Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I wanted to mention some things about Sanhedrin 62 side A briefly just to raise the issues. Mainly I am bothered by the question of Rava from Rav Nachman   "?העלם זה וזה בידו מה הוא." He forgot it is the Sabbath and he forgot that work is forbidden.

  What does this mean? That is we know if someone forgets the Sabbath, then even if he did lots of work, he brings one sacrifice. If he forgets different kinds of work, but knows it is the Sabbath, then he brings lots of sacrifices for each different kind of work. I don't have anything to say here because I am just beginning to look at this. And I see that Tosphot is going into the problems here in Sanhedrin and also in tractate Shabat.  But one small point I wanted to bring here is Rav Ashi. He said let's just look at the situation. If he would stop doing work if they tell him it is Shabat then he brings one sacrifice. If he would stop because they tell him it is work that he is doing --a kind he was not aware of- then he brings a sacrifice  for each type of work. My question is what kind of approach is this? He is never going to stop work unless he know both things. This is apparently the question that Ravina asks him, but still I ask this because "What was he thinking?"
The main idea in this question of Rava to Rav Nachman seems to be based on set theory. Shabat is a larger set than work. You can have Shabat without forbidden work, but you can't have work without Shabat.
 So forgetting work is a subset of forgetting Shabat. It is not a separate set of objects. So if one forgets both Shabat and different types of works, he would be liable to bring only one goat or sheep to the Temple in Jerusalem.
That would be on that side of the question. But on the other side that perhaps he is liable for every kind of work perhaps the idea is that forgetting work is a separate set.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

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

I have modified this idea for myself based on the idea that ones family is an intimate part of ones soul. So at one time I did not pay attention to my parents thinking who wanted me to go to collage now I think I was wrong. Now I believe that what they were saying made a lot more sense that what i was saying. I just could not hear them. They wanted balance between going To collage and going to yeshiva. All I could hear is that they were unhappy with my going to yeshiva. Only now years later do I understand they were not trying to prevent me but rather they were trying to tell me to keep the Torah like the Torah says.--Torah and Work.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I have wondered for  some time if there is a path that I could claim for it the Path of Repentance.
And it occurred to me that this might be simple--it is to learn in a Lithuanian yeshiva for four years and learn what the Torah requires of you and then to go out into the big world and to do it.
There are pros and cons about this but it seems to me to be the most straightforwards of any path I have ever heard of.
1) To go into this in detail might be too much for me today but at least to start let me say that it seems clear that to keep the Torah one does have to have spent some time understanding it.
2) Personally when I was in yeshiva I did find that this was a remarkable way of life. There was definitely a numinous and holy aspect to it.  And it did combine the two aspects of the Torah the between man and his fellow  man and between man and God. So I think it is clear that as well as you can expect from mere mortals this tends to take them out of the animal kingdom and put them a little bit more into the Kingdom of the most High.No guarantee but it does help.
3) The problem is people that make yeshivas into their private country club. The only attraction yeshivas ever had for the Jewish people was when they were places where anyone could walk in and sit down and learn. No one ever expected them to turn out to be places  where if you want to sit and learn they tell you to get out. Why support them and their families if all it is is a fraudulent way to make money? Certainly when Reb Chaim from Volloshin he never expected the atrocity that has become the modern yeshiva. This really refers to Israeli yeshivas. I never saw anything like that in New York.
) So my suggestion is to start specifically Navardok Yeshivas where it is understood that the entire concept of learning Torah depends of Trust in God and it is not meant for a way of exploiting native secular Jews.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 Trust in God without any effort. From where does this come? Navardok (Joseph Yozel Horvitz) claims this comes from the Ramban [Nachmanides]. But no one seems to know from which Ramban. My learning partner today mentioned a certain Ramban on a totally different subject that might be related. The idea is the the name of God in the Torah "El Shadai" tells us that there is a level of Divine intervention that goes beyond the way of nature. I did not mention this to him but it did occur to me that this might be what Navardok was all about. That is when one trust in God then God sends his help even beyond the way of nature.
This he also brings from the Gra in a somewhat more explicit statement and from the Chovot Levavot also.

