Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Physics. Show all posts


Oral and Written Law, Physics, and Metaphysics.

In math we have necessary and sufficient conditions for certain solutions to apply for some differential equation.  In a parallel vein I have the idea that the approach of Maimonides  is necessary and sufficient. That is the Oral and Written Law, Physics, and Metaphysics. [These last two are  necessary because the Rambam considers them to be what the Sages of the Talmud called מעשה בראשית ומעשה מרכבה the Work of Creation and the Work of the Divine Chariot that are both refereed to in the first mishna in the second chapter of tractate Hagiga. The Rambam is not thinking all secular knowledge is a good thing Rather he has a specific reason for emphasis these last two subjects.

His approach to this Physics and Metaphysics is scattered over many places in the Mishne Torah and the Guide and also in the commentary on the Mishna. The basic idea is that while most people think the Gemara is referring to kabalah the Rambam clearly disagrees. Saadia Geon wrote a commentary on Sefer Yetzira and the Rambam was familiar with everything that Saadia Geon wrote. Still niether him nor Saadia Geon thought the Kabalah was the Work of Creation and the Work of the Divine Chariot.

The problem I have is that the religious world seems to me to be "off the derech (path)." The fanatic religious people from Israel seem to me to be clinically insane. But even the more down to earth rational approach of New York seems a bit off. And I can not figure out what the problem is.  At best I have a workable solution for myself. I try to stick with this basic approach of the Rambam which was clearly also the approach of my parents. But in what way the religious world has gone wrong seems to me to be a mystery.

Some people seem to believe the Rambam gives a blank check to all secular disciples.-even those that are obviously pseudo science. Other think the only added things outside of the Oral and written Law are Kabalah. The Rambam clearly disagreed with both of these opinions.

[Incidentally I met a fellow  who had the entire Mishne Torah of the Rambam as one book. I do not remember if it was the Yemenite version of Rav Kapach. He also had with him the letters of the son of the Rambam  print by the Rav Kook Institute, However at this point in my learning the Oral Law I would prefer to learn the Gemara straight with Rashi Tosphot and the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach.]


Math, Physics, Gemara Musar, Music, Survival Skills.

I mentioned a few times that my basic approach is Torah with Derech Eretz [manners and a vocation.]. That is Math, Physics, Gemara Musar, Music, Survival Skills. But also I wanted to add the learning these things does not depend on understanding. There is such a thing as a mitzvah to learn Torah even though you do not understand. This is not just because it is assumed that with lots of review one will eventually understand. There is also the idea that in the next world one will be reminded and understand everything he tried to understand in this world but was not able to do so.
This forms the basis of the type of fast learning that all authentic Litvak yeshivas do in the afternoon and I showed how this comes from the Talmud itself. לעולם לגרס איניש אע''ג דמשכח ואע''ג דלא ידע מאי קאמר

I mentioned this in reference to Tosphot --just to say it over day after day, even for months until you understand.[Unless you are learning with a learning partner. In that case you do this kind of learning on your own time.]

But also this applies to learning Gemara, and Tur, Beit Joseph. To put a place marker in the book and every day do one whole page in order, and the next day to go on from where you left off.

I wanted to add the idea of learning standing. This is also a great help to understanding. I remember that this was how I did a lot of the writings of the Ari(zal),  Isaac Luria. I did not have "Stender" at home so I pulled out the shelf of one cabinet and stood up learning the Ari. [Not during "seder" or regular yeshiva hours 10:00-2:00 4:00-8:00]

This should not be taken as a kind of agreement with the Ultra Religious who are insane. This should only be taken as agreement with Lithuanian yeshivas  where Torah is learned for its own sake. Nothing else in the religious world do I consider kosher at all. [In fact the Gra knew exactly what he was doing when he signed the Cherem and it is wrong for people to ignore it, because it relates to objective reality.] This affected the entire frum world including the yeshivas. Even the yeshivas have gotten a share of the kelipot that penetrated into them. They will make a song and dance around secular Jews that have money but treat other people like dirt.


Gemara, Musar, Physics, Math, Music and Survival

The reason my idea of a yeshiva having Gemara, Musar, Physics, Math, Music and Survival Skills, is to some degree based on the Rambam but also experience. [The Rambam's opinion about the importance of Physics is well known but ignored. So to bring it up would make no difference. If they ignore the Rambam already then why what I say make any difference.]
But the experience I have shows me the Torah alone approach rarely results in any kind of decent person. Sometimes you will have elevated people like Bava Sali, but that is rare. The general result of Torah alone is not very good. Religious fanaticism at the cost of being decent human beings seems like a bad trade off.

