Pagan religions

The basic difference between the belief system of the Torah and pagan religion is not just in the
number of gods. The basic differences in world view is what cause the Gra to see groups slipping pagan religion into the Torah world, and to put them into excommunication.

These group might be called pagan Judaism since they make a show of their Jewish rituals, but their practice and beliefs are pagan. They worship others gods i.e.  men that they believe control the will of God.
Pagan religions contain theogonies, birth of a god, "theogony", accounts of the births of gods. Thus in Pagan Judaism there are also celebrations of the birth of their gods. In Torah, God controls the world but is separate from it. In pagan Judaism, their views change according to whom they are talking to but mainly their views go according to the Bhagavad Gita and Hindu religion.

But the way people get hooked is that they are fed droplets of the belief system. Only small amounts. So by the time they see the abuse  and get abused themselves they are already hooked.

t60 D Minor  This is an edited version with a final part in 6/8 time. The idea to end with 6/8 time  is an idea of Mozart in one of his B flat symphonies or serenades. [I forget which.] 


the amazing amount of destruction of the mind that seems to come along with learning Jewish mystics

Based on the amazing amount of destruction of the mind that seems to come along with learning Jewish mystics (mainly in the area of delusions of vast knowledge and self assumed holiness and pride) and based on the problem that the Zohar was not presented accurately, but put into writing as being from R. Shimon ben Yochai, I wonder if perhaps it would be  a good idea just to delete everything based on that from the Jewish canon of books that relate to the concept of  "learning Torah."

Compromise and tolerance seems in the end to bring to acceptance and to me it seems that most of this mystic stuff brings to terrible  things.

[Still there are some people I have much respect for like the Ari and Reb Nachman. Still the thing to do is simply to learn them on the side for those people that feel a need but not as part of the program of learning Torah]

The point is if one wants to accept on himself the yoke of Torah it is important to know what counts as legitimate torah


Sadly the doctrines of these group are presented in droplets—and when it was too late, one is already hooked. Too much occult has gotten into the religious world.

Too much occult has  gotten into the religious world. See Deuteronomy 11 and 18.
It is one thing to obey the Law of Moses, but quite another to be doing the occultism that is the most essential part of the religious world.

The New Age is being taught as Torah. The ancient practices of witchcraft and contacting the dead, are common and they show great signs.

Counterfeit spirituality is the major test of these days.

[New Age is however not new. It is old occult practices that is being taught as Torah true spirituality. And people with some unfulfilled need flock to this.
But this side of things [the other side] is sadlly adept as disguising itself as true Torah.
Sadly the doctrines of these group are presented in droplets—and when it was too late, one is already hooked. 

But even if one is aware of this fact, it is hard to know how to deal with it. I myself got caught up in it for years after I saw that it seemed to have a stamp of approval from great Litvak Tzadikim.  To take a step to remove all occult from one's life would involve removing a great deal of what is considered perfectly authentic and legitimate Torah. This is  a test I am afraid is too great for me to stand in. After all it comes down to a person accepting a world view as part of their mental framework. To try to uproot that after it has become hardwired into one's psyche must cause damage. How can one uproot this?

Take pagan religion and put a few Jewish rituals on it to provide cover and you get the religious world today.

Musar Book Obligations of the Heart. That Bell's Inequality proves Kant. Reality is subjective.The electron has no objective time frame or space frame until it is measured.

 Matter and צורה equal עצם and טופס or מצב according to the חובות לבבות
This comes from  Aristotle equates עצם with צורה. The question of the third man that was asked by Aristotle and also Plato himself. Based on an computer algorithm  I answered: "the third איש" is not a איש. That is a good answer to some degree. But it leaves me wondering. Why  is a איש considered a איש because יש לו חלק of this צורת of איש which is itself not a man?  That is my answer does not seem to answer the question but rather evade it.
One could ask here the question that היפוליטוס  asks on Aristotle שאלה זו. That is  בהמיות as such does not exist. So how can it be the motivating force that makes animals exist? The fact is Aristotle tries to avoid this by equating form with species, not with genus. To Aristotle  the form is the essence, not that which is stable under שינויים. But it also seems to be a good question. You could put it in this way. The individual animal depends on the צורה for its existence, but the צורה itself depends on each individual animal for it's existence. So which one is it? Another issue is in his book, the Metaphysics  Aristotle equates substance with form. The problem  is that this does not correspond to Aristotle's'  book, the Categories where primary substance is the פרט. Also  there is an essential סתירה within the Metaphysics itself. Up until the later chapters Aristotle argues substance is a universal. Then at the end he argues forcefully against this.   Another issue. There are two separate answers for the חובות לבבות. One is that he simply means like Aristotle that substance is form. The other answer is form and matter equal together substance and mode. But form by itself does not equal substance. But that is a different answer. That would mean  is matter just a טופס. In my final answer there I go into the Kantian approach and bring a proof from the fact that Nature violates Bell's inequality. That seems like a good answer but goes with the idea that substance is essence, not that which survives under changes. That is Aristotle's approach  and it leaves out the need for time. Bell's Inequality proves Kant. Reality is subjective. The electron has no objective time frame or space frame until it is measured.
But the rules of reality are objective. That is to say universals are objective. An example would be Schrodinger's equation. This shows Aristotle was right that the main reality of this world is universals

  צורה עם חומר שווים לעצם וטופס (או מצב) לפי החובות הלבבות. זה מגיע מאריסטו שמשווה עצם עם צורה. יש שאלה של האיש השלישי שהתבקשה על ידי אריסטו וגם אפלטון עצמו. בהתבסס על אלגוריתם מחשב עניתי: "את האיש השלישי" אינו איש. זוהי תשובה טובה במידה מסוימת. אבל זה משאיר אותי תוהה. למה איש נחשב איש כי יש לו חלק עם צורה זו של איש אשר הוא עצמו לא יאש? תשובתי לא נראית לענות על השאלה אלא משתמטת ממנה. אפשר לשאול כאן את השאלה שהיפוליטוס שואל על אריסטו. כלומר בהמיות  אינה דבר קיים. אז איך זה יכול להיות הכוח המניע שגורם לחיה להתקיים? העובדה היא אריסטו מנסה למנוע שאה זאת על ידי השוואת צורה עם מין, לא עם סוג (גנוס). לאריסטו הצורה היא המהות, לא דבר אשר הוא יציב תחת שינויים. אבל זו  נראית שאלה טובה. אתה יכול לומר את זה ככה. חית הפרט תלוי בצורה לקיומה, אז איך צורה עצמה תלויה בחיה פרטית לקיומה. אז איזה מהם הוא נכון? סוגיה נוספת. בספר המטאפיסיקה אריסטו משווה עצם עם טופס. הבעיה היא שזה לא מתאים לספר של אריסטו הקטגוריות שעצם עיקרי הוא הפרט. כמו כן קיימת סתירה הכרחית בתוך מטאפיזיקה עצמה. עד הפרקים המאוחרים אריסטו טוען חומר הוא אוניברסלי. אז בסוף הוא טוען בתקיפות נגד זה. עוד נושא. ישנן שתי תשובות נפרדות עבור חובות לבבות . האחת היא כי הוא פשוט אומר כמו אריסטו כי עצם הוא צורה. התשובה השנייה היא צורה וחומר יחד שווים לעצם ומצב. אבל הצורה כשלעצמו אינה שווה לעצם. עוד דבר. בתשובה הסופית שלי אני נכנס לגישה קנטיאנית ומביא הוכחה מן העובדה כי הטבע מפרה את השוויון של בל. זה נראה כמו תשובה טובה אבל הולך עם הרעיון כי עצם הוא מהות, לא דבר אשר שורד תחת שינויים. זו השקפת העולם של אריסטו שהיא מזניחה את הצורך בהשקעת זמן. שוויון בל מוכיח קאנט. המציאות היא סובייקטיבית. לאלקטרון אין מרחב זמן או מקום אובייקטיבית עד שהוא נמדד. אבל הכללים של מציאות הם אובייקטיביים. כלומר האוניברסלים הם אובייקטיביים. דוגמה לכך תהיה המשוואה של שרדינגר.