The actual statement of the Gra is based on a story in the Talmud. Raba Bar Bar Chana did not know what the verse means "Throw in God your burden and he will take care of you." the verse uses this strange word יהבך.
One day he was lifting his burden and a strange walked over and said to him give me your burden יהבך and I will lift it for you.
The Gra said that it is not the idea that the stranger knew the meaning of the word. Rather Raba did not understand what trust is supposed to be. Is one supposed to trust in God but still do effort, or is one supposed to trust in God with no effort. He thought surely one should do effort. But then he saw that one it is decreed that help will come to a person then that help will come no matter what. Even to the degree that people will ask to help you.
 My suggestion is that there is an aspect of ontological undecidability about this. For certainly we are supposed to do our job in this world. If we can show that the Torah requires us to work then that would be what we are supposed to do without any relation to the question of having our needs met. And certainly it is easy to show the Torah does require us to work. As the sages said as a covenant was established for Torah so was a covenant established for work. כמו  שיש ברית כרותה על התורה כמו כן יש ברית כרותה על המלאכה
And what one finds is people do use the Torah to make money -which is forbidden- and then hide behind the claim that they are trusting.
So there is some hidden aspect to this whole question.
I wanted to add the fact that the Gra saw this in an Agadah {stories in the Talmud or outside the Talmud like in Midrash Raba} is significant because the Gra held the deepest secrets of the Torah are contained in the Agadah.
 I wanted to add that being prepared and learning survival skills is a regular part of what one should learn. It is like Torah itself that one does because one is required to do it--not for benefit in this or the next world. Survival skills and self reliance are simply a part of "the way of the world" (Derech Eretz) that comes before Torah.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


interesting article about curcumin

"There are a number of natural brain protectors out there, but did you know that one herb has shown more promise when it comes to supporting your neurological system than any other medical finding to date? It's a scientific fact that curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant, is one of the most powerful natural brain protecting substances on the planet! It continues to amaze scientists with its remarkable cognitive health benefits.

 You may be familiar with turmeric as the bright yellow spice that is commonly found in curry powder. Turmeric has a long history as a healing herb and culinary spice in India. Interestingly, India has the highest per capita consumption of turmeric AND the lowest incidence of cognitive decline worldwide!"

The hallmark process associated with certain types of cognitive decline is the formation in the brain of abnormal protein structures. Normally when malformed proteins are formed with the brain, the immune system sends out cells known as macrophages, which engulf and destroy the proteins. If this ordinary function fails, defective proteins accumulate in the brain and cognitive decline can follow.

That's why I was excited to read that recent research is showing that curcumin encourages the immune system to send macrophages to the brain. A landmark clinical trial involving people with severe cognitive decline measured the effects of curcumin. Amazingly, the participants taking curcumin had significantly higher levels of dissolved abnormal proteins in their blood compared to those in the placebo group.

This study showed that curcumin has the ability to effectively pass into the brain, bind to beta-amyloid plaques and assist the body in their breakdown.[3] Curcumin is one of the only substances known to have such a profound protective effect on the brain.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I wanted to say that I think there is a mistake in the printing of the Mishna Torah of the Rambam.
If you look in Leviticus 4 you will see that a king that does any of the 42 sins brings a male goat.שעיר עזים.
Yet when the Rambam brings this in Mishna Torah שגגות פרק א you see it says to bring a female goat.
This just goes to show how important it is to get the Mishna Torah of Rav Kapach--the Yeminite Jew who found manuscripts of the Ramabm from the time of the Rambam in Yemen. and printed them.

On a side issue I wanted to mention that in the Talmud there comes up a discussion of how do we know that a high priest has to both depend on a faulty decision and also to do a sin by accident in order to bring a sin offering. [Just a note for gentiles that might not know this fact: You can't bring a sin offering any time you want to. It has to be only for 43 types of sin and you have to meet the strict requirements. If not you can't bring a sin offering. It is חולין בעזרה]
It is like bringing non sanctified animals in to the  the Temple which is obviously forbidden.