Plus the religious fanaticism does not result in Torah anyway, rather in fetishes like "zniut" and obsession with sex of other kinds of religious obsessions which have nothing to do with Torah.  And then they expect to get paid for their religious fetish and idiotic behavior. And then condemn anyone that does not conform their their confused sick ideas of what Torah is about.
Ultra-religious does not equal righteousness nor holiness. It just results in sanctimonious jerks.
I am not saying one should interrupt his Torah study to make money. Rather if one is in a situation where he can sit and learn Torah, then he should do so and trust in God to take care of his needs. [However I do consider the above six subjects to be a part of a Torah education as the Rambam also held.] 


Learning fast. Say the words in order and go on is the way to learn Torah, Physics and Math.

Learning fast was an idea that for me had a lot of support. There were the popular speed reading books around in those days. Then there was a collage I applied to that was all about reading fast and going through a few book every week. Then Reb Simcha Wassermann gave me the Musar book אורחות צדיקים Ways of the Righteous that had a whole chapter about going through Shas lots of times fast. Even in violin I saw that when I prepared by just going through the piece straight lots of times I did a lot better at my violin lesson, than if I spend time on the single parts that were giving me trouble.

So in terms of Torah learning this is what I tried to do. At some point however it seemed to me that by just concentrating on a single Tosphot that I would make more progress than if I just read on. So my feeling is that for every subject one does he or she should combine both methods fast and in depth.

In fact,- because not everyone has a authentic Lithuanian yeshiva nearby, and it is wise to avoid hasidic cults so one does not lose his sanity, I think the best idea for Torah study is to buy one tractate and a book of Musar  and just learn them at home.

[Simcha Wassermann was incidentally the son of Reb Elchanan Wassermann the major disciple of the Chafetz Chaim. He was the one to recommend to me to go to the Shar Yeshuv yeshiva in NY which eventually got me to the Mir. I used to hang out with him and in his yeshiva in those ancient days. I ate with him and his wife on Shabat and went to his yeshiva at the end of classes in high school. But I can see today that to have gotten anywhere in Gemara I really needed to go to NY.]

In yeshiva it was possible for me to have long sessions. The normal yeshiva session was from about 915 until 205 and then Mincha. [5 hours]. The from 330 until 815 and then Maariv.  [Also circa 5 hours]. But since I left yeshiva I have found short sessions to be more workable for me.] That is if find I can not do that long stretch, then I try to break up the day into small segments. --Almost teh same way they do in high school.

In any case what I suggest is one session to go through the entire oral and written law words for word from beginning to end. That is Gemara Rashi Tosphot Mahrasha and Maharam  about a half a page per day. [That is about 40 minutes per day.] Then when you have gone through the Bavli that way then the Jerusalem Talmud in the same way-with the Pnei Moshe. Then the Tosephta, Mechilta Sifra Sifri and Midrashim.

[This would work well for Physics also I assume. The trouble is that Physics needs a lot of time just like Torah does. It is hard enough to get to any degree of expertise in one area.]


Torah, Physics, Metaphysics

The secrets of Torah called מעשה בראשית and מעשה מרכבה I would like to suggest are learning Physics and Meta-Physics.  And therefore worth spending time on. And I would also like to suggest how to spend time on them.
(1) As proof of my first contention I can simply refer to the Rambam who says this openly in the Guide for the Perplexed.  To believe it is hard because you need אמונת חכמים belief in the wise. But if you have belief that the Rambam was wise then this is already established. A second proof will be my previews essays that show the Kabalah is a synthesis of Pre Socratics. It more fits the context of Medieval Alchemy than being insightful into the actual nature of things.
(2) The way to learn depends on age. But it is universal that the first moments when you get up in the morning are the most essential. Thus I say to boil ground coffee together with ground tea leaves as one. Drink this with Chalva or something and then learn for as long as this gets you. Then what I think helps learning after that is sit-ups and push-ups. This kind of exercise helps to continue learning. It is much better than jogging which causes one to not be able to learn afterwards.