So it looks like the idea of Aristotle of having substance equal species or universals makes sense


t60 D Minor  [This is unedited. It still needs work.]


A lot depends on the social meme. There are social memes that bring out the worst in people, and other ones which tend to bring out the best. A lot of the good in the West I think was a result of combining a lot of good ideas together into one social meme--that is the unique combination of the Middle Ages of combing reason and revelation. This was not at all obvious as being a good thing as Hippolytus and Kierkegaard went in quite a different direction. But some time after Plotinus this began to be an accepted approach. It is well accepted that Paul got most of his ideas from Philo so the idea of combing faith with reason is an early approach. In any case whether because of Maimonides or Anselm, the basic approach is unique to the West. And this I think brings out the best in people across  the board. 

To a large degree I accept this approach of Maimonides though a lot of people disagreed with it.
But in my effort to combine Reason with Revelation I found a certain amount of difficulty. One is this: In the Rambam Maimonides program one learns the Written and Oral Law completely and also Physics and the Metaphysics of Aristotle. The trouble for me is that after the first hour in the morning i have trouble concentrating on the mathematics that is a necessary component of Physics. So I try to devote the first hour to that since without doing so, I would not be able to learn at all. Another issue for me is in understanding the Rambam. So I found that when I had a copy of the Avi Ezri that it was helpful to go through it straight because  frankly with that most of what the Rambam says in Mishna Torah is incomprehensible to me. 

A lot of how one's life goes depends on prior commitment. Ideally this should happen on the 13th birthday for boys and the 12th for girls.  The idea is to commit oneself to follow the Law of God the Written and Oral Law of Moses.
Another way of putting this to to follow God, the truth and the moral law. In any case, if one missed the chance to do that then, still every day at its beginning gives  new opportunity to do this. That means one can follow what he knows to be right of what people around him think is right.

Bob Dillon did this commitment type of thing and devoted himself to the prince of this world, which accounts for his success in this world.Often success in this world can be attributed to the person having made commitment to the prince of this world at a young age.  [Or the divinity that is found in this world--which is Satan.]

To some degree I think I made a good choice to try to find the "Truth" which at an early age. A bad decision was I think when I got married with Leah, that I did not make learning Torah the goal of our marriage. I think that that lack of commitment in the very beginning caused the problems that came later. Still I have never been able to get back to learning Torah as being the goal of life because of the kinds of people that populate that section of humanity.So my own doubts have lead to a lack of commitment. I found some compromise with the Rambam that as such that Physics and Metaphysics are part of that goal of learning Torah

My immediate motivation for this essay was that I noticed Bob Dillion's commitment to the Sitra Achra which gave him his success. Also I saw an essay on the problem in the Left of not making a distinction between means and ends. It hit me right then that that was something i should have done at the very beginning of my marriage.

Maybe I was myself confused about that issue. After all learning Torah as the goal does not really come up until Reb Haim from Voloshin. You just do not see it beforehand stressed in the same way. And that I think led to my own falling from that ideal.


There are rules about how to treat slaves. There were places where laves were not treated well and for those places it is good that slavery was abolished. But not the American South.\\

There is nothing wrong with slavery if one obeys the rules about how to treat slaves. The rules are well defined in Exodus 22. The War on the South was a War against the Torah.

Same goes with serfs--as long as serfs were treated right. But freeing the serfs in Russia did nothing to hep the serfs who suffered the most after that. Not just in the Russian Revolution but even immediately  condition deteriorated considerably.

[However I can imagine there were places where serfs were not treated well. But then the remedy would have been to enforce laws about their treatment.]

Serfdom in Europe was due to an arrangement made by people. After the fall of Rome, Europe was in chaos. You had random bands of criminals just basically going around and looting and raping and murdering. To remedy that situation people became serfs around a feudal lord around his castle. In exchange they gave a percentage of their crops to the lord. That is what is nowadays known as taxes.
That is-serfdom was a negotiated deal.

Nowadays white people in the USA are working to support blacks without any kind of reimbursement or exchange. That is the basic definition of slavery. This is the welfare system. Where are the black protet against this kind of slavery?


The Bible is not primarily concerned with politics

The Bible is not primarily concerned with politics. In fact, politics was mainly a subject in ancient Greece where individual towns had to decide on some form of  a constitution. In other places, where there were monarchs, this issue rarely came up..

Still in history you see the issue come up from time to time. In fact in ancient Persia this was an issue right at the time of the rise of the Four Kings. To Herodotus, one of the options the ruling elite were considering in Persia was the approach of Democracy. In Rome obviously this was an important issue in the founding of Rome as an independent state. So they came up with their balance of powers between the plebeians and the Patricians  who were part of the Senate. But the plebeians were anything but an unprotected class.

In any case, in the Roman Empire, politics faded and also in Europe. But in place of politics came Law. Justinian and the Visigoth Code.

And in the Torah world, defining the Law of Moses --what books should be included in the canon became an important issue during the Roman Empire. And also defining what the practice of Torah is. But politics was basically untouched except for the rule דינא דמלכותא דינא- ''The law of the state is the law.''
Only in modern times has politics became a major issue uprooting even Torah for most Reform Jews. That is for most Reform Jews, Torah is optional, not obligatory-- while politics  --Social-Justice-- takes the place of Torah. That leaves most Reform Jews in a mild state of confusion --since "social justice" is rarely true justice. [Still, the Torah world itself is far from a state of justice either. It is highly abusive, and has been infiltrated by evil forces.]

Just for public information I want to  add that in Torah there are two ways of choosing a monarch, One way is by an accepted prophet.  The other way is the Sanhedrin. The trouble is that neither exist today. Prophecy ceased as the Talmud says after the end of the first Temple.  And the Sanhedrin can only be made up from people that have authentic ordination from Sinai-- which the Talmud also says stopped during the period of the Talmud itself. [Ordination seems to have puttered out slowly.]

In Europe, the home owners were granted power by the princes over the Jewish community. That was called the Kahal. That existed until around 1800 when the kahal was nullified by the tzar. Sefardim were ruled by the local wise man, the local Torah scholar who was recognized as such by the authorities.

Today both these approaches seem poor. The best idea in my opinion is simply to support the State of Israel that look to me to be the most practical approach to creating stability and justice in  the Land of Israel. And this approach is what I recommend to anyone listening to me.

I am not ignoring the problems of being in Israel. I am just trying to give a short introduction to the issues involved. Often it can be unbearable and one is forced to leave just to be able to survive. Often you find yourself with neighbors  that will stop at nothing to get rid of you. So Israel can be a complicated subject. In particular it should be known that Sephardim will generally try to drive out any Ashkenazi Jew that tries to live near them. [It is worse if they are religious but this phenomenon exists even with secular Sephardim. They will always find some reason but the reason they find is always just an excuse. In reality they just do not want an Ashkenaiz near them.

Most cults today in fact derive their power by means of falsifying definitions.

The basic "meme" (unit of social information) of Litvak yeshivas is just one thing: Learn Torah.
The basic emphasis on this comes from the Gra.

The trouble here is that different groups try to jump on the bandwagon by "fudge words." That is: they try to redefine that the word "Torah" means.

And in truth, it is hard to get a good closed definition with a clear boundary. What you want to do is to have a definition such that everything inside the definition is Torah,-- and everything outside of it is not. Otherwise the very concept itself of learning Torah is meaningless. It can mean whatever any conniving charlatan wants it to means. Most cults today in fact derive their power by means of this falsifying of definitions.

In a way this is relevant to what I was thinking yesterday to bring up the concept of ספרים חיצוניים which is the Rif and Rosh means books that explain the Torah not according to the Chazal {קבלת חז''ל}.

