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24.11.17

In terms of the 13 principles of faith of the Rambam, I wanted to share the idea of saying them right when you get up in the morning right after you say the Shema before saying another word.
The idea to start the day right with words of Musar [Medieval Ethics]  and faith seems very important to me.
This I say even though I am aware that not all rishonim held by the 13 principles are articles of faith. There is Rav Joseph Albo [the author of the commentary on the Guide printed in most versions of the Guide.] And also Abravanel. Still I think they are important.


You can see this idea of starting the day right also in the Nefesh HaChaim of Reb Chaim fromVoloshin who says that when one accepts on himself the yoke of Torah when he wakes up in the morning-- then all distractions are remove from him.

The problem is obviously it is hard in the first place to accept the "yoke of Torah," to sit and learn Talmud many hours each day. The truth is the whole concept of the yoke of Torah is hard to get to in the first place or even understand what it means and even then the biggest enemies of it are the pseudo Torah scholars that just want other people's money by their pretending to learn Talmud.
The astounding amount of fraud in the religious world is  a challenge to anyone's faith.
When people advertise how religious they are by their dress, you know something is rotten there.




First Hundred Items to Disappear in a crisis.

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy...target of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY - note - food grade if for drinking.
14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won't heat a room.)
15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes...buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {"Strike Anywhere" preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting - if with wheels)
49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. "Survival-in-a-Can"
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress's
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

From a Sarajevo War Survivor:
Experiencing horrible things that can happen in a war - death of parents and
friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, sniper attacks.

1. Stockpiling helps. but you never no how long trouble will last, so locate
    near renewable food sources.
2. Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.
3. After awhile, even gold can lose its luster. But there is no luxury in war
   quite like toilet paper. Its surplus value is greater than gold's.
4. If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity - it's the easiest to
   do without (unless you're in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)
5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without
    heating. One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy - it makes a lot of
    the dry unappetizing things you find to eat in war somewhat edible. Only needs
    enough heat to "warm", not to cook. It's cheap too, especially if you buy it in
    bulk.
6. Bring some books - escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more
    valuable as the war continues. Sure, it's great to have a lot of survival
    guides, but you'll figure most of that out on your own anyway - trust me, you'll
    have a lot of time on your hands.
7. The feeling that you're human can fade pretty fast. I can't tell you how many
    people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of
    toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to
    lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else.
8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches

23.11.17

pseudo sciences

Classical education used to stress Western Civilization. To some degree the fault that this disappeared is in the Frankfurt school that intended to undermine USA ideals. But also I should mention that the pressure of Sputnik I think caused the focus of education to change towards STEM. [And I am all for STEM but I also realize you need a basis in Western Ideals to support it.]


Mainly what education needs is to drop all the pseudo sciences  and anything that has the word "studies" in it. (What is pseudo science, everything that has the word "science" in it. The word "science" is always added to make something stupid sound profound].

I think there is plenty of room in high school for both STEM and Classical Quadrivium and Trivium which are known in books of Musar as "the seven wisdoms".


I should mention that the concepts of the Quadrivium and Trivium are not exactly as they sound today. The concepts are related Trivium means where the three roads meet. Quadrivium means where the four roads meet. That is there is a connection. number (Arithmetic), number in space (Geometry), number in time ( Music), number in space and time (Astronomy) etc. Thus today this would mean Vector Analysis, Physics, etc.

[If guess of mine is true then it is possible to equate the Gra and the Rambam. We know from Rav Baruch of Shkolov in his introduction to his translation of Euclid that the Gra emphasized learning the seven wisdoms. We also know the Rambam emphasizes Physics and Metaphysics. These seem like different areas. But we we understand the Quadrivium and Trivium not in their simple meaning but more as the ancients understood them then we can equate the Rambam with the Gra. [Thus Grammar:defining the objects and information perceived by the five senses. Hence, the Law of Identity: a tree is a tree, and not a cat. That is knowledge of phenomenal reality. etc.]

22.11.17

Jesus and Rav Avraham Abulafia

The major thing that I find  intriguing about Jesus is not the New Testament at all but rather Rav Avraham Abulafia, the mystic from the Middle Ages.  It is not just that he identifies Jesus with the Messiah son of Joseph mentioned in the Talmud Suka, the Zohar,  and the New Tikunim  by Rav Moshe Chaim Luzato, but more of interest is the  subject of Messiah Son of Joseph that you find in the Gra and the Ramchal. Furthermore in the Ari you find this idea of ירידת בדורות the lowering of the generations, but also many ideas that indicate something going on with Jesus of great interest. One thing is there are a few hints towards the idea of Jesus being the messiah son of Joseph in the commentary of the Ari on the end of Genesis where he associates Jesus with the soul of Joseph son of Yaakov. [The writings of the Ari are just called that. They are actually from Reb Chaim Vital. In any case, the major ones are the Eitz Chaim and the 8 Gates [eight books]. Three of those books are commentary on the Five Books of Moshe, and this idea is brought there.]

Some people take great offense at the slightest mention of anything positive about Jesus, but this has been my position since around 1993 when I was in the basement of Hebrew University studying the manuscripts of Rav Abulafia. 
 Dr. Moshe Idel has written a few books on Avraham Abulafia and Medieval Mysticism, but his major treatment of this issue is in his first book which was his Ph.D Thesis at Hebrew U.

In the meantime, you can actually get the books of Avraham Abulafia yourself without having to go through the torment of reading Medieval manuscripts. They were all printed up in the later years after I discovered this, and I think are available in books stores. At least I saw the entire set being sold in a book store near Kikar Shabat in Jerusalem.

I should mention that Rav Abulafia is brought down in the Chida and also Reb Chaim Vital in the last volume of Shaari Kedusha [not by name] where Reb Chaim Vital brings down unifications that come directly from Avraham Abulafia  (not the Ari).



[I would have spent more time learning Rav Abulafia, but in the meantime I started doing Physics and that took up a lot of time. But if  could, I would try to plow through all the books of Rav Abulafia along with the Ari and Remak. There are also some very nice books by Rav Yaakov Abukazeira and Shalom Sharabi, but where  am today they are not available. Besides that I think I was doing a lot better in life when I simply was learning Gemara at the Mir and in Israel. While the mystics are important and have a lot a great information, I find myself a lot more happy with simply learning Gemara. You can disagree with me, but my feeling is that the great mystics are good commentary on the Law of Moses, the Oral and Written Law-but that they are only a side issue. A Branch, but not the Law itself.]

[It occurs to me to bring up the idea of attachment  and "oneness" with God. This is actually a command in the Torah in Deuteronomy chapter 10 verse 20 and it is brought as far as I can recall by all of the people that enumerated the 613 commandments [mitzvot]. Thus the fact that Jesus said "the Father and I are one" does not mean the Trinity, but rather that he was attached to God or as most mystics put it "נכלל באור אין סוף" (included in the Infinite Light. I can understand that people that have not experienced this kind of Devekut (attachment with God) can find this hard to understand. Still this is a well known phenomena of a person feeling completely attached to God.]





The issue of trust in God comes up with King Asa who was one of the better kings of Judah and Benjamin. He got sick in his feet and the verse blames him for going to doctors instead of to God.
The Primary Musar book Obligations of the Heart חובות לבבות  says he should have trusted in God  but that השתדלות effort was allowed. One is not blamed for taking reasonable steps to get his needs met.
Reb Israel Salanter in the magazine he published in Vilna, the'' Tevuna'', says the Ramban [Nachmanides] disagrees with this. The disciple of R. Israel Salanter, the מדרגת האדם, brings this idea in the name of the Ramban.
I asked David Bronson (who studied the Ramban for years) where this Ramban is located? So far no one seems to know.

In any case the issue seems to me to be unclear when effort is required and when it is even forbidden and reflects lack of trust in God.

I think when the דרך הטבע [way of the world] mechanism is well understood, then one should go with that. It is rather in things that are not well understood that one should be passive.[That would be why King Asa was blamed for going to doctors.]

Trust was a major issue in the Mir Yeshiva in NY because of two issues: Parnasa [making a living] and Shiduchim [finding a wife].
I can not say I have a clear idea about when one should trust and when one should do effort, but the story about the death of George Washington is instructive. He was sick and the doctors were called in. The recommended blood letting. And after all, if a little blood letting is good for you, then a lot must be better. So they drained off about half his blood. Sometimes if you do not know what to do or you do n0t know the mechanisms involved, it is best to do nothing.



21.11.17

why do righteous people suffer?