You can always bring a burnt offering any time you want. But a sin offering has to be brought only under strict conditions.
[23 of the sins  are all the sexual relations in Leviticus 22, sex with an aunt, a male, an animal, etc. Others are doing 39 types of work on the Sabbath day, eating on Yom Kippur. etc]

So an individual brings a goat or sheep. A כהן משיח a high priest or the Sanhedrin bring a male ox. The king brings a male goat.
 The Talmud says you learn from the verse לאשמת העם to make the whole congregation guilty that the high priest has to have both conditions that apply to the whole people: you need a faulty legal decision and an act that depends on that bad decision. This is where the the reason you need a verse is that you could compare the priest to the Sanhedrin because they both bring a male ox or you could compare him to the king because they both bring a guilt offering.. So we need a verse since you would not know otherwise. [Tractate Horayot 2b]

There are a few issues I want to bring up here. But the most obvious one is that there is no such thing as Daat Torah [infallibility of Torah sages]. If anyone could claim Daat Torah surely it is the Sanhedrin of 71 elders that had ordination in an unbroken chain from mount Sinai. And still they can make a mistake and their decision is not binding when they do.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Nachman from Uman has a concept of space which seems related to the ideas of Flatland by Abbott.

This was posted after the Shabat from where I am writing.

The story by Abbott describes a two-dimensional world occupied by geometric figures, whereof women are simple line-segments, while men are polygons with various numbers of sides. The narrator is a square, a member of the caste of gentlemen and professionals, who guides the readers through some of the implications of life in two dimensions. The Square dreams about a visit to a one-dimensional world (Lineland) inhabited by "lustrous points", and attempts to convince the realm's monarch of a second dimension; but is unable to do so. He is himself visited by a three-dimensional sphere, which he cannot comprehend until he sees Spaceland (a tridimensional world) for himself. This Sphere visits Flatland at the turn of each millennium to introduce a new apostle to the idea of a third dimension in the hopes of eventually educating the population of Flatland. From the safety of Spaceland, they are able to observe the leaders of Flatland secretly acknowledging the existence of the sphere and prescribing the silencing of anyone found preaching the truth of Spaceland and the third dimension. After this proclamation is made, many witnesses are massacred or imprisoned (according to caste).

After the Square's mind is opened to new dimensions, he tries to convince the Sphere of the theoretical possibility of the existence of a fourth (and fifth, and sixth ...) spatial dimension; but the Sphere returns his student to Flatland in disgrace.

The Square then has a dream in which the Sphere visits him again, this time to introduce him to Pointland, whereof the point (sole inhabitant, monarch, and universe in one) perceives any communication as a thought originating in his own mind (cf. Solipsism):

You see,' said my Teacher, 'how little your words have done. So far as the Monarch understands them at all, he accepts them as his own – for he cannot conceive of any other except himself – and plumes himself upon the variety of Its Thought as an instance of creative Power. Let us leave this God of Pointland to the ignorant fruition of his omnipresence and omniscience: nothing that you or I can do can rescue him from his self-satisfaction.'[4]
— the Sphere

The Square recognizes the identity of the ignorance of the monarchs of Pointland and Lineland with his own (and the Sphere's) previous ignorance of the existence of higher dimensions. Once returned to Flatland, the Square cannot convince anyone of Spaceland's existence, especially after official decrees are announced that anyone preaching the existence of three dimensions will be imprisoned (or executed, depending on caste). Eventually the Square himself is imprisoned for just this reason.

Nachman seems to have similar idea but I think Reb Nachman's idea has even more implications.

Nachman's idea concerns the tree of life with fear of God, and Faith and humility as the main branches. Truth is the root. There was a group of people that wanted to get to it but could not because they did not have the character traits of the tree.
They had teh feeling of being one group so they decided they would not go to the tree as individual but they would wait until everyone had correct their own character flaws and then they would go to the tree together,
But when they got to the tree they saw it from a distance and they saw they could not go to it because it was in no place.

Now there was a saint who had the trait of the little that holds much.
And that trait is an in between state between space and above space.

So he was able to lift them up to the tree.

this i always took to be a hint to the ideas of flatland. i thought about the idea of the tree being above the flatlanders but not in the way they though of ''up''. but i also realized nachman meant above space completely. not in an dimension. now the idea of space-time itself being a creation along with  has a long lineage. but it seems tome nachman is dealing with the concept of space as the sages of the Talmud understood it when they say God is the place of the world and the world in not his place.. now if God was anywhere at all then he would have a place in the world. In fact he would be in lots of places all at once. Just like I occupy several areas of space all at once. But the sages say this is wrong. God made place. He is above the concept of space completely. the whole of where is he does not apply to him at all. It is like asking about a round triangle

i discovered just now that someone made a movie of abbott's book.
1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyuNrm4VK2w