The importance of learning Torah depends entirely on the definition. To me the Rambam made this issue clear in one of his letters where he writes: כמו שאין תוספת וגירעון בתורה שבכתב כמו כן אין תוספת וגירעון בתורה שבעל פה. "Just as there is no adding or subtracting from the written Law so there is no adding or subtracting from the Oral Law." [In other words "Torah" is a closed set of books.]


So, if you add these two factors together you get an important combination that cancels most cults. For most cults thrive on fudging the definition of "Torah" to change it into books that explain the Torah not according to Chazal but come up with their own explanations. And then they change the definition of outside books from  "books that explain the Torah not according to Chazal but come up with their own explanations" into books of Science. Thus by fudging these two factors they change attempt to fool people into thinking that what they are doing is valid according to Torah.


In Torah there are questions that come up  concerning the simple explanation. While Saadia Gaon and the Rambam dealt with problems concerning the seeming contradiction between Torah and Aristotle still internal problems were not a major concern.  The way to deal with a lot of the more obvious problems is usually resort to  the Ari. This has the advantage that you are not making the Torah to be allegories which is already the path that Philo used, and does not at all seem convincing. With the Ari rather there is the possibility of seeing how the Torah refers to realities that  are more real than this world.

There is also an approach I borrow from the Kant school of thought as developed by Dr. Kelley Ross.That is: the world of the dinge an sich is simply not accessible to human intellect.

So the question comes up how to learn the Ari without falling into the strange cults that claim him as their authority? That is : How to listen to the Gra, when everyone else seems to be ignoring him?

[Because of the great value of Dr Kelley Ross's ideas and Hegel's it would be a great idea to try to reconcile these two approaches.]
I learned in high school and later in yeshiva a good deal of Leftist literature. The Communist Manifesto in high school [on my own.] That was not assigned reading. In yeshiva between the morning and afternoon sessions, I read the major work of Sartre and read about Lenin. In high school, Camus was assigned reading. It is impossible to project myself now into my past and decide what I was thinking, but fro my actions I think it is clear that I was not impressed with Left wing thinking. I definitely was going more in the direction of the Rationalists--but had never gotten enough time to get into the debate between them and the Empiricists and to see how Kant tried to resolve it. In any case, even back then I think I had seen that there was something remarkably superficial about Left Wing thinking.

I might be attributing to myself more common sense than I have  a right to. Because what ever sense I had then seems to have abandoned me in later years when I more or less lest the straight Litvak yeshiva path.

It seems more likely to say I was impressed with my parents home and with the way American society was in those days. And I simply saw these alternative claims to making Utopia as being highly unrealistic.

In any case Leftist and Religious thinking always seemed to be about undermining social order and bringing about chaos so that they could come in and impose their own social order with them on top. Left wing thinking and the religious world both seem to me until this very day to be all about trying to destroy decent society and to bring about dis-stabilization so that they can impose their own authority
So even though I could discern the hidden authoritarian agenda of Left Wing Thinking I did not see this in the Jewish religious world, until too late.   But the agenda is the same. The means however are different. The claimed doctrines all seem to have the same purpose of breaking the ties that bond one with his parents and society in order to be able to come in later and impose their own authority.



Occult practices and beliefs get into the religious world by means of the slippery slope. That is by fudging definitions about faith in Torah, and bringing statements that support some of the crack head beliefs that were said by supposedly great men. It is a kind of conspiracy that began long ago to sneak in occultism into the Torah world.

The effort to get occultism into Litvak Yeshivas is mainly because they are the gold standard of what qualifies as legitimate and authentic Torah.
Thus you can find elements of the occult in even well known Litvak Yeshivas. the only one that I know excludes all these elements rigorously is the yeshiva of Rav Zilverman in the Old City of Jerusalem which goes strictly by the Gra. I was pretty friendly with the rosh yeshiva there already for about 26 years and though I did not learn there myself I have been pretty well impressed with the place. The name is not so well known, but just for the record the name is Aderet Eliyahu.

Th great yeshivas like Ponovitch and Brisk are, as a rule, places where you can get into only f you already know how to learn. But Rav Zilverman's place starts at beginner levels. But there is also Machon Meir which I think is Mizrachi [Religious Zionist] that has a very good reputation.

I should mention that I have heard there are other start-up places that go by the Gra. 


Intensity of religious devotion

Intensity of religious devotion can be a great thing if one is on the path of truth and light and a terrible thing if one is on the path of darkness and evil.So the first thing one must do is to learn to discern between the holy and the unholy, though the unholy is easy to discern in fact. The more they are religious in appearance, the more you know they are from the Realm of Evil and Darkness. The prophet asks: "What does God ask from you? but to love compassion and justice הצנע לכת עם אלהיך to walk modestly with your God." (note 1) So if people are making a public announcement about how religious they are, then you know they are not doing the prime directive of God. Therefore it is easy to discern that they are from the Realm of Darkness.  

(note 1)  The entire verse is this: מה השם אלהיך שואל ממך כי עם אהבת חסד ועשות משפט והצנע לכת עם אלהיך.

However the basic question remains for oneself: how to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, in the  same area of value?
What are the minimum or maximum requirements of the Torah. Clearly the fanatic religious world is off on some lunatic LSD trip, but still that leaves the question open. The fact that many do Torah wrong does not tell me how to do it right. The best approach in my opinion is that of the Rambam who at least stated clearly his four fold approach of learning the Written and Oral Torah [the two Talmuds,] the Physics and Metaphysics of Aristotle. This seems to be close to the path of my parents. Most other paths I have seen as producing really evil people is religious disguise.

There is nothing wrong with intensity of devotion if one is on a basically good path. For example, let's say that one is in a straight Lithuanian kind of yeshiva that goes strictly by the path of the Gra. In that case there would be nothing wrong with being a fanatic. Being fanatic is learning + keeping Torah is a good thing. There are dangers there also, but still the idea is once one is on a good path, one must stick with it and not leave--even for other paths which seem to be good.

The contemporary Jewish religious world  is an occult practice. Although varied in its beliefs from group to group, the occult usually encompass the views of honoring corpses of their leaders  as sacred, monism (all is one energy), polytheism (many spiritual powers), and pantheism (all is God/Goddess),  or panentheism (God/Goddess is contained within the world), communing with the dead.
This is in steady and stark contrast to Torah which is Monotheism, which is the belief that God created the world and He is not the world.


pillorying of white people--being done by other white people.

My impression of the USA (before there was lots of energy put into making it black) was highly positive. And High School taught as much. Later, I got more involved in Talmud,  and that was in Queens [NY] and later in Brooklyn,- so being involved in that I simply paid zero attention  to politics. But in the meantime (--when I was not looking), things just went downhill. So coming out of my shell in the 1990's, I was pretty horrified at what I have seen of the USA. 
My impression is that values changed. Instead of positive values, "Truth, Justice and the American Way" (as Superman so aptly put it), I saw pillorying of white people--being done by other white people.  This was done to appease the savage.  But also this is what Churches were teaching as being moral.

Learning Physics along with the idea of trust in God

I have hoped for myself to combine the idea of the Rambam [which was shared by other Rishonim] about the importance of learning Physics along with the idea of trust in God, and learning extremely quickly. I already know that the idea of trust in God was expanded by the book Obligations of the Heart to Olam Haba [the next world]. That is he says [in one place that as one must trust in God for success and happiness in this world  must he trust in God to reward him for his good deeds in teh next world.] And I already know that the disciple of Israel Salanter, Yoseph Horwitz, this to extend the idea of trust  to limit the השתדלות as much as possible. That is he agrees that some minimum amount of effort is required by he desires to get that minimum down to as low a minimum as possible [שאוף לאפס as mathematicians like to call it.
So in my case, I try to learn fast by just saying the words and going on and to extend the idea of trust in God to this area also--that is to not look at whether I understand or not, but just to believe that what I am supposed to understand I will and not to do ריבוי השתדלות over much effort.

[THIS is not to negate the idea of review.  It is rather one kind of learning normally called bekiut in Litvak yeshivas. But there is also "iyun" in depth learning which if I am without a learning partner usually means to of lots of review].

