"Around and around go the wicked." (Psalms) You go from one thing to the other. You find Torah and then some group comes along and says yes keep Torah but if you join us you will do it do much better. And then one  goes and joins that cult.And then find it to be  a cult and finds some other  group or ideal and around and around he or she goes for years on end.

The way to be saved from this kelipa is by trust in God. To believe where you are --physically and spiritually--is where you are supposed to be. What is is what ought to be.

American Destiny.

But in the conflict between Athens and Sparta I think a lot could have been gained if they had joined together. --in the way the Romans did. I never learned that part of their history very well but my impression was the Patricians versus the Plebeians came to a great resolution with the Roman Constitution. The Tribune who was immune from all hurt or lawsuits and whose person and property were sacrosanct had has his job nothing more or less than the protection of the Plebeians. And if this can be transferred to the USA then there is great hope. In my mind these last 20 years of really evil people as president will be in the future just a bad dream and a temporary interruption of American Destiny.


Europe is complicated. It is hard to say that the Vikings were altruistic until Christianity made its way into them. And during most of the history of Europe from the fall of Rome until about 1900, Europe was doing OK. Maybe even doing great. WWI and WWII changed all that. 


obstacle(s) to learning Torah

I seem to have trouble when it comes to learning Torah. It is as if there is some hidden obstacle(s).
The last day of Pesach was when a rosh yeshiva was having the last meal before the end of Pesach and I did not attend. That blew my chance of marrying his daughter. Then getting back to Israel finding myself thrown out of every yeshiva that I attempted to sit and learn in got me to wonder myself if it is really worth it to learn?
Something strange is going on. So to some degree I found a kind of compromise by going with the opinion of the Rambam who advocates a four fold path of learning Torah (Oral and Written), Physics and Metaphysics. [The Polytechnic Institute of NYU I went to and majored in Physics]
Still something strange is going on. It is almost as if, even when I manage to get my hands on a book of Torah, that it does not take long until I lose it, or something happens in some way that I can not use it. Maybe I just do not have the merit to learn. Something always happens. So cherish every word of Torah that I can learn being aware that it can easily be taken away from me in the blink of an eye.

Maybe it is just some kind of test? But who knows?


I was outside thinking about the Rambam and it occurred to me that what I had written to answer a question in the Rambam was not well thought out. The wife in Ketubot page 9 is not going מפטור לפטור. She is saying one thing along--that she was a virgin. That has nothing to do with the sugia [subject] I brought up about מפטור לפטור. It is a simple case of a Migo. My  question is simple. Let's believe her when she says she was a virgin because she could have said משארסתמי נאנסתי. To answer this has not to do with that Rambam about a lender that changes his statement from I never borrowed to I borrowed but paid back. So why do we not believe her? She has a חזקה, חזקת הגוף שבתולה הייתה and a migo. He has two חזקות, חזקת ממון וחזקה אין אדם טורח הסעודה ומפסידה. So one חזקה cancels the other. And we are left with a מיגו against a חזקה, ואין אומרים מיגו להוציא מחזקת ממון. So teh only question here is to תוספות in בבא מציעא ק''י ע''א to one מאן דאמר that a מיגו can take out from a חזקה 


Sadly I no longer have any book of Torah [not the Avi Ezri or the Rambam or any Gemara] that I can use to look up anything. Still with what I recall vaguely, I wanted to answer a question on the Rambam. [I hope I am not forgetting anything.] In short, I simply want to say that I think Rav Shach supports the law in the Rambam in טוען ונטען פרק ו' בלכה ג by means of several factors. From what I recall each factor by itself would not be enough.
Therefore when the Rambam writes down the law of that we believe the husband when he says the wife he just married was not a virgin. The reason is simple. We can not say she was not מדקדק [careful in her words] when she is coming to ask for money. But we can say a person that is getting out of  a debt we can say he is not careful in his words.

That is all I have to say about this. But just to make myself a little more clear let me just add some background. The Rambam ch 6 law 3 of Laws of Pleas says: "A person comes to court and says you owe me 100 zuz. The other says in court להד''ם, I did not borrow. Then two witnesses come and say he borrowed and paid back. He must pay the 100 zuz because כל האומר לא לוויתי כאומר לא פרעתי "Anyone who says 'I dd not borrow' is as if he said 'I did not pay back.'" And the other needs no oath because teh borrower is already considered a liar." To defend this law Rav Shach needs R. Akiva Eigger, the Ketzot, the Netivot, the Ri MiGash and maybe some more people that I have already forgotten about.
How to condense this right now I am not sure of. But to be as short as possible let me just say he needs that "Anyone who says 'I dd not borrow' is as if he said 'I did not pay back.'" is not an open confession. It is simply a statement that implies the result. [As the Rashbam says about a different case in Bava Batra 34]. But in order to say that it does not imply the result automatically it is necessary to say he was not careful in his words as the Netivot says about the law one can go מפטור לפטור. [That is the exact same law except that the borrower changed his plea before the witnesses came]. But we can only say that he was not careful when he is trying to get out of an obligation, not when he is asking for money. How do we know this? Because of the fact that the Rambam Laws of Loans when the lender is not believed by a migo when he changes his plea from it is a good document to the document was forged but I had a real document and it was lost. I am  forgetting a lot here. Still I think the point is clear. So when he comes and says פ''פ I found an open opening, he is believed even though she has a migo that she could have said משאירסתני נאנסתי. But why should we not believe her. Do we not say a migo?  And a person can go from פטור לפטור. The reason is she is not going from פטור לפטור but asking for the whole Ketubah.

