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31.12.14

In the book of Job 4 with find the idea that fear of God is often coupled with stupidity. This is famous in the USA where anyone with fear of God is automatically suspected to have  a low IQ.
הלא יראתך כסלתיך Is not your fear your stupidity? (Job chapter 4)







Appendix:
You can see some problems associated with the fact that fear of God can be connected with stupid ideas from the fact that the pilot of Asiaair was a devout Muslim. It is reasonable to assume he mistakenly thought that by killing Christians he would end up in the garden of Eden. I think we can all agree that it is unlikely that his wish was granted.
Call me an Islamophobe, but when I research the pilot from the missing flight QZ8501, Captain Iriyanto, I access the local news in Indonesian, not in English. There I find out that the pilot of the missing flight QZ8501 and like the pilot on the other missing flight MH370 are both devout Muslims, 
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/12/pilot-missing-airasia-flight-qz8501-devout-muslim-slaughtered-christians/#5QPCzeAFVWuzpLT0.99





  [.ליגמר איניש אף על גב דמשכח ואף על גב דלא ידע מאי קאמר ׁׂ[עבודה זרה י''ט

In one place the Talmud says to finish the book even if you forget and even if you don't understand. In another place it says לעולם לגרוס איניש אע''ג דמשכח ואע''ג דלא ידע מאי קאמר
("Always one should learn fast even though he forgets and even though he does not know what he is saying.")
And it brings it from a verse גרסה נפשי



I had a lot of trouble with this idea.
Where I was learning Torah, they were definitely emphasizing learning in depth. And would spend a week or two of learning on one page of Talmud.

Eventually I began to see the wisdom of their teachings me in depth
I believe that if I had not gotten the idea of how to do it then, I never would have gotten it.
Where ever I have gone in the world, I have noticed that even among people that learn Torah, few have any idea of how to learn. The most simple basic concepts of Talmud are foreign to them because they never learned with any rigor.
But I do think this fast learning part of Talmud is also important.

And I have applied the idea of fast learning to other areas of learning that I have had to do when I went to Polytechnic [a branch of NY University].

So my idea is for people to get themselves a whole set of Talmud and go through it, with all of the Gemara, Rashi, Tosphot, and Maharsha.
I don't remember exactly but I think this used to take me one simple half hour per day.

[People would positively make fun of me when they saw I was trying to learn fast. In those days, I was not even going very fast. I was  doing tractate Ketubot and I would say over the "shtikle" paragraph twice or more and then the Tosphot twice, and go on.  And there were a few chapters I also did with the Tosphot HaRosh when I did not understand Tosphot.] But that was still way too fast for most people's taste. {Today  what I was doing would be called learning in depth! You see how far this generation has fallen!! Nobody even knows anymore what real learning in depth is.}









30.12.14

For people in Israel that speak Hebrew I want to write an idea concerning Maimonides and Shabat First in Hebrew and then in English

For people in Israel that speak Hebrew I want to write an idea concerning Maimonides and Shabat

First in Hebrew and then in English for English speaking people whether in Israel or elsewhere.

הרמב''ם כתב שאם בן אדם עשה מלאכה בשבת בשוגג הוא מביא קרבן חטאת. היינו ששכח המלאכה או ששכח את העונש, וזכר את השבת. אם שכח כל השלשים ותשע הוא מביא שלשים ותשעה חטאות. זאת אומרת שהוא פסק כרבי יוחנן ששגגת עונש שמה שגגה. אבל לריש לקיש רק שגגת מלאכה שמה שגגה. בגמרא מדייקים ששגגת כל הל''ט מביא ל''ט חטאות. אבל אם שכח כולן במה הוא זוכר את השבת? לא שואלים את זו על רבי יוחנן בגלל שהוא יכול לומר ששכח את העונש. אבל מה ר''ל יכול לומר? מתרצת הגמרא: בתחומין ואליבא דרבי עקיבה.
אבל זה כנראה אינו עוזר להרמב''ם. הרמב''ם משמע ששכח כולן ועדיין מביא ל''ט. במה זכר את השבת? בנו של הרמב''ם תירץ: יכול להיות שהרמב''ם דיבר רק במצב ששכח את העונש. או שזכר איזו תולדה. החברותא שלי תירץ שאין שום סיבה לומר שהרמב''ם לא יכול לומר גם כן תחומים. רק בגמרא רבי יוחנן לא היה צריך את התרוץ הזה. אבל זה כל שכן: אם זדון שבת ומלאכות ושכחת עונש הוא שגגה, כל שכן שכחת מלאכות זכירת תחום שבת

What I am trying to say here is that if you think about it you can see that the only difference between Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish is if doing a work on purpose is considered an accident of he forgets the punishment. The is the sole and only point of difference. There is no stated argument between them if remembering boundaries is considered remembering Shabat. The only reason the Gemara had to scrounge around for that was because Reish Lakish needed it. But there is no rational or logical reason to think Rabbi Yochanan thinks that that is not called remembering Shabat.
In my opinion this is an amazing insight from my learning partner. Pure genius.

It is not the first time I have seen things like this from him.




1) Maimonides says if one does an act of work by accident on the Sabbath he brings a sin offering. This means if he forgot that it was forbidden or he forgot the punishment, but remembered it is Shabat. And if he forgot all 39 types, then he brings 39 sin offerings.
2) This comes from the Talmud. In the Mishna you have the same idea (Talmud Shabat 69a).
Forgetting Shabat means one sin offering. Forgetting  work means a sin offering for each type of work.
3) R. Yochanan says forgetting the punishment is also called forgetting. To Reish Lakish only forgetting the work itself is called forgetting.
4) So there is no problem to Rabbi Yochanan. He could say forgetting all 39 types of work is liable 39 sin offerings  because he forgot the punishment.
But to Reish Lakish how can we explain the Mishna? If he forgot all 39, then in what way is he remembering Shabat? In boundaries according to Rabbi Akiva. (R. Akiva holds the 12 mile boundary is from the Torah. )
5) But this answer for Rabbi Yochanan on the Mishna does not help us for the Rambam.
The Rambam seems to imply even forgetting all 39 completely brings 39 offerings.
6) The son of the Rambam was asked this. He said It could be the Rambam is only referring to the clause where he remembered the work but forgot the punishment.
Or he remembered derivatives of the 39.
7) My learning partner suggested that perhaps the Rambam could answer the same thing as Resih Lakish. The reason is this if Rabbi Yochanan [who the law goes like in all cases against Reish lakish] holds remembering work but forgetting punishment is an accident then all the more so forgetting work and remembering boundaries. There is no reason to believe that Rabbi Yochanan would disagree with Resih Lakish that remembering boundaries is also called remembering.
Clearly no one wanted to go this way because they thought: "If we don't hold by Reish Lakish then how could this answer work?" But if you think into it you will see that my learning partner is right.





8) The Lechem Mishna also deals with this question. He disagrees with the answer of the son of the Rambam, but he gives an answer that to me to be hard to understand. The way it looks to me is he wants to answer that the Rambam is thinking of this as forgetting both Shabat and work. But how could that answer the Rambam is beyond my ability to understand since the Rambam himself says in such a situation he brings only one offering. If anyone in the great wide world has a way of understanding this Lechem Mishna, I would appreciate if you shared your thoughts with me.

9) I have mentioned before that for this reason it is important to have in your home a the set of the Chaim Soloveitchik's book on the Rambam, along with his two students' books [Baruch Ber, Shimon Shkopf, and Eliezer Menachem Shach's Aviezri. These four people brought a revolution to the world and a rigorous painstaking logic to understanding the Rambam. So even if they might not deal with my specific question, they would at least have some ideas that might help us.]
( Shmuel Berenbaum, was also learning along these lines but he never printed anything. They recorded his classes towards the end of his life though. That was at the Mir in NY. He was during his life giving the deepest classes in Talmud, more than anyone in the world except for Rav Shach at Ponovicth in Bnei Brak







1) To talk to God like you would talk to your best friend of your own parents. This should be private, but it can and should be done anywhere.
To tell Him your problems and ask him for guidance to come out of your problems and also to thank him for what you have and also just to discuss things like you would  with a friend.
2) To have sessions in Torah every day in order. That is one session in the Old Testament,page after page. One session in Talmud, the the Jerusalem Talmud, then the Tosephta, Sifiri and Sifra until you have finished the Oral Law. and then you repeat the whole process again.







29.12.14

To understand the Rambam's idea that learning Physics and Metaphysics brings one to Love and Fear of God. [This is stated most openly in The Guide for the Perplexed, but also shows up in Mishne Torah.] [The Rambam tells us what he means in different places. he says this in elliptical form as he warned us openly that he would write in that way. He defines the "Work of Creation" (מעשה בראשית) and "Work of the Divine Chariot" (מעשה מרכבה) in the beginning (Introduction) of the Guide. Then in the Guide itself, he tells us what is the purpose he sees in these--the Work of Creation to come to fear and the Work of the Divine Chariot to come to love.  This approach of the Rambam is quoted virtually verbatim in all later books of Musar (Medieval Ethics).] (Seeing deep secrets in the מורה נבוכים Guide for the Perplexed is not new. Rav Avraham Abulafia wrote a whole books explaining the deep secrets of the Guide. And Rav Abulafia himself is not  a minor figure. He is quoted at length by both Reb Chaim Vital, the disciple of the Ari) in שערי קדושה volume 4 and also by Moshe Kordavero.)






My feeling about the actual way of going about this I mentioned in some blog essay some time ago.
mainly I think one should get one math book on Abstract Algebra,  Algebraic Topology { Especially Allen Hatcher's book}, and a decent book on String Theory and Quantum Field Theory.
The way to learn this is in my opinion to guard the first twenty minutes when you wake up as if every minute was worth a few billion dollars. The learning you do then and the twenty minutes before you go to sleep are worth a whole day's worth of learning. Bava Sali had coffee and tea in the same cup when he got up for the midnight prayer. (Thus I heard from Moshe Buso his grandson).

