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17.11.13

David Abuchatzeira, the older brother of Bava Sali

The subject of David Abuchatzeira, the older brother of Bava Sali who was killed by Muslim fundamentalists in Morocco. 

A few stories about the  Abuchatzeira family


To begin with one minor story. The younger brother of David Abuchatzeira,  Isaac used to go around in Morocco collecting money for the school of Reb Masud in Tapilalt.  Issac loved a drink of alcohol called Irak. He got to one home, and asked for money. After they gave he asked for a drink. They said they do not have any. He said, "Yes, you do. I see it in such and such a place in your home." 
They said, "Yes, but that is saved for our son's Bar Mitzvah and the future weddings of our children."
He said, "Give some to me now, and I promise to you that that supply will never run out, -but only on condition that you never look inside to see it."

They did as he asked. After that they never ran out for many years. They simply lowered the bucket into the supply which was in an underground cistern and the bucket always came up full. This sufficed for all their children's weddings and bar mitzvahs.

One day the wife of the family could not contain her curiosity any longer and had to take one peek to see what in the world was going on. She could not believe how their original tiny supply could have provided so much. When she lifted the cover to look, all she saw was a well that was as dry as a desert and an empty broken bucket in the bottom of the well. That was the last day that it ever provided any Irak.
 Once I was at the home of the daughter of Bava Sali [Yisrael Abuchatzeira] and was discussing the importance vitamins and proper nutrition every day. She told me that she does not know about such things but she remembered that when she was a small girl it was her job to bring a daily meal to her father. It those days Bava Sali was in the attic in their home and did not come out for about two weeks at a time. No one really knows what he was doing in that tiny room for two weeks. He might have been learning Torah or praying or whatever. There is no information about it. But she would come in the morning, and leave a plate of food at the entrance to the attic. And in the evening she would return and the plate was always still there untouched.
Once in a Mikvah in Safed a grandson of a Moroccan Jew told me that his father once had the opportunity to drive Bava Sali in Morocco to the capital city. In Morocco in those days there was a severe penalty for speeding. Still Bava Sali had to get his destination on some public business, so he told the driver to ignore the speed limit. As they were speeding, a police motorcycle started to chase them, and signaled to pull over. They ignored his warning. So the policeman took out his pistol and stated shooting at them. At that point the driver was terrified out of his wits. Then, as he looked out into his rear view mirror, he saw the police motor cycle explode.  



I think I knew some descendants of David Abuchatzeira in Netivot. One was the wife of my downstairs neighbor. I used to go to them for Shabat. The last Shabat I was there there were a few kids there also that also were descended from Reb David, but I forget how. They were normally learning in a school in Bnei Brak called named after Avraham Kalmanowitz  the founder of the Mir  in  New York

There was a woman who did not keep mitzvahs but she heard about Bava Sali so drove from Kiryat Shmona to Netivot for a blessing. She was not let in because Bava Sali never talked with women. She told her request to the gabai [servant] and related the message to Bava Sali. Bava Sali asked for a check, and she wrote out some sum and she received a bottle of water in return. The blessed water was in fact quite usual but asking for a check never happened on any other occasion I have heard of. She drove back to Kiryat Shemona [about a six hour trip.] She got home and put the bottle of water on the kitchen counter and went to wash up. As she was washing she began think to herself I have running water here in my home! And bottles too! Why did I have to be so stupid to go to Netivot to get a bottle of water? When she returned to the kitchen the bottle of water was gone. Instead right where it had been place was her check.

David Abuchatzeira was like a square in Flatland that was taken into Spaceland--our 3-d world -and was sent back to proclaim the reality of worlds beyond this world.








15.11.13

  The basic title today of rabbinical ordination is conferred on a person that learns the beginning sections of Yoreh Deah [the second volume of Shulchan Aruch by Joseph Karo] concerning the laws of how to kill  cows and chickens. This line of education does not consider any expertise on how to deal with people.. The other title that people should learn is called "Talmid Chacham" a Torah scholar . (The Sefardim have a great name for the position of religious leader. They call him the chacham-- the sage.




