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October 24, 2006

What I Believe

I received an email from a man I greatly admire, although I often disagree with him. David Klinghoffer wrote with a suggestion, which I'll paraphrase: "Why not write a post on what you actually believe rather than simply bitching about every rabbi in the world?" Fair enough. This post will explain my "theology," so to speak. But there will be plenty of bitching involved, because what I complain about has so shaped my worldview that I cannot make my case without mentioning it.

I'm evolving. If you'd asked me three years ago, I would have spouted rhetoric largely indistinguishable from Avi Shafran, but with some carping about nepotism, cronyism and the missed opportunities generated by same added in. But that was then. I've seen enough since then to realize that my initial revulsion at the business of the haredi world, suppressed so long ago, was well justified. And I've seen that non-haredi Orthodoxy is no better.

I've also learned that many if not the vast majority of "facts" presented by the likes of Aish HaTorah, Agudah and Chabad are false, nothing more than slick, often cult-like PR.

Jewish belief is based on a mesora, on tradition handed down from father to son, teacher to pupil, from Mount Sinai until today. But a mesora is based on trust, on the honesty and credibility of the fathers and teachers who pass it down.

The lies of the kiruv movement and the lies and misbehavior of the so-called gedolim, the deification of a false Brooklyn prophet, and all those criminal convictions, indictments, investigations, abuse coverups and the like have real impact – they destroy the mesora, break the links in the chain, so to speak, that once bound us. If today's rabbis lie to us, why not Rashi? Why Not Moses?

And, indeed, if the findings of archeology, genetics, astronomy, and so many other scientific disciplines are to be believed – and they should be, in part because they independently confirm each other's work – our forbearers did quite a lot of lying. Either that, or they spoke in the language and style of their day, using myths to teach spiritual truths, never intending those myths to be taken as literal truth, And this, David, is what I believe. Those myths contain some of humankind's earliest memories, often in fragmentary form, of what came before civilization after the great ice age ended and humans discovered agriculture, built the first cities and began to live for the first time in groups larger than an extended family or band. They tried to make sense of their world and to communicate in a non-literate society important information to their children and grandchildren in ways it would be remembered without writing – through myth.

Our unique contribution to these early myths was to emphasize the power of God over the powers of the demigods, stars and other natural forces. It was to bring God into this world. Most cultures viewed the Creator or Sky God as being too remote, unknowable and unreachable to be dealt with – hence the pantheons of the ancients. Jews returned God to this world where we are commanded to make a home for him, both in our hearts and in our actions. We are also commanded to carry this message to the nations of the world.

But we do neither, instead obsessing over ridiculous minutia in halakha and defining ourselves down in the process. Worse yet are the lies and corruption, the stealing and fraud, the Abramoffs and the Lanners, the Balkanys and the Kolkos, rabbis Lau, Amar and Metzger, Elyashiv and the seemingly endless list of other black hatted and black garbed fools we call leaders.

So there you have it. I no longer believe in the mesora as preached in Orthodoxy. I follow halakha for the most part due to simple inertia. I find little religious inspiration in Judaism. Yet I still believe in God the Creator who many billions of years ago made room for specks of dust like us and started the process that brought us – and brings us – into being.

Think of the words of the marvelous Eric Bazilian song made famous by Joan Osborne:

What if God was one of us / just a slob like one of us / just a stranger on the bus / trying to make his way home…

God is in exile because we put Him there. He's with those poor children as their rabbi fondles their penises and as other rabbis lie to cover it up. He sits in the fraudulent beit dins and in the special assemblies called to fake non-existent lunch programs. He was there with Abramoff as he stole from poor Indians and gave to rich Jews and He was there when rabbis looked the other way. We, all of us, those who stole and those who lied, those who abused and those who covered up, and those who just closed their eyes and would not see – have turned God into a lonely old man riding a bus, a liar, irrelevant, lost.