I know there are people that think one should learn Torah all day, and not learn any secular things. That was not the opinion of my parents nor of the Rambam. My reasons for siding with the Rambam here is mainly experience. It is not some deep insight I have into the nature of things. It is just that by experience I got the idea that my parents and the Rambam were trying to tell me something that i did not want to listen too and in the end it turned out they were right. So if I can go back and retrace my steps at least I can tell others and hope they benefit form this idea that perhaps the Rambam knew what he was taking about. Perhaps even more so than people that thought that he did not "get it."




















If one does an act of work on the Sabbath day by accident he has to bring a sin offering.
If he does it on purpose then if the act is done in front of two witnesses that warned him and said if you do this  you will be doing an act of desecrating the Sabbath and you will be brought to beit din and stoned. If he acknowledges this and says, "I agree and even so I will do it,,"then he is stoned. If any of these conditions are not fulfilled he is not stoned but also he can't bring a sin offering because the act was done on purpose.
This applies to all the 43 things in the Torah for which there is a death penalty. In all cases there needs to be a set of conditions or else the case is thrown out of court.
So what is an accident? Rabbi Yochanan said even if he forgets the punishment but remember that the act is forbidden then that too is called accident. Reish Lakish said, "No. That is called on purpose. Only if he forgets that the act is forbidden is it an accident."
The Rambam says if one forgets an act of work but remembers it is Shabat or forgets the punishment then he is liable a sin offering. Even if he forgets all 39 types of work than  he brings 39 sin offerings.{ Each one is a goat or a sheep.


So he decides like Rabbi Yochanan. But then what about the end of the rambam? If he forgot all 39 types then in what way is he remembering the Shabat? And if he in fact forgot the Shabat then he is liable only one sin offering! Now this Rambam comes from a Mishna and Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish were disagreeing about it. And there Reih lakish said it could be he remembered the boundary of Shabat which is 12 miles from the Torah according to Rabbi Akiva. But this does not help us here. The son of the Rambam was asked this. (Abraham ben Moshe). He said three answers. One is he forget 39 principles but remembered at least one derivative.

I forgot the other two. But I wanted to suggest perhaps the last part of the Rambam is not referring to the first 10 words where he says the case that he forget the work is forbidden. Perhaps the end of the Rambam is only referring to the case where he forgot the punishment.

[I can't be sure that Reb Avraham himself did not answer this until I get a chance to see the Rambam again.]

The idea of the Gra based on Proverbs 3:5 is that one can trust in God with doing no effort, because what is decreed on a person will come no matter what.


1) As for the issue of Trust in God, it looks like the Chafetz Chaim and Joseph Horwitz from Navardok were siding with the Gra. And they were specifically trying to make trust in God a separate variable than doing mitzvot. They both claim that trust in God has nothing to do whether one is righteous or not.
{The idea of the Gra based on Proverbs 3:5  is that one can trust in God with doing no effort, because what is decreed on a person will come no matter what. This is not like the Duties of the Heart that one should do effort also.}



But in their way of thinking, learning Torah is the highest of mitzvot. So they are both thinking that trust in God is not an excuse not to do a mitzvah one is required to do. That is the axial that the Lithuanian Torah world revolves on. That learning Torah is the highest and most important of all.

 
  I myself have an approach I base on my Maimonides and my parents which is more a balance between Torah, prayer, Physics, and Mathematics and self reliance.

  In any case, the point is the same--you do what the Torah requires of you  in order to do God's will, and as for the rest you trust in God.
2) Also I feel that self reliance is an essential part of Torah. I think it is just too easy to fool oneself that he is relying on God when in fact he is relying on the social system he is a part of. There is just too much self delusion in the religious world.


27.12.14

Should you trust in God, but also make your own efforts to get your needs fulfilled? Or should one sit back and relax and depend on God to do everything for you? This does not seem like a hard question. Even in the Torah we find working for a living is a good thing. כמו שנכרתה ברית על התורה כן נכרתה ברית על המלאכה. And this seems to be the approach of the חובות הלבבות.
The Sages in the Talmud seem to say otherwise. The רבנן [the students in the local beit midrash--learning hall] did not know what this verse in Mishlei [Proverbs] means (chapter 3: verse 5) בטח בהשם בכל לבך ואל בינתך אל תשען "Trust in God with all your heart and do not depend on your own intellect." One day Raba Bar Rav Chana was walking with a merchant and he was carrying a heavy bag. The merchant said to him, "Take your burden יהבך and put it on my camel." [Tractate Rosh HaShanah page 26 side b].
Elijah from Vilnius (The Gra) said that it does not mean the merchant understood the meaning of the word יהבך when no one else did. Rather they thought one should trust in God, but also go around getting his needs met. So that caused them not to understand the verse. It should say "your needs" "צרכיך."
But then they saw that Raba Bar Rav Chana was carrying this heavy bag and he should have had to pay the merchant to take it for him, but instead the merchant asked him to let him take it. They concluded that when something is decreed for you from Heaven, then people will ask you to allow them to do it for you.

From here we see one needs no effort, but what is decreed for you will come to you without any effort on your part at all.
This seems fairly plain. And in fact there were a number of years when I did just this and it worked exactly as stated . But in the meantime I fell from this high level of trust. But I still am aware that this kind of trust in God does work.
But it does not absolve one from doing what the Torah requires of you. So you are supposed to learn Torah and learn an honest profession. You might learn Torah only and trust in God to support you. That is legitimate, But if you are going around asking for charity to support your learning Torah that is not legitimate. Because that shows you are not trusting in God, but rather using the Torah as shovel to dig with.
From my point of view I say to everyone--learn Torah at home. Buy yourself the Talmud (Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds), the Tosephta, Sifri and Sifra, and plow through them. Every single last word. And Musar (Medieaval Ethics) too. (Duties of the Heart, Paths of the Righteous, מסילת ישרים ספר הישר,  ספר המידות לבנימין הרופא etc.--There is a basic canon of Musar books.)









26.12.14

My basic feeling about Torah is to have a fast session and an in depth session.
The fast session should be to get through the Written and Oral Law a least once completely.
That is the Babylonian Talmud with RashiTosphot and Maharsha. Every single last word.
Next step is do the same with the Jerusalem Talmud with the three commentaries on the page.
Next the Tosphta with the Chazon Yechezkiel.
Then the Sifri and Sifra. An hour per day on this will get you through this in a few short years, and you will have plenty of time to  do university too.

That is the entire corpus of the oral law that was handed down generation after generation.
However Zohar and later Halacha writings are good to learn, but they are not the Oral Torah.
 Maimonides wrote, "Just like you can't add to the Written Torah, so you can't add to or subtract from the Oral Torah."
.


The Shulchan Aruch is a book written by Joseph Karo (as an abridged version of his large work the Beit Joseph). The Shulchan Aruch on the printed page has a few large commentaries on it e.g. the ShachTazMagen Abraham etc. It would usually take about forty minutes to go through one page even if you are reading very very fast.  Go really fast.
After you have finished the book once fast you go back over it and the second time you will understand more than you did the first time. And then you do it again a third and forth time etc.


I have found this to be helpful when it came to my having to go to collage to get an education.
I applied to Polytechnic Institute of New York University and they gave me a small sample test in Math to see if I could go to Calculus the first year, or if I had to take remedial course. I had no idea which side of the paper was up. So I  got a textbook that covered basic algebra, trig, vectors, matrices etc and just plowed through in is the way that he said and believe it or not when I took the exam I got all the questions right!
[I was in Uman, for three months before I took the test. The fast session I did in my spare time from Rosh Hashanah until the end of the festivals. Then I reviewed, reading every chapter, plus the exercises. Plus I did a Calculus text which was great, but oriented towards economies. So when it came to right hand sums of Riemanian integrals I was lost, and unprepared.]
(Since then I went on doing the same kind of learning--saying the words and going on, and no repeats until I get to the end of the textbook. )
[During my university years I learned saying the words of every textbook forwards and backwards--twice. This I based on an idea I saw in Isaac Luria (The Ari'zal) and Moshe Chaim Lutzato (The Ramchal). Later I decided it was just taking too much time to do everything that way, and I went back to the approach of the Talmud in Shabat לעלם לגרס אינש עא''ג דמשכח ועא''ג דלא ידע מאי קאמר
This approach is gone into detail in אורחות צדיקים  a classical Musar book



My basic point here is that learning Torah does not depend on place, but on commitment. Like it says in the prayer in the morning right before the Shema "unite our hearts to serve you". When one unites his own heart to learn Torah he can succeed.  But I think it is best to do this only at home or else in a place that is devoted only to Torah learning. Otherwise one will be distracted.
My impression of local synagogues is that they are in general not good places to learn Torah. Learn at home.


25.12.14

Islam has a problem with being from what could be called the "Dark Side."

 The god of Islam is the Satan, and that is simple to see from the actual events surrounding Mohamed. The revelations supposedly from God allowing him to do things which we would not considered very kosher were clearly not coming from the Creator, but from Satan.  And it is not news that Satan comes to people and makes them think they are getting revelation from the Creator.

  Christianity is not idolatry
  We have the original defense of the Trinity from Boethius. Later people tried to defend it by means of Plato and Plotinus. And after about a thousand years they gave up on that, and went to Aristotle.
(The Protestant way of defending this is to ignore the question.) So we have basically two kinds of defense. The Neo Platonic way is simple. It is the same as what we call sepherot. The Aristotelian [Aquinas] way is also rather straightforward-- aspects or modes of God. Whether any of these defenses works is not the issue. But what is the issue is the fact that they believe they are worshiping the God of Israel, the Creator. [This site http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2014/12/incarnation-approached-subjectively-the-mystical-birth-of-god-in-the-soul.html  seems to have a Martin Buber kind of approach. In any case, Catholics nowadays try to defend it by means of Aristotle, because the Platonic approach had too many problems. So Aquinas went over to Aristotle and that is how things have been since then. See the blog of Edward Feser. ]
  As we see in Abyee Sanhedrin 62 that one who bows to a house of idols, but thinks it is a synagogue is not idolatry because his heart is towards heaven.
So in any case it is not idolatry. And that is that. So Merry Christmas and good will unto men, and peace on Earth.


