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3.1.17

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The West is undergoing a shift in world view.

The Alt Right.  The West has gone through paradigm changes in which one belief system is weakened and another replaces it.The Alt Right is mainly against democracy and rule of the masses and wants something like a return of an aristocracy. They are also not very thrilled with the way Christianity has been absorbed into Leftism. So some are not interested in Christianity at all, but others still want it but not in its current day Leftist Political state of being.
At first I  looked on this as unlikely. But then further thought got me to notice that the Roman Empire had lost interest in the old gods and adopted Christianity at an amazingly swift rate. So changes in world view are possible for the West as a whole.


The introduction of the Enlightenment philosophers took much longer than Christianity to become the ipso facto world view of the West.

In any case I agree that all this is subject to change.

In short the West seems to be rejecting Leftism as a whole, not just Rousseau, but John Locke also, and Christianity also - at least in its present form with a more or less communist Catholic church and highly politicized Protestant church. 

I can't tell where this will go. My own approach is "none of the above". It is the basic idea of Gra, Rav Shach, Reb Israel Salanter and the Rambam. How to put that in a nutshell? To learn Torah. That is the entire Oral and Written Law, every single last word of the Tenach Old Testament, and the Two Talmuds with Rashi, Tosphot, Maharsha. The entire Rambam with the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach. Plus the idea of the Rambam of learning the entire Metaphysics of Aristotle plus basic Physics and Math (i.e. String Theory, Field Theory, Abstract Algebra and Algebraic Topology). [Even though the Rambam only referred to ancient Greek Metaphysics, I would include Kant.]

But this is not to suggest the religious world in itself is so great. There is a problem there with the absence of compassion. And that does not enter by any means that I have seen. Certainly not by Musar--which is the first place you would expect to find it. And with no compassion, there is also no  Torah. The solution to this problem is by no means obvious since it certainly was the primary concern of Reb Israel Salanter [and the reason he launched the Musar Movement]. But to me it seems that if compassion was what he was aiming at, then the whole Musar movement was an abject failure. But I certainly have nothing better to offer.
[The way you can see the problem in the religious world is fairly obvious because of their  aversion of doing kindness. This has given me the strong impression that Reform and Conservative Jews are much closer to the true path of Torah.][Even so this still leaves me wondering what is wrong and what could be done. If Reb Israel Salanter's idea does  not seem to work, then what would?][Reb Nachman incidentally noticed this same problem as you can see in the LM II ch 8. There he says that compassion left Israel, and the little bit that is left has בחינת אכזריות the essence of cruelty. I can't quote the whole piece from memory.]



true attachment with God can be a result of faithful service towards God

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the Torah is really about.  I might add also as to the laws of the Torah and questions of life style. What group should one be affiliated with?

Just briefly I wanted to address the first question. The reason for this is that I see the question of ecstatic experience and also the dominance of Meshuga miracle workers [mad, insane lunatic charismatic leaders] is troubling. 

I really just wanted to make one point --that Torah is not about mystic experience. It is not to come to that type of thing. What is usually see with people getting something like a LSD "high" from reading kabalah or coming to some lunatic meshuga supposed miracle worker is not what Torah is about. 
However true attachment with God can be a result of faithful service towards God. As the Torah says ולדבקה בו "keep his commandments in order to love and fear God and to be attached with Him." 

2.1.17

Rashi and the Rabbit

Rashi comments about the verse "God went up from him" at the end of the debate between God and Avraham about what to do with Sdom: תיקון סופרים הוא זה. "This a edit from the scribes." That is,-- Rashi is saying in the original Torah it said "Avraham went away from God." The Sofrim were not beyond making corrections when they saw fit. Therefore I suggest that that is what they did with the rabbit. The original verse given to Moses said the rabbit is not kosher because it does not chew the cud nor split the hoof. Then the Sofrim came along and saw that rabbits chew the cud, so they changed it to  כי גרה הוא יגר ופרסה לא הפריסה. [That is they left out one word "לא".] They, as we know now, made a mistake. The rabbit does not chew the cud. The original version given to Moses was correct. כי גרה הוא לא יגר ופרסה לא הפריסה. It does not chew the cud and it does not split the hoof.

[The idea of this essay is to answer a question that is sometimes brought up concerning the rabbit.]