I can't bring God home, but I can stop covering for and associating with those who abuse Him.

That is what I believe.

Comments

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Shmarya

Enough with the hermeneutic of suspicion. Just because you cannot embrace the cosmology of (say) sixteenth century Safed doesnt mean that there is anything wrong with you (youre a post enlightenment dude) or with that cosmology. Moreover, realise that there is no "mesorah"-- monophonic. There is a polyglot or novelisitic discursive realm. Many cosmologies competeing for your attention.

So chill the fuck out

Shmarya

Enough with the hermeneutic of suspicion. Just because you cannot embrace the cosmology of (say) sixteenth century Safed doesnt mean that there is anything wrong with you (youre a post enlightenment dude) or with that cosmology. Moreover, realise that there is no "mesorah"-- monophonic. There is a polyglot or novelisitic discursive realm. Many cosmologies competeing for your attention.

So chill the fuck out

>If today's rabbis lie to us, why not Rashi?

Rashi's warmth and humility, as well as his wide-eyes search for truth are apparent in his works. I know you just gave Rashi as an example--not every rabbi who made the canon seems so stellar--but the truth is that this was a terrible example. Not every leader we've had were scoundrels; not every scoundrel today will be loved and remembered in a thousand years.

S -

Trues, but today's rabbis make Rashi look bad – very bad. And we have no way to know if the spin patrol doctored Rashi's resume or not, if you know what I mean. Broken mesorah is broken mesorah.

I disagree. Today's rabbis don't change who Rashi was, nor should he be suspected of being a trickster because of their example. Notice that I don't deny that some who are part of the canon don't come off looking that great if you honestly look at their biography. But I think an honest assessment of our heritage shows that our history produced quite a collection of brilliance.

It's like saying that the garish, dark-wood-and-silver things which pass for Judaica in Brooklyn today retroactively impugn Jewish artistic genius. A badly designed Artscroll book doesn't retrospectively make the Aleppo Codex or exemplars of fine Jewish printing tacky.

As for your point about broken mesorah, as Chakira said the trouble is basically that you are adopting a chareidi maximalist position as equivalent with the traditional positionS and then rejecting that maximalist position as untenable.

But when I look out our literature I find comparative linguistics, I find the willingness to make chiddushim, to assert the right of contemporaries to have opinions--and I see that they didn't necessarily need permission for the past from these things. I never noticed the Rambam mention that he can say those things because he is the Rambam but no one else can. Frankly, the lesson from these things is that even if there ISN'T precedent and there isn't permission it is okay to keep our eyes open and be honest truth-seekers. That's somewhat of a paradox, because given that it would almost be better if one didn't have that precedent!

>And we have no way to know if the spin patrol doctored Rashi's resume or not, if you know what I mean.

By the way, I'm not talking about evaluating Rashi through legends. Just read his commentaries; a personality emerges. When you read a blowhard you know you're reading a blowhard. When you read an elitist you know it . And so forth.

enough angst
chillax

S -

The issue is not whether there were ever good, honest rabbis and Jewish leaders. Of course there were. The point is the mesora is broken, and the preponderance of evidence is that it always was.

I never indicated otherwise.

if your rabbis in yeshiva would have just found you a shiduch all those years ago, you wouldnt be such a bitter jerk.

"But there will be plenty of bitching involved, because what I complain about has so shaped my worldview that I cannot make my case without mentioning it."

Yes sit in your chair bitching until the cows come home while everyone else goes on with their life you poor victim.

"I'm evolving."

No you are REVOLVING. Same thing, same kvell, day after day.

"I've also learned that many if not the vast majority of "facts" presented by the likes of Aish HaTorah, Agudah and Chabad are false, nothing more than slick, often cult-like PR."

Vast Majority of Facts??? What facts would those be??? Did they say the earth is flat or the moon is made of green cheese, or is it just your opinion which is not fact either?