The book of Job presents the issue of  why do righteous people suffer? This is a debate there.The sages of the Talmud take the position that Job was wrong. All suffering comes from sin.
But what does one do when he or she does not know what sin he is doing that he needs to repent on?
I should mention that often one's children do suffer from their own sins, but that if a parent repents on his sin that causes thoughts of repentance to enter into the minds of their children. But that leaves us with the original problem.
The books of Musar bring down the statement of the sages, "What should one do when he has sinned a grievous sin and is liable  the death penalty towards heaven? If he used to learn one page (of Gemara), he should learn two pages. If he used to learn one chapter (Mishna) he should learn two chapters." That is,-- to increase one's learning Torah. That is as Reb Nachman said because, "Torah is higher than repentance." If one learns Torah, that causes corrections in the world of repentance also.

Learning Torah ought to be along these lines:

Mikra, Mishna, Musar, Math. The four "M"s. "Mikra" in Hebrew means the Old Testament. Mishna refers to the six books of R. Yehuda HaNasi which contains the essence of the Oral Law. [The two Talmuds were both written as commentaries on the Mishna]. Musar (Moral principles) refers to mainly Mediaeval Books of Ethics but it also refers to more recent books of the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter. Math is basically my own short hand way of describing what the Rambam said about learning Physics and Metaphysics. Physics is mainly Functional  Analysis and Lie Groups.[But it has to be checked by objective reality. That is what makes it Physics.]

My parents also emphasized learning a vocation and survival skills.
[Survival skills means first of all to get as far away as possible from evil people. That s one tip they do not share with you in survival manuals.]



I should mention that the very best book I ever saw on the Mishna is the commentary of Rav Ovadiah from Bartenura which is printed with the Mishna in almost every edition. I just ate up that like apple pie. Every second I was not in the regular yeshiva sessions I ran to the Mishna with that commentary.

The disciple of the Gra, Reb Chaim from Voloshin concerning the issue of idolatry.

Worship of a human being [or even of a dead human being] does not have anything to do with the idea that he or she was immortal, or all knowing, or even the Creator. This you can see in the book of the disciple of the Gra, Reb Chaim from Voloshin the Nefesh HaChaim. There, Reb Chaim goes into detail showing that idolatry has to do with intention to connect one's soul with the spirit of that person.
This you can see most clearly in Buddhism. Even though today Buddha is considered "all knowing" [omniscient] by his followers, in the original texts there are statements that contradict this. In any case, even though Buddha is certainly worshiped, that  has nothing to do with the idea of his being immortal or a creator or omniscient. This is clearly as the Nefesh HaChaim points out.

[Nowadays, few people worship statues, but many people do worship dead people. I would not have believed how easy it is to fall for this if I myself had not seen this in the religious world. Even for this reason alone it is worthwhile to listen to the Gra.]

When you read the Old Testament and see how the kings of Israel (and even the kings of Judah) fell into idolatry, you cannot help but feel great frustration. You keep on asking yourself, "How could they have been so stupid?" And yet nowadays that the external form has changed, it is all too easy to fall into the same mistake and yet to think of ourselves as being clean and innocent of transgression.

[You could rightfully ask on this from the stories of Reb Chaim Vital going around to Kivrei tzadikim and making unification to tie his soul to the soul of that tzadik. Also Reb Nachman does say to tie one's soul to the soul of  a tzadik is a great thing. I have no good answers for these questions. Certainly I can see tying one's soul to a tzadik is better than doing so to a bad person. But still that does not take it out of the category of idolatry.]
As far as I can see going to Uman for Rosh Hashana is perfectly fine and even a great thing, but one must still be careful to direct all his/her prayers towards God alone.




Keeping the Law the Law of God is mainly a personal matter. The whole public show and dance really has nothing to help in that direction and mainly hurts.When it is public is usually just a show they put on to make pretend they are keeping Torah in order to get the money of secular Jews.
That does not mean that in theory there might be communities around authentic Litvak yeshivas that  in fact hep one to come to and keep Torah.
But mainly the whole show and dance is a scam to get people's money.
Best to stay away from the whole scam.
They love-bomb you to make the whole show seem credible. But if one really interested in keeping God's Law the only way is as a private matter. 

20.11.17

Sometimes people look at this blog that might not know the distinction between true Torah learners and counterfeit Torah scholars that are demons. Usually I assume people know the difference.
But just in case the basic idea is this: true Torah is based on the Gra and regular striaht Litvak yeshivas and false Torah of the Sitra Achra [Dark Side] is from the cults the Gra put into excommunication.
Also  have to add for the sake of clarity that Reb Nachman was not included in the excommunication.

[Normally I would not even bother to mention this, but when I see people looking at this blog from Indonesia I feel adding some clarity would be helpful.] [Most of the time the only readers I see I from the USA or the former republics of the USSR and also from Italy.]


One thing you might have noticed--and I did notice when I was still at the Mir in NY was that Rabain Gershom one of the commentaries on the page in Bava Batra holds that the law of saying lashon hara [saying something bad about someone] in front of three people is talking about straight lashon hara--not the dust of lashon hara. It's not just the Rashbam but Rabainu Gershom also.
This law says two things. Not just that if lashon hara has already been said n front of three then one can go an advertise it further. Also it says that it is allowed to say it in front of three.
This seems to be a proof to Rabainu Yona that lashon hara on true facts is not forbidden unless there is a possibility of collateral damage.
Furthermore I wanted to point out that the gemara uses this law of lashon hara in front of three to bring a proof that מחאה is in front of three witnesses. Thus a clear proof that the law of in front of three means that the one saying it is not one of the three!!

The prohibition of lashon hara is as it stands hard to keep and is a serious crime. But that does not mean one should make it more strict that the actual law requires.
In Bava Batra page 18 in Tosphot first words מכלל, Tosphot changes what the meaning of R Yose is. Before Rav Papa it is that the bees stay at the border and the mustard can be put right next to them. After Rav Papa who says the case of the Mishna is when half the field was bought, Tosphot says the case is the mustard is at the border and the owner of the mustard can tell the owner of the bees to keep the bees 6 handbreaths away from the border.
[I think I have mentioned this problem before.] Part of the reason is in the language R. Yose uses and another part of the reason is as Tosphot says that before Rav Papa R. Yose is holding the owner of the bees did something slightly wrong by putting the bees next to the border. While after Rav Papa nether did anything wrong because the field had not been sold yet. The language of the Gemara is this: The owner of the mustard says to the owner of the bees "why tell me to keep my mustard away? Keep your bees away!" If the mustard was there first that means he is saying in fact to keep the bees away. If the bees were there first it means that the owner of the mustard is saying he too can put his mustard next to the border.

Therefore after we come to Rav Papa Tosphot means that either one that was at the border first can tell the other one to keep his things 6 handbreaths from the border.
+________________________________________________________________________________

In בבא בתרא דף י''ח ע''ב  in תוספות first words מכלל, the תוספות changes what the meaning of ר' יוסי is. Before רב פפא it is that the bees stay at the border and the mustard can be put right next to them. After רב פפא who says the case of the משנה is when half the field was bought, תוספות says the case is the mustard is at the border and the owner of the mustard can tell the owner of the bees to keep the bees ששה טפחים away from the border. Part of the reason is in the language ר' יוסי uses and another part of the reason is as תוספות says that before רב פפא it must be ר' יוסי is holding the owner of the bees did something slightly wrong by putting the bees next to the border. While after רב פפא nether did anything wrong because the field had not been sold yet. The language of the גמרא is this: The owner of the mustard says to the owner of the bees "why tell me to keep my mustard away? Keep your bees away!" If the mustard was there first that means he is saying in fact to keep the bees away. If the bees were there first it means that the owner of the mustard is saying he too can put his mustard next to the border. Therefore after we come to רב פפא, it must be that תוספות means that either one that was at the border first can tell the other one to keep his things that cause damage ששה טפחים from the border.


בבא דף דף י''ח ע''ב בתוספות ד''ה מכלל , תוספות משנה מה המשמעות של ר 'יוסי. לפני רב פפא זה שהדבורים ליד הגבול ואת החרדל ניתן לשים לידם. אחרי רב פפא הוא אומר שהמקרה של משנה הוא כאשר חצי השדה נרכש, תוספות אומר המקרה הוא חרדל הוא בגבול בעל בעל חרדל יכול להגיד בעל הדבורים להרחיק את הדבורים ששה טפחים מן הגבול. חלק מהסיבה היא בשפה שר 'יוסי משתמש וחלק אחר של הסיבה היא כמו שתוספות אומר כי לפני רב פפא זה חייב להיות ר' יוסי הוא מחזיק שהבעלים של הדבורים עשו משהו לא בסדר לשים את הדבורים ליד גבול. אחרי רב פפא אף אחד לא עשה משהו לא בסדר, כי השדה עדיין לא נמכר. שפת גמרא היא זו: בעל החרדל אומר לבעלים של הדבורים "למה תגידו לי להרחיק את החרדל שלי, הרחק את הדבורים!" אם החרדל היה שם קודם, זה אומר שהוא אומר למעשה להרחיק את הדבורים. אם הדבורים היו שם קודם, פירוש הדבר שבעליו של החרדל אומר שגם הוא יכול לשים את חרדל ליד הגבול. לכן, אחרי שהגענו לרב פפא, זה חייב להיות כי תוספות אומר כל אחד שהיה בגבול בראשונה יכול לומר לשני לשמור על מרחק ששה טפחים מהגבול.






