counterfeit Torah.

Maybe Leftism is rage against pseudo religious people and counterfeit religiosity.  ( It does not have to be from a bad heart to be wrong. Maybe it is like the original Enlightenment. People just got tired of pseudo religiosity. If they only people that were openly religious would have been the ones that were sincerely religious then I doubt if the Enlightenment would have gotten of the ground.
What has been noticed is a lot of people use religion for personal gain, and also a lot of religious people are insane. And they try to win people over to counterfeit Torah. In fact this is the vast majority. The actual authentic yeshivas where real Torah is learned are rare.

 Most of the religious follow leaders who are  spirit mediums, that channel information from the "spirits" who communicate with them.  They make a show of keeping Torah but the whole philosophy is דורש אל המתים--In the category of the verse "Do not seek the spirits of the dead."

"There shall not be found among you anyone who... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord..." Deuteronomy 18:9-12


Dr Kelley Ross on Divine command theory

A “Divine Command Theory” might have been mentioned somewhere, but it’s impossible that would be in a “positive way.”  I don’t think I had even heard of such a theory until I found it in the Ethics textbook I used to use.  So if I ever mentioned it, that was to caution students about it.   Again, Nelsons diagram at rules out anyones will as the source of morality.

Musar and the Rambam

Books of mediaeval ethics (Musar) say that if one has sinned the best thing to do is to bring merit to the public.
They base this on the statement in the Mishna, כל המזכה את הרבים אין חטא בא על ידו( A sin does not come to anyone that brings merit to many people). That is supposed to counter [oppose] the effect of כל המחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקים בידו לעשות תשובה ( One who has caused sin to many people is prevented from repentance.)

But you can see the effects are not opposed. Let's say that, for example, one has been מחטיא את הרבים (caused many to sin) up until today, and now he wants to start being מזכה את הרבים (bringing merit to many). Then he would  be prevented from future sin, but still be unable to repent on past sin.

But what the books of Musar are suggesting is still valid. The effects of bringing many to sin and bring merit to many are still opposed in their effects. So it is still a good idea to stop bringing people to sin, and to begin to bring merit to people. 

One still might not be able to repent, but still even a little bit of good is also good.

[The idea of bringing merit to many is brought in the books of the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter and that is no surprise.  But you also find it in the classical mediaeval  books of Musar.]

You can learn what ever books of Musar you like, but my own tastes have changed during the years. If I could I would try to get all the books of the son and grandsons of the Rambam, Reb Avraham and later descendants of the Rambam.  [They were printed recently in Israel].

I saw one time in Uman someone had a copy of volume that had a lot of the books of the descendants of the Rambam in it. Interesting also to note another fellow had the entire Mishne Torah in one volume (no commentary)!!  That I thought was really neat. I think it was based on the Yemenite manuscript. [That makes it easy to do the program of the Rambam of learning the Mishne Torah and then the Physics of Aristotle and then the Metaphysics of Aristotle.]
What I suggest is to have one session in the Mishne Torah of the Rambam straight and another in the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach (Elazar Menachem Shach from Ponovitch) straight through from beginning to end. 

[This is just for a first reading of the Mishne Torah. The second time around I recommend doing with with the Keseph Mishna. I mean this for the 45 minute halacha session in the morning. This should not take the place of learning the Gemara Rashi Tosphot Maharsha Maharam from Lublin. ]


The trouble with cults is they take a hold of the respectable aspects of Torah in an effort to conceal their inner נבלה טרפה unkosher essence. It is the main job of  a Jew to avoid these cults at all cost. It does not a matter if they have the outer signs of doing rituals. What matters is the inner essence. 
Dear Dr Ross. You wrote here : However, a stricter empiricism again creates the difficulty that the apparent "form" of an object cannot provide knowledge of an end (an entelechy) that is only implicit in the present object, and so hidden to present knowledge.

This seems to be the only statement in that essay about the problems with Aristotle.
I thought there were more serious problems with Aristotle like this: from Stanford: Some maintain that Aristotle’s theory is ultimately inconsistent, on the grounds that it is committed to all three of the following propositions:
(i)Substance is form.
(ii)Form is universal.
(iii)No universal is a substance.
(eio. No U (universal) is S (substance). Some F (form) is S. Some F are  U, but some  are not.)
That is F is not a subset of U. But F and S intersect. There are some forms that are substances.

This seems important because the  Maimonides is considered to be going with Aristotle. It does not seem that he would have missed these problems. Is there perhaps ways to answer these things? Or Perhaps Maimonides was aware of these problems and therefore took a kind of Middle Path between Aristotle and the Neo-Platonists. Sincerely Avraham Rosenblum

Aristotles forms must be hidden in part, for we cannot tell from the inspection of an acorn what the grown tree will look like.  The Aristotelian form thus becomes separate from its obvious meaning in Greek, i.e. eidos as image.  Since Aristotle wants to be a kind of Empiricist, with the form derived in some way from the perception of the object, the universal that is mentally abstracted from the image carries with it things that are not actually visible.

In a Kantian theory,  what we know about universals will only apply to phenomenal objects.  The status of abstract (universal) objects among things-in-themselves is left open, as with other matters of transcendence.  At the same time, hidden features of universals obviously cannot be abstracted directly from perception.  Thus, what the oak will look like is a matter of speculation, scientific investigation, or just waiting around for the tree to grow from the acorn.  What scientific investigation has learned, of course, is that the form of the oak is determined by the DNA in the acorn.  The entelechy has a physical basis, but this could be not gathered from the mere inspection of the acorn.  Aristotleentelechy was thus for real, but not in the way he thought.