"The lies of the kiruv movement and the lies "and misbehavior of the so-called gedolim, the deification of a false Brooklyn prophet, and all those criminal convictions, indictments, investigations, abuse coverups and the like have real impact – they destroy the mesora, break the links in the chain, so to speak, that once bound us. If today's rabbis lie to us, why not Rashi? Why Not Moses?"

Why not your out of touch with humanity and people in general? The Torah is full of scumbags like Ahab and Jezebel, Datan and Aviran, prophets who marry harlots,rabbis who visited prostitutes etc. Where the hell you been??? Some have to courage to go on regardless and we will go on, observant or not without whiners like you.

"And, indeed, if the findings of archeology, genetics, astronomy, ....yada yada clipped for brevity."

So now your a full professor who has read so much on all these subjects you are practically qualified to practice medicine.?

"But we do neither, instead obsessing over ridiculous minutia in halakha and defining ourselves down in the process. Worse yet are the lies and corruption, the stealing and fraud, the Abramoffs and the Lanners, the Balkanys and the Kolkos, rabbis Lau, Amar and Metzger, Elyashiv and the seemingly endless list of other black hatted and black garbed fools we call leaders."

You dont do anything but bitch and whine. For a brief time you tried to become religous and because somebody didnt say anything for Ethiopian Jewry you had to run away like a little boy whose momma didnt buy him the toy he saw. What the hell have YOU done for Ethiopian Jewry??? I will tell you, NADA!, NOTHING!. For all your loud talk you aint no better then the people you point fingers at.

"So there you have it. I no longer believe in the mesora as preached in Orthodoxy. I follow halakha for the most part due to simple inertia. I find little religious inspiration in Judaism."

Well dont let the door hit you on the way out. I trust you will stop commenting on a way of life that you have no need for and do something for yourself for once. But you have bitched about your dissapoint and you dont want anything to do with it. Now you will bitch about how you have nothing to do with something you already bitched about that brought you to this state.

Get Help.


Or rather, instead of getting help, just go to your nearest non-Orthodox synagogue, I recommend Conservative, and find a nice woman. Sheesh, it's not that complicated.

Shmarya,

I am not responding to this post but to a comment you made over at BeyondBT today. I'm not sure why the administrators there deleted it. Here goes:

Shmarya (12)

“talking about it hurts people and screws up lives”

How so? What do you mean?

“would pay a lot of money to bring down that Breslov site – more than they would pay to bring down mine.”

Why? Is it site specific or just generic anti-Breslov Bias?

Dude, you just dont want to be jewish and religious. it is a burden. it is a pain in the ass. It is not for you. It is not for 99.9% of humanity. Just please do not act as if you spurn it because some rabbi put his hands on some dude's penis. guess what, judaism was not for him either. But that is free will. Yours takes you away and makes you hate the players - you really hate the game.

I will say this, try living without torah or anything for a good long time. see how that works for you.

Chaim G-

It makes men who have strong sex drives incredibly guilty, and causes many of them to become depressed and even mentally ill. Ask any rabbi who supervises men's ba'al teshuva yeshivot.

Breslov: both.

Or rather, instead of getting help, just go to your nearest non-Orthodox synagogue, I recommend Conservative, and find a nice woman. Sheesh, it's not that complicated.
-----------------------------------------
I agree. You have failed Torah Judaism by allowing people who claim to profess Torah Judaism to fail you. Best to do the honest thing and leave it behind rather than tilting at windmills. It is clear you no longer believe, and you'd be best served elsewhere.

Shmarya, don't listen to these people who want you to drop all torah observance just so they can feel better about their own choices in life. Do whatever you want. Just remember that the torah described the entire history of the Jewish people before it occurred, and as many problems as you present with modern day Orthodoxy, I have yet to hear a plausible explanation of how the Jewish people have survived and accomplished all that they have, while being persecuted and hated the entire time. We are the most unique people ever to have lived in so many different respects, and thats not something so easy to give up.