19.11.17

Torah scholars that are demons create a bad name for the holy Torah

James Madison opposed a bill that required the State to support teachers of  Religion.
The arguments he used apply just as much to teachers of Torah.
See the actual essay

If there would be an obligation to give money to Torah scholars, don't you think the Gemara would have said something about it? Instead it talks about not sending them out to build a wall around the city but they are obligated to dig a well because they also need water. But in all the Gemaras about charity, there is nothing about an obligation to give money to Torah scholars. Only to poor people.



This is related to what the Gemara says about teaching Torah. The Talmud says: "God said to the Jewish people, 'Just as I taught Torah for free without pay, so must you teach Torah for free.'"

The Mordechai [a rishon who, along with the Rosh, was a disciple of R. Meir from Rotenburg] brings this in Bava Batra and asks, "Then how it is permissible to pay teachers of Torah even for children?"
To some degree this is related to the Rambam who makes this same point about learning Torah.
[The Rambam holds a somewhat radical position in this regard. He wrote about this at length in his commentary on Pirkei Avot and that caused the first wave of opposition to him even before he had written the Guide for the Perplexed.]



The reason I bring this up is that there is a known problem with Torah scholars that are demons and that creates a bad name for the holy Torah itself. If learning and teaching Torah was not a lucrative profession then it would attract less bad apples.
[The phrase Torah scholars that are demons comes from Reb Nachman who brings it from the Zohar and the Ari and from my own experience it's  a fitting epitaph.]

[You can see this theme in the major book of Reb Nachman quite a lot. Sometimes openly but more often in passing. In any case he was obviously aware of this problem and eventually this resulted in the Na Nach group being rightfully suspicious of all religious authorities. I am however not sure what most Na Nach people would say to do except to ignore them. That seems to be the best idea. and certainly if possible to simply make learning and teaching Torah as a voluntary act, not a job that gets paid.]

 I am not saying the problem is the money. Rather that the money is what attracts the flies in the first place. Reb Nachman I think in any case is choosing his terminology precisely, and I do not think he i is just using a term of exaggeration. Besides this you can not say Reb Nachman was exaggerating because then it would be lashon hara/slander. So he has to have meant it literally.



17.11.17

Troubles in the Musar movement

One of the flaws of the Musar movement was that it emphasized the Ethics and Morals of Torah without the underlying philosophy of Torah. I mean to say they did not learn along with the Jewish Ethics of the Middle Ages also the Guide of the Rambam (the Guide for the Perplexed), the  אמונות ודעות of Saadia Gaon {Doctrines and Faiths} and a lot of other of the Jewish sages from the Middle Ages that dealt with השקפה world view issues. [Joseph Albo, Abravanel, Ibn Gavirol etc.] But you can not have ethics without world view.  The principles of Ethics have nothing to stand on.

One result of this is the Musar movement itself more or less fell into oblivion. The representatives of the movement were ipso facto the "spiritual advisers" in the Litvak yeshivas which simply did not and do not earn much respect.[Not just that most of them are not anything near the level needed to be a decent rosh yehiva, but even in terms of Musar itself they have nothing of interest to say. They have no idea of the background and world view of the mediaeval writers of Musar.

The trouble to a large degree is that the rishonim themselves that were writing on the world view of Torah were well versed in Aristotle and Plato and Plotinus. Without that background, a lot of what they say is incomprehensible.

Even with that background what they say can be hard to understand.
[See the discussion of the Rambam why no predicates apply to God and see Hegel's treatment of the same issue.]

[In fact to come out with a intellectually rigorous moral system s exactly what the Rishonm were doing and in my opinion they did a great job. Much better than any moral theories developed after the so called Enlightenment--a misnomer if I ever heard one. [A better term would be the Endarkenment.]

16.11.17

The best way to ruin a good relationship is to get married. I had a friend who was a Russian physicist who was friends for many years with one girl and then eventually they got married and that was the end of it. I have seen this plenty of times. If after all the Torah does allow a Girl friend פילגש why be more strict than the Torah itself? Is it is not enough what the Torah forbids that we have to add on extra restrictions?
[The  Rishonim in general allow a girl friend. The two well know examples are the Ramban and Raavad, the Gra but there are many more if one takes the trouble to look them up. The Rambam in this case is the opinion of one against many.]


Caleb ben Yefune is the only person in the entire Old Testament upon who it says the unique phrase "וימלא אחרי השם" he went totally after God. It never says anything like that even about the greatest of tzadikim. On others its says "He walked after God" and all other kinds of phrases but never does it use the word "totally." And Caleb had at least a few girl friends and a few wives.

However it is good to be married and if one can find the right person for that I am all for it. In fact I would still be married today if i had  stayed away and kept my wife away from Torah scholars that are demons (which nowadays pretty much means all of them). It is hard to find a Torah scholar nowadays that  is not mixed up somehow or other with the Dark Side.

If  people had taken the advice of the Gra and listened to what he wrote on the letter of excommunication, then things would be different.[And there s no reason to think the excommunication is not valid legally. One would have to not only assume the Gra was mistaken but also that that mistake would invalidate the whole thing. But in fact the Gra was not mistaken and even if he had been the cherem would still be perfectly valid.]
Bava  Batra page 18-b. The third Tosphot on the page מכלל דר. יוסי סבר וכו'  Tosphot suggest that the first questioner on the page did not know that R. Jose holds על הניזק להרחיק את עצמו because if he had known this he never would have had a question. The question was that R Yose says one can put mustard next to bees because each hurts the other. The question was if Rava is right  that הבא לסמוך אצל הגבול אינו  סומך then how could the situation with R Yose arise at all? The answer would be that R Yose holds that על הניזק להרחיק את עצמו and that bees cause no damage to mustard and therefore the owner of the bees was allowed to put his bees next to the border. Rava never said a ניזק can not put something next to the border, only the מזיק.
But in this case, I have a question on the last Tosphot on the page where he brings Rabainu Chananel that says the way the Gemara reads is אלא אמר רבינא and from that he concludes that Rava has to have gone back on his entire assumption.


I think the reason for Rabainu Chananel is he wants to question to apply  even if the mustard was first.

[It might be a good idea to mention the fact that each of these three Tosphot have a completely different idea about what this Gemara means. The First Tosphot is the Ri. The second is obviously different but maybe it is from one of the later authors of Tosphot. The last is Rabbainu Tam.
The fact that the first and second are different threw me off course for a while until I was ready to give up on what the second one was saying.]



בבא בתרא י''ח ע''ב. תוספות השלישית בדף "מכלל דר' יוסי סבר וכו',. תוספות אומר כי השואל הראשון בעמוד לא ידע שר' יוסי מחזיק שהניזק מרחיק את עצמו, כי אילו ידע זאת לא היתה לו שאלה. השאלה היתה שר 'יוסי אומר שאפשר לשים חרדל ליד דבורים, כי כל אחד מזיק השני. השאלה היתה אם רבא צודק כי הבא לסמוך אצל הגבול לא יכול איך המצב עם ר' יוסי בכלל להתעורר? התשובה היא שר' יוסי מחזיק כי על הניזק להרחיק את עצמו ודבורים לא גורמות נזק לחרדל ולכן בעל הדבורים הורשה להניח את דבוריו ליד הגבול. רבא מעולם לא אמר ניזק לא יכול לשים משהו ליד הגבול, רק את מזיק. אבל במקרה זה יש לי שאלה על תוספות האחרון בדף שבו הוא מביא רבינו חננאל שאומר את הנוסח של הגמרא הוא אלא אמר רבינא ומכאן הוא מסכם כי רבא חייב לחזור על כל ההנחה שלו. אבל גרסה זו באמת אומר כי התשובות של רבינא ורב פפא הן עצמאיות וזה בדיוק מה תוספות שלנו אומר. אבל תוספות שלנו אומר את זה בלי לגרום לרבא לחזור על מה שהוא אמר..