I would agree that Aristotle affirms (i) and (ii), but I dont really see (iii).  Universals are forms, and forms are substance.  I think that Maimonides is actually a Neoplatonist, where the chain of Being is grades of form, and universality, from the four elements up to the One.

So I am curious why you, or anyone, would say that No universal is a substance in Aristotle.

Best wishes,

Dear Dr Ross. I thank you for your detailed reply. My basic idea that Aristotle hold no universal is a form comes from Marc Cohen  in the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia Aristotle's Metaphysics. where he traces this idea to  book Z chapter 13 of the Metaphysics.Sincerely Avraham Rosenblum

Im not entirely sure what this means.   in Aristotle can only be a universal, since it can only be general.  Individual things are combinations of form and matter, with the matter accounting for individuality and spatial extension.  Are  you saying that Marc Cohen traces the idea that form is not a universal to Metaphysics Z?  This would be very strange.  Forms can be individual things if they are sui generis, unique of their kind.  But only God, and then the Intelligences that drive the planets, are of this kind  although St. Thomas, naturally, added human souls.



(i)Substance is form.
(ii)Form is universal.
(iii)No universal is a substance.

"Substance" is the major term. "Form" is the middle term. "Universal" is the minor term.

[I have trouble understanding this. Either (i) means "All substance is form." All substances are in the category of form, [A]. Or perhaps it means, "Some substance is form." [I].

Same with (ii) either: "All form is in the category of universals." [A] or "Some forms are in the category of universals." [I]
(iii) seems to mean:  "There is no intersection between  the set of universals and the set of all substance." [E]

So we have a lot of possibilities to go through. Let's start with AAE. The middle is distributed. But there is the illicit process of the minor term..
Perhaps it is rather IIE. Then that would be the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Neither premise refers to every member of the middle term.

Perhaps it is AIE. Same problem. The middle term is not distributed.

Perhaps it is IAE.  Form is distributed in the second premise but not universal. That seems to be a fallacy of the minor term. You say something in the conclusion about every member of the minor term but not in the second premise.

So that is what Marc Cohen means. That there is no way to make sense of all three propositions.

Perhaps Aristotle means this:
(EIO-4. No U (universal) is S (substance). Some F (form) is S. Some F are not U but some might be?)

Proverbs. 27:6, "The kisses of an enemy may be profuse, but faithful are the wounds of a friend,"

Accountability relationships in the Torah  include that of Saul the king to Samuel the prophet, Nathan holding king David accountable for moral failure, Nehemiah wanting to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls but being accountable to King Artaxerxes, Daniel to  God,

How do we choose someone to be accountable to?

An unhealthy choice would be to choose someone you know will tell you just what you want to hear, or someone who has the same weak areas you do. Far better to choose someone who can encourage you-add courage to your life and struggle, someone who is making a success of his/her own life, someone further down the road than you in life stage or experience. Mutual accountability between equals (either two individuals or a small group) can be non-threatening and growth-producing, as well as protective.

The whole trouble in the Jewish world is the religious teachers that set themselves up as authorities. People go to them for advice and by that are drawn into more evil than they would do on their own. While having someone to discuss your spiritual problems with is a great thing, there is a terrible fact that the religious teachers themselves are  demons. This is brought in the LM [Lekutai Moharan] of Reb Nachman in many places. {This book of Reb Nachman was studied by Bava Sali and Rav Hutner.} He asks, "Why are people making disagreement with those who fear God? It is because they hear Torah lessons from תלמידי חכמים שדיים יהודאיים." (literal translation: "Torah scholars that are demons.") [I bring this from Reb Nachman, but the same idea you can find in the Talmud and Mishna and the Ari.]

The way to deal with this is simple. Pray for them and pray to find charity in your heart for them. But be wary and stay as far from them as possible.

[My warning here does not refer to the great Lithuanian yeshivas Ponovitch, Brisk, Mirrer Yeshiva  in NY, Chaim Berlin, Torah VeDaat.]

There is a famous place in the Mishna which deals with this subject I think in Nazir about the pharisees being those that destroy the world. That is the only place I recall off hand. In the Gemara itself there are few places. One is the end of Shabat where is says literally "If you see a generation that troubles have come upon it, go out and check the judges of Israel;-- for all the troubles that come into the world only come because of the judges of Israel. "And then the Gemara brings a verse. Then there are few places from the Old Testament itself. And I do not mean the famous verses from Jeremiah. Someplace else which few know about.. You have to read the verse very carefully to see it. It says something like this: "Since Israel will not listen to the true shepherds I have given to  them, I will give them other shepherds that will lead them astray. ""וירעום" The reason no one knows this verse is because it is easy to miss. It says "וירעום" as a pun meaning "they will be shepards to them" and also it means "they will do damage to them." It is hard to see in the verse itself until you read it very carefully.


The Gaon from Villna

The Gaon from Villna as is well known went into "Galut" exile. That is a kind of repentance that people no longer do anymore.

The idea is to go from city to city where no one knows who you are and not sleep in the same spot for two nights in a row. I think it also involves not taking any money with you. What it used to involve was to sleep in the local Beit Midrash [study hall].

What this kind of repentance was supposed to do I imagine was to open one' person to insults.

But I think it also opens up ones mind to "reality" the way the world really is as opposed to they way we are taught that it is.

You learn by how people treat you as an unwanted stranger much more about them than when they treat you as someone they know has something they want like money etc.

To some degree I have lived like this for some time, and it is an amazing way of opening your eyes to how people really are --- as opposed to how they want you to think of them, and the act they put on to impress others.

The inevitable oblivion which must be the fate of the pseudo miraculous and the falsely sacred will be the fate of those that opposed the Gra and Rav Shach.