Maybe I will be able to look this up someday I hope.


Raavad and Rambam on when a law that a decree but not from the Torah is nullified.

I have no Rambam or any way to look this up. But if I recall correctly the Raavad puts his comment about R. Yochanan and the first fruits on halacha 3 and his comment about when the law is accepted throughout all Israel in halacha 2. [That is in laws of ממרים ]

From what I recall Halacha 2 says when the reason no longer applies for a  גזירה or תקנה or a מנהג that was instituted by the great beit din in Jerusalem and has been accepted by all Israel, then another beit din can nullify it if it is greater in wisdom and numbers. But how is it possible to be greater in number when the number is already set to be 71, n more or less. The Ramabm answers this refers to teh number of the sage of Israel that agree with the Beit Din. [The Rambam in all three halachot deals only with the great beit did does not enter into the question of what about a lesser beit din or a beit di today with no semicha].
On this halacha I think the Raavad say No, but once it has been accepted by all Israel even a beit din with great numbers and wisdom can not nullify it.

Then in halacha 3 the Rambam writes a law that was made as a סייג לתורה then even  beit din with greater wisdom and numbers can not nullify it. On that the Raavad brings that R. Yochanan nullified the law to adorn the streets of Jerusalem with the first fruits even though he was not as great as the Beit Din that made the law.

What seems to come out from this to the  Raavad is that if the law has been accepted by all Israel then even though the reason no longer applies, no beit did can nullify it, and if it was not accepted by all Israel then even a smaller beit din can nullify it. To the Raavad everything depends onif it has been accpetd by all israel.



Mysticism I think is kind of  a detour from Torah.

Many truths of the Torah are being distorted by a philosophy that places experience and emotions above the Torah. That  is mysticism. Unfortunately, the misunderstandings spawned by mysticism have gained respectability within the Jewish community.     Because mystics rely on subjective, private, spiritual experiences for guidance and wisdom, they diminish the authority of Torah. Visions and spiritual encounters become more important than the truths found in God's Law.    Though mysticism sounds like a cult, far removed from Torah, it has had a profound effect on many Jews who have never heard of it.

     Many fallacies prevalent in Judaism today have originated from mysticism. 

     It is important to identify the possible influence of mysticism in your life. And it will convince yourself of the importance and the sufficiency of God's Law.


"The appeal
What is the appeal of cults? Imagine being part of a group in which you will find instant friendship, a caring family, respect for your contributions, an identity, safety, security, simplicity, and an organized daily agenda. You will learn new skills, have a respected position, gain personal insight, improve your personality and intelligence. There is no crime or violence and your healthy lifestyle means there is no illness.
Your leader may promise not only to heal any sickness and foretell the future, but give you the gift of immortality, if you are a true believer. In addition, your group's ideology represents a unique spiritual/religious agenda (in other cults it is political, social or personal enhancement) that if followed, will enhance the Human Condition somewhere in the world or cosmos.
Who would fall for such appeals? Most of us, if they were made by someone we trusted, in a setting that was familiar, and especially if we had unfulfilled needs.

Much cult recruitment is done by family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers and highly trained professional recruiters. They recruit not on the streets or airports, but in contexts that are "home bases" for the potential recruit; at schools, in the home, coffee houses, on the job, at sports events, lectures, churches, or drop-in dinners and free personal assessment workshops."

Dr Zimbardo I should mention is the author of the famous Zimbardo Experiment.

To my mind he touches on the most important and basic challenge a Jew faces today. The entire Religious world is one big quilt  of religious cults. So a Jew can either be totally secular or be faced with the danger of cults. This is why I always emphasize the importance of Litvak (Lithuanian) yeshivas -because I am looking for a way to be a good Jew without falling into the cults. [Obviously Reform and Conservative Judaism are not cults, but provide little guidance in the West which is characterized by two words: "Intellectual Chaos."] 

{I should mention that while I have great respect for Gedolai Litva like Reb Shmuel Berenbaum and Rav Shach, still my basic approach is more based on my parents who emphasize balance which is in fact the basic approach of the Rambam. That is to say: the path of learning Torah and cancelling everything else is  agreat path but my on path is to learn Torah {Oral and Written Law} Physics, Metaphysics as the Rambam suggested in his important book, the Guide for the Perplexed.}

On a further note, cults make their progress by redefining words to mean something different from their accurate definitions. Faith of the Torah which is Monotheism is never discussed and is avoided like the plague.  The real authentic definition of the Oral and Written Law is likewise avoided. All Jewish cults make significant changes in the definitions of words in their pretense to be teaching Torah

The average  cult owes its very existence to the fact that it has utilized the terminology of Torah, has borrowed liberally from the Zohar and the Ari (always out of context), and sprinkled its format with  cliches slogans and and terms wherever possible or advantageous. Up to now this has been a highly successful attempt to represent their respective systems of thought as “Jewish.” 


Kant: all characteristics of phenomena depend on the observer. The ding an sich thing in itself is hidden. Hegel: a dialectical process reveals even the dinge an sich. [Neo Kantians went wrong thinking existence itself of objects depends on the subject. Dr Kelley Ross goes into this. But Hegel did not because this mistake happened after Hegel.
[This all started with the idea of traits dependent on the subject and essential traits. Kant just noticed all traits depend on the subject.]