Monday, April 30, 2012
A myseh with yours truly [that I will be vague about because of the personal nature of the issue]. Some time back I had a disturbing dream. When I awoke I interpreted the dream as expressing a certain fear that I harbored. I was satisfied that I understood the inner workings of my psyche. "KNOW THYSELF", cried Socrates. I understood how I was feeling and what was bothering me.
Lo and behold - What I dreaded happening actually DID:-)! אשר יגורתי בא לי!!
Then why am I smiling? I am smiling because a Yid must ALWAYS SMILE [see the last Rema in Orach Chaim].
Also, because once again I see the power of dreams. First, the dream was merely expressing a fear but in retrospect there was actually a spark of Ruach Hakodesh involved. A dream is your neshama telling you the secrets of your soul and reality. My neshama is no holier than yours [probably much less.......]. So pay heed to your dreams and KNOW THYSELF. I try to.....
Love and blessings, besoros tovos and SWEET DREAMS for us all!!
This Toiiiiraahhhh should be לעילוי נשמת my two holy grandmothers נשמתן עדן Chana bas R' Yitzchak Yonah and Chana bas R' Meir Zev [and I'll bet you can guess what my little daughter's first name is....]
There is an איסור to sell land to gentiles in Israel from the pasuk לא תחנם which is interpreted to mean לא תתן להם חנייה בקרקע - don't give them a dwelling in the land. There is a svara to say that if the gentile already owns land it would be permitted to sell him additional land because even without the sale he has חנייה בקרקע. However, if the gentile sells his original plot of land then one might say that now retroactively the seller has enabled him to dwell in the land and thus it would be forbidden to sell it in the first place. One can yet still argue [Jews like to argue...] that בתר השתא אזלינן - we follow the present circumstances and if NOW there is no איסור then we aren't concerned with what might happen in the future and it is permitted.
We may travel faaaar away from our topic of לא תחנם and bring a proof that בתר השתא אזלינן from a gemara in meseches shabbos that talks about the איסור of plucking out tzaraas hairs. We know that in order to have tzaraas one must have a minimum of two hairs. So if one has three hairs and plucks out one he would still have tzaraas. With that background we learn...
ZUGT DER HEILIGE GEMAAAAAWWWWREEEEE [Shabbos 94b] : One who plucks out the signs of tumah from tzaraas or sears off a michya [a patch of skin with the appearance of healthy flesh within the afflicted area] transgresses a לא תעשה. It was stated - One who plucks out one of two hairs is חייב. If one plucks out one of three, Rav Nachman said חייב and Rav Sheshes said פטור.
Rav Nachman said חייב because the person's action is potentially consequential for if one more hair somehow becomes removed, the tumah will depart. Rav Sheshes said פטור because now the tumah is still present [for two white hairs remain in place] השתא מיהת הא איתא לטומאה.
So we see that according to Rav Sheshes we follow the present בתר השתא אזלינן and even though in the future one hair becomes removed and the tumah will depart, nevertheless now there are still two hairs and that is sufficient to absolve him of any wrongdoing. So, too, in our לא תחנם case בתר השתא אזלינן and by selling him land he isn't being given חנייה בקרקע.
Ayyyyyy - but what about Rav Nachman [from the gemara - not from Uman]. He holds that if the action is potentially consequential he IS חייב. So, too, if he sells land to a person who already owns land he will be חייב because the gentile might sell the orignal plot of land and the present sale will become halachically significant.
However it would seem that even according to Rav Nachman he is פטור. For the gemara continues: Rav Sheishes said, From where do I know to say this? For we learned in our Mishna: And similarly, if one carried from domain to domain part of a corpse the size of an olive etc. he is חייב. This implies that if he carries the size of half an olive he is פטור. However, this is problematic because a braisa taught that if one removed a piece of a corpse the size of half an olive he is חייב etc. etc. Rav Nachman answered that the person is פטור [as the mishna implies] when he takes a half an olive from a large corpse, i.e. a corpse big enough that even if more was taken from it, it would still retain enough mass to transmit tumah. In such a case the persons act is clearly inconsequential and for this reason the mishna implies that he is פטור.
According to this, if the gentile owns a large amount of land, selling him more would be inconsequential because even if he sells some land there would still be a lot more left.
Now - please do me a personal favor and look in tosphos ד"ה והא דאפיק and see how his דיוק would pose a question to our thesis and then look in the sefer שבת הארץ in the preface page נב and you will find a חילוק that will dance and you will see נפלאות מתורת השם! [If you don't have it I can send you a pdf].
Would LOVE to hear people's insights ומכל מלמדי השכלתי - see previous post:-).
