Translate

15.5.12

According to the Torah, a lesbian relationship is not a sin at all. A male homosexual act gets the death penalty if the act is done on purpose in front of two witnesses. You need a court of 23 judges that have the authentic ordination also. (That ordination does not exist anymore.)

A lesbian relationship is not sin. A male homosexual act is a sin. That means if the act is done in front of two witnesses and a warning is given that the act is a sin and receives the death penalty, then the penalty is given.

Situation two: If there are not two kosher witnesses, and the act was done on purpose there is nothing one can do but repent. Repentance means that one accepts upon himself not to repeat the act. This by definition brings Divine forgiveness.

Situation three: If the sin was done by accident [for example a man thought it was his wife in bed with him] then he must bring a sin offering. This can't be brought anywhere except in the Temple in Jerusalem. In fact, bringing a offering anywhere else is a sin on the same level as homosexuality. This is explicit in the Torah (Old Testament) itself. That means that at the time there was a movable Tabernacle, one could only bring offerings there. And to bring one elsewhere is a sin of "cutting off" (which is called karet כרת in Hebrew). Once the Temple was in Jerusalem, it can't be erected else as Nathan the prophet said to King David.

So nowadays we (Jews and Gentiles) can't bring a sin offering anywhere. However repentance is always open to every person and always helps. (Repentance is accepting on oneself not to repeat the sin and confession before God and feeling guilty about the sin.)
No matter what where the circumstance repentance always brings some measure of forgiveness.

[If not for the words of Nathan the prophet to King David, then we would be able to build another Temple anywhere in the world. The problem nowadays is that Nathan said the Temple Mount would be the only place God would rest his presence from then on. So we are kind of stuck.]

Appendix: Repentance is simply accepting on oneself not to do the sin that he did. How do we know this? From the law that if a person does kidushin [marries a woman] on condition that he is a perfect saint even if he is a perfect criminal she is considered married because of a doubt: he might have thought not to repeat his sins ever again at the time he made the marriage. So we learn that if he in fact did think to never repeat his sins he is in fact a perfect saint. That is repentance is that hard and that easy. It is a thought. But a thought with that much power and conviction that in fact one never repeats the sin. It has little to do with what most people think of as repentance. If you want to see proofs in the Torah for this I suggest reading the book Gates of Repentance by Rabanu Yona where he bring Biblical proof.



About Kabalah today



 Isaac Luria  had some amazing revelations, but his revelations weree based on his own perception of the divine realm. This is a different type of perception than the perception that the Torah was written by. This type of perception in most cases has to pass through the Intermediate Zone. This is what gives it its mixed results.

In any case I think Rav Shicks emphasis on unifications is wrong. I did this because I was attached to Rav Shick but today I think this emphasis is wrong. Though I agree learning the Ari [Isaac Luria] is important. However I do not recommend the Zohar. Even if the Ari used it as a jumping board for his revelations still I think it is not from the Rashbi. I admit it is just one word which convinces me of this  עם כל דא "although." This usage for "although" is an invention of the Ibn  Tibon family [עם כל זה]. It is not ancient Aramaic but a medieval invention. So what is it doing all over the Zohar? Answer: The Zohar was written by Moshe DeLeon.
If we would be talking about ancient Hebrew or Aramaic it would say אף על פי.


13.5.12

Allan Bloom: "Descartes' ego, in appearance invulnerable and godlike in its calm and isolation, turns out to be the tip of an iceberg floating in a fathomless and turbulent sea called the id, consciousness an epiphenomenon of the unconscious. Man is self, that
now seems clear. But what is self?
Our embraced psychology leaves us with this question."

I would like to suggest that this relates to the mind body problem. I don't think we need to come to the idea of the soul to understand the self. I think the soul can exist and that God can reward a person for good deeds in the next world. But I don't think you need the soul to understand the self.

So there are three domains of the mind: Biology, Human Psychology, Spiritual. Each interact. But it is not reductive. Each interacts in a chaotic way.
So even if there biological origins of some, still some spiritual free will will interact with it, and so will some aspect that is of human psychology but not spiritual. 

