Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sometime you can see groups that emphasize one area of mitzvahs at the expense of another.\

One of the nice things about the Lithuanian yeshiva approach is the aspect of balance. That is the is very little emphasis on one aspect of the Torah over another. Though I admit they do make a big deal out of learning Torah, but that is generally understood to mean learn and keep.

Sometime you can see groups that emphasize one area of mitzvahs at the expense of another. What I mean  is that there are two major areas of Torah between "man and his fellow man" (bein Adam Lechaveiro) and the other "between man and God" (Bein Adam Lemakom). Reform Jews have a reputation for ignoring mitzvahs, but that is not true. They don't ignore mitzvahs. They ignore the area of mitzvahs that are "between man and God," but emphasize the mitzvot that are "between man and his fellow man." And Reform Jews are in fact are very strict in that area. \

On the other hand there are some people that emphasize the mitzvahs "between man and God" at the expense of the other group. The best thing I think we can all agree is to keep a balanced approach. But to find  balanced approach is hard for human beings because people naturally in  their daily interactions with other have a very small number of rules they follow. much less that the many requirements of the Torah. For that reason the best approach is to learn Torah and then people will automatically be reminded of what ever they are lacking in their keeping the Torah.


You can see also see that the emphasis on one particular mitzvah above all others is probably not desirable.
Chaim Kinyevski of Ponovitch Yeshiva in Bnei Brak noticed this later approach seems to back fire against the very same mitzvah that people\ say they are emphasizing.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Fear of God became mixed up with frumkeit.

Even though the books of Musar do inspire one towards fear of God still they tend to get a little too frum (religious in terms of ritual strictness) for my taste. I can understand why perhaps places like Temple Israel in Hollywood, or the Mount Sinai Conservative Shul in Westwood don't learn books of Musar on a regular basis.  We know the reform movement in Judaism is in fact very interested in the exact same things the books of Musar are interested in--justice and how one should act in interaction with people. But they don't want to be lectured on ritual observance.

It is not like Reform Jews are not interested in what is called "Bein Adam Lechavero" interaction between man and his fellow man. Rather they are looking for a decent book that would address these issues in an intellectually rigorous way.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why is it that in the Sidur of the Gra there is a note that one says the birchat hachama on the sun on Nisan 4 or on any of the planets that enters into the constellation of the Aries sheep?
This is directly from the Talmud and I wonder why people don't do this? Would it not be simple to get an ephemeris on the Internet and have it notify you every time a planet enters into the constellation of Aries?
You can get an  map of the sky for every second. I used to have a link to this on one of my blogs.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Talmudic issue in Bava Metzia 14.

I used my other blogs for other topics so here I will just write briefly about a Talmudic issue. You have a lender, a borrower [the seller], and a buyer from the seller. These I will call persons A,B, and C. You have two laws that relate to this situation. One is that of Shmuel -- the lender gets the improvement that person C did on the property [if B defaults on the loan]. Another law is of a braita [outside Mishna] that C then goes to a person D (who bought other property from B). I hope this is all clear up until now. There is an argument between the Maharsha [Shmuel Eidels (1555 – 1631)] and the Maharshal [Solomon Luria (1510 – November 7, 1573)] about the question how can C go to D? Should not the property of D also be subject to confiscation by A? [The main motivation for this question is that the Braita also says that C gets his improvement from B (that is from free property that B owns). But that seems absurd. If B has free property, then obviously A would have gone to it instead of to C.

The Maharsha says the case [of the Braita] is when B bought property after A went to C. And as to why A does not collect again, the answer is that once he has collected through this process with a Beit Din, he can't do it again.
The Maharshal  agree that if there had been free property at the time of the collection then A would have had to have gone to B. But in fact what had happened was B bought some more property and then sold it. and in that case A goes to C and not to D (a second buyer from B).


I had a way of explaining this argument that Iwanted to say over here but right now I just wanted to mention that the Maharshal seems to be to be very difficult to understand. The way he wrote it it looks like there is no property that is free of B . If so then what is the Braita talking about? So I think to understand the Maharshal you have to say that the free property of the Briata was bought after collection was done. It was not bought  at the same time as the property bought by D.