Now if one is a Talmid Chacham-Torah Scholar, that of course does not imply he is a good person and more that having a degree in English literature does. But it does mean that the person has some experience on what the Torah says in a number of relevant areas that do not have anything to do with the murder of innocent chickens. All gentiles should be aware that if they are referred to a rabbi for a question on Torah law they are likely to end up talking to a person that knows nothing about Torah, except how to murder cows and innocent chickens and probably even that does not know every well.
They certainly do not know Talmud not can read it. They are enemies of family while espousing family values. If you have a family the most dangerous person for family relationships is a rabbi.
That is someone who will work towards the dismantling of your family and family relationships while publicly crusading for family values.

13.11.13

In terms of Kabalah

I wanted to mention a small point about Isaac Luria  [האריז''ל the Ari ]and the famous system of  the Reshash [Shalom Sharabi]. We know that the Reshash did base his interpretation of Isaac Luria on that essay called Derush Hadaat [דרוש הדעת essay concerning Intelligence] which does not show up in any of the writings of the Ari himself. And I have on occasion found things in the Ari concerning Daat that do not seem to go along with that Drush Hadaat. But on other occasions I find things in the Ari that seem to indicate clearly what the Reshash was saying.
 A good example of this concerns the pitcher (כד) of water that Rebbecca lowered into the well when she met Eliezer, the servant of the patriarch Abraham. In one place the Ari says the crown of "Girl" (כתר דנוקבא) has only two pitchers--the two lower thirds of the glory of Man (שני שלישי התפארת של זעיר אנפין). In that place the Ari is talking clearly about the vertical direction. In another place he says the two side pitchers are taken away and she is left only with the middle one. Unless you say like the Reshash you are stuck with an open contradiction.

But the main thing that I think Luria is trying to get at does not seem to come through learning Kabalah.

While  for me learning the Eitz Chaim עץ חיים gave me a good orientation, but still when I got to Israel, it seemed to me that the actual experiences of attachment with God came not through learning Kabalah, but rather by talking with God in  a forest. I was in Safed at the time, so there were lots of areas to wander around in those days.  Even I was hoping to spend more than one day --and make it an over nigher. But  I never did. My drive for serving God was I am sad to say highly limited. I saw the importance of Hitbodadut {conversation with God} but   and of fasting also. But never had the kind of drive that Bava Sali had when he did fasted for weeks  On one hand I felt a responsibility to come home to my wife at night so she would not feel alone. But that tuned out later to be  false reasoning. She would have done a lot better in life if I had gone all out towards the tzadik direction instead of my general lukewarm approach.  

6.11.13

I know that many Jews and gentiles are interested in a taste of the Divine Light.

I know that many Jews and gentiles are interested in a taste of the Divine Light.
Clearly this explains the popularity of Yoga and Eastern religions. Personally I was never attracted to Eastern religions except as an interest in the philosophy that underlies them.  My search was a kind of philosophical quest that was triggered by my study of Plato and other philosophers and writers [like Kant and Spinoza] during high school.

Yet without intending it I found a interesting path towards the Divine Light that I think it is worthwhile to share with others. It seems that the Divine Light depends to some degree on the concept of world view. For me  learning the Old Testament in a rigorous way was important in forming my world view. I think that world view does not just affect how people act but also how they are acted upon.
The next step involved learning Musar. The Talmud is situation specific. It does not address world view issues. For that one needs Musar [works of Jewish ethics written during the Middle Ages].
The next step in the Eitz Chaim [tree of life] of Isaac Luria. I can't account for the power of this book but it definitely opens a gateway into the divine for people that are properly prepared [sadly it also opens a gateway to hell for those that are not properly prepared.] Then next step was coming to the Land of Israel.