[It is true that to the Rambam, Physics was meant to be learned after finishing the Oral and Written Law. It is the way the Rambam understood מעשה בראשית and מעשה מרכבה. [The work of Creation and the work of the Divine Chariot which are in fact dealt with in the Gemara in חגיגה.] [The opinion of the Rambam can be seen also in the book חובות לבבות Obligations of the Heart שער הבחינה i think at the beginning of ch. 3]


But displays of religiosity do not make up for extreme wickedness. In fact, displays of religiosity tends to go hand in hand with wickedness. and even help add to the results. After all it is known to avoid openly wicked people. It is their extreme display of religiosity that gives the wicked their power to do damage.

The false prophets  of the kings of Israel were religious people displayed their religiosity scrupulously. They had the ear of the monarchs. But displays of religiosity do not make up for their lack of true inspiration. [The false prophets were prophesying in the name of God, not the Baal, as we see  in the confrontation between Jeremiah and Hanania. When Jeremiah prophesied doom, Hanaia who was prophesying success came over to him and slapped him and asked, "How did the spirit of prophecy leave me, and come into you?"]

The people of Israel today face a similar problem what we had then. Charismatic religious leaders that make up for their lack of sincerity and true inspiration with displays of religiosity.

And who were the real enemies of the false prophets? The true prophets. These few individuals evoked the animosity of the false prophets as we can see in the book of Jeremiah and in the books of Kings. Today the religious world is awash in false prophets =religious leaders that have tremendous charm and powers of persuasion but  are incompetent in authentic Torah.  The way they seem competent is they give each other credentials. This leaves the people that can really learn Torah completely isolated and disenfranchised and outsiders. 

Concerns about consistent bad judgment, or, worse, abuse of power are never taken very seriously, and although the need to do so is constant. There is not ever any action taken to see that religious leaders who have overstepped their bounds do not stay long in their positions. Just the opposite. People that have been abused by them are maligned and stripped and sent out. No wonder the Jewish people left the religious years ago. And yet no one today wonder why that is the case? Why did the vast majority of Jewish people become Reform and Conservative Jews?  Was this from bad hearts? Or perhaps from real   abuse that was never addressed? There are pockets of decency like the great Litvak yeshivas in Bnei Brak and NY, but by and large the religious world is a surrealistic nightmare. [By name the great yeshivas are Mir, Chaim Berln, Torah VeDaat, Ponovitch, Shar Yashuv.]

Lesson: the powers of charm and persuasion do not make up for incompetence.

Toward the end of World War I, a charming but eccentric man by the name of Dr. William Wallace Whitney Christmas founded an aircraft manufacturing company in Washington, DC. This was perhaps a bit of an odd thing to expect him to do, as there exists no evidence that Dr. Christmas, who was a physician by training, had any background or practical experience in aeronautical engineering, or in fact in any kind of engineering at all. He claimed to have built airplanes before that point, but no record has ever been found to support this other than his own word. Despite his complete apparent lack of qualifications in the field he was entering, he nevertheless managed to find a pair of wealthy brothers – Alfred and Henry McCorry – who he was able to talk into providing him with financial backing while he worked on his projects. Since he did not actually own a factory at which airplanes could be built, he traveled to Long Island to visit the Continental Aircraft Company, where, trading both on his remarkable powers of persuasion and on the still-palpable war fever in which the nation had been gripped, he was able to convince its corporate leadership that his newest design, which he had named the “Bullet”, would be the key to the success of a daring plan he had developed to bring an end to the war by secretly landing an airplane behind German lines, kidnapping Kaiser Wilhelm II, flying him to Britain, and forcing him to sign a surrender. Having secured Continental Aircraft’s agreement to build his airplane for him, Dr. Christmas next needed an aeronautical engine, which in those days (and especially with all available production going toward the war effort) were both expensive and not easy to come by. Undaunted by this, Dr. Christmas visited Army headquarters in Washington, on a mission to get them to loan him an example of the most powerful engine they had. Here once again a combination of his personal charm and wartime desperation worked to his advantage, and he was able to talk his way into possession of an experimental Liberty VI engine, which developed a then-incredible 215 horsepower. To the Army’s credit, they were sufficiently skeptical of the entire matter that the loan came with the proviso that their engine was to be used only for ground testing of the prototype Bullet; he was not to take it into the air until the Army had gotten a chance to inspect and do a full evaluation on the new aircraft. Eager to get his hands on a Liberty VI, Dr. Christmas agreed.
As for the actual design of the Bullet, what Dr. Christmas called “innovative”, others would call “ludicrous”. He claimed that its weird-looking, flattened-egg-shaped fuselage – made of veneered wood – was  going to provide unprecedented reductions in aerodynamic drag, and that its flimsy wings, which he said that he had deliberately designed to flex and bend, were more than strong enough to support its weight. In an article about the Bullet in the British Flight magazine (which still publishes today, as Flight Global), Dr. Christmas even went so far as to declare that the Bullet had “a safety factor of seven throughout”, despite the magazine’s observation that “it would seem that such construction would result in a low factor of safety”. The editors of Flight were not, however, the only people who knew a lot about airplanes and who began to voice serious misgivings about the Bullet. When Dr. Christmas finally submitted his blueprints to Continental Aircraft, the company’s in-house head of engineering (Vincent Burnelli – who would go on to make some genuine innovations in the area of “flying wing” type aircraft, of which the modern B-2 bomber is perhaps the most famous example) came up with a long list of changes that needed to be made before the Bullet would be airworthy. Not least among Burnelli’s concerns was Dr. Christmas’s insistence that the Bullet be made out of cheap scrap wood and metal, which the Doctor claimed would minimize both the cost of building it and the strain that its construction would place on supplies of critically-needed resources during wartime. Once again, Dr. Christmas was able to convince others that his plans were sound; Continental’s management sided with him over Burnelli’s objections, and the Bullet was constructed exactly the way that Dr. Christmas wanted.
And then, suddenly, the war ended.
While the rest of the world celebrated, Dr. Christmas found himself with serious reason to worry. The end of the Great War meant that generous wartime contracts for new weapons would quickly evaporate, along with the willingness of the Army, industry, and investors to try just about anything, no matter how strange it might seem, as long as there was the slightest chance that it might contribute to victory. At this point, the first prototype had been finished and a second, for which an engine had not yet been found, was under construction. Dr. Christmas knew that he had finally had to show what the Bullet could do, and show it fast, before both the interest and the money that his supporters had been giving to him began to dry up. Of course, Dr. Christmas had never actually flown an airplane himself, so personally test-flying his airplane was out of the question. Fortunately for him, thousands of freshly-demobilized Army aviators were coming home from the war. The airline industry was not yet even in its infancy, and jobs flying the mail were scarce, so many of them found themselves unemployed and without any prospects for flying for a living. Dr. Christmas put out an offer of generous pay for any who would become test pilot for the Bullet. Man after man turned up, took one look at the Bullet, spun around on their heels, and left, declaring that no amount of money was worth their lives. Finally, Dr. Christmas found one pilot – one Cuthbert Mills – who was either brave or desperate enough to try.
And so one cold day in January of 1919, the first Christmas Bullet took to the air from the Continental Aircraft factory’s airfield. It climbed a few hundred feet in the air, at which point Dr. Christmas’s innovative thin and flexible wings broke off. What was left of the Bullet plunged to the ground, killing Cuthbert Mills instantly.
Vincent Burnelli was livid. Continental Aircraft was deeply embarrassed. The Army, which Dr. Christmas neglected to tell about the crash and the destruction of their expensive loaner engine, was beginning to get impatient. Dr. Christmas, however, was undaunted. Next time, he promised, would be a complete success – all he needed to do was make a few minor adjustments to what was an essentially flawless design. He turned on the charm again. Somehow, he managed to convince Continental Aircraft to finish the second prototype. Somehow, he managed to scrounge up an engine for it (this time, a much less powerful Hall-Scott model L-6). Somehow, he managed to find someone – this time, an Army pilot named Lt. Allington Jolly – to fly it. Somehow, he managed to talk his way into having the second Bullet displayed at Madison Square Garden as a way to gain publicity and public support. The display claimed that the Bullet had been demonstrated to achieve speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour – the fact that it had done so going straight down after its wings had fallen off was a detail that Dr. Christmas felt it unnecessary to mention to the gathered crowds.
And so one warm day in April of 1919, the second Christmas Bullet took to the air. It climbed a few hundred feet, at which point its wings broke off, and it plunged to the ground, killing Allington Jolly instantly.
Continental Aircraft walked away. The McCorry brothers walked away. The Army, which had thousands of now-unneeded surplus airplanes on its hands and no war to fight, and which probably wouldn’t have put any more money into the Bullet even if it had turned out to be everything that Dr. Christmas had promised, walked away without even bothering to sue Dr. Christmas for the lost engine. The world moved on; only two minor pieces of the story remained.
One was the grieving families of Cuthbert Mills and Allington Jolly. The other was Dr. William Wallace Whitney Christmas.
Dr. Christmas never stopped telling anyone who would listen that the Bullet was just one minor alteration away from being a historic, world-changing success. When, in 1930, Flight published an article giving a full account of the affair, Dr. Christmas had his lawyer send an angry letter denouncing them, calling their report “false and scurrilous”, stating that the Bullet had been a tremendous success and that it had only crashed due to careless flying on the part of Cuthbert Mills (the letter made no mention at all of Allington Jolly or the second Bullet), claiming that mountains of evidence (none of which he actually bothered to provide) attested to all of this, and vaguely but unmistakably threatening legal action if any further “injurious and libellous” articles about the Bullet appeared in their pages. In fact, to his dying day, Dr. Christmas continued to insist that he had hundreds of patents to his name (of which no record exists or ever has existed), that he had designed dozens if successful airplanes (the Bullet is the only one that there is any real evidence for), and that he was on the brink of revolutionizing aviation. A New York Times article from 1950 records the 85-year-old Dr. Christmas still darkening the doorstep of the military, this time trying to sell the newly-created U.S. Air Force on his design for a massive “flying battleship” (the Pentagon, in an unusual bout of sanity, passed on the idea).
Dr. Christmas died in the spring of 1960, at the ripe old age of 94, forty-one years after he had killed Cuthbert Mills and Allington Jolly and well into a jet age that had materialized despite him rather than because of him.
And thus ended the story of the Christmas Bullet.