[Actually I forget where that Rashi is. It might be at the verse of the  covenant that God made with Avraham called ברית בין הבתרים. In any case it is a very famous Rashi.]
I should mention that you can see this kind of thing in the Gemara that says in the Sefer Torah of R. Meir it was written כתנות אור וילבישם not כתנות עור וילבישם as in the modern day version. That is: In the Torah scroll of R. Meir it says  "God made for Adam and Eve shirts of light." Not "shirts of leather."   








1.1.17

גירסה fast learning

I think the idea of גירסה  that is mentioned in the Gemara in Shabat page 63 is overly ignored. [לימוד דרך גירסה](Say the words in order, as fast as possible and go on and don't even look at if you understand or not.) That is,-- what people already know is they ought to be learning Torah. This we already know from the Gemara and the Gra and Reb Chaim from Voloshin. But what makes it hard is people think they have to understand every last word and if not they can not move forward. This I saw in the book of Musar אורחות צדיקים and you would expect people that learn Musar would pay attention.
If people would just listen to this they could finish at least once in their lives the entire Oral and Written Law: the Two Talmuds with the Tosephta, Sifrai, Sifra, and all the Midrashim.
But what I wanted to add to this is the idea of the Rambam of learning also Physics and Meta-physics in exactly the same way. Plus all the Rambam's writings along with Rav Shach's commentary on the Rambam. This book, the Avi Ezri really should have top priority because it contains the essence of Torah.

The thing about the Rambam idea of Physics and Metaphysics is there is no basic set. So what I think is the basic thing is the actual set: The Metaphysics of Aristotle, plus basic physics and math. That is String Theory, Field Theory, Abstract Algebra, and Algebraic Topology.

I am not saying not to have in depth sessions also. In fact, I think they are important. But what I am saying is to have a separate session(s) for fast learning.


I neglected to  mention Musar [the classical books of Torah ethics]--that is Ethics of Torah written during the Middle Ages plus the books of the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter. I think thee books also are very important. In fact, Musar was one of the reason I left the yeshiva Shar Yashuv in Far Rockaay and went to the Mir. I felt my soul drying up with Talmud learning alone. I felt I needed at least a little work on fear of God. Plus I should mention the daughter of Bava Sali (Avigail Buso) and the grandson of Bava Sali Shimon Buso both mentioned to me the urgency of learning Musar.



The solution to cults is simple: to learn about them.

People are in cults always from some emotional reason. Never from logic or evidence. But there are two kinds of reasons. One is a reaction against what they experienced in the past by people that they trusted. Another reason is benefit they get like community  and certainty in life.

Therefore logic is useless against cults. And not all groups are the same. The yeshiva Shar Yashuv that I went to had some things that one might considered sort of cultish but it was in fact a great yeshiva because it was devoted to straight Torah. 

You could see this in the great yeshiva Chaim Berlin also. Still to attain the degree of excellence that these places strive for in Torah, a certain amount of discipline is necessary.


To some degree what I think about cults is simple: to learn about them. Information provides a great perspective. It might not take one out of the cult he or she is in at the time but it provides a way of limiting the bad effects. However there is only so much of this kind of thing I can stand reading. Still for myself it was helpful to do research into the problems. It gave me perceptive on my own set of problems. 

Also there is nothing quite like experience to show you the difference between the public image and the actual reality behind the facade.
The best cure is to make straight yeshivas like the Mir and Shar Yashuv. And if not a full yeshiva then at least to have a local Beit Midrash devoted to straight Torah and Musar that excludes rigorously all cults and any and all books or writings associated with the Jewish cults. To exclude what the Gra excluded.
However I should mention that there is no reason to hate cult members. Rather the best thing is to pray for their good, that they should merit to repent and to be save from all the kelipot that have taken over their mind's and to merit to be true tzadikim and Tzadikot  and to merit to all the good in all the world.


Dr. Zimbardo of the famous Zimbardo experiment

Dr. Zimbardo:  "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. As basic human values are being strained, distorted and lost in our rapidly evolving culture, illusions and promissory notes are too readily believed and bought--without reality validation or credit checks."

You can see here why learning straight Torah is important. If one does not know what the Torah says he can fall for any one of the demonic Jewish cults that are out there. If one's time is limited, I suggest at least learning Shimshon Refael Hirsh's Horev or Rav Kook's books which give a good introduction to Torah. [Rav Kook's books are usually considered more deep than Rav Hirsh.]