If you put all these four steps together the result should be a powerful influx of Divinity
Christians in general think that Kabalah has something to do with magic.This accounts for the reason many Christians consider it to be evil. and it also accounts for the reason that many people look into it anyway when they are in need of something that they think magic can help them with. However the type of Kabalah that I am referring to here --that of Isaac Luria is a map of spiritual worlds. It is a academic discipline and has nothing at all to do with magic.
And in fact this magical part of religion --whether in the religious world is in fact something I highly disprove of. A further problem with Kabalah is most authors of books of Kabalah after Isaac Luria are in  secret shabatians [followers of Shabati Tzvi.]. This sadly includes books that are traditionally associated with the Hasidim movement of the Baal Shem Tov. And even when the authors are not secret followers of the Shatz they still includes many basic ideas that were originated in the writings of Natan the false prophet of the Shatz.


4.11.13

It has become the current and popular opinion of the Jewish orthodox world to believe in Pantheism [or what they would claim is called "Panetheism."] Belief in this is presented as if it is a some deep secret by which if one believes in it can bring about miracles. [This makes orthodox Judaism a kind of fraud, since they are  not teaching authentic Torah.]

The Gra גר''א [the Geon from Villna] also thought that Pantheism was something that some Jewish cults got from other sources and not from the Torah and were trying to convince people that it is a Torah principle.

The problem here are far as I see it is that some people are not accountable to any external validation. They can define things and conceptions as Torah concepts as much as they like with no worry if Torah or reality agrees with them. The main thing is that other lunatics  should agree with them.
Nor do they need to worry if logical reasoning agrees with them. [At least some philosophers before the twentieth century used to be concerned if their conclusions could be supported by logical deduction. ]

What the Rambam [Maimonides] tells us in the Guide for the Perplexed is that the belief system of the Torah is Monotheism. This really was clarified by Saadia Geon in his book Emunot VeDeot but the Rambam spends much more time explaining this in his book.
The Hindu system is Pantheism, and if people want to be Hindu, then that is their option. But it is not an option to lie to people about the belief system of the Torah. 

3.11.13

The main obstacles to learning Kabalah are  the books that purportedly  give simple introductions to Kabalah.
I can't go into the many ways of learning Kabalah in the wrong way right now. But I will spend a few minutes trying to convince people to learn it the right way.

Obviously the first step is the have a solid background in Talmud and Torah. But after that the basic step is the Eitz Chaim [the book called the Tree of Life, עץ חיים] of the Ari  [Isaac Luria (האריז''ל)].
This is an extremely simple book, and easy to understand on the very first reading. All the introductions to it only make what is simple sound complex. And usually they are trying to expand their own agenda in the name of Kabalah. All kabalistic ashkenazic books have this serious flaw, and are because of this less than worthless.
Where the Ari gets difficult is when you get to the Eight Gates and try to apply its world view to the verse of the Torah. [Later note: I was trying to say that how the Ari applies his system to any particular verse of subject is  things get complicated. My advice for this problem is to first learn all the writings o the Ari in order from the beginning to end. That is the Eitz Chaim, Pri Eitz Chaim, and the whole set of  the Eight Gates. Altogether that is about twenty books. The way to do that is to have place marker and to read a little every day until you turn the page. Put in the place marker and the second day start from where you left off. It takes some time but eventually you get through it. And don't take any Kabalah classes for heavens sake. Not only will you learn nothing from them but they are traps to entice you into different cults.  ]

