A school that would take the Rambam would learn Mishne Torah, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and Physics

I suggest a school that would take the Rambam/Maimonides seriously. That would be Tenach [Old Testament] and the Mishna Torah of the Rambam himself (containing the entire oral law) plus Maase Merchava (Aristotle and Plato) and Maase Breshit (Math, Physics, chemistry, and Biology.)Talmud \The Rambam also held it is a small thing as compared to science and philosophy (as he understood science and philosophy which means Greek philosophy and natural science—not all the nonsense today which poses as science).

 To understand halacha, is impossible without the Rambam. (The Beit Yoseph wanted to decide like the Rambam. And he knew the Rambam and the Rif always poskin (decide) the same way except in one particular tractate (Ketubot) in which they always disagree. Saying to go by the majority of Rif, Rambam, and Rosh just means that he decided like the Rambam in 80% of cases. Still I admit to understand the Rambam on any particular case without the Gemara is also impossible.

I met one fellow who had a edition of the Mishne Torah with no commentary at all.
That seems to me to be  a great idea for a halacha session. But it does not take the place of learning Gemara.

To sum up: In the Mir Yeshiva in NY there was an official Halacah session from 9:15 AM until 10:00 AM. In practice this  was only from 9:30 until 10. At 10:00 you learned Talmud until 1:45 PM which is when the Musar session began. What I suggest for halacah is to do the Rambam with little or no commentary. In the afternoon learn the Metaphysics of Aristotle as the Rambam said and also Modern Physics. This would be the complete Rambam program in three easy steps.

(1) Rambam with the Gemara and Rav Shach's Avi Ezri, (2)The Metaphysics of Aristotle. (3) Physics. 



Is it not better to see the chazon ish as simply seeing the failure of musar to create moral people even to the degree of having a simple understanding of the difference between right and wrong and concluding that no one has so far not found a better solution that sitting and learning Gemara?I do agree that it might have been deeper also. Perhaps the Chazon Ish had discovered the vast underworlds inside the Self that he thought was better not to open up like some Pandora’s box. I see all the time all types of distorted warped sanctimonious personalities that come out of of the religious world.


The Ari over the Ramak

 Kabalah. There are serious problems involved in learning it. The Ari himself warns that one who is not properly prepared, Kabalah kills them--spiritually. [That statemnt is in Parshat Haazinu]. [And the Ari repeats this warning  a few places].  That means: they enter into the Intermediate Zone and think they have reached great spiritual heights, when really they have sunken deeply into a world illusion. And who am I to argue with Isaac Luria?
So learning Kabalah at all should be short and sweet.--if at all.
And if you do learn it at least make sure it is authentic.

Kabalah in the Ashkenazic world after 1700's  got thematic material from Shabati Tzvi. Plus most Ashkenazic interpretations of the Ari are all derived from Natan the false prophet of the Shatz.

So my recommendation when it comes to Kabbalah is to learn one or all three of these schools of thought: 1) Reshash (Shalom Sharabi) --in Jerusalem that would be the yeshiva, Shaar Hashamayim of Mordechai Sharabi. 2) Yaakov Abuchatzeira --in Israel that would be David Abuchatzeira in Nahariya. 3) Moshe Luzzatto.

You could do this on your own if you are not in Israel. The Kabbalah Center in Israel has a great edition of the Ari, with Shalom Sharabi's book in the back of the Eitz Chaim and the notes of the disciple of the Ashlag. And that is a very good place to start.
As for what people are looking for authentic kabbalists or mystics-- I think many descendants of Bava Sali [maybe all] have some degree of the Divine Spirit because of some kind of merit that he must have had.
In Netivot, I was very impressed with Shimon Buso, a grandson of Bava Sali from the side of his mother. If authentic mystics is what you are looking for, that is probably the first place I would start.--and his mother also -the daughter of Bava Sali Avigail Buso.

But outside of that Abuchatzeira  family, I would avoid mystics. Most are heavily into the Intermediate Zone, and drag their followers down into the bowels of hell with them. I see this all the time.


In the thought of Isaac Luria the way the world was created was this

 In the thought of Isaac Luria the way the world was created was this: (step 1) The light of God is everywhere and thus no place for creation. (step 2) He withdraws himself from a certain area to create an empty space ("the Halal Hapanui"). (step 3) Then He sends down his light into that space; first as 10 circles [concentric spheres like an onion], and then in the form of a human being (Adam Kadmon), mentioned by Hegel.  (Step 4) Then the light comes down from Adam Kadmon to make the world of "Nekudim". (step 5) Shevirat Hakelim breaking of the vessels of Nekudim. (step 6) Bringing up the broken vessels and bringing down the light of the Divine name 45 to create the world of Emanation. (step 7) Ditto for the world of Creation, Formation and then the Physical Universe.

[This is based mainly on the verses of the Old Testament about the kings of Edom mentioned in Genesis.]

The main place to learn this is in the עץ חיים or מבוא שערים.

[I should mention that the Gra held highly with the Ari.]

The major thing to learn in the Ari is the Tree of Life.  In terms of the intentions I have found the best thing is the large sidur of the grandson of the Reshash. If one does not have that, then the best in the small set of the Sidur HaReshash. Both are good but the large sidur is more thorough. [The small one is actually a version not directly from the Reshash himself.]  


The Rambam posits a system of a priori values that the mitzvoth are to bring to.

Learning Rambam is not claiming he had absolute truth.
It is searching to truth and justice. The Rambam posits a system of a priori values that the mitzvas are to bring to. [The Sefer Hachinuch brings them on each commandment] Certainly you will admit that is already an improvement on judicial activism of Supreme Court judges that think that if they say something that makes it moral and obligatory for people to listen to them. 

But there are books on a secondary level that are needed to find the depth of the first level books--for instance Aristotle I think is necessary to understand Plato. Some later people are important to understand Kant.

So an author like Reb Chayim HaLevi is important to understand the depth of a first level person like Maimonides. For example most people open up a Rambam and don’t see any problem at all. (They never get past the superficial level.)


What happens when you read book is your stream of consciousness is focused into what the book is saying. And if it is bad it can affect you badly. And some of it might even seep into your sub level subconscious]

I think most problems in the  world comes from a blurring of the distinction between
 books and great  books.
I mean there are  Jewish books that are not great. Even bad. [What happens when you read book is your stream of consciousness is focused into what the book is saying. And if it is bad it can affect you badly. And some of it might even seep into your sub level subconscious]

My orientation is as a Rationalist. But that does not cancel out the fact that I believe knowledge is available by non rational non perceptive means.
I have great respect for the Ari (Isaac Luria)and Rambam
The general rule of thumb I would like to suggest is that people learn the great books of Torah that are original, fresh, powerful, i.e. The Torah, Talmud (Gemara, Rashi, Tosphot).


The more spirit the less form

The more spirit the less form. Content increases as form lessens. In total form (logic) each sentence has no content (the sentences of logic are just A, B, C and you can fill them with anything) then science has more content but less formal logic behind it. Then morality and ethics has even more content (people and the meaning of life) the God is beyond logical form (even the impossible is possible) but total content.
So in this context I would say that Orthodox Judaism in as much as it stresses halacha loses spiritual content