Lesson: the powers of charm and persuasion do not make up for incompetence.


 רמב''ם מלווה ולווה פרק כ''א הלכה א' והלכה י There is a  case of a מלווה a לווה and someone that bought a field from the לווה after the הלוואה. If the שדה is regular, not a אפותיקי for the loan, the מלווה gets it in case of default and חצי the שבח and in 'הלכה א he does not even pay for the הוצאות. In 'פרק כ'א הלכה י when the field is אפותיקי collateral for the הלוואה, the way the מגיד משנה explains it is if the הוצאות are more than the שבח he gets חצי השבח and pays nothing.  If the שבח is  more than the הוצאות, he can take all the שבח and pay for the הוצאות and then the buyer gets paid back for the rest of the שבח from the seller. The first part of the הלכה is clear. The שבח is more than the הוצאה so the בעל חוב says שדה שלי עשה את השבח so he is claiming all the שבח and pays the הוצאה. But then if the שבח is less than the הוצאה, he collects חצי from the בעל חוב and חצי from the מוכר.  At that point the בעל חוב  comes with the claim of normal שיעבוד (not אפותיקי) by which he has  a right to only half the שבח as it says in בבא בתרא. Still the בעל חוב gets the field with all the שבח,  but he has to pay only for a חצי and the other חצי he has a right to. So the lender does not pay anything for that half of the שבח. So for that part  the לוקח has to collect from the according to their agreement where the מוכר wrote, "What I buy will be משועבד to this חוב." In any case, the part the part that the בעל חוב is collecting because of "מה שאקנה יהיה משועבד לחוב הזה" he is not paying for. The only part he pays for is that which comes because it is part of the field. So with regards to 'כ''א הלכה י where the רמב''ם brings two opinions if the בעל חוב pays for the הוצאה in the normal case that the field is not אפותיקי he is going like the opinion he does not have to pay.

The thing is here the Rambam is clearly fitting this Halacha of half שבח with Bava Metzia 101 הנכנס לשדה חבירו ונטע אילנות ידו על התחתונה היינו או הוא מקבל את השבח או ההוצאה

There is a lot to think about here because of the relation between Bava Metzia page 101 an 14b that Tosphot sees here. But as I wrote before the Rambam sees these two Gemarot as dealing with different situations. Which leads me to wonder  why here we see the Rambam is apparently seeing them as related. Plus I wonder why 1/2 improvement only comes up with collateral אפותיקי. So I realize this whole subject still needs a lot of work and I have only just begun to scratch the surface.
[However until God grants to me a Gemara or a copy of Rav Shach's Avi Ezri there is little progress I can make here. I am pretty sure that I saw both Rav Shach and Reb Chaim Soloveitchik dealing with these issues in Bava Metzia page 14 and 15, but without being able to look up what they say, I feel limited in ability to make progress here.]

 רמב''ם מלווה ולווה פרק כ''א הלכה א' והלכה י' קיים מקרה של מלווה לווה ומישהו שקנה שדה מן הלווה לאחר ההלוואה. אם השדה הוא רגיל, לא אפותיקי עבור ההלוואה, המלווה מקבל את זה במקרה של ברירת מחדל וחצי השבח ובהלכה א' הוא אפילו אינו משלם עבור ההוצאות. בפרק כ''א הלכה י' כאשר השדה הוא אפותיקי עבור הלוואה, את הדרך שבה מגיד משנה מסביר שזה היא שאם הוצאות יתרות מאשר השבח הוא מקבל חצי השבח ומשלם כלום. אם השבח הוא יותר מאשר ההוצאות, הוא יכול לקחת את כל השבח ולשלם עבור ההוצאות ואז הקונה מקבל תשלום בחזרה עבור שאר השבח מהמוכר. חלק הראשון של ההלכה ברור. השבח הוא יותר מאשר הוצאה ולכן בעל החוב אומר שדה שלי עשה את השבח ולכן הוא תובע את כל השבח ומשלם ההוצאה. אבל אז אם השבח הוא פחות ההוצאה, שהוא אוסף חצי מן בעל החוב וחצי מן מוכר.  כי בעל החוב מגיע עם הטענה  נורמלית של שיעבוד (לא אפותיקי) שבאמצעותה יש לו זכות רק לחצי השבח כפי שכתוב בבבא בתרא. ועדיין בעל החוב מקבל את השדה עם כל השבח, אבל הוא צריך לשלם רק עבור חצי והחצי השני יש לו זכות בו. אז המלווה אינו משלם כלום עבור חצי שבח הזה. אז בשביל זה הלוקח אוסף מן פי הסכמתם שבו מוכר כתב, "מה אני קונה יהיה משועבד אל חוב זה." בכל מקרה, החלק שבעל החוב אוסף בגלל "מה שאקנה יהיה משועבד לחוב הזה" הוא לא משלם עבורו. החלק היחיד שהוא משלם עבורו הוא אשר מגיע כי הוא חלק מהשדה.

What I think I going on here is this: [In my hand written notes I go into a lot of the problems that this halacha presents to us. However for right now I want just to write down my thoughts about what I think it means.] I think the main issue here is the difference between a regular loan and a אפותיקי pledge for a loan. In the case of a regular pledge the lender has no choice. He simply gets half of the improvements  for free and if he takes the whole field with all the improvements then he pays for the other half of the improvements. In that case the buyer would collect from the borrower the other half.
But in the case of an אפותיקי I think the Rambam is saying that the lender has a choice. He can take the option in which he pays the least amount. Either he can go with the same option as in the above case where he gets half the improvements for free. The other choice is he can say שדה שלי השביח and then we treat the field as if it was already his field and the borrower is like the case on page 101 היורד לתוך שדה חבירו ונטע שתילים. In that case the lender pays the least amount either the שבח or the הוצאה. But if he pays for the  שבח he would pay only half the שבח.