However I should mention the Reshash (רש''ש) (R. Shalom Sharabi). He has a pretty good system, but it seems to me that it should be reserved for a fourth year or graduate kabalah student.
The Reshash  is not the simple explanation of the Ari. And the simple explanation (not like the Reshash) of the Ari is how the Ramchal (רמח''ל) [Moshe Chaim Lutzato] understands the Ari and also  Yaakov Avuchatzaira. And it is largely based on an essay that he brings that is not a part of the canonical books of the Ari. (דרוש הדעת)
If you do not have the Eitz Chaim, or want a different approach, the Mavo Shearim (מבוא שערים) is a parallel version of the same, and also pretty good. Personally, I think nothing can compare with the Eitz  Chaim as a masterpiece of power and beauty.
 Incidentally, the system of the Ari is a highly evolved Neo Platonic system as so it is not to be expected that any Protestants can understand it. You need to have intuitively a Platonic world view in order to understand Kabalah. Also the Protestant bias against the very idea of keeping mitzvas stands in the way of understanding Kabalah. [Understanding spiritual light that doing mitzvahs as cause to bring into the world is a basic function of Kabalah. If.If you think as Protestants do that mitzvahs are worthless relics of a bygone era then there is no way they can understand what the kabalah is trying to accomplish.]
Now, I know the Rambam is highly Aristotelian and it does sees a mystic understanding of the Rambam is possible as we see in Avraham Abulafia. However in this essay here I am referring on to the Ari.

[Also I should mention that it is in fact in the Reshash that you find the two systems of Plato and Aristotle combined. In the  view of the Reshash all the higher worlds of the Forms become horizontal Universals contained in "things in themselves." (Dinge An Sich)]


Also I should mention that university Kabalah is Medieval Kabalah  and has nothing to do with the Ari'zal (Issaac Luria). It is an interesting subject in itself, but it is not what I am talking about in this essay. Gershom Sholem [The Professor at Hebrew University that made medieval  Kabalah into a respectable academic discipline] and his followers simply were doing work in a different area than the kabalah of Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovaro.
It does seem to be likely that Hegel did some amount of borrowing from the Ari and put it into rational and philosophic terminology. Actually Hegel seems mostly to be like the Reshash with his triadic system. But I can't imagine Hegel had heard of the Reshash. But Hegel certainly did borrow from the Ari. So maybe it is just that both Hegel and the Reshash both came to the same conclusions based on the Ari. Though Hegel to it in the direction of Metaphysics

1.11.13




Just in case Christians are reading this who want a definition of repentance let me clarify. Repentance in a Torah context means this: There are about 613 commandments in the Old Testament. "Sin" is defined as not keeping any one of those commandments. "Repentance" is deciding to get back on track and start keeping that commandment.

  It has nothing to do with playing cards or drinking alcohol. These might be bad things, but they are no including in the Torah definition of "repentance."] [To know how to repent you have to focus on any particular commandment in the Torah that you suspect you might not be keeping, and rigorously clarify exactly what it is forbidden and what it is not, --(and you aren't allowed to add or subtract from that definition). If this seems a bit hard, you might open up the book called Torah Temima which goes into how to derive laws rigorously from the actual words of each verse.]



    For a long time after my wife left me, I  could find no girl friend or wife. [On the subject of girl friends: see the Torah, The Book of Chronicles, Volume One, chapter two [2:46] and four concerning Kalev ben Yefuna (כלב בן יפונה). He is the only person in the entire Bible that it says the unique phrase, וימלא אחרי השם "He walked completely after God." He had two girl friends.]
And being wifeless is a state of being that I hate.


Instead of getting mad at young adults that are interested in sex or ignoring the issue I recommend getting married early. When I was in yeshiva people were getting married right and left all the time. The average age was about twenty. Jews in Morocco and Yemen were generally married at very early ages. Bava Sali made a point of never being without a wife.




  Now on a more urgent issue it is mentioned in that chapter that doing repentance/teshuva is connected to the Divine name  in Exodus "I will be".  [This is mistranslated by Christians to "I am"] [It does  not mean "I am." If I want to say, "I will be in the store," I say 'Ani Ehye Bachanut"אני אהיה בחנות מחר . If I want to say, "I am in the store," I say Ani Bachnut. אני בחנות]