15.11.17

To restart the Musar Movement

One thing you see in the Old Testament quite a lot is that people were going through lots of problems and the general approach of the prophets was that the problems they were having were because they were not keeping the Law of God [תורת משה] That suggests that the question is not how religious a person is but rather being religious in the right way.
Therefore what I suggest is to reopen the idea of Reb Israel Salanter about Musar [Jewish Ethics from the Middle Ages] and specifically setting aside a room for that purpose. The reason is that Musar is like concentrated orange juice. It gives you the basic idea of what God requires of you without going into too many details which can get one lost. But I do not mean this in just a personal way. Rather what I suggest is to completely restart the whole Musar Movement concept all over again.

[That is to say that the general approach of the prophets was not to tell people to pray more or to go to some grave to say Psalms. (דורש אל המתים "Seeking the dead" is a bad idea as you can see in Deuteronomy 18:11) It was almost always a two part idea. First was to stop doing idolatry. The second was to get back to the Law of Moses.] [There are too many examples to go into detail but this is clearly what the prophets were saying.]
That is to say that most of the advice you hear from people about how to get out of your problems is not accurate. It is not what prophets who really were in touch with Divine Reality said. What people in touch with the real thing said was to keep the Law of Moses.


What does that mean in a  simple vein? First of all to restart the Musar Movement would be  a first priority- and this does not  have anything to do with Litvak yeshivas.  Rather it is a whole separate focus. It also does mean just (like it sounds) to start to be careful about the obligations between man and his fellow man-not to lie or steal etc. It also has a lot to do with government which is  unauthorized to a be redistribution mechanism. Keeping Torah is not to vote for other people's money to be given to you.    

Reb Nachman against Torah scholars that are demons

The Jewish religious world is a hotbed of cults. The major problem was foreseen by Reb Nachman from Breslov in many of his Torah lessons where he describes the problem with Torah scholars that are demons. Even though this language sounds harsh it actually comes from the Zohar and the Arizal.
The stereotype of Torah teachers is used by scam artists: they dress up like trustworthy people as part of their effort to fool the unsuspecting victim.


The issue many seems to be that people that want to come to learn and keep the Torah have little idea of what authentic Torah is and so they get easily fooled by charlatans.

The Gra already warned about this problem and even put the cults into excommunication but his warning and even his signature on the letter of excommunication is ignored.
Some people even think Reb Nachman was included in the ban, but that is not possible if you look at the actual language  of the letter.


[Reb Nachman includes this idea of Torah scholars that are demons in even the very last lesson in his major book. But Reb Israel Odessar emphasized it more than is usually expected. Thus the Na Nach people tend to have automatic suspicion towards anyone that supposedly is  a teaching Torah and they assume it is Torah from the Sitra Achra [the Dark Realm. I have to admit that the Na Nach group has a good point in this regard-- as many others have noticed, but have been intimidated from speaking out. I really have no idea why or when the present day situation arose but you have to say it started at least as far back as the time of Reb Nachman. Nowadays the last place one should go for advice is to torah scholars that are demons.] 

Lashon Hara [slander] versus the Chafez Chaim.

I want to suggest an answer to a question that was raised in the Mir Yeshiva in NY on the Chafez Chaim. concerning the laws of Lashon Hara. I think the law of אפי  תלתא [Lashon Hara said in front of three people can be spread further because it is already public] really has to mean that the Lashon Hara is said in front of three people. That does not include the speaker. I think this is really the intent of the law. Yet as far as I recall Rav Israel Meir HaKoken [the Chafez Chaim] allows this even when the speaker is one of the three. I believe he is basing this קולא on the fact that מחאה [objecting to a person that has occupied his property illegally] needs to be said only in front on two  people.[and the Gemara compares the two laws]  He is I think allowing this because in any case he is being strict about this law in saying that it applies only to אבק לשון הרע. So to make up for one חומרא [being strict in one thing] he is adding one קולא [being lenient in another].



The basic question on the Chafez Chaim is this. He allows the קולא of אפי תלתא (in front of three) that is: if one has said slander in front of three people, then any one of the three can go on and spread it further. The one who said it is included. The question is this: Tell the one who is asking the question not to spread it, and then there will no longer be three people spreading the slander.


My reasoning here is simple. If you look at the Gemara you will see באפי תלתא [in front of three] has to mean in front of three other people. So on the law itself there is no question. The only question is on the Chafez Chaim. And my answer  is as I mentioned up above.


Furthermore on a different note I want to suggest that the rishonim that allow straightforward "in front of three" if it is true [not just the "dust of Lashon Hara"] are all deciding the law like Rabbainu Yona in the Shaari Teshuva that there is no Lashon  Hara on truth unless it is because of collateral damage. Otherwise, I can not see why they would all allow it to be spread further just because of באפי תלתא [in front of three].[That would seem to make it worse.]
However if lashon hara for truth is allowed anyway, then why would you need באפי תלתא? So maybe the  whole thing really just applies to the dust of lashon hara and that lashon hara on truth is forbidden without all the seven conditions for בין אדם לחבירו and the other conditions for בין אדם למקום
 I imagine to answer this question you have to say that the whole thing about אפי תלתא  is to say that you can repeat what you heard and it has nothing to do with information you know first hand.




14.11.17

I think the basic approach of Christians towards Jesus is mistaken because they tend to look at Jesus from the lens and viewpoint of Paul rather than taking his words to mean what he said. Keeping the Law which means for Jesus the Law of Moses was a big part of his platform  and focus. Plus the idea that he is not God was also a major point by him, even though he was attached with God in a NeoPlatonic sense.{One person called him "good". Jesus said, "Do not call me good. Only call God good."}

You can see this approach also in the letters of James and Peter.

On the other hand I learned in the book of the Rosh Yeshiva of  Slobodka  אור צפון that God forgives idolatry if people are doing kindness. So I tend to look at Christians that emphasize kindness as being basically on a good path.
I might try to expand this essay in the future but that is my basic idea for now.



[The basic issues can be divided into three: (1) The Law of Moses. There you do not see the distinction of Thomas Aquinas between Natural Law and Divine Law. Rather-the law is the law. (2) The idea of attachment  with God which is a commandment in the Torah so for anyone to say they are "attached with God" does not mean they are God. Nor does the Son of God mean anything more because of capital letters than it does anywhere else where the same phrase is used: "The Sons of God came to stand before him," "My Son, my first born is Israel" etc. and lots of other places--"Don't make a bald spot on your head because you are the Sons of God." (3) The whole debate between Paul and James and Peter is smoothed over in a very dishonest way. James openly says a statement which is  as clear as can be: "Anyone who lacks doing even one commandment of the Torah is as if he transgressed the whole thing."'  While Luther had a great point about getting back to original sources, still Christians have never taken the words of Jesus nor James and Peter to mean what they say.



Women today in the West  have lost their sense of place and this makes them particularly obnoxious.
But to be without a woman is not really an option. Yet to be married to one gives them way too much leverage over a man. Therefore the פילגש option seems best. [That is the girl friend. ] This you can see was a viable option in the Law of Moses. It is not the same thing as a זונה [prostitute] who is not specifically for one man.

Many people mix up these issues. They think sex outside of marriage is automatically prostitution which is certainly not the case. .


Calev ben Yefune had a few wives and a few girl friends as we can see n Chronicles I ch 2 verse 46.
[That is the friend of Joshua.]

Torah scholars

Cults and cult leaders usually take off from some established religion. They do not make up their own scriptures but use existing scriptures and then claim that to get to the truth of that system one needs to go through their lunatic leader.  This happens in the Jewish world as much as anywhere else.
Thus one needs a certain degree of common sense and a sense of authenticity to be able to avoid the problem. Another alternative that some people take is simply to avoid that particular religion entirely once they become aware of the cults that have infiltrated it.

I have mentioned before that Reb Nachman [of Breslov and Uman] noted this problem though he was not the first. This come up in his book in Volume I chapter 12 where he explains the problem with "Torah scholars that are demons" which he brings down from the Zohar. [I recall this problem arising a lot in all of his five books but mainly in his major one.] As usual in Torah lesson 12 he build up a a whole system based on this idea.

To solve this problem in fact those that decide to avoid the problem entirely and go off into Eastern religions makes a certain degree of sense. But my approach is to simply stick with Torah--the Oral and Written Law and avoid the cults as much as possible. That is mainly by sticking with the basic approach of the Gra and Reb Israel Salanter which is collectively called the Litvak Approach based on the fact that this approach was widely accepted in Lithuania.

Today this good approach is mainly found in Ponovitch and NY Litvak Yeshivas and paces that are modeled after them.



