  This is not like the Rambam. However it is not a principle of faith that the Rambam can never be wrong. The Rambam can be wrong, but we believe he is 99% of the time not wrong. But in a least four cases I know he is wrong. One is the mouse that is  half dirt and half alive. Spontaneous generation. (Look at that Halacha and you will see he means literal spontaneous generation, not evolution.)

  The Menorah we know was like Rashi. The reason the rings were invented was that Venus gets brighter and dimmer and that could not be explained by the spheres--contrary to the Guide. And in Pirkei Avot there is one place where the Rambam explains a Mishna based on a mistaken text  in Onkles.
So while in actual decisions based on the Gemara it is certain he could not make a mistake. But that is because that was his forte. But in other areas he was not infallible. (And according to the Rambam the authority in halacha is the Oral Law, not the Rambam. That we see by his order of decision making concerning a beit din or  a judge that makes a mistake. The first thing is that any decision not like  דינים המפורשים בש''ס (things stated openly in the Talmud)  are simply thrown out of court without a second's thought.)

Appendix:

1) Not that it has anything to do with the issue of this blog but still I think in the background people wonder what the Torah has to say about Jesus? The hagadah in Sanhedrin did come up recently in my studies. I just happened to be there in Sanhedrin. And I think on and off I have seen things on this subject but never put them in my blog because it did not seem relevant to any Jewish audience.
So I forgot most of what I saw.
Now let me make clear even if Jesus would be everything Christians would say, it would not mean we could worship him or any human being or pray to him or even to praise him.
That being said let me at least mention that the Jesus mentioned in the Talmud is not Jesus son of Miriam because we have a good idea of the time period Jesus lived in. We know when Peter was crucified and the other disciples also. We even know when the brother of Jesus was killed. All these events were right around the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jesus the Talmud refers to it says openly was a disciple of Yehoshua ben Prachia who lived at towards the beginning of the Second Temple period. [see Pirkei Avot] The minimum separation in time here is two hundred years.
They can't be the same person.
Besides that I have seen few positive references. One from Isaac Luria. That was in those days I was learning Kabalah. So I might be forgetting exactly where I saw it. I think it was in the book of Chaim Vital on the Torah at the end of the book of Genesis. Plus it is well known the very positive things that The mystic Avraham Abulafia had to say about this subject. Professor Moshe Idel brings him in several places. Plus there is Yaakov Emden. And that is that. All these people clearly thought very highly of Jesus.  But no one thinks it is proper to pray to him or any human being. And that is why this issue is so charged with emotion. This is because some people think if Jesus was as great as they say we should all worship him. But that is wrong. We only should worship God alone, and great people and even great tzadikim we should respect and learn from.












In Torah law there is is some degree of discussion about what gentiles are obligated in. It is not an area of interest so it is scattered around and not thorough.
In any case sex between males is among the things gentiles are not allowed according to the Torah. As for dissident children בן סורר ומורה - there are rather strict conditions for which that law applies. (e.g. the amount of meat he needs to eat to be liable is almost humanly impossible to eat in the required time period).
In any case there is never a death sentence unless any act is done in front of two kosher witnesses and warning is given. The warning has to be about the reason for the prohibition and also the punishment and the perpetrator has to acknowledge the warning. It is like Miranda rights in that respect. Otherwise the case is thrown out of court.

Appendix

1) It is understood that the laws of the Torah were all addressed to Jews alone. Every single last one.
The question of what gentiles are obligated in is simply uninteresting to the Torah. As far as the Torah is concerned if someone wants to keep the Torah--very nice.
[''I have put before you this day the life and the good, and death and evil. So choose life by keeping these commandments.'' Deuteronomy. Now there is a deal you can't turn down. Who does not want life and the good? No one.]
2) In any case the subject does come up. We have the well known seven laws that were given to Noah. And how much of later laws that were given to Moses apply is subject to debate.
A ger toshav גר תושב the Rambam decided is one who accepts the seven laws in front of the Sanhedrin.
But there is an argument about that. To some opinions in Mesechet Gerim--a tractate outside the Mishna- a ger toshav is one who accepts on himself not to do idolatry.
In the middle ages the idea of gerei hashar גרי השער came up and the Beit Joseph did consider gentiles that were civilized to be in that category. That is a step up from gerei toshav, but not yet a full ger.
3) The Seven Laws, include not to murder, and not to do idolatry. Islam seems to be idolatry since they are worshiping   a false god. (They call him God, But you can call many people by the same name. That does not mean they are the same person. When they worship Satan, it does not help if they give him the name of the Creator. In fact it makes it worse.)







24.12.14

We all know that one brings a sin offering for doing a sin by accident. But do accidents combine?

Introduction: If one does any one of 43 sins he brings a goat or a sheep to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Only in the case of idolatry must it be only a she goat.
The sin has to be done by accident. You can't bring a sacrifice for intentional sin.
The sins are Shabat, sex with close relatives, sex with a male, sex with an animal, idolatry, walking into the Temple before getting purified, eating a sacrifice before getting purified, and a few others.
Sin offerings are commanded in Leviticus 4 for general things and in Numbers for idolatry.


I am going to share my questions about this with the general public even though I have not gone over it thoroughly with my learning partner.
Fact 1) One does work on the Sabbath day. He forgot that work is forbidden or he made a mistake in law and thought that it is in fact permitted, plus he forgot Shabat.
This is an unresolved question in the Talmud. [Sanhedrin 62, Shabat perek klal gadol] (That is does he bring one sacrifice or 39 for each work?) (I say it is unresolved because the Talmud brings it up in serval places and suggest maybe we can answer it form this or from that etc.? It sounds like It has not come to any conclusion and is always keeping it in the back of it mind to try to find some answer.)
Fact 2) If one depends on the Sanhedrin that made a false ruling and they allowed forbidden fat plus he got a piece of forbidden fat and permitted fat mixed up. Rav said he does not bring a sin offering.
He depended on the Sanhedrin so his additional error does not make him obligated.

So my question here is do accidents mix? [Horayot page 2]
Or lets say he forgot two things--that forbidden fat is forbidden and and it got mixed up.  From the Gemara in Horayot you would say he already brings only one sin offering. Just because he forgot something extra that does not add to the number of sin offerings. and you would be right in that reasoning. So I ask again, why don't we say the same thing on Shabat? He already brings only one sin offering because he forgot it is Shabat. So why would he bring more just because he forgot more stuff?

It has been a long day so I am not going to try and make my question clearer right now. If you want a little background take a look at those two Gemaras and also the Mishna LeMelech on the Rambam הלכות שגגות פרק ב

APPENDIX:
1) There are two kinds of accident. One is in the facts of the situation. The other is in law.
2) One reason I am bringing this to public attention is because I am looking for some help in my argument with my learning partner. I can't seem to convince him about this point that if one is liable only one sacrifice because he forgot Shabat then he can't be liable more for forgetting more. On one hand he is right that the Gemara itself seems to consider this question undecidable. But to me it looks like I have a proof from Rav. And who knows if perhaps that statement of rav might be part of the reason the Rambam did in fact decide that if one forgets both work and Shabat he brings only one sacrifice. I mean we do find the Gemara seems to  lean in that direction anyway, but this statement of Rav ought to be the smoking gun.
3) Forbidden fat is the fat that is in general sacrificed. It covers the area of the stomach. Because it is such a  serious issue,  Reb Shmuel Berenbaum never ate meat, only chicken. I think his wife sometimes served meat on Yom Tov to the guests like myself but for him it was only chicken.
4) I think it should be clear that Eliezer Menachem Shach's book the Aviezri probably deals with this. It is right up his alley to answer "shver" Rambams {hard to understand Rambams}. But I don't have his book. [I am right now in Uman, and they do not usually have too many Litvak books in the local synagogue.]

There is a permission to have a girl friend in the Torah.

Mainly this is an argument between the Rambam (emphasis on first syllable) who forbids and the Ramban (emphasis on the last syllable) (Moshe ben Nachman) and Raavad who permit. This comes up in the Shulchan Aruch also where the commentaries say that even the Rambam only forbids it as an איסור עשה a prohibition that comes from the force of a positive commandment.
The Gra brings down the notable fact that כלב בן יפונה [caleb ben yefuna the friend of Joshua] had a girl friend. He and Joshua were the only two of the spies that Moses sent into the promised land that gave a positive report. he is the only person in the Torah that it says about him וימלא אחרי השם he went after God completely

The only reason I mention this is that we live in a time when shiduchim  are impossible for most people.
The Rosh (Rabbainu Asher) seems to think that mainly it is permitted, but that because of nida issues he rules against it.
And that is the way the Tur also rules.
I also happen to know a few people with several wives.. Nowadays when a woman wants a guy she will get him. She won't care if he has another wife.  Woman want the Alpha Male and rarely let anything get in their way.
The Cherem of Rabbainu Gershom had a time limit according to the Shulchan Aruch. It has expired.



In general though I would keep this private. You personal life should never be allowed to be examined in public or subject to the approval of anyone.




1) The Geon from Vilnius has a few ideas which I wanted to share.
that God runs the world with a different trait from time to time.
Now I shared this with someone and they thought I meant in cycles. Now cycles might be an idea but it is not what the Gra meant from what I can tell. The cycle idea might help us understand the rise of civilization. The Sumerians [cities and infrastructure], the the Jewish people [the Ten Commandments and the Law], the the Greeks (science, art, music, philosophy, politics), then the Romans, and then the Renaissance.