"if your rabbis in yeshiva would have just found you a shiduch all those years ago, you wouldnt be such a bitter jerk."

Nothing like having your soul crushed by a shrew to keep you from asking awkward questions about religion or infrastructure.

What if God was one of us / just a slob like one of us / just a stranger on the bus / trying to make his way home…

Aren't we all trying to make our way home?

I agree the mesorah is corrupted, but the ultimate question for me is not "WHY?" but "Why bother?" If I thought the Torah didn't express the will of God (even if parts of its narrative are allegory rather than literal truth) I'd say to hell with it, too.

(For example, if Tehran nuked Israel, I'd become a Zen Buddhist. one Shoah is enough).

Shmarya: let's hope we, along with God, come out of the exile.

As Bob said: "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our mind/Have no fear from Atomic energy/'cause none of them can stop the time/How long will they kill our prophets/while we just stand around and look/ Some say it's just a part of it/We've got to fulfill the book"

Who wants Shmarya to give up torah observance? He's the one who brought up the failure of his faith and his belief of the invalidation of the masorah. People here are responding to his views (although you do seem to have made some enemies, Shmarya).

Suggesting he go Conservative was actually a positive solution because some of the baggage that so bothers him plays a far less significant role in the lives of most Conservative Jews while the beauty of traditions is played up. Doubts about the Torah and halacha are alleviated by the idea that the Torah is divinely inspired as opposed to divinely written and given to us. Conservative rabbis rarely get caught molesting children, although a bunch have been caught (and fired) for fooling around with women in their congregation. :)

No Jew committed to the faith would be making suggestions for someone else on the basis of the writings on a blog. Jews have more responsibility than that - especially to other Jews. One general safe piece of advice might be to consider the relationship of location to the availability of various choices in the approach to collectively worshiping haShem as Jews. There's no such thing as a community of one; that reason is a big part of why I often daven at a local Conservative shul, despite my misgivings about certain aspects of the experience (to be fair, there is plenty of good too).

As for "Torah Jews", I'm sorry be the one to break a news flash to you, but your approach to the religion died out in the rubble of the temple cult. This is Rabbinic Judaism (Release 2.17): it's built upon the ruble of the first release, but it differs in many new and exciting ways. It has a built in process for allowing necessary changes to occur according to certain guidelines - even though the wheels have needed a little oil for the past 500 years. And don't be fooled by those with black hats and long beards that believe otherwise: their Judaism if straight from Fiddler on the Roof.

Hang in there, though: it's about the best thing out there when practiced properly with love for both haShem and other people and with humility. It not only accepts, but requires, faith balanced by fearless intelligent exploration of its history and current practices, as long as one doesn't pull a Korach and reason oneself right off the playing field.

Shmarya, you're much too negative. The Torah is d'var Hashem, and it is perfect. The Jews aren't. Isn't that enough?

A man complained that the Jews of a certain town were all sinners, and therefore, their religion must be false. The rabbi answered him that the Torah can be compared to soap. If the people don't use the soap, they become dirty. Who do you blame for that, the soap or the people?

OK, you don't like the minutae. This is a valid criticism, and its been made before. So stay away from it, that's all. Many rabbis say that baalei teshuva should not take on any chumras. I assume that one reason is that becoming frum requires such a major adjustment, that taking on chumras would cause excessive personal disruption.

I'm a BT also, and I'm also dismayed at what I see. Yet, I find great joy in my wife and children, Shabbos, learning, and friendships with other Jewish men in shul and the neighborhood. I am thankful for my own health, and my loved ones, thank G-d. I hate to judge you, but based on this essay, you're inviting it. You seem much too demanding. Sameach b'chelko is what guides me.

I also think of how fortunate I am compared to the six million kedoshim, and their families; the survivors and their families; the approximate 20,000 plus who have died in Israeli wars and their families; all of the Israeli injured and their families; all of the Israeli poor and their families. I have a job, a roof over my head, and I am free to practice my religion, here in America. Baruch Hashem.