13.11.17

בבא בתרא דף י''ח ע''ב Talmud Bava Batra page 18 side B

In בבא בתרא דף י''ח ע''ב. I was wondering why the גמרא asks on page י''ח ע''ב a question on רבא from ר' יוסי. Since for all we know the argument between אביי and רבא is only according to the sages of the משנה.  After all they can not be arguing about ר' יוסי who says it is permitted to put the mustard next to the bees. [Even if the הלכה would be like ר' יוסי, still they can not be arguing about a statement of ר' יוסי that says "It is allowed". The argument between רבא and אביי is if one can put something by the boundary if there is nothing on the other side that could be damaged at the present time. Then if there is placed there later something that could be damaged then one would have to take the thing that causes damage away.] It occurred to me that in fact the question of the גמרא must be only about the actual set up of the garden where the bees have been placed next to the border, and on that set up the sages say the mustard must be kept away from the bees and ר' יוסי says they do not need to be kept away. But this question on רבא can not exist unless the sages hold that bees do damage to mustard. After all רבא says only the one that causes damage must be kept away from the border. And that is in fact one answer of the גמרא, that is to say that the sages hold the bees do no damage and that is why they can be put next to the border.


בבא בתרא דף י''ח ע''ב. תהיתי מדוע הגמרא שואלת בעמוד יח: שאלה על רבא מר' יוסי. שהרי כל הוויכוח בין אביי לרבא הוא רק  לפי חכמי המשנה. הרי הם לא יכולים להתווכח על ר' יוסי שאומר שמותר לשים את החרדל ליד הדבורים. [גם אם ההלכה תהיה כמו ר' יוסי, עדיין לא ניתן להתווכח על אמירה של ר' יוסי שאומרת "מותר". הוויכוח בין רבא לאביי הוא אם אפשר לשים משהו בגבול ואין שום דבר בצד השני שיכול להינזק בזמן הזה. אז אם השכן שם שם מאוחר יותר משהו שיכול  להינזק אז הראשון היה צריך לקחת את הדבר שגורם נזק משם.] עלה בדעתי כי למעשה שאלת גמרא חייבת להיות רק על הקמת בפועל של הגן שבו הדבורים הוצבו ליד הגבול, ועל כך החכמים  אומרים שאת החרדל יש להרחיק מן הדבורים ור' יוסי אומר  לא צריך. אבל שאלה זו על רבא לא יכול להתקיים אלא אם כן החכמים מחזיקים כי דבורים עושים נזק לחרדל. אחרי הכל רבא אומר רק דבר שגורם נזק חייב להיות מרוחק מהגבול. וזו תשובה אחת של גמרא, כלומר שהחכמים מחזיקים  שהדבורים לא עושים שום נזק ולכן הם יכולים להיות ליד הגבול

12.11.17

false Torah scholars

The trouble with false Torah scholars is that they cause more damage than if they would be open criminals. It is by the fact they present themselves as knowing  Torah and by that gaining people's trust that they cause the terrible evils they bring into the world. This is stated openly in the Talmud tractate Shabat. It's a wonder to me that Reb Nachman who brought up this problem did not quote that Gemara.[He has plenty to say about this problem but for some odd reason he never quoted that Gemara.]

The basic idea is that these false Torah scholars then cause the entire Jewish religious world to fall into the Dark Side and from there problems spread throughout the whole world.

It would be great and simple to  follow the Oral and Written Law if not for this particular problem which makes it difficult.

One method I have recommended in some of my blog entries is simply to learn Torah at home. Another good idea is to find an authentic Litvak yeshiva.  However neither of these ideas is very simple. [unless one is in NY or Bnei Brak]  Especially for working guys. Thus at least what I recommend is to save the first hour every day when one wakes up for a  half hour of Torah and a half hour of Physics and Metaphysics as per the Rambam and by that to be connected with Torah in an authentic way the whole day.

[The problem with finding an authentic Yeshiva just gets back to the original problem. Thus the best idea is to learn Torah at home--especially to guard that first hour for Torah and Physics.]

The problem I think goes into the area of money. That is that Torah is not supposed to be a means of making money and hen it becomes a means of making money that then it attracts lowlifes.



Bava Batra 18b

In Bava Batra 18b I was wondering why the Gemara asks on page 18b a question on Rava from R. Yose. Since for all we know the argument between Abyee and Rava is only according to the sages of the Mishna.  After all they can not be arguing about R Yose who says it is permitted to put the mustard next to the bees. [Even if the Halacha would be like R Yose, still they can not be arguing about a statement of R Yose that says "It is allowed".] [The argument between Rava an Abyee is if one can put something by the boundary f there is nothing on the other side that could be damaged at the present time. Then if there is placed there later something that could be damaged then one would have to take the thing that causes damage away.]


It occurred to me that in fact the question of the Gemara must be only about the actual set up of the garden where the bees have been placed next to the border, and on that set up the sages say the mustard must be kept away from the bees and R. Yose says they do not need to be kept away.


But this question on Rava can not exist unless the sages hold that bees do damage to mustard. After all Rava says only the one that causes damage must be kept away from the border.
And that i in fact one answer of the Gemara, that is to say that the sages hold the bees do no damage and that is why they can be put next to the border.

Lashon Hara [the prohibition to speak bad about others] (The verse itself I think is in Leviticus 19.)

One thing they were emphasizing in the Mir Yehiva in NY was Lashon Hara [the prohibition to speak bad about others] and that I never really got into much. Later I found out that Rav Israel Abuchatzeira also was really into that kind of thing but it still never really became one of my major principles to hold onto. Part of the reason is because it is never really all that clear when you are required to warn others about something and when not.

[Rav Israel Abuchazeira had just one picture in his house --that of the Chafez Chaim. And his granddaughters had organized a חוג group in their school of girls that would learn two laws in the Chafez Chaim [the book of Laws of Lashon Hara] every day and they would put their names on a list of people that every person would pray for every day to find their true spouse. So this thing about Lashon Hara was fairly well emphasized by that whole family also.--Not just Bava Sali himself. I think most of the people on that list got married after a very short time.]





The opposite point that one is required to warn people of danger of associating with a bad person is what makes this whole thing difficult to deal with.

In the book of the Gra [collected sayings of the Gra] אבן שלמה it says to give rebuke even when one knows the rebuke will not be accepted. Thus in our case here, it would seem that to warn others of danger is an obligation even when one knows his words will not be accepted.

[The Mir in NY was different from other Litvak yeshivas in this respect -the emphasis on not speaking Lashon Hara. All Litvak yeshivas are unified in the conviction about the prime importance of learning Torah as defined by Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot. But the Lashon Hara was unique to the Mir.

The trouble nowadays with women is they have lost their place. They no longer know who they are and what are their responsibilities. Thus to come to any degree of self respect they need to accuse some man or men of sexual assault. This makes them feel worthy and gives them a feeling of self respect. If they would learn the laws of Lashon Hara all that would be changed.

[One thing I have to add here. That you can learn the whole Chafez Chaim and not notice the argument between the Rambam and Rabainu Yona about Lashon Hara about what is true. The Rambam holds it is forbidden unless in a court of law. To Rabainu Yona it is only forbidden because of collateral damage that might come out of it but in itself it is not forbidden as you can see clearly in the Shaari Teshuva. And also I must add that extra strictness in this easily deteriorates into not opposing evil where it is warranted and required. So I generally depend on Rabbanu Yona.]











11.11.17

There is something in Tosphot in Bava Batra page 18B that is a little hard to understand. Basically the subject is a Mishna where the sages say one must keep a vat that one uses to soak laundry away from a neighbor's vegetables.  Also mustard from bees. R. Jose allows the later because the owner of the mustard can tell the owner of the bees why tell me to keep away from your bees? You should keep your bees away from my mustard because they also do damage.
Abyee says if the neighbor has not put anything by the boundary yet then one can place mustard of anything else by the boundary until he does. Rava says one must keep things that can cause damage away from the border even if the neighbor has not put anything nearby yet. So how can Rava fit with R.Yose? At that point Tosphot says the Gemara means that Abyee is OK because the owner of the bees has put his bees by the border and then the intention of R.Yose is to say the owner of the mustard can also put his mustard seeds by the border.
The Gemara then answers the question on Rava saying the case of the mishna is when one neighbor sold half his property to the other neighbor. That would then mean  that the mustard was there first and then he sold it to the owner of the bees. Then when R Yose says it is permitted that means the mustard can stay where it is and the owner of the bees must keep his bees six hand-breaths away from the border. And Tosphot makes a point in saying the owner of the bees can not put the bees near the mustard. This seems to me difficult to understand why Tosphot is changing things in the middle of his argument.

I only thought of this problem today on Shabat when I was outside walking and  am not sure what to make of this situation. I do not know if there is  a serious kashe here or just a comment.


The thing is if this is how Tosphot learns in the end then why not when he was explaining R Jose according to Abyee that he did not say that R Jose allows it means he allows the bees to stay where they are and he must keep the mustard 6 hand-breaths away?