מה שאני חושב שהולך כאן הוא זה: אני חושב שהנושא העיקרי כאן הוא ההבדל בין הלוואה רגילה לבין הלוואה עם משכון או אפותיקי. במקרה של שעבוד רגיל למלווה אין ברירה. הוא פשוט מקבל מחצית השיפורים בחינם, ואם הוא רוצמ לקחת את כל השדה עם כל השיפורים אז הוא משלם עבור החצי השני של השיפורים. במקרה כזה הקונה  יאסוף מהלווה את החצי השני. אבל במקרה של אפותיקי אני חושב שהרמב''ם אומר כי יש למלווה בחירה. הוא יכול לקחת את האופציה שבה הוא משלם את הסכום הנמוך ביותר. היינו שהוא יכול ללכת לפי האפשרות כמו במקרה הנ"ל, ששם הוא מקבל חצי שיפורים בחינם. הבחירה השנייה היא שהוא יכול לומר "השדה שלי השביח" ולאחר מכן אנו מטפלים השדה כאילו  היה כבר ברשותו של המלווה הוא כמו המקרה בעמוד ק''א היורד לתוך שדה חבירו וניטע שתילים. במקרה כזה המלווה משלם את הסכום .
.הנמוך ביותר או את השבח או ההוצאה. אבל אם הוא משלם עבור השבח הוא ישלם רק חצי השבח

It is tempting  to suggest that perhaps if the lender pays the הוצאה that he would pay only half, but it does not seem to make much sense either. After all half the improvement we can understand the lender already owns. But half the expenses? It seems not.

אבל אם כשהוא משלם עבור השבח הוא משלם רק חצי השבח, מפתה להציע שאולי אם כשהמלווה משלם על ההוצאה שישלם רק חצי, אבל זה לא נראה הגיוני. אחרי הכל חצי השיפור נוכל להבין ששייך למלווה כבר אחרי שהקרקע נחשבת שלו אבל מחצית ההוצאות? כנראה שלא.


 One idea I have hoped to bring into the world is the idea that really is stated most clearly in the Rambam but is mentioned by way of hint in most other Musar books from the Middle Ages--and that is including Physics and Metaphysics along with learning Torah.

That is in part because I see the path of religious addicts to emphasize some ritual   or even something great like learning Torah just makes self righteous ass-holes. The religious world is a frightfully wicked horrifying place. Clearly there is some aspect of Torah they have gotten completely wrong. 
My feeling is it is this very aspect of the combining Torah with Reason.
There is probably much more that that that is wrong but this at least seems to be an essential part.

Incidentally the distinction between between the world of religious Judaism which is a cult, and the world of Jews that observe the Torah is well known in Israel. This is because the religious there horrify  everyone, and no one in their right mind wants to be associated with them. So Jewish people that love the Torah and strive to keep it sincerely, try to distance themselves from being associated with the lunatic world of the religious.
Religious Judaism as opposed to Torah

The fundamental distinction between the religious worldview and the  monotheistic worldview of the Torah.
The characterization of  Pagan  Religious Judaism. The fundamental idea of Pagan Religious Judaism is the idea of pantheism.

In Pagan Religious  Judaism, the will of God ultimately can be countered by the decrees of the tzadik.  The God of the Torah is limited in power because of supreme gods which are the tzadikim of the cult who can decree and the God of the Torah must obey.

In Pagan Religious  Judaism, there's very  a fluid boundary between the Divine, the human, and the natural worlds. They blur into one another because they all emerge ultimately from the same primordial Divine stuff. These distinctions between them are soft.  So there's no real distinction between the worship of God and the worship of a tzadik (i.e."saint") and even graves of tzadikim. Second,  because humans also emerge ultimately from this primordial stuff, there's a confusion of the boundary between the Divine and the human  that's common in Pagan Religious  Judaism,

 Pagan Religious  Judaism, is a system of rites.  Pagan Religious  Judaism cult, is a system of rites that involves a manipulation of objects that are believed to have some kind of inherent power, again, because of their connection to whatever the primordial Divine stuff may be in that tradition. So there's always an element of magic in the Pagan Religious Judaism,. It's seeking through these rituals and manipulations of certain substances to, again, let loose certain powers, set into motion certain forces, that will coerce G-d to be propitiated, for example, or calmed or to act favorably or to vindicate the devotees, and so on. Some of those cultic acts might be defensive or protective. Many of the cultic festivals are keyed in to mythology, the stories of the lives of the tzadikim. Many of the cultic festivals will be reenactments of events in the life of the god/tzadik: a battle that the god had…the death of the god.

One final and very important point, in the polytheistic worldview of Pagan Religious  Judaism,, the primordial realm contains the seeds of all being: everything is generated from that realm, good and bad.

On the other hand, the fundamental idea of the Law of Moses, the Oral and Written Law, which receives no systematic formulation but permeates the entire Torah, is a radically new idea of a God who is himself the source of all being- not subject to a tzadik, a God whose will is absolute and sovereign.
 He's not identifiable as  Nature or identified with a force of nature. Nature certainly becomes the stage of God's expression of his will. He expresses his will and purpose through forces of nature in the Torah. But nature isn't God himself. He's not identified with it. He's wholly other. He isn't kin to humans in any way either. So there is no blurring, no soft boundary between humans and the Divine.  So there's no process by which humans become gods and certainly no process of the reverse as well.


As we know honor of one's parents has certain limits. The way Naphtali Troup in his חידושי הגרנ''ט is simple--it is a מצוות עשה. -a positive command. Thus it does not override a negative command that has karet [being cut off from one's people] attached to it. But as people get  more and more religious this command of honor of ones parents and also most of the commands of בין אדם לחבירו [obligations between man  and his fellow man] get thrown out. This is no secret, and it it fact was one of the primary motivations of Reb Israel Salanter in creating the Musar Movement.

The Litvak Yeshiva world -thank Heavens is aware of this- and in fact tries to walk the middle path of emphasis on both sets of obligations-between man and God and between man and man. It is also tries to avoid the Intermediate Zone by simple concentration of learning Gemara.

Still in the USA, parents as such were despised. And the USA and the West was very anti-parent until the 1990's when instead the USA became anti-father. So I had both from inside and from outside the yeshiva world little motivation to follow in my fathers foot steps. If I would have, I would have learned Torah mainly on Shabat and during the gone to Cal Tech and volunteered for the USA Air Force. All in all I would have to say my father was a hard act to follow.--Besides just being a great father and husband.

Still the wisdom of Time has shown me how right he was and I have tried for some time to make up for my lack of balance. Going to school and majoring in Physics was part of that trying to make up for lost time.

[It might have been helpful if I had found a method for learning Physics which I only discovered later in the writings of the Ari {Isaac Luria} and in the Musar book אורחות צדיקים. The Ari brings the idea of saying the words forwards and backwards in his שער רוח הקודש and that certainly helped me in my few years at NYU. The other thing was what is called דרך גירסה--saying the words and going on with no concern whether I understand or not. That is from the Musar book ארחות צדיקים and that I found helpful more recently.]

Dark Zone, the Intermediate Zone and the secular world.

There is an aspect of value which one gets from the Law of Moses (learning and keeping Torah). The easiest way to see this is in the Kant-Fries school of Dr Kelley Ross. The term that Otto coined for it is numinous value. The West seems to lack that value.
But in this need to get beyond this secular world is the danger of the Intermediate Zone which gives great visions and powers from the Dark Side. 

So which is worse? The Dark Zone, which give no hint of holiness, or the Intermediate Zone which mimics holiness? Or simply the secular world with no hint of transcendence?

