Monday, September 22, 2014

New World Order.
The idea of national sovereignty started mainly at Westphalia. This was different from the way people and groups had been divided before. But the idea of national sovereignty and non interference with another nations internal polices has become so prevalent that we forget that it is by no means an obvious division.

I think that at present we are facing a new kind of division among men--Islam against Western Civilization.

Clearly Islamic nations do not accept the ideas of Westphalia except in so far as they can make progress in subjecting the rest of the world to their religion 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rebbi Nachman and Lithuanian yeshivas.

The books of R. Nachman were in the Mir yeshiva Musar section while the  mashigiach [spiritual advosor] Rav Feldman from Europe was in charge.
He clearly did not see any contradiction between the teachings of Rebbi Nachman and classical Musar.

Why is a Lithuanian Yeshiva important? It is because there is a close correlation between social norms and what the Torah actually requires from people. There is something about the unique combination of learning Talmud along with Musar that shapes the general world view of people in a Lithuanian yeshiva. At least this is what I found during my experience at the Mir Yeshiva in NY.

And besides that learning Gemara standing up is a great work out.

What Musar needs today is Maimonides.

Classical Musar has only one book founded on the ancient Geonic tradition and that is the Chovot Levavot.
Now While all classical Musar is important but i would suggest adding the books of Musar written by the son of Maimonides and his grandson etc. In fact the books of the descendants of Maimonides helped me very much to get a clear picture of what Maimonides himself was talking about.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The reason that there are complaints about orthodox Judaism is from the aspect of a secret society.

That is we know Orthodox is divided into many subgroups. The defining characteristic of these group is two things--the religious aspect and the other is the social aspect. In the social respect, Orthodox Judaism is like many small Freemason societies. Some of these societies are  healthy and some are less so. But it is the social aspect that is always the cause of complaint. It is almost never that someone found some flaw in the holy Torah itself.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

We find in the thought of Rebbi Nachman that many things are called idolatry when in fact one would not be liable in a court of law for doing them. One example is the desire for money.

This idea of expanding the term "idolatry"goes as far back as the Talmud itself saying things like anger being akin to idolatry.

But in order to understand idolatry I believe it is important to understand what the Torah itself considers idolatry before we can make generalizations.

That is to say that we need to know what would be liable legally.  I am afraid that nowadays the term idolatry  has come to means almost anything people want it to mean.

Idolatry. In the Talmud in Sanhedrin pg 61a and 61b

Idolatry. In the Talmud in Sanhedrin pg 61a and 61b there is a question from the mishna that says that one who says lets do idolatry is libel to the other that only doing idolatry is liable not saying one will do so.

I had a lot of thoughts on this topic but I am really pressed for time here.

One thing was i wanted to say the later mishna can be divided into two themes--lets go do idolatry is a seducer and he is liable. and i will go and do idolatry is the seduced and he is liable for "and he will agree and listen" [Devarim/Deuteronomy 13] which is a separate prohibition. But this will go against rashi on Pg 61a. There he wants to explain the whole mishna as being for the one that is seduced. at any rate i cant expand on this subject today.

In this whole discussion was thinking mainly about Abyee who is the first to make the distinction between listening and agreed to doing idolatry and someone who just on his own decided to do it and then says i will go and do it. But you can already see that my explanation could not work to abyyee because he is explaining the entire mishna as being one who agrees to do idolatry. Not one who decides on their own.


Kollel: That means sitting and learning Torah {and Talmud} and being paid by the State to do so.

I have heard this justified as paid for off time from ones work ("sachar batalah") is only mentioned in terms of a judge. And what it means is this: if you want a judge to judge your case he can't be paid for it. But if he has work that he is anyway doing, you can pay him for the time  away from his job. And it has to be an actual job. It can't be work that he "might" have gotten.

On the other hand the Gra was asked about received a sum in order to learn by Reb Chaim from Voloshin and his answer was it is allowed.  And the context was a "Issachar Zevulun"  arrangement.(One worked the other leaned and they divide the reward in heaven.)

But if we are talking about Issachar and Zevulun then the Rambam himself benefited from such an arrangement. So that brings us to the original question what exactly is forbidden and what is permitted?

Curiously enough this seems to be a difference between Mishna Torah by the Rambam and the commentary on the Mishna of the Rambam.

In Mishna Torah the idea is: one can't  learn Torah intending to depend on charity. Anyone in kollel will tell you "I am learning Torah to learn Torah, and I accept charity. I don't learn in order to get charity."

So they are in the clear as far as Mishna Torah goes. But as for the commentary there the rambam takes a stricter view and simply holds that received money in an shape of form because one is learning Torah is forbidden. There he ignores intention.

I am ignoring the Kesef Mishan here because to me it is more important that this question seems to be dependent on an argument between the Rambam and the Gra.--two rishonim.

We need to change the terms from sitting and learning Torah to standing and learning Torah. The best exercise to stand and be learning Gemara. It might be better than jogging