Love and blessingsssssss
Sunday, April 29, 2012
William James from "Pragmatism - A New Name For Some Old Ways Of Thinking"
[Pragmatism’s] only test of probable truth is what works best in the way of leading us, what fits every part of life best and combines with the collectivity of experience’s demands, nothing being omitted. If theological ideas should do this, if the notion of God, in particular, should prove to do it, how could pragmatism possibly deny God’s existence? She could see no meaning in treating as ‘not true’ a notion that was pragmatically so successful. What other kind of truth could there be, for her, than all this agreement with concrete reality?
…The notion of God… however inferior it may be in clearness to those mathematical notions so current in mechanical philosophy, has at least this practical superiority over them, that it guarantees an ideal order that shall be permanently preserved. A world with a God in it to say the last word, may indeed burn up or freeze, but we then think of him as still mindful of the old ideals and sure to bring them elsewhere to fruition; so that, where he is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution not the absolutely final things. This need of an eternal moral order is one of the deepest needs of our breast. And those poets, like Dante and Wordsworth, who live on the conviction of such an order, owe to that fact the extraordinary tonic and consoling power of their verse. Here then, in these different emotional and practical appeals, in these adjustments of our concrete attitudes of hope and expectation, and all the delicate consequences which their differences entail, lie the real meanings of materialism and spiritualism—not in hair-splitting abstractions about matter’s inner essence, or about the metaphysical attributes of God. Materialism means simply the denial that the moral order is eternal, and the cutting off of ultimate hopes; spiritualism means the affirmation of an eternal moral order and the letting loose of hope.
I will tell you what I think sweet, beloved friends [by golly - otherwise, what is the blog for?? Just to make sports references?!]. One should be religious because it is absolute truth. G-d revealed Himself at Sinai and gave us the Torah. But one should also be mindful of the fact that being religious [if done correctly] also contributes to a much greater level of emotional health than the alternative. I know a lot of people who don't keep much and I don't find that the lack of discipline or meaning in their lives makes them any happier.
Sometimes you need a wise gentile to open your eyes.
People are fascinating. I have never ever met a person who wasn't. Every person I know with any depth is an entire sugya. More - an entire world. Seeing how people react, think, feel, perceive, act etc. etc. is a never ending source of interest. Never ever are two people even alike.
I, like everybody else have certain patterns of behavior and thought in which I repeatedly engage. It comes naturally. The relationships I maintain teach me alternatives which I might not have otherwise considered.
Examples: I know someone who is super-easygoing. Doesn't get angry. Doesn't hold grudges. Just "goes with the flow". By nature I am not like that but when I interact with this person it enables me to consider employing this person's more effective and G-dly behavior. מכל מלמדי השכלתי.
I know a person who is giving almost to a fault. He would give away everything he had if he could [if his wife would let...]. Seeing him crushes my own natural selfish inclinations.
I know a person who makes me feel like a million bucks [how does a million bucks feel???]. This makes me want to make others feel like a million bucks. I learn HOW to do it and THAT I should do it.
I know a person with a tremndous ayin tova. Someone who has pleasure when others are successful. This makes MY ayin slightly less רע.
I also learn from others what NOT to be. Seeing what גאוה and תאוה and שנאה and all the other bad middos look like is a great incentive not to have them.
Bottom line - It is great to learn from sefarim but don't forgot that the most powerful lessons are from living breathing people.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
What does it mean to be "kadosh" - holy?
Sitting on top of a mountain and meditating?
Fasting every day?
Davening with unbridled intensity?
Well, when we go under the chuppah we perform "kiddushin"? The root of kiddushin is "kadosh". So what is kiddushin? Tosphos at the beginning of Maseches Kiddushin says that it means "special" or "set aside" [miyuchedes]. Being mekadesh a woman means that we say "You are special to me. There is nobody else."
Kedusha means that we live our life in such a way that shows that Hashem is special to us, that we are completely dedicated to the relationship. If anything else besides Hashem matters then He is no longer special.
Kedusha means living in the world - for Hashem.
I am an observant Jew which means that I observe Jews [in addition to observing mitzvos]. I see a lot of wonderful qualities. מי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ. So special. Really.
On the other hand I see so many people I know who are almost completely blind to their inadequacies. They move on in life with this false sense of security that they are doing GREAT when the reality is that they are light years away from where they should be. People who are ignorant of so much Torah think that they are Talmidei Chachomim. People whose character leaves so much to be desired are under the impression that they are great baalei middos. People who think that they are good husbands/wives/parents have no idea what that means and what the Torah expects of them. People think that their davening is a davening and it's not even close. They might not even be yotzei many times.
People go through life and barely change. I have known people for decades and they basically remain the same with some possible slight modifications.
This post is not for people with low self esteem [i.e. 90 percent of the population. I made that statistic up but it might be accurate...]. Such people need ego boosts. This post is for people living with a false delusionary sense of security that they are awesome-off-the-charts-super-duper-stand-up-and-salute-me.