Why don't you contact Elliot Pasik's new group, the Yeshiva Parents Association? They're trying to do something about our current matsav. Right now, you're just a blogger, sounding off, a damn good blogger, but that's it. I'm sure there are things you can do for them. They are challenging the powers that be.

Good luck, my friend. You're very smart, but you should start taking the high road.

Thank you for trying to ber honest and candid.

This exposes you for not being a person who has ANY real BELEIF IN THE G-D OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, IN THE MEANING OF OBSERVANCE OF LAWS THAT ARE DO NOT HAVE THE (FALSE IDOLATRY) "HUMANISTIC" VALUES that you perceive are what brings "G-d in this world".

It would rather appear that your abhor those who clind to a beleif system where there is a G-d that is higher than the understandings and feelings that human can grasp. You abhor the fact that they wear tallis and tefillin, and things that they observe meticulously for thousands of years even in face of today's "revelations" of science etc.

IT is this abhorence that drives you portrary all of the clergy men as corrupt and immoral people so that it legitimizes your world view.

I can assure you that after all is said and done (and you DO raise many shmutz and coverups in the haredi community) that there is LEss corruption in these areas than in the high echelons of ALL systems in your SECULAR IDOLATROUS WORLD. There is more violent crimes amongst your holy gods than in the haredi world. There is much more wife cheating in your world than in haredi world etc.

At the end it would be eneficial for you and everyone else that you adopt your beelif system and you will discover in the REAL life THAT ALL YOUR false beleifs are worth nothing.

In the meantime for yuor personal marital life maybe you should choose to marry a falsh mure.

You should study more theology. You should try doing some science--try studying math. You should also realize that science has some severe methodological limitations and that its ontological understanding of causality is incomplete--that is you should read some philosophy and philosophy of science. You should understand also that currently there is NO self-consistent and transparent "scientific" theory or explanation or hypothesis of first causes--it is at a temporary dead-end in crucial areas, most notably explaining the mass of the universe, and failure to derive a mathematics of gravity and the other physically observable forces that has discrete and necessary constants, a critical problem.

Why reinvent the wheel.

Your first goal is to make God at home since you are already home in Him. I don't know that you ever were exposed to what used to be Chassidus' teachings on what "immanence" is, maybe Chabad just was too far into other areas of interest by the time you joined. A pity.

My parting recommendation would be to recommend an institutional home in Modern Orthodox. My suspicion is that MO is more flexible at the periphery and there might be something for you to hook up in, notwithstanding reimportation of Chabad formulas in this or that volume of Orthodox scientists. People espoused Judaism over the centuries because people experienced the religion, the faith, and God's influence in positive ways, not as some broken and immature pre-logical response to uncertainty.

Avrohom--unlike myself I think that Shmarya is an observing Jew. If he isn't then there is no point to this blog since it is written from the point of view of a Jew who maintains Orthodox practice and halacha--if he has ceased following halacha--and I do not believe that is true--then this would be a deceptive effort.

Since he is an example of "halachic man" I believe he should start drawing some intellectual conclusions from this rather than drifting into espousal of atheistic viewpoints that are at odds with the life he is still following, but racist remarks are of no use to anyone. He is still part of your world.

What is required is a gradient that is "finer grain" than these binary oppositions--a lot of this "strum und dang" is already internalized in the academic methods of non-harediim MO:

check out, for example:

http://www.yu.edu/Revel/jewish1.htm#JPH%206745

"Avrohom--unlike myself I think that Shmarya is an observing Jew. If he isn't then there is no point to this blog since it is written from the point of view of a Jew who maintains Orthodox practice and halacha--if he has ceased following halacha--and I do not believe that is true--then this would be a deceptive effort.

Since he is an example of "halachic man" I believe he should start drawing some intellectual conclusions from this rather than drifting into espousal of atheistic viewpoints that are at odds with the life he is still following, but racist remarks are of no use to anyone. He is still part of your world."