בבא בתרא עמוד י 'י''ח ע''ב. יש משהו בתוספות בבא בתרא עמוד י 'י''ח ע''ב שהוא קצת קשה להבין. ביסודו של דבר הנושא הוא המשנה שבה החכמים אומרים אחד צריך לשמור על מרחק ממשרה המשמשת כדי להשרות כביסה רחוק  מירקות של שכינו. גם חרדל מדבורים. ר יוסי מאפשר את זה האחרון כי הבעלים של חרדל יכולים לומר הבעלים של הדבורים למה להגיד לי להתרחק מן הדבורים שלך? אתה צריך להרחיק את הדבורים שלך מהחרדל שלי, כי הם גם עושים נזק. אביי אומר אם השכן לא שם שום דבר על ידי הגבול עדיין אז אפשר למקם חרדל או כל דבר אחר על יד הגבול עד שהשכן שם מה שהוא שם. רבא אומר שצריך לשמור על מרחק מהגבול בכל דברים שיכולים לגרום נזק  גם אם השכן לא שם שום דבר בקרבת מקום. אז איך רבא מתאים עם ר. יוסי? בשלב זה תוספות אומר שגמרא מחזיקה שאביי הוא בסדר כי בעל הדבורים  שם את הדבורים שלו על הגבול ולאחר מכן  כוונתו של ר. יוסי היא כי שבעל החרדל יכול גם לשים את זרעי החרדל שלו על הגבול. גמרא אז עונה על השאלה על רבא ואומרת המקרה של המשנה הוא כאשר אחד מן השכנים מכר חצי רכושו לשכן השני.  זה אומר כי חרדל היה שם ראשונה ואז הוא מכר חלק מן השדה לבעלים של הדבורים. ואז כאשר ר. יוסי אומר  מותר הכוונה שהחרדל יכול להישאר במקומו  ובעל הדבורים חייב לשמור על דבורים שלו שישה טפחים הרחק מהגבול. ותוספות עושה נקודה לומר הבעלים של הדבורים לא יכולים לשים את הדבורים ליד החרדל. הדבר הוא אם זה איך תוספות לומד בסופו של דבר, אז למה לא כאשר הוא הסביר ר. יוסי לפי אביי, שהוא לא אומר ש"ר' יוסי מרשה לו"  הכוונה שהוא מאפשר לדבורים להישאר במקומן  שהן נמצאות, והוא חייב לשמור את החרדל ששה טפחים משם

"Torah" is a word like "Democracy" that is notoriously ambiguous. [Like the German Democratic Republic which was the Communist power in East Germany] Even if you would get down to defining it properly , what it would mean in practical terms is subject to debate as wide as the sky. It is almost as if it can mean what ever anyone wants it to mean.
Thus almost anything you do based on what you think Torah says is sure to backfire. It is like walking into a pharmacy and taking the first set of pills that seems to appeal to you--since after all-- all the pills there are good for people one way or the other..

Thus I try to limit my basic principles to things I think are in fact what the Torah requires.
Honor and obedience to my parents, speaking the truth with total self sacrifice, learning the Old Testament and Gemara, Rashi, Tosphot. Learning Math and Physics as per the Rambam. Creation ex nihilo Creation something from nothing as the Rambam and Saadia Gaon go into in detail. Staying away from all the cults.

[Torah does not exist together with counterfeit Torah of the Dark Side. Since the entire religious world has accepted the counterfeit Torah of the Dark Side thus it is almost impossible to find true Torah. True authentic Torah has gone into hiding. One who wants to find it must do the same thing.]

Spiritual intoxication and bad advice.

Spiritual intoxication.
This intermediate zone is dangerous for a reason not mentioned by Aurobindo--the problem with advice.
The problem is that anything one does to help a difficult situation is not likely to help unless one knows the actual mechanics and how things work. For example in 1799, George Washington was sick and the expert doctors were called in, and among the remedies they recommended blood letting.They did it so much that it surely killed him. The reason is that the body is complicated, and they had no idea what they were doing. So it is in spiritual things. Whatever advice the experts give is almost assuredly going to cause more damage than help because the experts themselves are in the Intermediate Zone and have no idea what they are talking about.





[Aurobindo asserted that spiritual aspirants may pass through an intermediate zone where experiences of force, inspiration, illumination, light, joy, expansion, power, and freedom from normal limits are possible. These can become associated with personal aspirations, ambitions, notions of spiritual fulfilment and yogic siddhi, and even be falsely interpreted as full spiritual realisation. Those who go astray in it may end in a spiritual disaster, or may remain stuck there and adopt some half-truth as the whole truth, or become an instrument of lesser powers of these transitional planes. According to Aurobindo, this happens to many sadhaks and yogis.]


For this reason it makes sense to follow the advice of the Gra--Trust in God and not your own intellect.
That is to say there is a Gra that Navardok brings about trusting in God with no effort and this seems to conflict with the book the Obligations of the Heart who has trust with effort. What I am suggesting here is the difference between mechanisms that are well understood and those that are speculative.






10.11.17

To me Communism is just a sophisticated way of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich while claiming to do the opposite as the history of Communism shows clearly.
The Left in the USA is predictable. They believe whatever weakens or hurts the USA or Christianity is good. They will come up with all kinds of sophisticated sounding slogans to make it seem intellectually respectable, but the bottom line is simple and predicable. Just new ways of theft and coveting that which is of their neighbor's.

The trouble with Islam

The trouble with Islam is the entire movement began as the enterprise of crazed robbers of caravans and ruthless killers and sexual perverts. In the USA there was  period in which getting back to one's roots was emphasized but this seems to have back fired.
Tolerance towards other religious faiths I think would not apply to a faith that makes the destruction of your home and property  and all all infidels as its major goal.

[The whole thing about tolerance is just overcooked. It is OK to be tolerant but there is a line that you can not allow to be stepped over.]

Of course the Sepharadim had to deal with this problem. As history shows the Jewish women in Arab lands were taken as sex slaves for Muslim men and this created a problem with DNA that shows up today. The way that pure blooded Sefardim [like Bava Sali and Shalom Sharabi] dealt with this problem was simple. They looked at the Rambam who says in Mishne Torah that who ever wants to keep Torah can do so. The door is open for all to keep God's Law. Therefore they never mentioned this problem since all people have free will, and whoever wants to be good can do so-- no matter what their genetic code says. Still, the problem  has resurfaced. Sefardim today are divided into two camps. Pro-Ashkenaz and Anti-Ashkenaz. And the Anti-Ashkenaz show all the violent tendencies of their Arab DNA.

The argument that race does not exist because it does not depend on just one gene is ridiculous.There is not one gene for eye sight. Eye sight is complicated operation that depends on many separate DNA molecules. Even so eye sight exists-- and it is genetically transmitted. For example trees do not have eye sight and therefore their offspring also do not have it.

[The whole thing about tolerance needs to be re-thought. It should not be a door that allows all behavior and refuses to recognize evil when it sees it..].

[There are another problems with John Locke's "blank slate" and empirical-ism as Dr Kelley Ross and Dr Michael Huemer have noticed. ]

9.11.17

In the writings of Reb Nachman.

תלמידי חכמים שדיים יהודאיים  is a phrase that comes up in the writings of Reb Nachman. It means literally "Torah scholars that are demons." In fact it does not seem to be hard to figure out what Reb Nachman meant by this because the idea of שד יהודי comes up in the Ari [Isaac Luria].
It is borrowed from the Zohar itself and the Ari goes into some detail about it. But the prominence that Reb Nachman places on this concept is unusual. The issue comes up very often in his major book and even in the last Torah lesson he ever said n his lifetime.
But the issue is more than meets the eye. The reason is that every Torah lesson of Reb Nachman is highly structured. And every lesson is a closed unit. I mean he intends every lesson to be able to be taken as a life guide. So only a very few basic הנהגות are mentioned in any given lesson. The idea is to have a small number of basic principles that one can walk in and be assured of coming to that which one must come to.

[In fact, this seems to have been a major concern of Reb Nachman--to find one or more simple basic practices that anyone could hold onto --and then be assured of coming to what he must come to.
For example התבודדות--speaking with God constantly in one's own language as one talks with a close friend.
So then why would this concept of  תלמידי חכמים שדיים יהודאיים play such a major role in  Reb Nachman's thought? I mean to say- apparently from what I can tell, he thought that avoiding Torah scholars that are demons is a prime directive so powerful that if one would just hold on to this one simple principle, then he would be assured of having a good portion in the next world.

I can tell that he was definitely hinting to a major  warning,  but it is hard to know what are the criteria involved. Who can really tell the good one from the bad ones? Surely Reb Nachman himself was aware of this problem.

Since no one can really tell the difference, the conclusion seems to be simple; to avoid all of them. That way one is safe, and does not have to worry about losing his or her portion in the next world because of associating with a Torah scholar who's a  demon. Better safe than sorry.