If you try to explain to these people what is wrong with THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. They think you are OFF THE WALL.
An illness that is correctly diagnosed is dangerous. An undiagnosed illness is many, many times more dangerous.
I would explain more of what I mean but I fear that I will only be understood by a select few. Instead I will conclude this post and return to toisphos in yevamos ל' עמוד ב' ד"ה אשה זו בחזקת היתר לשוק.
Any thoughts [on what I wrote or the tosphos]?
LOVE AND BLESSINGS AND A GUT VOCH/SHAVUA TOVVVVV!!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I LOVE that idea. I have some thoughts about it and its ramifications but הזמן קצר והמלאכה מרובה. Maybe another time........
You are intelligent. I will let you reach your own conclusions:-).
From a speech he gave shortly before he died.
"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."
They ARE. But words are LITERALLY hot air.
If you really love someone - SHOW IT!
The answer is the same as the answer to the question of "What type of boy/girl should I marry?" "What should I do for a living?" "What flavor of Ice Cream should I buy?" [Huge question!] Answer - individual. What I looked for in a wife [a girl who was willing to marry someone out-of-the-box-off-the-wall-chassidishe-litvak-sit-down-comedian-blogger-rosh-kollel-recovering-sportsaholic-with-no-concept-of-time-and-little-patience-for-most-things] is not what you will look for in a wife.
Love is individual. Find out what makes your mother-father-brother-sister-wife-husband-child-bubby-zeide feel loved and act accordingly. If you say it and don't show it, then, as the line goes in Rabbinic literature העיקר חסר מן הספר - The most central element is missing.
A quote we've all heard...
"ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS"
50 years: The Mets. They went from being the hapless Mets in 1962 to being World Champs in 1969. Their seventh year. Shabbos. So spiritual. Eddie Kranpool. Tom Seaver. Yogi Berra. Bud Harrelson. Cleon Jones. Ed Charles. Tommy Agee. Ally Ehrman.
64 years: The State of Israel. 64 miraculous years where the Jewish People daily overcome all odds and continue to exist as a free people in Hashem's special gift to them. Abba Eban [whatta name!] once said that Israel is the only country in the world about whom the United Nations votes to determine if they have the right to exist.
Reminds me of the story of the Rabbi who was sick and the members of his shul came to visit him in the hospital. The President of the shul said "Rabbi, good news. The board voted 8 against 5 to wish you a speedy recovery."
They don't like us. "They" meaning the whole world. In 1939-1945 the world remained silent. Nobody cared. Even the President of the United States as has been documented by historians. Things haven't changed much.
PLEASE join me in singing to the tune of Schwekey....
Veee-heeeee sheeee-uuuummmmdaaaaa laaaavoseeeeiiinuuuuu, ve-he she-umda laaavoseinuuu vi-laaaaaanu....
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Whenever I have to try to comfort a mourner, I never know what to say, so I don't say much. What can I say then to the tens of thousands of people who lost sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. A kallah [and her father] on the night before her wedding. [Still can't get over that one]. A mother, father and siblings all at once. [The Fogels]. 8 boys innocently sitting in a Beis Medrash immersing in the purifying waters of Torah. [One of them my upstairs neighbor Yochai. Last night I walked past his father on the stairs. I really didn't know what to say so I sufficed with "Shalom HaRav"]. A soldier killed by "friendly fire". An accident. Killed by one of our own. [My downstairs neighbor Ariel]. A family that made aliyah from Manhattan and their son died parachuting from an airplane. [Yosef Goodman. I saw a video on that one that my Uncle sent me. They insisted on allowing their other son's to serve in combat units. Unreal]. They could have stayed in the US where children are generally raised to worry first and foremost about themselves and not their people. Then their son wouldn't have been jumping out of airplanes but sittting in College ensuring a prosperous future for himself. A mother who lost TWO SONS. And thousands and thousands more who all left bereaving family and friends.
Trust me. A parent NEVER gets over losing a child. Every Shabbos and Yom Tov and every "simcha" are more opportunities to be sad and remember the loss. The pillow turns into a sponge for all the tears.
Sweetest friends - we should never know.
May Hashem comfort all of the families and send us Moshiach and tchiyas hameisim speedily in our days.
In the meantime, we can utilize the approach of Aharon Hakohen upon the loss of his two sons.
וידם אהרן. And Aharon remained silent.
Despite everything sweetest friends I still insist - TOMMMIIIIID BI-SIIIMCHA!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I must admit - I was enjoying my new shoes [and telling my mother that I finally listened to her]. They were shiny and NEW. AHHHHHHH NEW.
Since then two months have passed and my shoes no longer have the same glitter. What a disappointment! Or as the young people say "Bummer". Why can't they stay new?