Paul –

Thank you. Well said.

Dear Paul,

Judaism is not (only) a set of practices and "observance"; it's a WAY OF LIFE. Life begins (not with practice) but with A BELEIF SYSTEM. That is why the Rambam in his most important work, the ONLY work that is CODE OF JEWISH LAW AND WAY OF LFIE included a set of clear guideliness of the beleif system of a Jew.

A Jew who does not propfess these beleifs, and adopts a lifestyle just for some "mythological" fantasies, is NOT JUDAISM AT ALL! THE RAMBAM CALLS THEM HERESY.

Judaism that does not incorporate hte beleif in a G-D THAT TAKES THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM EGYPT TO BRING THEM TO SINAY HAS GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH JUDAISM!

Judaism is the encounter between man and G-d above and beyond the relationships of men through his nature. It transcends these boundaries by their very genesis and by their historical flow. Scotty, somehow could not continue the path of meeting G-d in the highber level that was given at Sinay, he then looked for all ways and means possible to relay to himself and to others, tha tthe reason he has left that path is because "child molestation" "corruption" etc; the truth however is that he left judaism is because HE IS CORRUPT, he is given away to the powers that he created as idols and therefore he molests jewish children by painting a defamatory light at them.

Scotty, cannot stand the fact, that observant jews AND YES MANY AND MANY OF THEM ARE LAW ABIDING CITIZIENS AND ARE HONEST AND WORK FOR A LIVING, AND YET THEY DO NOT VALUE THAT AS GOAL FOR THEIR OWN SELF PERFECTION AS BECOMING "UPSTANDING INDIVIDUALS" BUT THEY PASS THESE BOUNDARIES TO ATTEMPT TO MEET THE ALMIGHTY ON A LEVEL WHERE THESE "PERFECTIONS" ARE COMPELTE AND TOTAL "NOTHINGNESS", BUT THEY ATTEMPT TO UTILIZE THESE PERFECTION TO SELF NULLIFY THEMSELVES SO THAT THEY MEET THE ALMIGHTY ON A DIFFERENT PLANE, ONE THAT SCOTTY CANNOT GRAASP WITH HIS LIMITED MORTAL BEING...SO WHAT IS HE DO?

HE starts paingig their lifestyle with false glasses that make appear as if all jews who live with the G-d of Sinay are somehow more corrupt and honest than this lowlife is.

This lowlife LIED with regards to what reb moshe's real opinion is regarding something gthat goes against the grain of his underworld welshaaung.

The remarks were not racist n their nature. they were inteded to this lowlife: if he so much preaches that they are real jews and that his perfection a s a human being is by briging them israel to bring more intermarriage let him eat the fruits of his filthy thought and writings.

Paul: jUDAISM AND hALACHA IS WAY OF LIFE (HALACHA FROM THE LOSHON HALICHOS OLOM LOY) THAT BRINGS US CLOER TO g-D. iF ONE DOES NOT HAVE G0D OF ISRAEL IN HIS DICTIONARY THAN ALL GHIS NONSENSE; LET HIM PERFECT HIMSELF IN HIS SKILL OF ANIMAL LOVE AND LEAVE THE JEWS WHO LIVE BY HALACHA IN PEACE.

all u ppl need to chill out
u sound like such fucking tartcarts

chakira: what is a tartcart? does it come in strawberry?

avrohom--like I said your comments are really more directed to me than Shmarya, who, although critical to a fault of orthodox practice is a practicing orthodox Jew--and my impression is that an orthodox Jew is to be respected by other Torah-observant Jews for being a Torah-observant Jew even if he questions G-d. The Rambam is a tricky example since he was heavily influenced by Hellenistic ("neo-Platonic") ideals of non-corporeal unity in the godhead. (Google: Rambam + Active Intellect)

Shmarya obviously is not an idol worshipper unless you generalize what you mean by idol-worshipping to mean secularism.