2) The Torah portion of the week corresponds to every hundred years. That is why the Gra found himself mentioned in Tetze. And also we find the Holocaust in Ki Tavo with the curses. That put us in a parsha that mentions the verse "Moshe called to Joshua" {VaYelech}.


23.12.14

The idea of infinity is in itself kind of paradoxical. It is not a limited thing and it does not keep going. The strange nature of infinity was what led Kant to conclude that space itself can't be finite nor can it be infinite.  It is the way we conceive of things in themselves (dinge an sich).


) The thing that is difficult to understand here is where is the primary emphasis? The mind or external reality? With Kant external reality contains the dinge an sich (the thing in itself). In this way he is like Plato. We humans are down here in the cave of non reality. On the other hand with Kant sometimes the mind seems to take precedence. As when we say the mind makes external reality possible.
 To answer this  Schopenhauer-that the subject and the object each contribute a half to the final representation.
Frankly I like this. It gives us two levels of reality which is "just right" from my point of view. [Plato]
But these two levels of Kant  are not empirical and interior. They are phenomenon, and dinge an sich.
And the understanding is applied to both.



2) To show morality is objective  
\\All we have with Kant and Schopenhauer is that the representation is made half by the subject and half by the object. But what is that representation? It is a universal. It is not the dinge an sich! The dinge an sich exists independently from the subject as Kant says openly! The dinge an sich or a moral principle exist independently from the subject.  It's character--how it applies in any situation --part of the moral principle that is a representation is dependent on the  subject.
hink it is right.


"Anything but Torah." (That is the motto of the Satan)

I am looking on the news about difficulties involving Russia and the Ukraine. Also a set of problems involved with Muslims not very happy with Western Civilization. That along with race issues in the USA. Plenty of problems with no apparent answer.
My answer to these difficulties is to learn Torah. That is my feeling is that learning the Oral and Written Law would be a help. But for Torah to be it is also important to learn Musar along with it. Musar referring to books which deal with the ethical and world view issues of Torah.

This basic idea you can find in the book Nefesh Hachaim by Chaim from Voloshin, a disciple of the Gra [Eliyahu from Vilnius]. But it makes sense also. We know we humans are prone to mistakes especially in moral decisions. Ask yourself how many of your actions just ten years ago you think today were right? Probably very few. You have in the meantime probably changed your world view about major issues. The result is actions you did ten years ago you think were wrong. So we humans are flawed and need extra help to connect with the moral realm.

The written law is concerned mainly with revelation and the Oral Law is mainly concerned with how human reason can understand and interpret the Written Law. Together this is powerful way to come to connect with the space of moral facts.
Human reason on its own I should mention is not able to get to any solid conclusion about morality. What human think is moral today is utterly outrageous tomorrow.


So what I am suggesting is this: to get a Gemara Brachot and say it word by word. The first page with Rashi Tosphot and the Maharsha, and then the next page and so on until you have finished Shas. Same with the Jerusalem Talmud, Tosephta, Sifri and Sifra. Learn at home. (Don't bother with synagogues.)  It does not take more than a few minutes in a synagogue for someone to come up to you with some way to get you to stop learning Torah. They will always have some other mitzvah in mind that is "very important." "Anything but Torah." (That is the motto of the Satan)


22.12.14

 For right now suffice it to say that the best approach to Torah that I know is a balance between Derech Eretz (work) and learning. What I think people should do is to balance between learning Torah and work or going to collage.

But this is just a symptom. What I think is something more internal is a problem in the charedi world. Some spiritual problem that I just can't identify.

For that reason, I tend to think the best thing is for people to get their own complete set of the Written and Oral Law: Gemara (Talmud), Bavli and Yerushalmi, Tosephta, Sifri and Sifra, and to learn them at home. Orthodox synagogues have become magnets for the Sitra Achra (סיטרא אחרא).

Sart learning Torah yourself. Open a Gemara Brachot and just say the words page after page until you have finished the whole Shas. Then do the same with the Yerushalmi, and then the Tosphta, Sifri and Sifra. Then all the writings of Isaac Luria. And have also an in depth class.
The best way for in depth learning is to get the basic set of Brisk--Chaim Soloveitchik, Baruch Ber, Shimon Shkop, and the Aviezri from Eliezer Menachem Shach, and learn them on one  sugia.
[Shmuel Berenabum's classes would be a good addition to the Brisk school of thought if they were available. They were taped but never printed.]





Appendix
1) In spite of my emphasis here on the Oral Torah, I hope it is clear that one needs also to finish the Old Testament in Hebrew. The Oral and Written Torah are both a part of what is called simply "Torah."
And it should be understood that one should also finish the basis set of Mathematics and Physics as the Rambam made clear in several places in his writings. I in fact had a Handbook of Mathematics printed by Springer. It was a translation of something in Russian and its style was very Russian--that is dense. But it was the only thing out there available that I could afford.
Nowadays I think it would be better to just get a few basic textbooks. One for Algebra like that three volume set from Nathan Jacobson., and one for topology like that one from Allen Hatcher (Algebraic Topology. Also I only left out the writings of Isaac Luria because I think the Oral law comes first. But after one has finished once through the whole Oral and written law then certainly it is important to get the set of the writings of Isaac Luria and go through them word by word until he has finished the whole set.]
2) Also in spite of my emphasis on balance, Torah with Work and college, that does not mean to learn non kosher subjects in college, like psychology. What makes it non kosher is its world view about what human beings are is not like the world view of the Torah in these matters. There are people that believe in psychology and still outwardly do Jewish rituals, but they are pigs that show themselves to split the hoof and so outwardly have one sigh of kashrut but inwardly they are traif not kosher.
3) Post Modern Philosophy  would have to be considered to be not kosher. In spite of the Rambam's emphasis on learning Physics and Metaphysics still philosophy today is not along the lines he was thinking.
4) Most every academic discipline has a kosher core and a pseudo science exterior. This includes Torah and kabalah also. In fact I have a theory that most institutions are made to stop people from doing what they profess to be helping them to accomplish. This is because the pseudo exterior is most often the main thing that is being taught. Psychology for example really intends to make people mentally ill. It accomplishes this by getting them to talk about sex and to make them think they are getting cured of some problem by doing so. And people love to talk about sex. psychologist just found a way to make money off of this perverse desire.









21.12.14

Rabbi Natan said the reason fire is mentioned specifically about Sabbath is to divide between the kinds of work. That is, it is to tell us that one is liable a sin offering for each individual type of principle work. (There are 39 types. We know them because the Torah says don't work on building the tabernacle on the Sabbath day therefore we know the different types of work that went into building the tabernacle are forbidden on Sabbath. Playing cards would not be forbidden since it was not a necessary type of work in building the tabernacle.)

Rabbi Josi says it is coming to tell us it is only a prohibition.

(Sanhedrin 62a)

The Rambam in laws of sin offerings tells us if one turns over coals on the Sabath day he is liable two sin offerings, one for burning and one for putting out. The reason he says is that the halacha is that one is liable for מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה work done not for its own sake. [This comes from the Talmud in Kritot page 20b]
What that means is that  in the desert they needed coals to make the tabernacle.. I forget why but take my word for it.

The Rambam also says if one lights a fire in order to get warm he also in liable because it is a work that is not needed for it own sake.

(For some reason, I should mention, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch  and most Rishonim do not follow the Rambam here, but say work done not for its own sake is not liable.)

So what comes out from all this is that Rabbi Nathan has to be saying that the only case of the verse לא תבערו אש בכל מושבותיכם ביום השבת you shall not light a fire in all your dwellings on the Sabbath Day is talking about making coals. This is hard to swallow. The idea here is that when the Torah  makes fire forbidden it comes to be forbidden from the Torah and the only case for that here is making coals.
To Rabbi Josi things look easier, because to him making fire in any case is forbidden and that is fine.
By normal prohibitions we don't find any differences between work done for it own sake or not.

This whole essay is really not a big deal. It is just one small observation I had today between giving a violin lesson and other such stuff.

Just one thing that might make this more relevant to people is the fact that this idea of fire has nothing to do with electricity. Even if electricity was fire it still would only be liable if you needed to make coals.One way you can see that not every heating process is fire is by the fact that if you cook food with a magnifying glass on Sabbath that is not liable. תולדות החמה derivatives of the sun are forbidden only by rabbinical decree. And there is no rabbinical decree on electricity because  after the time of the Talmud no one has the authority to make a rabbinical decree (that is a גזירה דרבנן). However local beit dins could make decrees for their communities, but not for the whole Jewish people. This is an obvious principle in Halacha and I don't need to belabor the point.










One thing I noticed is that when I leave a certain area of value it is almost impossible to regain it.
For instance at one point in my life I was very enthusiastic about Musar. (That is the movement started by Israel Salanter that was geared to getting people to learn classical books of Musar, or Ethics from the Middle Ages. This is very small set of about five books.) When one sees his days are shrinking--that is he finds his days being taken up with nonsense, then he should know that fear of God can cure this problem. And for sure I have that problem, but to get back to Musar I find is impossible. I try to get some Musar book and learn it but something always happens to prevent this.

The main approach to Torah is to have the oral law at home and to go through it page after page without skipping a single word. That is the Babylonian Talmud with Rashi and Tosphot and the Maharsha, the Jerusalem Talmud, Sifri, Sifra, Tosephta. That is the main body of the Oral Law. Besides that one should have a set of the basic school of Brisk. That is Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, Reb Baruch Ber, Shimon Shkop, and Rav Eleizer Menachem Shach's Aviezri. These last one are important in order to understand the Rambam.
But what I am referring to here is mainly the fast session where you say the words and go on.
The original idea to learn that way comes from the Talmud (ליגמור והדר ליסבר)   But since it is fast it should not take much time. A simple half hour per day will get you through all the above in a few years.
And in this way you will understand a lot more than if you got stuck on every small detail.
And what you did not understand here, you will be reminded of up above. The main thing is for when you get to the next world you will have finished once completely the entire Written and Oral Law.