Why can't anything stay new?? When I got married BOOOOYYYYY was I excited. It sorta rubbed off. When my children were born - I was flyin'! No longer. Everything in life seems to get OLD. Even a delicious hot cup of tea. Give it a few minutes and it cools off. It's just not the same.
The one place that was an exception to this rule was the Beis Hamikdash. חם כביום הילקחו. The bread on the table miraculously remained warm and fresh for an entire week until it was eaten. The reason is that the Beis Hamikdash is the closest to the source of creation and the source never gets old. The source is SPIRITUAL and spirituality is above time. [Rav Hutner]
One day we will live in a world that is eternal and above time. Every "second" will be new and exciting and things will never get old. Our very existence will be a constant source of pleasure [man's greatest need is to exist - we just take it for granted, until it is almost taken away].
The job of each and every one of us is to try to preserve the newness and freshness in every area of our lives. Every month we start with Rosh Chodesh which should bring to renewal. Every DAY we say המחזיר נשמות לפגרים מתים - Last night I was DEAD and I have been given a new lease on life.
When we daven, when we learn, when we see the blue sky, when we kiss our parents or children, we should try to feel how special it is and not get sucked into the feeling of "been there - did that". Our relationships should constantly be renewed.
The Navi Hoshea proclaimed in the name of Hashem, כי נער ישראל ואוהבהו - I love the Jewish People because they always maintain that youthful excitement for life.
And life - is Torah.
כי הם חיינו
Love and blessings:-)
Monday, April 23, 2012
Traveling to the death camps in Poland is, quite simply, not a good thing to do. Any one of the following reasons should be sufficient to deter a person from doing so.
Still again, one might argue: “But visiting a death camp is an infinitely more powerful experience than talking to a Holocaust survivor.” That argument is truly puzzling. Is an experience with inanimate objects really more powerful than one involving a living, breathing person?! Quite the contrary. Common sense and untainted morality dictate that all of the money spent on this trip should instead be donated to Holocaust survivors, who still suffering, to this very day, from the terrible open wounds to their bodies and souls.
It's true that many of them were successfully absorbed in our country and became its builders, but many others are still suffering. Our country does a tremendous amount for these survivors, but it has not succeeded in solving all of their problems. The State Comptroller's report from 2007 in fact found fault with the way survivors are dealt with. And even though, since then, their situation has vastly improved, there are still many who suffer from a lack of food and medical services.
In sum, despite the State's prodigious assistance, we have not succeeded in answering all of the survivors’ needs, especially since the Law of Assistance to Holocaust Survivors applies only to those who arrived in Israel before 5713. It's obvious that some of those who came afterwards are also suffering greatly.
But getting back to our topic: traveling to the death camps to remember what Amalek did to us there, while at the same time neglecting the Holocaust victims who live in our midst.
“Look to the Rock from whence you were hewn” (Yeshayahu 51:1).
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
"Art history usually includes generous servings of nudity and Christian art. If one adopts the most restrictive view, that halakha clearly prohibits these elements...."
Maybe I am missing something but is there a permissive view that allows one to see nudity. If so - where???
"There are many contexts in which a Yeshiva student may confront the New Testament. At Yeshiva College, the acquaintance is most likely to occur if a student takes the second of our two "masterpiece" literature courses. Some students requested that we move the problematic sessions to the end of the first course, which is devoted to Greek and Roman literature. They argued that having the New Testament early in the term deterred many from registering. If it were the tail end of the first course, students could put off their decision about doing the reading or skipping meetings until the last week of the semester.
This proposal was sensible, yet the faculty did not recommend a change. As we envision the curriculum, the New Testament provides fundamental background to the readings that follow, not a final chapter to the story of the ancient Greco-Roman world—a perspective better suited to intellectual history than to world literature. Here the academic structure was maintained at the cost of continued discomfort for some students."
Is it permitted to study works of Avodah Zara?? The New Testament [for a Jew and quite likely for a gentile as well] clearly qualifies as forbidden idolatry. A quick glance at the Rambam [Avoda Zara 2/2] clearly reveals that it is forbidden. So I laud those students who feel discomfort and I really think that their time could be better spent studying the "Old Testament".
I add that this institution has does much good for the Jewish People and is a bastion of Torah. However, some slight modifications would surely help. I am confident that the great Rav Soloveitchik would agree and know that some of the present Roshei Yeshiva do as well.
And a GUT VOCH and GUT CHOIDESH to one and all:-)!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
In the days leading up to the chimp's death, the group was very quiet and paid close attention to her, the researchers report. Immediately before she died, she received much grooming and caressing from the others, who appeared to test her for signs of life as she died. They left her soon after, but her adult daughter returned and remained by her mother all night. When keepers removed the mother's body the next day, the chimpanzees remained calm and subdued. For several days they avoided sleeping on the platform where the female had died, even though it was normally a favored sleeping spot, and remained subdued for some time after the death.