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9.8.20

Can communists take over America?

To me it seems depend on one thing. If people can believe promises of everything for free without being aware of what is planned to make everything free. I mean there are enough examples of communism to provide evidence whether the promises of utopia becomes real.

Plus there is the slight inconvenient fact that communists think only the "rich" will lose all their money. They are not thinking that they themselves will no longer have private property, but will live where the State assigns them to live, and will work at what the State assigns to them to work at.

But the trouble is Americans believe in something only after seeing it on the internet. Since the main sites are Communist, how is there any chance of correction? 

8.8.20

"You were shown to know that the Lord is God, there is none other besides Him."

 אתה הראתה לדעת כי השם הוא האלוהים אין עוד מלבדו מאי אין עוד מלבדו אפילו כשפים

 "You were shown to know that the Lord is God, there is none other besides Him."

The sages ask in tractate Shabat "what does it mean 'there is none other besides Him?' even magic"


You would imagine that if the point of the verse was to tell us that nothing exists besides God, this would have been the perfect place for the sages to tell us this. Instead they explain that there are no other spiritual forces--even magic.

The truth be told, monotheism was always the faith of the Torah. That God created everything something from nothing. (And he is other than the world. He is not the same thing as the world.])That is not to say nothing exists besides God. 


[To all Rishonim [medieval authorities], Monotheism is assumed. That is that God made the world something from nothing, and that he is totally "other" that this world.] 

7.8.20

In tractate Avoda Zara 41:b

Almost anything can be an idol. Even though pictures are permitted to make that does not mean that a picture can not be made into an idol. However baseball cards do not count as idolatry. There has to be the idea that by worship of the object of idolatry that that object can save or help one.
You see this really in the Tosephta on Sanhedrin. [Or at least that is where I first saw this idea.]
But stated clearly you have to see the Avi Ezri of Rav Shach in laws of idolatry 7:1.
So here I want to introduce that subject.
In tractate Avoda Zara 41:b. R.Yochanan said: an  idol that broke by itself [e.g fell down in an earthquake] is still forbidden [to use, as e.g. to sell the pieces]] Reish Lakish said it is permitted. The Gemara asks from the mishna R Yose said a person can take an idol and crush it and throw it to the winds. The sages said "but then one might end up using the dust. and the verse says "So that nothing will stick to your hands from it". So why the gemara asks is this any different from an idol that broke by itself? (and we see the sages forbid it.)
The Gemara answers [for Reish Lakish] from Rava: it is a gezara (decree) because as he is  crushing it he might pick it up and then he owns it an a Israeli can not nullify his own idol.
The Ritva asks the same question applies to R Yochanan since on page 43 we see he makes a distinction between when the idolater gives up from just the monetary worth of the idol or also from the prohibition.
To the Gemara, even R Yochanan would agree that if the idolater gave up on both, then the idol that broke by itself is permitted in use [as e.g. to sell the pieces].
The Ritva [a later rishon after Tosphot] answer the case of the idol that broke by itself is different for the idolater does not know yet that it broke. For it to be permitted there has to be knowledge that it broke and became worthless. [The point is that the question of the gemara on Reish Lakish  would not apply to R Yochanan- Because to R Yochanan for the idol to be permitted in use the idolator has to be aware that it broke.]
Rav Shach in the Avi Ezri asks this same point ought to apply to Reish Lakish also. And his answer is the very point I made up above. To both Reish Lakish and R Yochanan an idol that can not save itself is not an idol. For the very essence of idolatry is the thought that people have of it that it can help. Onnce it is broken it automatically loses that category. But R Yochana requires at least an act of nullification.
[Even though it is still unclear to me where this idea comes from. I mean I have heard of requiring an act of "bitul" nullification but I am not sure where you see this here in R Yochanan. I am sure my learning partner David Bronson would be puzzling about this point maybe for weeks on end-unless an answer could be found.]



6.8.20

X10 A Minor

X10 A Minor 

Too much of religious identity depends on thinking that Jesus was not good.