Doing this at home is better than in  any synagogue where people will definitely try to stop you from learning, and come up with all kinds of other so called mitzvot to try and stop you. 'the evil inclination is dressed up in mitzvahs. Be assured if you are learning and someone comes up to offer you another mitzah, that they are from the Sitra Achra,

The Gra says the main thing about the Erev Rav is Bitul Torah. They will do anything to get a person to stop learning Torah. He says the kelipot that the two messiahs have to take down are Esav and Ishmael, but the Erev Rav is the worst.

You should have an in depth session also and that is best with a learning partner. And that should be a hour per day. That gives time for work, and collage, and to volunteer for your local  Boy Scouts.

20.12.14

We can't say that everything is made of God's substance because he has no substance.

Substance is what the essence acts on to make it actual and to make it what it is. Such a concept does not apply to God. Essence is something that does apply to him. Essence is what makes something what it is.
We can't say that everything is made of God's substance because he has no substance. He is not made of anything.  He is not a composite.
Pantheism  is not the  belief of the Torah. Nor is Panetheism.

I thought after that short introduction to mention that the fundamental point of view of Torah is Monotheism.  That is that there is a first cause that made everything and he is not what he made.  And he did not weave the world out of his substance like a spider weaves a web.
Though you can see this point of view in the first verse of the Torah it is not addressed explicitly until you reach the books of Maimonides and Saadai Geon.

In spite of the great inspiration you can find in Eastern religions and especially Hinduism their pantheism should not be presented as the view point of the Torah. The Upanishads and the Bhavagad Gita are very inspiring but they are not Torah.
I don't know why pantheism became a part of Orthodox Judaism, but it has. For that reason if I could go to a Reform Temple or Conservative synagogue I would.













17.12.14

Before Reb Chaim from Brisk people were worried about "How?" After Reb Chaim people became worried about "Why?"[Why does the gemara say what it says and on what kind  reasoning do the rambam and raavad disagree?]
Now today lots of people go into "yesodot"  (foundational reasons) for the arguments in the Talmud or between the rishonim in ways that are similar to Reb Chaim, but without rigorous logic.
And while I can see why people do not think this is important, because after all we have the books of Rav Shach and the disciples of Chaim from Brisk. We have the recently published books of Reb Moshe the Dibrot Moshe and Reb Aaron Kotler. But Reb Aaron was not doing what Brisk is doing. Nor is Reb Moshe. They are not dealing with "Why?"
For the general public let me try to make it clear what I am saying here.
When we look at the Rambam we generally see the first problem is to find from where he brings his laws. That can help to understand what he is saying. Without that his laws are often understood in ways opposite to what they mean in the Gemara itself as has been noted by the Beit Yoseph.
So now we know from where the law comes and we have some idea of why he might decide the law in that way. Though there could be dozens of ways. The first person to bring some logical rigor to the study of the Rambam was the mishna lamelch. And later the Or Sameach. But Reb Chaim Soloveitchik's Chidushei HaRambam is his Pieta, his 9th symphony. it is the first time the Jewish people were able to see the logical rigor inside Maimonides instead of just believing it is there. and that process was left incomplete so Shimon Shkop and Baruch Ber and Rav Eliezer Menachem Shach continued this process. It is this reason that Reb Shmuel Berenbaum is much more important to the Jewish people than is known. because he was not just a continuation of this brisk approach but also was very exacting in its application.

16.12.14


In the thirteen principles of faith of the Rambam there is a mitzvah to believe that there will come a  messiah who will usher in a period of peace and good will, and there will be rebuilt the holy temple and the Jewish people will be able to live in peace.

He has a job to do, and if he does his job, well fine. No one needs to believe in a him or any person. In the Torah there is no mitzvah to believe in people. There is mitzvah to believe in God--that he exists and he is not a composite, he is not made of parts, and he is not the world. Rather he made the world out of nothing. He is not space or time and he is not in space or time. Space and time are his creations.
We have in the Torah many commandments from God. The major ones are in the Ten Commandments. But there are many more that deal with laws of the Temple in Jerusalem and civil law. But none of them say to believe in a tzadik. There is no mitzvah from the Torah or words of the scribes or any  decree of later sages to believe in any tzadik. [That is in Hebrew: there is no such Mitzvah דאורייתא from the Torah nor a Mitzvah דרבנן ] And you can't add such a mitzvah because the Torah itself says you must not add or subtract from the Mitvahs of the Torah.

4) There was a king that was ruling over the Jews and he set up an image and asked the Jews to worship this idol. Some Jews went along with it and some refused. Yochanan killed a priest that was worshiping that idol and started a war that he could scarcely have thought he could win. Five Jews against the Greek Empire. Not an even fight. But he won. And they went into the Temple and found a jar of oil that had not be desecrated and lit the menorah; and it stayed lit--for eight days.

5) Jews are asked by God not to worship any beings besides God. And that includes tzadikim.

6) We are asked to keep the Torah and its פירוש המקובלת [its accepted explanation] which is the Oral Torah; that is two Talmuds, one Tosephta and the Sifri and Sifra. (That is from Maimonides)
And many  sages tell us that we are not to read "outside books (ספרים חיצוניים)." People think "outside books" are philosophy  and science, but that is not how the Talmud uses this term. In the Talmud  (right smack at the beginning of chapter "Chelek" in Sanhedrin) the Talmud says (according to the Rif} "outside books" are books that explain the Torah in a way other than the Oral Law has already explained it. And this would include books that say it is a mitzvah to believe in a tzadik.


7) But tzadik worship should be rejected.

\




9) The truth be told I was years ago that I was reading the book of Daniel that some of these ideas occurred to me. And it has taken a long  time for me to be able to formulate my thoughts about this difficult topic. Also the previous essay about finishing Shas (the whole Oral Law) took me a very long time to be able to articulate.

10) Now most of the ideas here are not dealing with what is a tzadik. Maybe he is a soul from Atzilut. Maybe he is a Divine Incarnation. Maybe he is a deified being.  Maybe there are lots of variations of this that I have not heard of. And there is nothing wrong with any of that.  But don't claim there is a mitzvah to believe in him, and don't worship him with any of the four services nor in the way he is usually worshiped. All these are considered idolatry in the Torah. And that includes tzadikim that are in fact tzadikim.


12) There are different ways that people try to entice you into idolatry. I tend to think that it is hard not to fall into some kind of cult. Everyone wants to be part of some group. and the closer knit it is the better. Who cares if they are doing idolatry as long as one is accepted and loved. Right? I can't really answer that. It would be nice if keeping the Torah was lovey dovey, and people around were really sincere. But if they aren't, so what? Even if you were alone in the world, you still should keep Torah. And even if everyone hated you for doing so, you would still have to keep Torah. No now you have people that pretend to keep Torah around. All that is is another test of your faith. Why is it any different from the other times when people try to stop you from Torah more directly? All this is is that the Satan has found another way of enticing people away from Torah.

13) Sorry if this sounds a bit excited. You really have to start out with confidence in the Torah in the first place for this essay to make sense. And to defend the Torah I have tried to do on other occasions. This essay is just starting after one has confidence in Torah. And at that point I try to show what the basic idea of the Torah concerning this issue.

14) On a different issue I should mention that everyone needs some example of human excellence to look up to and to model themselves upon. And it is better that that model should be  a tzadik and not a rasha{wicked}. It is not just that it is human nature to need to find some model or perfection but also this model provides a social meme to form a society upon. And every group does this and every group has this one person or model that they consider perfect and try to model themselves upon. Some people take this model of human perfection beyond kosher limits and start to worship that person. That is not good and it is idolatry. But independently of that it is clearly better that people should have a true model of perfection than a wicked person. And that is why it is OK and even good to have  a model of how to learn Torah and to pray













When I say that it is easy to go through Shas and the entire Oral Law I mean you need a  decent idea of what the Oral Law is. I mean the actual texts that compromise that actual Oral law. That is only five texts--(1) The Babylonian Talmud, (2) the Jerusalem Talmud,  (3) Tosephta, (4) Sifri and (5) Sifra. It is possible to do this only if you have a clear idea of what you are doing. Also you need  certain degree of confidence in the idea of saying the words and going on. It is in fact something stated already in the Talmud--לגמור והדר ליסבר. shabat 63a But even this simple knowledge is easy to get distracted from.  And many people make fun of this kind of learning and it is easy to lose confidence in it.
. But I saw a lot of great people learned this way in the book Binyan Olam. And Reb Shmuel Berenbaum (of the Mir in New York) definitely did this. I would walk by his shtender on the way to my seat in the afternoon seder session. I remember he was doing tractate Chulin that year. I would walk by and he would be on page 60. A few hours  later I would walk by again and he would be on page 76. He was packing it away at a rate much faster than what I am describing here.
In this way you can easily go through the entire Talmud with Rashi, Tosphot, and the Maharsha. Every single last word. And the entire Jerusalem Talmud with the Pnei Moshe, and the two other commentaries on the page. And the entire Tosephta with the Chazon Yechekeil and the entire Sifri and Sifra. And all you need to 20 minutes per day. That simple easy twenty minutes is enough to get you through one whole page of Gemara with Rashi and Tosphot and the Maharsha. And the same goes with the other books I mentioned above. But it is best to do this at home where people will not distract you. People are more of a  hindrance than the evil inclination. People will definitely try to stop you from doing this.
Some people just can't stand to see someone learning Torah with energy and joy. It annoys the hell out of them. Literally.


You still have plenty of time to get your Ph.D in Physics and Mathematics and your Eagle Scout badge. And also you can do the "talking to God" thing (Hitbodadut) on the weekends. Go on a camping trip with your family and while up in the woods take some time to go and talk to God alone.