[In NY they tend to drip hot water onto coffee and I don't think that is as effective as boiling it directly in a pot. Also my mother in law Rita Finn said to let it boil for 30 seconds. Or what I do since I don't have a watch I cover the pan and wait until the steam comes out furiously. I also do squat and stand as I wait. Try about 10 at first. That is something I saw on Russian TV and it makes sense to me even though they did not teach that to me in high school.]]

(3) If you learn the Ari as a great commentary on Torah and  great synthesis of medieval thought then by all means do it. But avoid all later people that supposedly were explaining the Ari. I first of all consider it amazingly stupid for people to claim they were on the level or higher than the Ari. Especially since they are usually highly deluded schizophrenic manics as a rule. Next all mystic writings after the Ari all are from the Sitra Achra as a rule. [I mean Kelipa Noga as the Gra said.} That is their revelations are to put it bluntly are simply not true. But they are poplar because of entertainment value and emotional value. Not truth value.



I love learning Physics and MetaPhysics

A Rambam Yeshiva would not be anything like the yeshivas we see today. The books there would be the Mishne Torah and Aristotle's encyclopedic work Physics and his other encyclopedic work,  Metaphysics. He writes clearly in several places the the Mishne Torah contains the entire Oral Law and if he has that book he does not need Talmud or the writings of the Geonim. He could not be any more explicit if he tried.  In the beginning of Mishne Torah he writes that the Mishne Torah contains all the Oral Law and take a good look at his language there when he says "One does not need any other book from among them." [ביניהם not בינתיים.] That is one reads the Old Testament and then the Mishne Torah and one does not need any other book from among the books that he just mentioned in that paragraph. Look at that paragraph and you will see he does not mean to learn Mishne Torah and then Talmud. He clearly meant his book to replace the Talmud. Period.

So you can ask then what to do after you have read the Mishne Torah? You can finish it in one month easily. Start at 9:00 AM and go until 5:00 PM. A normal working day. You can finish it in two weeks. Then he explains you learn "the work of Creation and the Divine Chariot which are the Physics and Metaphysics of the ancient Greeks." Here too he explains this clearly in several places in the Mishne Torah and  Guide. And he not ambiguous in any way. You can see what enraged people about the Rambam. He says after one has finished reading the Written and Oral law (as he defines Oral Law to mean his book the Mishne Torah), then he spends all his days learning Physics and Metaphysics.
And don't think that was the major thing that caused the controversy about him. In fact in the very first controversy these outrageous statements did not even come into play as a factor.
The thing that condemned him in the eyes of the Jewish world was that he said not to give money to yeshivas.   And this was in the commentary on the Mishna which was read by all Jews everywhere. He writes that on Avot chapter 4 Mishna 7.
[His idea there is that there is no mitzvah to give money to someone who can work but refuses to do so. Also his idea is that it is forbidden to be נהנה from words of Torah. The Gra also compares words of Torah to הקדש. This is a whole subject in itself but in any case it is important to understand the Rambam  and not to try  to explain away what he says. And this applies to everything in Torah. The first thing is not to explain away things you don't like. Rather if you can't keep what it says then don't keep what it says, but don't try to say it means something besides what it in fact says.]

So clearly a Rambam approach to Torah  would be a radical departure from what people think today compromises a Torah approach. And he writes in a letter that the only reason that his book was not accepted as the final decision is because of the arrogance and pride of people wanting honor and power. So when the final redemption comes and arrogance and the evil inclination will be eliminated from the world then his book will be accepted as the objective truth. In the future the Mishne Torah of the Rambam will be considered as the truth and final decision. The son of the Rambam who became the Rav of the city after the Rambam in fact taught the Mishna Torah instead of Mishna or other things that had been customary to teach between the afternoon and evening prayers.

 My personal opinion is that Physics today (and Meta-Physics) has gone considerably beyond Aristotle and that today the Rambam would hold to learn the Old Testament, then the Mishne Torah and then modern Physics and Kant.

And I should mention that this is the way I have accustomed myself to be learning for some time now. The only thing is I admit I do learn Talmud as I thing it is the only way to understand the Mishne Torah. Without knowing from where the Rambam gets his decision, people always misunderstand what he is saying. [And they think they understand.] For that reason, one should also learn Talmud and Rav Shach's commentary on the Rambam together with the Rambam after finishing it at least once.