Too much of religious identity depends on thinking that Jesus was not good. However there are issues which are legitimate. Already pointed out by Saadia Gaon. The most obvious issue is that Jesus does not equal God. And that should be obvious just by reading the NT itself.
But forgotten in this discussion is always the approach of  "Emanation" [Atzilut] -Emanation of the Divine light to create lower worlds is very well accepted in all medieval mystics. So souls that come from Emanation are thought to be "divine" in that they contain the Divine light --with no division between them and God.
[And that is the major character of Atzilut/Emanation].

So being in particular always against Jesus as a general rule has just become too much embedded in one's very identity. 
 
So what I suggest is that religious identity ought to be based on belief in God and the law of Moses, not being against Jesus. I mean to say that religious identity is important, but it ought to be based on true facts


5.8.20

I had a great desire to get into physics when I was young.

I had a great desire to get into physics when I was young. But I had a few obstacles. One was you might say really ridiculous. It was my first year in high school in Algebra. I can not say if I found it hard or not. I really do not recall. But I can recall the a(b+c)= ab+ac which maybe I understood or not. But it did not "click" with me. I decided then and there that I am no genius in math. And if I was no genius then why do it at all? So instead I thought to try to go into doing the violin. There I did better, but I can honesty say that if I had known about the idea of  "girsa" --just saying the words and going on, I think I would have been able to get over the obstacles.
But that was not all. When in elementary school, I walked home from school, and that took 40 minutes. But walking home from high school was an hour plus some, or I could wait for my dad to pick me up at the library. In any case, by the time I got home, I was TIRED. [School from 8:15 to 3:15; then the wait or walk home.

So you can wonder  why I bring this up. The reason is the same obstacles still are before me. Even knowing about "girsa"helps to some degree, but I still find it hard. And the tired aspect is still there. I find it best to do the studying the first thing in the morning, --but when trying to study later after have been running around on different errands, I find I just can not concentrate. 
 
So what I think, (if I can be allowed to extrapolate from myself to others);--I would like to suggest that many people --maybe even most people have an inherent desire to understand the world they live in. They would like to know about atoms and quarks, and strings and galaxies, and all that interesting stuff. But probably find these exact two obstacles. (1) Hard to understand; and (2) hard to sit down and do the learning.
For the first problem, I do want to suggest this idea of "Girsa"--saying the words and going on;-- and believing that even if you do not understand at first, the knowledge still gets absorbed and processed under the surface. The tired aspect, however I do not have any answer for --except that same thing that I said about doing the work right when you get up in the morning. After a strong tea or coffee.

4.8.20

Reason recognizes universals.

I see Kant, Leonard Nelson of the Kant Fries School and Hegel as very important. But I feel that in philosophy the message of the forest gets lost because of the trees. You get get so involved in the small details that the big message is lost.
So I want to explain something that was well known in the Middle Ages but since then forgotten:that Reason recognizes universals. What is a universals? Lets say I have two blank white pieces of paper in front on me. Do they have something in common? Yes. Whiteness. So Whiteness is  a universal. Something that particulars have in common. Do universals exist? If you think so, then you are a realist. There are two kinds of realists. One that holds universals do not depend on particulars, and the other that hold they do. Plato was the first kind. Aristotle, the second.

What are some examples of universals? Numbers, colors, laws of physics. Moral principles are also examples of universals. They are rules that apply to particular situations. Not rules of "must" but rules of "ought". Never the less they are still rules.
Reason can recognize these rules. For that is the function of reason--to see things in common among particulars.
So we get what was fairly well known in the Middle Ages: that reason recognizes moral principles and that Torah is meant to make us aware of moral principles that are objective.

[You can see this more in detail in Professor Michael Huemer's writings.]

[One important point here is that there is no reason to exclude reason from the "synthetic a priori".This original idea came from Hume who held reason can do nothing but locate about contradictions in definitions. He was a teacher of Euclidean Geometry so he got this idea from there. But it is not the case that he showed this to be true. he just asserts it