At any rate, what I wanted to say here is this. I want to say this argument between the Maharsha and the Maharshal can be made to depend on an argument in Bava Batra157b.
The Gemara [The Talmud over there] asks one borrows and then borrows again and then buys and then sells what is the law? The first opinion is the sold property goes to the first lender. second opinion is it goes to the second lender. The conclusion is they divide  by %. I want to say that this conclusion of the Talmud in Bava Batra  applies to the situation of two lenders, but not to two borrowers like in our case in Bava Metzia. I say that the Maharshal is saying: "What is the reason for the first opinion in Bava Batra? Because that opinion says once the obligation has come on the property it no longer matters what the borrower does after that." This is the reason of the Maharshal in our case.

The Maharsha [on the other hand] is looking at the second opinion that holds the second obligation nullifies the first obligation. So in our case also, if there was a second property that was bought the obligation to collect from it would have been transfered from the first property.
In simple English this means that both the Maharashal looked at the reasoning done in Bava Batra and said that even though the reasoning was rejected over there because of certain reason applicable to that case alone [of two lenders]--the same reasoning would apply to our case in with two buyers. I would like to explain this new idea of mine in more depth but I have already spent too much time on the Internet today




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

a yeshiva in Israel called Nekuda Tova [literally "good point"].

 a yeshiva in Israel called Nekuda Tova [literally "good point"].
This yeshiva has some types with a previous yeshiva I was in in Far Rockaway- Shaar Yashuv. So I had the chance to share some of my experiences in that yeshiva. I used to sit with the Rosh Yeshiva, Reb Friefeld and his son Motti on Friday afternoons and heard the ideas of the Rosh yeshiva on many different issues.

 Reb Friefeld was aware of the good and bad aspects of Breslov.
I assume it is public knowledge that Breslov seems to have some degree of strange individuals in it and Reb Friefeld seemed to be aware of this. He he was trying to make a yeshiva along the lines of the Yeshiva "Chaim Berlin"-- no chasidic nonsense  and not even  Musar-- just Torah--i.e the Oral and Written law.

However it seems to me that Rebbi Nachman is hard to dismiss.
I would have to say that this idea of excluding Rebbi Nachman was a mistake


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It is known that the U.S.S.R. considered itself to be only a union of Socialist republics-- not true Communism.

It is known that the U.S.S.R. considered itself to be only a union of Socialist republics-- not true Communism.

So an anecdote goes like this: a Communist, a Socialist, and a Capitalistic are discussing life in their different systems. The Socialist explains how they have to stand in long queues (lines) to get sausage. The Capitalist asked, "What is a queue?"  The Communist asked, "What is a sausage?" 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It seem to me that the Holocaust was a result of antisemitism

I know this issue is debated back and forth.[I have myself a link to the Zimbardo experiment here which suggests psychological pressure. I have also heard about judicial positivism. It is remarkable how flat are all the answers to why the Holocaust happened...all except the one simple basic obvious reason--antisemitism.] Yet it does seem likely that Europe had a short period of a hundred twenty years from 1800 until 1920 in which antisemitism had all but gone underground. But that does not mean that it disappeared.. It seems to me the same could be said for the period from 1945 until the year 2000.

And I do not see any reason to think that people do not act on their world views. On the contrary, I think world view accounts for most of  people's actions and personal character accounts for a small fraction.
Muslims are likely to go to Mecca once in their lifetimes. Christians are unlikely to participate an a séance. Jews are likely to vote Democrat. World views affects everything people do. If a people believe sincerely that Jews are an infection or the gangrene limb of humanity, there is no reason to think they will not act on their beliefs when given a chance--and believe in all sincerity that they are acting morally and uprightly.


I think this provides a commentary on the question of Iran.It would seem to me to be likely that statements of protest about Iran are tempered by a secret desire to see them succeed in their stated aim.