Apparently Reb Nachman was thinking along the lines of the Rambam who also did not want learning or teaching Torah to be a paid profession.

The Mordechei the friend of the Rosh and disciple of R Meir of Rotenburg brings up the issue of how is it possible to pay teachers of children after that the Gemara itself says מה אני בחינם אף אתם בחינם God says to the Jewish people: "Just as I taught you Torah for free, so must you teach Torah for free." I forget his answer.  But this is not the issue I want to raise here. The focus of Reb Nachman is not whether Torah scholars are paid or not. It is rather that some significant percentage of them are demons. That is to say they are not בטל ברוב nullified by the majority. That is even if you would say the majority are good people that does not nullify or cancel the effect of these bad ones.












8.11.17

The four fold lines of the Rambam/ Maimonides.


The four fold lines of the Rambam/ Maimonides. That is: (1) The Written Law [the Old Testament] (2) The Oral Law, that is Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot--mainly Tosphot.(3) Physics [up to and including String Theory] (4) Metaphysics (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel.)

The way to do this is simple. Guard the first hour when you get up in the morning for learning alone. That is a Half hour of Gemara and a half hour of Physics and Metaphysics. Just say the words and go on. What you do not understand in this world you will understand in the next world.
[As it says in Avoda Zara and also in Shabat לעלם לגרס אדם אף על גב דמשכח ואף על גב דלא ידע מאי קאמר]
"One should always learn fast [Derek girsa] even though he forgets and even though he does not know what he is saying."]

This brings to attachment with Absolute Spirit as the Rambam makes clear in the Guide.[The Rambam also says the same thing in the Mishne Torah but in such a way that people usually skip over it. That is in the Laws of Learning Torah where the Rambam quotes the Talmud that one should divide the period of one's learning into three parts: The written Law, the Oral Law and Gemara. Then he adds this significant phrase: "and in the category of the Gemara is Pardes" which he defined is the subjects he mentioned in the first four chapters of Mishna Torah.  ]

[When I mention Physics I should add the math needed in order to get to Physics. And that is mainly Topology,  Algebra, PDE, Lie Algebra and few other important things. ]

Education has been turned to Post Modernism

Education has been turned to Post Modernism in the USA and that results in the general Leftist turn in politics. This seems to indicate that a lot depends on how people are educated. Instead of classical education along with STEM, people were fed Leftist propaganda.
To me, this is just one more example of how important it is to educate people in quality things.

To me education ought to be mainly along the four fold lines of the Rambam/ Maimonides. That is: (1) The Written Law [the Old Testament] (2) The Oral Law, that is Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot--mainly Tosphot.(3) Physics [up to and including String Theory] (4) Metaphysics (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel.)

This program does not include any history or pseudo sciences or Shakespeare or any literature. These would all be considered a waste of time to the Rambam. And he specifically pointed out that history is a waste of time. And he was right. Who's history? For every single person today living in NYC there is a completely different history starting from this morning until this afternoon. Whose is more significant? Only the prophets were in a position to tell us the meaning behind the events. And their message was straightforward--all bad things that happen to people are because of worshiping any other being other than the First Cause, God.

7.11.17

In Proverbs there is  a list of great things that Wisdom promises to a person that holds onto it. But right before the list starts there is a mention about Fear of God. Proverbs 8:13. To me it seems that that whole list might be in fact referring to Fear of God. לי עצה ותושיה וגו'

In any case the goal of coming to fear of God is  mainly unheard of except in the books of Reb Isaac Blazzer a disciple of Reb Israel Salanter. I got the idea from his book even though in the Torah itself it is pretty explicit: "Do the commandments so that you will come to Fear of God."

[I have to mention that there is a new book by Isaac Blazzer; one that came out recently that was never published before that consists of essays he wrote besides his famous book "The Light of Israel".]

I got excited  by the major book of Isaac Blazzer, the Light of Israel which more or less is the definitive work of the Musar Movement. After reading it I got into Musar as much as possible.

This still seems to me to be a great thing-- even though I have fallen from the ideals of Musar. That is to plow through by yourself the works of Mediaeval Ethics and the books of the disciple of Reb Israel Salanter. 

The Musar movement of Reb Israel Salanter

Even though when I mention the Musar movement of Reb Israel Salanter which was mainly about learning the books of ethics from the Middle Ages I usually neglect to bring up the later Gedolai Musar like the Ramchal, Rav Moshe Haim Lutzato.   His place in Musar in important because he tends to provide a link between the Mystics like the Ari and the Ramak and Musar..And a link between Musar, the Ari and Rational thought also. Though his thought (in books like Derech Hashem) is not exactly philosophical with the usual kind of logical arguments that one would expect in a philosophical treatise, still  it deals with many of the familiar philosophic issues that Kant and Hegel do.

Besides that I noticed when I was in Israel that someone had printed up the writings of one of his disciples [of the Ramchal] which looked pretty important to me, though I did not get a chance to learn them.


Though the Musar books of the Middle Ages tend to be based more or less on Saadia Geon and the Maimonides, the connection with the Ari is absent. The Ramchal provides an important link. At least for me  during my first years in yeshiva, I found the writings of the Ramchal to be very satisfying in terms of putting what I was doing into proper perspective.

The Ramchal also is important as one of the very good interpretations of the Ari. Sadly the name of the Ari has been dragged through the mud by  the use the Sitra Achra [Dark Side] makes of his writings. So to get a proper understanding from a holy source like the Ramchal is a good project.


I should mention that the disciples  of Reb Israel Salanter also wrote some really great Musar books.








6.11.17






To me it seems the Torah world has gone through a  progression. The Age of the Sages pf the Mishna and Talmud. Then the middle ages= Rishonim=-- also true but on a lower level. The began the age of the Counterfeit Torah.   Then after that the Age of False Torah which is the present day age.

5.11.17

Complaints that people have towards the Jewish religious world.

The major complaint that people have towards the Jewish religious world usually focuses on obligations between man and his fellow man. And these complaints are usually accurate from what I can tell. Even if you have not encountered this problem personally, that does not invalidate most other people's experience. This applies in particular to rich secular American Jews to whom the religious world tries extra hard to seem righteous in order to get their money.
But my complaint is different. I focus more on the obligations between man and God. That is,-- I tend to believe the Sitra Achra [Dark Side] has made a nest there. The worship of their leaders also bothers me. To me it seems that what Khulda  the prophetess said about burning incense to Ashterot applies just as much to burning candles for "tzadikim". To me it all looks the same.

One added point is this: the undermining of the State of Israel at every opportunity. Or any state besides themselves. It is not as if they have ever be able to build one single self sustaining community. If we can count on our house and its contents not being taken away from us, if the shops that supply our clothes and fuel and food are able to do their business, if there are roads on which we can get about, schools to send our children to, courts and police to deal with those who would take advantage of us, it is because behind these arrangements, protecting and guaranteeing them, is the power of the state.  Without it, we would be at the mercy of the worst elements in our society. 

What the Rambam must have thought. If we look in to the book of Numbers ch 34 verses 18-19 we see that Kalev was the head of the tribe of Judah. To the Rambam that must be considered in the category of a king.

As I mentioned that most Rishonim [Mediaeval authorities] allow one to have a girl friend. [e.g. Ramban/Nachmanides, Raavad] The only question on this  is the Rambam [Maimonides] who allows a פילגש girlfriend only to a king.
The question of the Gra [Rav Eliyahu from Villna] on this is Kalev ben Yefuna who had a few wives and a few girl friends and was not a king. [See Chronicles I ch 2:46] [You can see that this is in fact Kalev ben Yefuna from the fact that his daughter is Achsa the same as we know Kalev ben Yefuna had in the book of Judges right at the beginning.]]
In any case the achronim [later authorities] on the Shulchan Aruch itself right there on the page say that to the Rambam there is no לאו [prohibition] involved,  but rather an איסור עשה [a prohibition that comes from the lack of doing a positive command].

In any case, today I just wanted to share what I think the Rambam must have thought. If we look in to the book of Numbers ch 34 verses 18-19 we see that Kalev was the head of the tribe of Judah.
 To the Rambam that must be considered in the category of a king.

The problem however that the Rosh brings up and his son, the Tur, is the mikveh issue. Not everyone is near a river. or an ocean. And even those that are- have a problem in the winter where the rivers are frozen. One thing I wanted to mention about this problem is this: even in winter in places where the water is rough [--like the areas after a waterfall--] the water does not freeze over. So one can go there even without an ax to break through the ice.