12.5.12

But this secular system of the USA can work only if the center core is based on the numinous sacred power of the Torah


But this secular system of the USA can work only if the center core is based on the numinous sacred power of the Torah. And the central core of the Torah is not the book itself but rather two central themes which permeate the entire Torah and form its own core and central value system--the coming of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and the building on the Temple in Jerusalem.

8.5.12




A general Biblical approach to womanhood would be first of all not like the feminist movement. It would also include the idea of dipping in a natural body of water once a month. It would also include a day of rest, not on Sunday. It would go against socialism, as being opposed to "Thou shalt not covet."

It would  not be liberal with commandments. That is it would not expand them beyond their actual definitions. But it would not contract them either. And it would assume that what God means to say in the Bible, is what it actually says.

We know that as a matter of fact most of the commandments of the Bible were addressed to the Jewish people in the desert. But that does not preclude anyone from joining the club who wants to join. But if you join the club you have to obey the rules. You don't get to change them. Even Jews don't get to change them. The rules stay fixed like the Northern Star.

7.5.12

Just like in the Torah itself different weight should be given to different verses, also this applies to doctrines of Torah. [You would not put a sentence from Bilam like come curse Israel and put it on the same level as a verse that starts with "And God spoke to Moses saying..." Surely cursing Israel can't be on the same level as one of the Ten Commandments.--I hope not anyway. Though judging by the general attitude of the world towards the Jews it seems like most people consider Bilam's commandment to be authoritative.] The Torah itself has basic doctrines that disagree with Jewish theology which came after Torah. Also the Talmud has different doctrines that are different than those of Jewish thinkers which came later. The Rambam (Maimonides) also has a system of doctrines which is different from those that came after the Rambam. And as for myself I also have two sources of information which I hold from personally--Reason (the school of Leibniz) and Empirical evidence. (Not like John Locke. I don't think empirical evidence is the only source of knowledge. And I think it can be proved logically that it is not by simple counter examples.) Also I believe there is a third type of source of knowledge called faith
At any rate, ethical monotheism is certainly a belief of the Torah and in particular the doctrine that God is simple- not a composite. This incidentally is accepted by Christians also and is called "divine simplicity." However the Rambam has a few doctrines which are not from the Torah, nor from the Talmud. He expands the prohibition of idolatry to include the idea that God can be enclosed in body. This is certainly against the Talmud which has God clothing himself in a body to give a haircut to Sancheriv. It is also not the basic idea of idolatry of the Torah itself.
Also, in the Torah God does change his mind. According to the Rambam basing himself on Aristotle God can't change his mind. This simply is against the Torah. Point blank.
Another example is Job. The Talmud and the Rambam because of theological reasons can't accept basic premises of the Book of Job. The reason is that the book of Job goes against the book of Deuteronomy. But in the book of Job, the narrator makes it absolutely clear in the beginning that Job was innocent, and he was not being punished for any sin at all. This is an absolutely clear part of the narrative because without this the entire narrative falls apart. And in the end God says that Job was right and his friends theology was wrong. [This is also against Jewish tradition. His friends were saying the regular Jewish approach.]

Final note: Any system of human interaction, if brought to its extreme, will result in evil. finding bad things in the Talmud or Rambam does nothing to disprove the basic system.you can do the same thing with democracy. The problem with outreach in general is that it is based on the jelly bean argument. If you have only two jelly beans in a jar and you take out the red ones you are-left with the other one. An example of this type of argument is: since all gentiles are evil so the Torah is automatically right.

4.5.12

People in general need a moral compass. Reform Judaism seeing the abuses and problems of Jewish leadership, decided the most current up to date German philosophy of the 19th century was the way to go. The sad thing is the most up to date and popular German thinker was Hegel. (Later they added Freud who based himself on Nietzsche.) Reform Judaism could not have chosen a worse philosophy even if they had tried.