Appendix:
learn very fast.  when one starts to learn it often happens that he gets discouraged because he does not understand right away so he or she drop the subject completely.
But if one gets used to learning fast then he will merit to finish these books he needs to be doing and to learn them again and again three and four and more times and everything that he did not understand at first he or he will eventually understand. And even if there remain a few things one still does not get--so what? For the greatness of a lot of learning goes above everything else. And eventually he will know a lot more than if he got stuck on ever little thing.










It is possible to learn through the entire Oral Law in a fairly easy way. First you need a clear idea of what is the Oral Law, that is the two Talmuds (Babylonian and Yerushalmi), the Tosephta, the Sifri and Sifra. One needs confidence in the idea that one needs in learning only to say the words and automatically he will understand.  And even if he does not understand right away he will understand when he reviews the material a second and a third time.

It is important not to get distracted from this so that at least once in your life you will have completed the entire Shas  [Talmud] with Rashi, Tosphot and the Maharsha. And the Yerushalmi with the Pnei Moshe and the other commentaries on the page, the Tosephta with the Chazon Yechezkeil, and the Sifri and Sifra.


Learning by just saying the words means the ideas are registered in the frontal lobe and then transferred later the the other parts of the brain where they become incorporated. You do not need to force concentration. As the Sages said in Shabat and Avodah Zara "Always one should read the words out load and go on even though he forgets and even though he does not even know what he is saying." Musar also brought this. See Shar HaTorah in the books the Paths of the Righteous where the author goes into great length about this.

15.12.14

Sanhedrin 62a

Rav Zakai said if one does idolatry in four separate ways he bring four separate sin offerings. [This is a she goat only. It is different from a normal sin offering which usually can be a sheep or a goat. And it comes for 42 types of sin.]
Rabbi Yochanan said one for all.
Rabbi Aba said this depends on an argument between sages of the Mishna. 
R Natan said fire comes to divide, R. Josi said it comes to say it is only a prohibition.
R Aba suggests that they would have the same argument with the word "bowing" when it comes to idolatry in Deuteronomy 17. "And he will go and serve and bow." וילך ויעבוד וישתחווה



And Rav Joseph said no. Because we find R Josi also says on Shabat that there is division of work.


I wanted here to bring up three issues. 
1) Rav Joseph effectively refuted R. Aba by simply showing that the sages of the Mishna agree that on the Sabbath day there is division of work. At that point it makes no difference why they hold it.
Why bring up the fact that R Josi can learn division of services from bowing?
2) The Gemara towards the  end suggest the verse and he will do one of them to tell us division of work by idolatry. but then pushes off that idea says these verse are not written by idolatry. Where the these verses? There is only one!
3) Abyee brought all this to prove his point that serving an idol from fear of love is liable.
Thus: "This serving idols accidentally is what? Did he bow to a house of idols thinking it is a synagogue. then his heart is towards heaven.
So that can't be the case. Rather he bowed to a statute not knowing that it is an idol. If he accepted it as his god then he did it on purpose. If not then it is nothing."
The question here is why is this nothing? Why is it any different from lighting a furnace on Shabat? He lights the furnace because he thought it is not Shabat or he did not know it is forbidden. that is an accident. so here too he bows to the idol but he does not know it is an idol. It is an accident. Why is it nothing?
Now this is my possible answer for this last question:
Lets look at two pieces of fat that are in front of a person. He thinks they are permitted fat but one is (chelev) non permitted fat. And he eats the non permitted fat. Then someone comes and tell him what he ate was (chelev) non permitted fat. he has to bring a sin offering. But he did not know anything?! The pleasure takes the place of knowledge.
So what I think is that by idolatry he does not know anything and he has no pleasure and so it is only a mitasekמתעסק  and not enough intention to make it an accident






רב זכאי אמר זיבח וקיטר וניסך והשתחווה בהעלם אחד חייב על כל אחת ואחת. ורבי יוחנן אמר הוא חייב אחת. רבי אבא אמר שזה תלוי במחלוקת תנאים. רבי נתן אמר אש בא לחלק, ורבי יוסי אמר ללאו יצאה. רבי אבא אומר שיש פה אותה מחלוקת לגבי השתחווייה-וילך ויעבוד וישתחווה. רב יוסף אמר שיכול להיות שרבי יוסי יאמר פה שיש חילוק עבודות כמו שאמר בשבת מפסוק אחר-ועשה אחת מהנה. ורב יוסף הוסיף לומר שרבי יוסי יכול ללמוד חילוק עבודות גם כן מהשתחווייה. שאלה אחת רב יוסף שיבר את טענת רבי אבא על ידי זה שהראה שרבי יוסי אוחז מחילוק מלאכות בשבת. למה היה צריך לומר מאיפה היה יכול ללמוד את זה?שאלה שנייה.הגמרא מציעה אולי אפשר ללמוד חילוק עבודות מן הפסוק ועשה אחת מהנה. והיא דוחה את זה ואומרת שהני קראי לא נכתבו לגבי עבודה זרה. יש רק פסוק אחד. מה כוונת הגמרא "הפסוקים האלו"?
שאלה שלישית. אביי הביא את הסוגיא הזאת לראיה לשיטתו שהעובד עבודת כוכבים מאהבה ומיראה חייב. וכך הוא אמר,שגגת עבודת כוכבים היכי דמי(איך היא)? אם השתחווה לבית עבודה זרה וחשב שהוא בית הכנסת, אז ליבו לשמיים.אלא שהשתחווה לאנדרטא שהיה נעבד. אם קבלו עליו כאלוה אז מזיד הוא. אם לא קבלו אז לא כלום הוא. לנה זה אינו כלום. מה החילוק בין זה ושבת? בשבת אם אחד הדליק מדורה כדי לעשות פחמים ושכח ששבת היום או את המלאכה , אז זה שוגג. זה אינו לא כלום. ואי אפשר לומר ששבת הוא שוגג בגלל שהוא שכח, ופה הוא לא ידע שהאנדרטא נעבד.  הסיבה לכך היא זאת. יש שתי חתיכות לפניו שהוא חושב שהן שומן. אכל אחת. ואז בא אחד ושאל איפה החלב (בצירי)? והתברר שמה שאכל היה חלב. אז הוא חייב קרבן שהנאה במקום כוונה עומדת.ולכן רואים שגם המצב הזה נחשב לשגגה. זה שהנאה נחשבת לכוונה זה רק לעשות שהאכילה אינה נחשבת למתעסק, אלא לשוגג. אבל אולי ששבת היא שוגג בגלל שהוא שכח וגם אין הנאה, והאכילה שוגג בגלל ההנאה. ולכן עבודה זרה אינה כלום בגלל שלא ידע שום דבר וגם אין הנאה








"One was Abraham." [That is an actual verse.]That means Abraham served God only by the fact that he thought he was alone, and he did not look at anyone that tried to dissuade him. And similarly no one can come to the service of God without this aspect of thinking he or she is alone and to to not pay any attention to anyone who tries to hold them back.


14.12.14

Trust in God and learn Torah

  In the world of Torah there are two kinds of trust. One with effort and one without. So the story of King Asa is interpreted according to which opinion you go with. (King Asa went to doctors and was punished. There is a question: What did he do wrong? ) If you go with Navardok and the Gra, then the sin of Asa was to go to doctors. Period. If you hold with the Chovot Levavot [Obligations of the Heart-the first Musar book] and the Ramban (Nachmanides), then the sin was to go to doctors without trusting in God also.
[Incidentally, Reb Nachman did not hold from doctors at all. That is not related to the issue of trust. It is just that he thought doctors, only do damage. Some people have pointed out the state of medicine in his days was basically medieval, in which case it is certainly true that whatever doctor did only did damage. But is it so obvious that today things are all that different?]

  The confusing thing is Navardok (Joseph Yozel Horvitz) brings some statement by the Ramban that is supposed to be going like the Gra. And no one knows where it is. There is one Ramban (that my learning partner mentioned to me in an unrelated vein) about the name El Shadai which seems to suggest this.

  My opinion about this is that trust in God is applicable to transcendence. It is the world of the thing in itself that, if you use logic to understand it, it generates contradictions. It is classical Kant.[And Hegel agrees with this. But Hegel still believes that reason can get to the Ding An Sich by a dialectical process. And you have to say that King David was of the opinion when he told Solomon his son, דע את אלהי אביך ועבדהו "know the God of your father an serve him." Clearly King David and the Rambam were in agreement with Hegel.]


I think there are different levels of "dinge an sich's." That is plural "things in themselves" as Kant originally conceived of them. Not just Schopenhauer's singular "thing in itself" which is the "Will." But we don't want the aspect of the "thing in itself" of regular objects to be the same as Schopenhauer's either. We want at every level from (1) all form and no numinous content all the way up to (2) no form and all numinous content to have different levels of transcendence. What we would get from that is the essence of trust that is transcendent, but not the same degree of transcendence as God himself. And that would go a long way to solve this dilemma between the Gra and the Chovot Levavot.

And I think this is clear. Only the individual can feel if the present situation he is in requires action according to the Torah or not. If the Torah itself requires action, then clearly trust is not a reason not to act. But sometimes logic or reason requires action, but not the Torah; and then it is best not to act but to trust.
 To see for yourself  get the book Madragat HaAdam and look up the "Gate of Trust." Or more accurately let me say: look up the Gra he brings  there on the book of Proverbs ch. 3 where it says, "Trust in God with all your heart, and do not depend on your intelligence."

At any rate, the basic idea of the Madragat haAdam [Joseph Horvitz of Navardok is trust in God and learn Torah. It has nothing to do with institutions. In this day and age, I think learning at home is much better than any synagogue. The best thing, of course, is if one has an authentic Litvak yeshiva in the area, but I have never seen or heard of anything like that except in Bnei Brak and in NY and Rav Zilverman's Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem that goes by the path of the Gra.