Abuse leaders have no compassion, they reveal your secrets, they are constantly at war, they have an entitlement complex they feel they are entitled to other people's money, They use Torah for their own aggrandizement. No wonder Reb Nachman called them Torah scholars that are demons. But that does not mean the Dark Side. It mean the intermediate zone as the Ari goes into detail.

So what can you do? Admit to yourself that you were part of an abusive group and know it is true. Do not listen to stupid religious people that deny that it happened. 
You also should know that the religious world is one gigantic fraud. They have nothing to do with Torah. They use rituals to make it seem as if they do and to keep the money rolling in.
Another problem with the teachers of Torah today is that they simply found a way of using Torah to make money but do not believe any of the basic principles. An asking them usually does no good because they simply will lie about their beliefs. But of all the religious teachers of Torah I would say fewer than 1% actually believe in Torah in the 13 principles of faith.


Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse rarely occurs on purpose, as those involved generally start out with the best of intentions. That does not make it harmless.

Unlike physical abuse that often results in bruised bodies, spiritual and  abuse leaves scars on the psyche and soul. It is inflicted by persons who are accorded respect and honor in the Torah world by virtue of their role as  models of spiritual authority. They base that authority on the Holy Torah, the Written and Oral Law,  and see themselves as endowed  with a holy trust. But when they violate that trust, when they abuse their authority, and when they misuse  power to control and manipulate other Jews, the results can be catastrophic.

The perversion of power that we see all the time in the religious world disrupts and divides families, fosters an unhealthy dependence of members on the leadership, and creates, ultimately, spiritual confusion in the lives of victims.
Just like former cult members, people who have suffered spiritual abuse often describe their experience in terms of “psychological abuse” and “spiritual trauma.”

This theme comes up in Tenach with the false prophets and in the Mishna and Gemara also. Reb Nachman however goes into some detail about the problem basing himself on the Zohar and the Ari. The main idea of Reb Nachman is that a large majority of pseudo teachers of Torah are in fact demons. [That is to say they have spiritual powers and even miracles but those powers come from Satan.]
Which brings us to the basic question of spiritual authority. Who has the authority to teach Torah? How does one go about avoiding the false leaders.
Obviously, the simplest way is to avoid the entire religious world;- lock, stock and barrel. But a slightly better alternative solution is to confine oneself to authentic Lithuanian kinds of yeshiva which go solely by the path of the Gra. That alternative solution has the advantage of being able to learn and keep Torah and be relatively safe from the cults.

One aspect of spiritual abuse goes along with the idea of false trust. --an idea also mentioned by Reb Nachman which he brings from the book of Job "מבטח בוגד". That is most of the Litvak world is really pretty great. But there are people whose entire message to the public is: "We are so great that everyone should give us money." And at the same time seek to enslave baali teshuva to create  a kind of slave population of working class to support themselves. They create this image that all people need to do is join up with them and all their needs will be taken care of. Thus comes the trouble that the main characteristic of the religious world is based on the question, "How can we get secular Jews to give us money?"


The path that made the most sense to me when I was in yeshiva was that of Musar [learning the books of Medieval ethics] and I heard as much from the daughter of Bava Sali. I became close friends with Shimon Buso, one of the grandchildren of Bava Sali, and one of his daughters told me how in her school she arranged a Chafetz Chaim group. [That is the Chafetz Chaim is the book on the laws of gossip and slander].That is she would sign up everyone that was willing to learn the Chafetz Chaim everyday and made a list of all their names and everyone on that list got prayed for to find their proper Zivug [match]. A lot  of the girls on that list had gotten married last time I checked.

But that is just one example of the force and power of Musar to correct human troubles.

The idea really come from the Gemara in Shabat. אין יסורים בלי עוון. There are no trouble without sin. Thus working on one's own faulty character traits --even when not successful, still shows an effort to be going in the direction of תיקון המידות correction of one's own bad character traits.
I prayed with the sidur of the Reshash for many years. That is the small red one in three volumes, and then around the end of my second time in Israel, I bought the large one from the grandson of the Reshash which was being sold privately in Mea Shearim for some ridiculously low price. I forget offhand what the advantage was in the large sidur except that it was more complete. Vaguely I recall the big one had the intentions of the Omer and the Hagada of Pesach.

The main advantage of using the sidur of the Reshash is mainly if one has already the Divine light shining on himself. It does not bring down the Divine Light, but can only channel it.

In any case, at some point I decided once I had pushed off the Divine Light (for reasons known to me) to stop using it because, after all, what was the point? It just made myself more visible to the Sitra Achra.

I should mention that it is not at all obvious what the Reshash is all about until you read דרוש הדעת and you get to the end of the עץ חיים (Tree Of Life) of the Ari. [That is the last 1/4.] That is where he starts to modify his system. Up until that point, everything looks fairly simple. But that is where he starts to include the worlds one in the other, and that highly modifies the whole system. Still, the more basic ways of understanding the Ari which come from Rav Yaakov Abuchazteira [grandfather of Bava Sali], the Gra, and the Ramchal seem to me to be perfectly fine as far as the simple explanation goes.

I have to issue the usual warning however, that to ignore the signature  of the Gra on the letter of excommunication is to invite the Dark Side. And inviting the Dark Side, is like inviting Hell's Angels into your home. Once they are there, you can not get them out. 


In terms of Kabalah I  was pretty impressed with the Kabbalah Institute for a few reasons.
The first is that the only edition of the Eitz Chaim that I understood at all is the edition of the Kabalah Institute. Also when I was in Tzefat {Safed} [In Meor Chaim the kirya of Rav Ernster]  I use to see them by R. Pinchas Ben Yair once every month when they came up from Tel Aviv. They seemed to be a very nice and wholesome group.
They do not have a good reputation in the religious world but as far as I can tell that is in itself one of their best points.The religious I think are jealous of people that have authentic spirituality.

My own experience  was to learn the Ari outside of the yeshiva schedule. I was part of the yeshiva Mir in NY at the time so I was doing Gemara during the regular hours. On the side I learned the Eitz Chaim. But when I got to Israel I did very little kabalah (if at all). Still I think the little I did of the Ari was helpful.[I am sad to say I did very little learning Torah in those days. If I could rewind the tape I would have learned in the kollel of Rav Ernster of gone up to the Litvak Kollel of Rav Fivelson and sat and learned Torah.
The Ari is a good explanation of Torah, but learning the Ari does not take the place of Gemara, Rashi, and Tosphot.
[The Ari has the problem of all systems--it is liable to abuse. People however will always find a way to abuse any system. Abusus non tolit usum.]

The kabalah as developed later than the Ari is only from the Realm of Holiness from these basic people, Yaakov Abuchatzaira, Rav Shalom Sharabi,  the Ramchal and the Gra. The rest of it is sadly all from the Sitra Achra and very damaging to an astounding degree. The grandson of the Reshash wrote  a very nice sidur base on the Reshash but I think it is only sold in Mea Shearim. At least that was the only place it was available  few years ago.

The advantage of the Ari is that he gives a nice understanding of the Torah. The disadvantage is he is more liable to abuse than almost any other system-to the degree that is amazing. Still without him, I see no way to understand the Torah.


Realm of Holiness-living with balance

With Hegel there is a connection between areas of value. Even in the same area he says"content is itself the Idea as the unity of the Notion and reality."
With the Kant Fries School of Dr Kelley Ross the areas of value are independent.
So with Hegel the living with balance makes more sense. That is devoting let's say one hour of time to Gemara and another hour to Physics, and another to Music, etc until in one day you have covered all the areas of value. But with Dr Kelley Ross, it would make more sense to concentrate on the one area of value you need the most the whole day.

For me it seems better to divide the day into small sections. To concentrate on one area alone for me seems to work against that very area in itself. But I think that is simply a quirk of my own personality. I can see there are people that can concentrate on one area alone and gain great expertise in that area. But that does not seem to work for me.

