that not work for the טבח In ה' מיכרה כ:ט''ו








On a side issue The Ketzot says in a case an object was stolen and it is not know if it was before or after the קנין the proof is upon the buyer. Rav Shach simply points out this is in contradiction to both the Rambam and Rav Joseph Karo-but like almost all other Rishonim like the Rosh and the Ran.

The final idea today is the Ari, Isaac Luria. To intend the intentions can be a long and difficult process. Therefore it is  a good idea to get either the small Sidur of the Reshash or the large one.

The small one seems good to me but I have heard that Rav Mordedchai Sharabi said there were some mistakes in it. I myself used the large one [which has the intentions of the Ari in expanded form by the Grandson of the Reshash.] If one is lacking the background for that I think the best idea is to learn  the Eitz Chaim of the Ari and Reb Chaim Vital.  When to do this? I think after having finished Shas twice. {That is what Reb Shmuel Berenbaum told me.} To do this learning however for me at this point seems to be pointless but I still can see its great value for people that are sensitive to that area of value.

[The Ashlag edition of  the writings of the Arizal are the best.] In any case when it comes to Kabalah, the Ashkenazim world is way too filled with the teachings of the Sitra Achra in disguise.






3.8.17

The תוספתא ב''מ פרק ג'  says המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו This is clearly like סומכוס ממון המוטל בספק חולקים.  In the רמב''ם laws of מכירה כ:י''ד רב שך says clearly the argument is when the theft occurred before or after the קנין. This can not be they are arguing  in whose domain the animal was when it was stolen, because that would not be דררא דממונא. We need they should themselves be in doubt for there to be דררא דממונא
But then it should be a simple case of מי שנולד הספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה. That is the question of Rav Shach
I would like to suggest a possible answer to this question based on the version of the גמרא in ב''מ page ק' that says אלא הא מני סומכוס. That is the גמרא there says that סומכוס says ממון המוטל בספק חולקים even when the animal there gave birth in the domain of the seller. Thus even when there is חזקת רשות we find that סומכוס still says his law.

התוספתא ב''מ פרק ג' אומרת המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו. זהו בבירור כסומכוס, - ממון המוטל בספק חולקים. ברמב''ם הלכות מכירה כ:י''ד רב שך אומר בבירור הטענות הן בזמן הגניבה התרחשה לפני או אחרי קנין. זה לא יכול להיות שהם מתווכחים על התחום אשר החיה הייתה כשנגנבה משום שזה לא יהיה דררא דממונא. אנחנו צריכים שטוענים יהיו  בספק כדי שיהיה דררא דממונא. אבל אז רב שך שאול שזה צריך להיות שאלה פשוטה של מי שנולד ספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה גם לבסומכוס. ברצוני להציע תשובה אפשרית לשאלה זו מבוססת על הגרסה של הגמרא בב''מ דף ק. שאומרת "אלא הא מני סומכוס". זוהי שגמרא שם אומרת כי סומכוס אומר ממון מוטל בספק חולקים גם כאשר החיה הולידה בתחום המוכר. לכן גם כאשר קיימת חזקת רשות אנו מוצאים כי סומכוס עדיין אומר החוק שלו.

I still am puzzled about some things here like the fact that the Tosephta seems to need to be explained as the question is when did the theft occur before or after the acquisition while in the Rambam Laws of Acquisition 20:14 and 20:15 the question is in whose domain did the problem occur.
The Tosephta (BM ch 3) says המוכר פרה לחבירו ונגנבה זה אומר ברשותך נגנבה וזה אומר ברשותך יחלוקו This is clearly like Sumchos ממון המוטל בספק חולקים.  Rav Shach says clearly the argument is when the theft occurred before or after the קנין. This can not be they are arguing  in whose domain the animal as when it was stolen because that would not be דררא דממונא. we need they should themselves be in doubt for there to be דררא דממונא
But then it should be a simple case of מי שנולד הספק ברשותו עליו להביא את הראיה
I would like to suggest a possible answer to this question based on the version of the Gemara in BM page 100 that says אלא הא מני סומכוס. That is the gemara there says that סומכוס says ממון המוטל בספק חולקים even when the animal there gave birth in the domain of the seller. Thus even when there is חזקת רשות we find that סומכוס still says his law.