I see that the Gra did hold from the Zohar, the Ari, and the Remak.
(But not to the degree that people think. He did not actually write that the redemption depends on learning the Zohar but commented on it and explained what the Zohar means by that statement. but he did not say it himself.) (Look up the actual statements of the Gra in his commentaries and not just collected sayings of his. You will see a big difference between what people claim and what he in fact said and wrote)


There were things that cooled me off to the Kabalah. And I wanted to go into some of these things here while I have the chance. After all have a public forum is an awesome responsibility.

First of all the Zohar and the Ari and the Remak all build on the paradigm of the Middle Ages, a paradigm based on the Pre-Socratics.
Of course, just a brief comparison between the Ari and the Pre Socratics will be enough to show that the Ari went infinitely beyond the available paradigm. Still it is a bit disconcerting.
But then the issue of the authorship of the Zohar also began to bother me.
And one day I saw what the Rambam wrote in one of his letters: "Just like one must not add or subtract to or from the Written Torah, so he can't add or subtract from the Oral Torah. And I began to think that in spite of how insightful the Kabalah is, it still is not in the category of the Oral and Written Law. The Zohar by all accounts was only revealed in 1260. the Oral and written law were known and accepted long before that. That is the Old Testament, the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, Tosephta, Sifri, and Sifra.  That is the sum total of the accepted oral explanation of the written law. And the Rambam says you must not add or subtract. But people can and do write later on explanations of that basic body of texts. The Rambam did so himself.
And the Ari did also. But that does not mean that that is higher, or can replace of Oral or Written Law.
I know this sounds harsh. But what I am suggesting is that Kabalah is dessert. It is not the main meal. And my mother never let me eat dessert before I had finished my plate. And I think the same logic would apply here.

So my suggestion is to learn and to finish the Oral and Written Law first and then do learn the Ari.
Now the Babylonian Talmud I would like people to finish with Tosphot and the Maharsha doing it fast. Say the words and go on.
But just to make it clear that is not the only thing on my agenda here. And I definitely have an agenda.  All morality needs a numinous core. The next things on my agenda is Math and Physics, ---learning them the same way as I mentioned above about Talmud. Say the words and go on. Simple as "Pi". And that I base on the Rambam. But I admit when the Rambam says  "Physics" he is talking about a wider category of natural science than modern physics. He at least means what we would call modern Chemistry. Maybe engineering also.  But it does not seem to me that he was thinking of Biology. If he had wanted to include that subject matter in the Mishna Torah or the Guide he could have, but he refrained. [He had the books of Aristotle that had that material along with the medical books of the Middle Ages.] So we have a fairly good idea of what he thought was an important part of a Torah education--the Oral and Written Law, Physics and Math.

13.12.14

1) Trust in God is a confusing issue. The story with king Asa  seems to imply that his sin was to go the the doctors alone without trust. But it seems that Navardok--that is Joseph Horvitz- would say any kind of action directed towards getting ones needs met is not good. And he would say saying to oneself or others that one is trusting is just fooling oneself. It is self deception. He would say one should serve God and then God will find some way to help him.
 2) The Tenach says Asa was punished because he went to the doctors for help instead of to God.  2 Chronicles 16:12
 3) This is a well known controversy, between the Chovot Levavot and the Gra.
4) My impression is that it is not clear that trust relates to action. To me it seems clear one can be working all day and be trusting in God and one can be sitting and learning Torah and not be. That is there is not an strong tie between action and trust. However if one is trusting then it is reasonable to ask why work?
5) The way this idea of trust was understood at the Mir was to do what one must whether in mitzvahs or in secular pursuits which are required by the Torah--e.g working for a living. But not to be doing even that for any reason but that the Torah requires it. The way it understood it it was close to Navardok but not exactly.
The idea was no matter what--what is decreed on a person will come automatically. But by doing God's will in ones life has the potential of averting a bad a decree. And if it is decreed that one should have things he needs then these things will come no matter what.
I know this is hard to understand but that was the basic unspoken attitude.

6) I suggest looking at the Madrgat HaAdam  and the Chovot Levavot and tell me if you can make any more sense out of it that this.
The Gra's opinion seems to be based on an Agadah. That is significant because the Gra said all the secrets of the Torah are hidden inside the Agadah.

)







12.12.14



Here are a few reasons I think Islam is idolatry and worshiping the Satan



Raping and Beheading the Faithful
Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2014

by Raymond Ibrahim
December 10, 2014 at 5:00 am


This is the third church in Muslim-majority East Jerusalem to be forced shut in recent years.

"You think all men are equal... Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed into our home." — Archbishop Amel Shimoun, Exiled Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq.

As usual, after filing a complaint about a gang rape with the local police, her family received threats of more violence. "In Pakistan, rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls... It is a form of violence that wants to reiterate the submission to Muslims. The rest of society is not outraged because the victims mostly belong to religious minorities. Rarely rapists are punished." — Sardar Mushtaq Gill, lawyer, Pakistan.


Muslims beheading Christians was a visibly growing spectacle throughout the month of August. Islamic State [IS] militants cut off a Christian man's head—after compelling him to say the shehada, the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger." When the shehada is spoken before Muslim witnesses, the speaker becomes Muslim and thus, in theory, safeguards his life and possessions from the jihad. Not so for this hapless man, who, after renouncing his Christian faith for Islam, was still slaughtered on camera (graphic video can be viewed here).

The Christian Post has the story:

A Christian man in Syria recently had his head brutally hacked off by Islamic militants after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as "the messenger of God".

The incident was caught on video for the world to see and broadcast as a warning to "everyone like him".

In the video that was posted to YouTube with translated captions, the helpless Christian man is surrounded by armed militants wearing masks and he is heard reciting as instructed: "There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God."

An apparent leader in the group of militants is then heard instructing the group: "No one will shoot him now, do you understand? He will not be killed by shooting because it is merciful for him."

"He will be beheaded because he is Kaffir, non-Muslim, sided [with] the government and was not praying at all. Everyone like him will have the same end, beheading," said the militant.

A militant armed with a machete then grabs the defenseless man by the hair and begins to cut his head from his body as the group cries "Allahu Akbar... there is no God but God."

Apparently inspired by the spate of beheadings conducted by the Islamic State, a female British convert to Islam, who is believed to have relocated to IS-controlled territories, "is threatening to behead Christians with a blunt knife," according to the Daily Mail. Umm Hussain al-Britani—formerly Sally Jones of Chatham, a member of an all-girl rock band and single mother of two—warned in messages since deleted "You Christians all need beheading with a nice blunt knife and stuck on the railings at raqqa … Come here I'll do it for you!"

In Nigeria, the Islamic group Boko Haram, which seeks to enforce Islamic law over the whole African nation, beheaded a six-year-old boy, because he was Christian. During Sunday church services, over 100 Islamic militants descended upon Attagara, a Christian-majority village. With machetes and machine guns, they slaughtered men, women, and children.

According to Christian Today, "One villager, Sawaltha Wandala, was arriving at church for the second service when he saw children being massacred. One six-year-old boy had been slashed and thrown into a ditch, but he was alive. Wandala picked him up and was carrying him to a hospital in Cameroon, when he was stopped by five of the militants. The men reportedly took the child from Wandala's arms and beheaded him, then began beating the 55-year-old with tree branches. After striking him in the head with a rock, they left him for dead."

Another Christian man, John Yakuba, was told by Boko Haram members, "You must convert to Islam or else you will die a painful death."

When Yakuba refused to denounce Christ, they tied his arms and legs to a tree, and hacked his hands with a knife.

"Can you become a Muslim now?" the militants asked.

"You can kill my body, but not my soul," Yakuba cried out.

The men continued to cut his feet and back with a machete and knife to torture him.

"We will show you," they said.

Yakuba's head was slashed, and an axe was driven into his knee, reaching the bone.

He lost consciousness and was left tied to the tree for three days before someone found him, after which he was taken to the hospital in a coma.

In a separate attack by Boko Haram, where approximately 100 people from a Christian-majority region were killed, a survivor reported: "I thank God for sparing my life, but three of my neighbors and members of our church were killed during the attack. These Christians in our village had their throats slit with knives while their hands were tied behind their backs. Some houses were bombed as the Boko Haram gunmen were chanting, 'God is great!' in Arabic."

In Kenya, militants from the Somali Al Shabaab Islamic organization abducted a group of traders near the resort island of Lamu, and drove them into a dense forest. The militants eventually released three of them, because they were Muslims, but beheaded the fourth, a Christian.

While "infidel" Christian men were beheaded, Christian women—including children—were raped and enslaved in various regions of the Islamic world.

In Iraq, approximately 1,500 Christian and other minorities not able to escape the advance of the Islamic State were gang-raped and sold as sex slaves, some for as little as $25. A joint statement by two senior UN officials declared that "Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner." One young woman, who managed to hide a mobile phone in the prison, spoke of horrific experiences, including being raped by dozens of men over a few hours. Other women said children born out of rape were ripped from their mothers' arms, and never seen again.

In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where Christians make up less than one percent of the population, dozens of men armed with machetes, knives and iron rods attacked the convent of Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions nuns in Boldipuku, a village mission in north Bangladesh. "The nuns were beaten and molested, ending when police arrived," reported Bishop Sebastian Tudu. According to Catholic Online,

"[S]ome 60 men attempted to loot the building and rape the nuns... The attackers first tied the hands and legs of the mission's two night watchmen and gagged them in the early morning hours .... Three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape and were sent to their provincial house in Dhaka, the national capital where they are trying to overcome the shock and mental suffering."

In Pakistan, yet another Christian girl, 12-year-old Muqadas ("Sacred"), was raped by a gang of Muslim men. The girl, who worked as a maid for a Muslim family, was returning home from work,

"when Muqadas was kidnapped by two Muslim men and three women. They took her inside a school (which was closed) and the two men, identified as Ashraf Alias Achi and Ghaffor Alias Paida raped her repeatedly in turn. The girl was later abandoned."