There is great value in the Kant-Fries School of Thought. Still there are a few problem areas. One is implanted knowledge. There does not seem  to be any reason to believe that implanted knowledge corresponds to truth in any sense. And it does not does not seem to be the approach of the Rambam either. True that even natural law needs to be revealed, but once it is reveled, the veil of perception is taken away and then reason perceives it. Also the whole approach of Kant is absolute based on Hume,  and Hume never showed that reason only can perceive contradictions as Dr. Bryan Caplan makes clear.
To me it seems there is a lot of good in the Hegel approach.
The Ari and Rambam do have as a matter of fact a kind of progression towards the Divine Light anyway. That seems kind of curious because normally we understand the Divine Light --when it is the real thing from the Realm of Holiness-to be a simple gift from God. That is why the Ari and the Rambam seem hard to understand.  They both definitely say the approach towards God goes by stages. The Arizal even warns about jumping the gun in a few places that are relatively unknown. [Which is itself curious because it seems to go against the beginning of the Eitz Chaim. That Introduction to the Eitz Chaim is in fact the reason people learn it without being prepared. Still as I mentioned once I see no contradiction. Rather being prepared simply does not mean what most people imagine it to mean.]

Music for the Glory of God

Human problems

It is hard to erase problems. I am not really sure what to say about in terms of  a solution. My own approach is to do Physics and learn Rav Shach and other parts of Torah and hope that the light of Torah will erase all my problems. That is the best I can figure out. I also try to say over to myself a few statements of Musar in the morning when I get up that deal with issues I need to work on. There is a great Musar book called "Madragat HaAdam" by a disciple of Reb Israel Salanter that has a passage in it about Trust in God that he brings from the Gra's commentary on Proverbs which I try to say over to myself to remind myself about trust in God.  
But that is just for me. 

I am not sure about the issues that other people need to work on. But whatever they are I think the best idea is: learn Muar and when you find something that deals with some problem you are having then to write in down and repeat it to yourself every day when you get up in the morning


Shavuot page 43

R. Akiva says if a lender loses the pledge he has for a loan, then  the lender loses the amount that the pledge was worth. The pledge might very well be worth more than the loan and thus the lender might owe to the borrower money.  However Shmuel says the pledge goes for the entire loan.. Thus even if the pledge is worth more the lender would not owe anything. This seems to me to be  a proof for Rabainu Chananel. For to Rashi Shmuel is when nothing was said and R. Akiva is when the lender said something. But why would the lender say something that results in his losing money? Rabainu Chananel says on the contrary that Shmuel is when something was said and R. Akiva is when nothing was said.

Shavuot page 43
Here is a link to the book on Shas where I added this idea: Ideas in Shas

ר. עקיבא says if a lender loses the pledge he has for a loan, then  the lender loses the amount that the pledge was worth. The pledge might very well be worth more than the loan and thus the lender might owe to the borrower money.  However שמואל says the pledge goes for the entire loan. Thus even if the pledge is worth more the lender would not owe anything. This seems to me to be  a proof for רבינו חננאל. For to רש''י the case of  שמואל is when nothing was said and ר. עקיבא is when the lender said something. But why would the lender say something that results in his losing money? רבינו חננאל says on the contrary that שמואל is when something was said and ר. עקיבא is when nothing was said.
I am not saying that the lender is allowed to take a pledge that is worth more than the loan. I am only addressing the issue of if this happened.

ר. עקיבא אומר אם מלווה מאבד את המשכון שיש לו בגלל הלוואה, אז המלווה מאבד את סכום שהמשכון היה שווה. המשכון יכול מאוד להיות שווה יותר מן ההלוואה, ולכן המלווה עלול להתחייב  כסף ללווה. אולם שמואל אומר המשכון כנגד ההלוואה כולה. לכן גם אם המשכון שווה יותר המלווה לא חייב שום דבר. זה נראה לי להיות הוכחה עבור רבינו חננאל. לפי רש''י המקרה של שמואל הוא כאשר לא שום דבר נאמר ור. עקיבא הוא כאשר המלווה אמר משהו. אבל למה המלווה היה אומר משהו שגורם לאבד כסף שלו? רבינו חננאל אומר להיפך כי שמואל הוא כשנאמר משהו ור. עקיבא הוא כאשר לא שום דבר שנאמר. אני לא אומר כי המלווה רשאי לַעֲבוֹט משכון שהוא שווה יותר מן ההלוואה. אני רק מתייחס למצב אם זה קרה

Is it possible to worship Satan while believing one is worshiping G-d?

The signature of the Gra on the letter of excommunication opens an interesting question: Is it possible to worship Satan while believing one is worshiping G-d?  It seems clear that this is true as we know from Sanhedrin page 63 that there is such a thing as idol worship that is not intended.  And we know from the Rambam in the Guide that the Spirit of the World in not the same thing as God. So the issue of the excommunication is more severe and serious than people are aware of. [The Ari also brings this same theme in a few places]. It is no wonder that people joining that cult and thus worshiping the Devil believe they are being good religious Jews.
And this opinion of mine was apparently shared by the Gra and the sages of Musar [Reb Israel Salanter and his disciples] who rigorously excluded any mention of that cult. Clearly Rav Shach was also of this opinion. So I am not a lone voice of reason in the wilderness.  The greatest sages of Israel agreed with me and yet their opinions are ignored.


Not all religions are created equal. Not all hard work is equal. And not all patriotism is equal.

Some religions encourage really bad behavior. Others are more on the positive side. Some hard work is useless, some gets results. Not all countries have a positive social meme so patriotism towards one's country has value only in so far as that country in itself has positive value.

My basic idea of  proper Torah approach is to learn the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach [with the relevant Gemaras] and all the writings of the Gra, and Physics and Math and survival skills.

[Though I sometimes mention the idea of learning דרך גירסה just saying the word and going on, I found in doing the Avi Ezri that it is better to do review a few times on each chapter before continuing on.]

T52 F major  This still might need some editing

My Parents and Social Justice.

 In any case, it took me good and long to recognize the greatness of my parents even though I knew they were very special. Still the world in those days was very much anti-parents, so it took a lot of effort to see through the facade of society. Israel is much more close to traditional family values than the USA  The interesting thing about my parents was they spoke so little about how to live that the few times they ever said anything, it sticks out in my mind very clearly  -for the fact of it being so unusual. They definitely liked my learning Physics,--but only after I anyway showed interest in that direction. 
I was drawn to philosophy on my own, and  they were definitely not into it  at all. Especially my Dad. He was totally and absolutely oblivious to any philosophical questions what-so-ever. My Mom lent me a sympathetic ear to listen to my thoughts when I got home from school, but  it was not up her alley.They sent us to Hebrew school and expected we would grow up good Jews in the sense that they were. It is hard to explain. They were however cold to the idea of "Social Justice," which even back then was being preached in Temple Israel. They had a good idea of what Torah is about, and knew that Social Justice is not it. When I was getting more religious, I was praying the entire morning prayer every day in English which took me until 12 PM in the summer and my Mom came in and told me I needed to get out and get some fresh air. [They were not into religious fanaticism.]
 Social Justice became in the world of Reform to be the entire message of Torah. My Dad never said anything about it, but my Mom did one time when we were in Temple Israel. They knew it is just a code word  for Socialism. They were cold to the idea completely. They had from their own homes a very good idea of what Torah means.
"Why did Jews support communism do you think?" 
I guess it was the "in thing." Anyone who was anyone in the intellectual world thought Socialism as the wave of the future, and thought it had all the weight of evidence on its side.

Here is my Mom.
Torah, The Law of Moses, Physics, Music, Hard work, being self sufficient, being a mensch, marrying a nice Jewish girl. These were all important principle to my parents. Also loyalty towards family and friends.

They certainly believed in Torah and would have been pleased as a peach if I had managed to combine Torah in Ponovitch or some NY Litvak Yeshiva with learning Physics. As it was, I did not get involved in Physics until later. But the straight path of Torah was clearly their view. They were aware the religious world only makes a show of Torah but is really filled with the Dark Side. They knew something is highly wrong with the religious that make a show of Torah but are really from the Sitra Achra.