[Of course the best thing is to be married, however nowadays that does not seem to be possible for a lot of people for reasons that are well known. Women nowadays  tend to devolve into selfish bitches right after they are married. Besides that, it is that it is always better when you come home to be greeted by  kiss rather than a nag and complaints. Human flourishing does not usually happen in such conditions. For that reason it is almost always better to have  a girl friend rather than a wife.]






3.11.17

there is a commandment to have children.

We know in the Torah there is a commandment to have children. That is  a male and female. When does one fulfill this mizvah? When the children are born or by sex? It seems to me that Tosphot holds the later opinion. The reason is this: There is n argument between th house of Hillel and the house of Shamai [that is the students of Hillel and Shamai]. Let's say you and another person  own a slave. So half is owned by you and half by another. Then the another lets the slave go. [That is he write for him a שטר שחחרור]. Then at that point half the slave is a regular Jew and half is still a gentile. [I forgot to mention that a slave that is let free becomes automatically Jewish and obligated in all the mizvot of the Torah] . So at that point the slave can not have sex with  a Jewess because he is still half a slave, and he can not have sex with  anyone else because he is half a Jew. Thus the House of Shamai says the court of law forces you to let the slave go free so that he becomes a full Jews. The question of Tosphot is, "Why do we not say עשה דוחה לא תעשה the positive mitzvah of having children פרו ורבו pushes off the negative command of not having sex with a שפחה כנענית? " (Since the general rule is always a positive command pushes off a negative command.] Tosphot answers because the mizvah is fulfilled at the end of the sex while the negative command is violated right at הערה--the beginning.
To me it seems clear that Tosphot is thinking that be fruitful and multiply applies to every act for otherwise the question would not even begin.
The reason Bitachon [trust in God]comes up in Litvak yeshivas  is because it is relevant to the question should one be sitting and learning in a full time Litvak yeshiva of should one go to university or college to learn a profession. This makes the question of Bitachon enormously relevant.
My own experience with this is that I just went along with the system without thinking much into it. I got married and sat in kollel and got the kollel check at the end of the month. Then I went to Israel. At that point the thing that got me out of kollel was not the issue of trust in God but the fact that the kollel system in israel is set up in such a way that to be part of it one has to be using Torah to make money קרדום לחפור בו. [It is set up as a 9-5 job that if you come in you get the money. It is not set up as a kind of charity that is the only permissible way of  doing this at least according to Rav Joseph Karo]  That however still ignores the question of trust.

In Litvak yeshivas the issue of trust is boiled down to the argument between the חובות לבבות  [Obligations of the Heart by Ibn Pekuda] versus the רמב''ן
This is not anything new so far. Everyone knows all this

The reason I bring this up is I notice that the place where this comes up in the Bible is the Story of King Asa.who got sick in his feet and the verse says he sought help from the doctors instead of from God and therefore he died. The obvious question is what does this mean? Could he have sought help from God but also gone to doctors and that would have been OK?

What is interesting is that that was not the first time that King Asa was criticized for not trusting in God. It turns out that before that time, he had been attacked by the king of Israel [the ten tribes] and he had taken all the gold and silver from the Temple in Jerusalem and sent it to the king of Syria asking him for help. The king of Syria then in fact attacked Israel and King Asa was criticized for that action also. Kings I ch 15. Chronicles II 16.

To me today it looks like the Obligations of the Heart was correct when he said that the trouble with King Asa was he sought help from the doctors only. What he should have done was to trust in God but also do the necessary steps according to the way of the world to go to the doctors and listen to their advice. And that seems to have been the conclusion of Reb Israel Salanter also.

The thing which muddles the issue is that yeshivas are often geared towards making money by getting donations. In itself this does not seem so bad but then there should not be any talk about trust in God. Rather they ought to say they are using the Torah as a means to make money and then claim that it is OK to do so. But the last step is impossible. No one can believe that there is any source for such a permission. Thus there is an inherent inconsistency in the system itself.
Great tzadikim like Bava Sali however never had this kind of trouble because of the fact that people wanted to give him money because of his obvious tzidkut righteousness. They counted it as a great privilege to be able to give him money. So he was not using Torah to make money.











2.11.17

In most of the books of Musar [Mediaeval Moral Principles] from the school of thought of  the Geonim and Rambam [Maimonides] learning natural science and metaphysics comes up as the way to come to love and fear God.

This fact gets hidden in Musar books based on the Ramban [Nachmanides]

And later on Musar books will quote the Rambam but attempt to absorb him into the world view of the Ramban.

On one hand in the years when I was in the Mir and Shar Yashuv in NY I did not want to be distracted from learning Gemara and I feel that learning Gemara exclusively did help me in remarkable ways.
However that does not change the fact that the Rambam did see Physics and the Metaphysics of Aristotle as an essential part of Torah learning.
The way to understand the Rambam I think is this: By being exposed to the wisdom of God as revealed in his creation automatically love and fear of God are awakened in one's soul.The Rambam says this openly more or less but still it is a hard concept to grasp after that the general opinion is the reverse.

Empirical evidence seems to show is that the Rambam [Maimonides] was right since the opposite opinion when it is followed seem to lead to religious fanaticism and loss of good character. 

1.11.17

Education: Stop feeding the kids garbage

People like Maimonides, Aristotle, Plato, and Allan Bloom concentrated a lot on education. That is a major theme in The Republic and also in The Closing of the American Mind. The natural thing to restore Western Civilization then would be to look at education.
Stop feeding the kids garbage would be the first step.

The next step would be to take the advice of the Rambam to learn Physics and Metaphysics. That is to restructure education completely by throwing out the worthless subjects and putting in things of value. 

Everything called science nowadays outside of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology is just pseudo science. Allan Bloom was critical of the Humanities and Social Studies departments in universities but still I would have to say they do good work in terms of Music and the Arts.

[Metaphysics in the terminology of the Rambam clearly includes Aristotle's book The Metaphysics. But I think one would have to include also Plato, Kant and Hegel.] 




Torah as a cure

The Sages of the Gemara in Bava Batra bring down that Job said  that God created righteous people and evil people. Therefore what can man say to Him? He does what he likes. [That is the problem of Theodicity. The problem with evil. That is there are evil people and they do get punished for their sins even though it seems they had no choice but to be evil as they were created.]
His friends answered ברא יצר הרע ברא לו תורה תבלין God created the evil inclination but he also created the Torah as a cure. So there still is free will. One can choose to learn and thus be saved from the evil inclination.
To the Rambam this would have to include learning Physics and Metaphysics as he includes both in the category of th Oral Law in the Mishne Torah. [And he expands on this in the Guide.]
Obviously other rishonim like the Ramban and the Rashba disagree with the Rambam on this point  but to me it seems the Rambam was correct. Not that I am in any position to decide between giants like the Rishonim but rather I had to decide for myself what approach to take.

So Torah as a cure would include the Written Law, the Oral Law, Physics, and Metaphysics.
The last two clearly refer to Aristotle, but more than Aristotle. {The Rambam specifically says he is referring to there subjects as understood by the ancient Greeks.}

My humble opinion is that Physics would include String Theory and Quantum Mechanics. Metaphysics I think would include Neo Platonic approach which came after the Ancient Greeks. Also Kant an Hegel. (That is my opinion.)

The Rambam as is known has an approach towards Midrashim that they are much deeper than meets the eye. The Gra also said the secrets of the Torah are contained in the Midrashim. So here too I think there must be some deeper meaning.
One thing I did notice is that God in the end of the book of Job does not agree with the friends of Job. Rather He said they had sinned in what they said. So the fact that the sages of the Talmud bring the words of Job's friends must mean something beyond the surface meaning..  That is another reason I think the Rambam is looking at the idea of Torah from a wider perspective. That is as including Metaphysics and Physics and objective moral law.

31.10.17

היצר רע מתלבש במצוות the Satan dresses up in mitzvot. He never approaches a person saying to do a sin. Rather he always comes saying, "Let's go do a mitzvah." But inside the mitzvah is enclosed a hidden sin that takes away all the value of the mizvah because it is  מצווה הבאה בעבירה

Reb Nachman brings this idea from a midrashic statement brought in Bava Batra. But the Gra says the same thing more or less explicitly,
[This is one of the  reasons I stay as far as possible from the Jewish religious world. But the major reason is not just the above mentioned reason, rather it is that I try to avoid the straight forward idolatry that is the essence of the religious world. You can see this point in the Nefesh HaChaim of  a disciple of the Gra where he explains that idolatry can be directed towards people as much as towards inanimate objects.]

And further I feel a lot of problems that the world faces today are a result of idolatry as you can see quite often in the Old Testament--that troubles come close on the heels of idolatry. 

Muslim immigration in Sweden. Islam is the sanctification of rape and violence.



I might mention that after being around Muslims for some period, I was not surprised to hear about the situation in Sweden. In fact, I expected that this would happen.