As usual, for filing a complaint with local police, her family received threats of more violence. According to the family's Christian lawyer, Sardar Mushtaq Gill,

"In Pakistan rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls, who come from poor and marginalized families. It is a form of violence that wants to reiterate the submission to Muslims. The rest of society is not outraged because the victims mostly belong to religious minorities, who are the most vulnerable. Rarely rapists are punished. Furthermore, rape victims face terrible difficulties; they do not receive adequate medical treatment for sexual assault. Many girls are traumatized and become depressed and in need of psychological assistance."

(See here for more on the sexual abuse of Christian minors in Pakistan.) For his troubles, Gill, a vocal human rights activist who represents abused Christians, was again targeted for assassination: his home was sprayed with bullets overnight, for the second time.

Although beheadings and rape in the Islamic world may seem distant from the minds of most in the West, the exiled Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, warned the West that its turn will come. In an interview, Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona, said:

Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.

Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

The rest of August's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Muslim Attacks on Churches

East Jerusalem: Seven years of harassment and attacks by Muslims finally forced Calvary Baptist Church to leave their church building. The attacks began in 2007, soon after the congregation moved into the building, located in a predominantly Muslim area. Within 10 days of beginning meetings and worship services, a Muslim who lived near the church attacked a member with a knife. Then someone tried to set the building on fire. Next came vandalism. First, cars parked at the church were damaged, then property. Finally, some children were physically assaulted on their way to church. The congregation was finally evicted after the landlord was threatened. "How dare you do this," he was told. "This is a disgrace to Islam. If you don't do anything about this, we will." The landlord eventually succumbed to the pressure and the 110-member congregation had to leave the building. This is the third church in Muslim-majority East Jerusalem to be forced shut in recent years.

France: In the early morning of August 5 at Thonon-les-Bains, a man of about 30, described as a "young Muslim," committed major acts of vandalism in the church of Saint-Hippolyte and in the adjacent basilica of Saint-François-de-Sales. He overturned and broke two altars, the candelabras and lecterns, destroyed statues, tore down a tabernacle, twisted a massive bronze cross, smashed in a sacristy door and even broke some stained-glass windows. (Click for images of the destruction caused in the church.)

Iraq: Soon after the unprecedented Christian exodus from Mosul, after the Islamic State told Christians to convert to Islam or die, a human rights organization went to northern Iraq to provide assistance and support to all displaced Christians. It reported that "around 45 churches in Mosul ... were destroyed and converted into mosques and centers for the Islamic State." According to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako "This is a humanitarian disaster. The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down," and up to 1,500 manuscripts, many ancient, were burnt.

Nigeria: According to Vatican Radio, "In Madagali, Boko Haram are said to have looted parish property, vandalized and then set alight buildings belonging to the church. Fr. Obasogie was not sure of the number of people killed or of other causalities in the Madagali attack but he says there are many. .... Christian Churches within Maiduguri Diocese have borne much of the brunt of the terrorist activities…According to Fr. Obasogie, all Christian churches on the major road linking Maiduguri and Adamawa state have been closed after several acts of terrorism at the hands of Boko Haram sects."

Muslim Attacks on Converts to Christianity

Iran: According to the Idaho wife of Iranian-American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly two years, her husband has received death threats from Sunni militants from the Islamic State, held in the same detention center: "He's already under threat because he is a convert to Christianity. Now we understand that ISIS members in the prison have said he is their number one target." The pastor is in the same ward but a separate section from the Islamic State adherents, his wife said, adding that he is afraid to leave his cell and join the general prison population in the yard for exercise. "I fear for his life," she said, adding that the couple's young children have submitted a video to President Barack Obama pleading with him to bring their father safely home. Separately, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, a former Muslim, is charged with enmity against Allah, a crime that can be punishable by death, while the fate of two other Christians arrested with him remains unknown. The pastor was arrested when intelligence agents stormed his home. They arrested the church leader along with Mohammad (Vahid) Roghangir and Suroush Saraie, two other converts staying with him. The agents also seized Bibles, Christian booklets, and the pastor's personal computer. On August 3, after being interrogated for two hours, the pastor was charged with "Moharebeh," or "waging war against Allah," a capital offence in Iran. All three converts have been targeted by the authorities in the past, including for "evangelism" and "actions against public security."


Iranian-American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012, is pictured here with his family in happier times.



Kenya: Hussein Hassan Mohammed, 30, a Muslim convert to Christianity, tearfully recounted his experiences at the hands of Muslims at Mogotio King's Outreach Church, where he originally announced his conversion in April. He told of how he was beaten unconscious inside a mosque, how Islamic leaders had paid assassins to kill him, and how his own father tried to poison him to death (similar to the experiences of another Muslim convert to Christianity in Uganda, whose aunt tried to poison him). For a while, he was arrested and tortured because authorities refused to believe that he had really converted to Christianity (they thought he was an Islamic terrorist pretending to be Christian, which happens frequently). Then, while he was recuperating in hospital, he called his father, 72-year-old Hassan Mohammed, who came to visit him at the hospital:

"Are you serious about what you told me, that you had embraced the Christian faith?" his father asked, to which Hussein, replied, "Yes." According to the Christian convert:

"My father came with the food, but my conscience rejected the food. The doctors noticed that I was restless. I was told to eat the food, but I refused. The doctor tried to give the food to the cat, but it too refused to eat it, hence the food was taken to the laboratory, where it was found that it was a poisoned food."

Police guarding Mohammed arrested his father. Questioned about why he would want to kill his son, he told them, "My son has forsaken Islam as well as defiling our community by joining Christianity." Said Hussein: "I thought my father had come to help, but I realized that he had come to kill me." Still, when he was discharged from the hospital, Hussein pled for the release of his father. Mohammed said he had forgiven his father, and police released his father.

New Zealand: Friends of Khalid Muidh Alzahrani, a Muslim convert to Christianity known as Daniel, "fear the refugee has been abducted from his Christchurch flat and taken back to Saudi Arabia—home to the Islamic holy city of Mecca—where it is against the law for Muslims to abandon their faith." Daniel arrived in Christchurch about five years ago on a Saudi government scholarship to study English, eventually converted to Christianity and applied for asylum. He was granted refugee status on the grounds that he would be persecuted in Saudi Arabia, and told friends he was terrified he would be kidnapped and forced to return. The Saudi ambassador to New Zealand said that Daniel had "insisted" on returning home to visit his mother and the consulate had paid for his air ticket. But, according to National,

[H]is friends don't believe it—they say he was last seen in the company of two strange Arab men and believe he was taken out of the country under duress, possibly by agents of the state or family members....

There have been numerous documented cases of Saudi nationals being uplifted from foreign countries. In 2012, columnist Hamza Kashgari, who'd been accused of insulting the prophet Mohammad on Twitter, tried to seek asylum in New Zealand but was intercepted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sent home and jailed without trial.

In May last year, a young Saudi Christian who had arrived in Auckland two months earlier and claimed asylum was snatched off the street by three men just three days before his refugee interview and was flown back to Saudi Arabia, where it is believed he spent time in prison and was tortured. His lawyer, Roger Chambers, said the man had managed to secretly make contact with his friends in Auckland.

"He has had a dreadful time in Saudi Arabia," Chambers said. "[He was told] more than once if he did not renounce his Christianity that he could expect to be beheaded."

Yemen: Muslim relatives of a woman who converted to Christianity placed gasoline in one of her kitchen bottles, which caused her to catch fire while cooking breakfast for her family; eventually she died from the burns. Morning Star News reports:

In southern Yemen, Saeed woke to the sound of screaming. He shot out of bed, pushed panicked family members aside and saw his wife stumbling out of their kitchen, engulfed in flames. His wife, Nazeera, had been preparing breakfast at about 9 a.m. when she poured liquid from a cooking oil bottle into a hot pan. The liquid flashed, and the bottle exploded. While her four children watched, screaming, Nazeera was being burned alive. "I rushed out of the room," Saeed (full name undisclosed for security reasons) told Morning Star News, weeping. "I couldn't even speak to ask her what happened. All I could think about was putting the fire out and then getting her to the hospital. But my 16-year-old son, he couldn't stop himself and held on to her, hugging her while she was burning. He got hurt, and I had to pull him away from her." About two weeks later, Nazeera, 33, died as a result of her burns. When Saeed returned to his home in a village (undisclosed for security reasons) after her death, a relative told him the unthinkable—members of both his family and hers had taken the vegetable oil out of the bottle and replaced it with gasoline. Saeed knew the reason—many years ago, the two had become Christians and refused to return to Islam.

Dhimmitude: Islamic Discrimination Against Christianity

Libya: Roaming bands of armed Islamic militants went door to door in Tripoli's jewelry stores. They ordered the owners to stop selling any crosses or Christian icons. "Immediately thereafter," report Arabic media, "the store owners collected all the crosses and Christian icons and delivered them to their Christian villages outside of Tripoli. Other store owners hid the Christian crosses and icons deeply, in the hopes of transferring them somewhere later, because they live in Tripoli and have no outside Christian villages to deliver the banned Christian items to."

United Kingdom: Yasmin Jackson, a 24-year-old Christian mother, claims staff at Kingswood Daycare Nursery in Mitcham, south London "starved" her five-year-old daughter because her packed food was not halal—that is, prepared according to Islamic custom. According to the Daily Mail, Ms Jackson, a single mother and former nursery worker, said, "When I picked her up at the end of the day the first thing she said to me was, 'mummy I'm really hungry, can I have my lunch now?'" The mother went to speak with the manager. When she asked why her daughter was not allowed to eat her packed lunch, the manager said "We didn't know if it's halal." The mother responded, "We are a Christian family and it was a chicken sandwich," to which the manager said, "We don't allow any non-halal meat in the nursery."

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.

It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).