My caution for Shmarya has been that in studying secularist-influenced alternative hashkafot through which he attempts to rationalize emunah with science/logic/reason he may find himself bereft of a healthy emunah and practice and a science/logic/reason that is not itself *free of contradiction*. So the danger is he falls between two stools.

I have suggested that S. should consider the concept of bitul that applies to him, I would think, as much as it applies to, say, an official "tzaddik". Or a hasid before their Rebbe.

I agree that at this time we don't need to overly criticize practices of this or that Jewish community of believers inasmuch as we do not live in a monolithic Jewish world--and there are options to find associations whose "starting gate", articulated or not, is closer to where our individual "body temperatures" are. I have suggested and do suggest that those who feel constrained within a "right-wing" fundamentalist model (that has its strengths and service to Israel), yes, try to find a group of chevrei more compatible or start their own chavurah. The chaff of friction between somebody and a community whose totality of beliefs stands in opposition to their own sharpens discomfort.

There are "modern orthodox", "neo-Conservaguy" type traditionalists, and non-denominational alternatives, etc. (and we will see some new alliances probably across the conservative wing of Masorati Judaism with the liberal wing of Orthodox after the new rulings are made official). Here's another:

http://hebrewcollege.edu/html/rabbi.htm

(which has its own disadvantages and advantages).

I think "lowlife" is an insult--the Ethiopian immigres are undergoing conversion.

avrohom--there are going to be disputes within Jewish groups but nobody is tossing this blog into your living room window wrapped around a brick--and it has only so much influence.

this is the enemy and people who believe this have more influence than you might think:

http://www.the7thfire.com/new_world_order/zionism/israel_and_zionism.htm

bye

Klinghoffer wrote you??? Balaams ass wouldnt take the time to write you. I doubt an intelligent educated man like him would waste his breath on a troll like you when there are more worthy ideas and goals he no doubt is striving for.

Dear Paul,

You are right that the owner of this blog is an unimportant boor and corrupt individual who speaks ill about all observant jews alive or dead.

But you are wrong about your beleifs about the motives of the Rambam about thje place of beleif in the Torah. and likewise the Rambam is clear that a person who does not believe in the beleifs of the jewish is a either a kofer or min or apikores or sometimes all of them. It does NOT MATTER A BIT THE LEVEL OF OBSERVANCE! Even if the owner of this blog would wear 64 pairs of tepfillin he would be a kofer and apikoress and meysis and mediach. This is the type of the owner of trhis blog who lives as a parsite, sickling the lifforce that Hashem gives him and he uses it to besmirch his torah and his people and he falsely defames ALL of them...may he end with the fate of all the MALSHINIM that we pray in the shmone esreh.

Now, a person who would like to have solidarity with the jewish beleifs and with the jewish people as jews but he grapples with them and is unable to internalize them in his language maybe is not under those titles (a person like yourself who (despite perhaps not yet observant etc. has a burning passion for the jewish people and their fate at some level attempts to meet the ALMIGHTY (NOT THE MORTAL EMPTINESS OF THE SMALL ANT THE HUMAN BEING AND HIS MIND)) such a person maybe included with all the jewish people and with the G-d of Israel which will be the G-d only G-d to all of the universe

Rabbi Moses ben Maimon addressed his writings to specific and different audiences. The more strident and simply codified writings were probably directed toward more "working class" people that had less access to Judaic text study. It's nothing but bizarre that his 13 articles of faith became a credo of the Orthodox movement.

Reb Moshe Ben Maimon was clear about the audience and readership of Yad HaChazakah and said this in his introduction to his work: ALL JEWS "KAKORON KAGODOL"! All the pshchobables of people notwithstanding he was adamant about whom he is addressing.

A rabbi was once asked to try to convince the local apikorus to return to Judaism. Many people had tried to do so before the rabbi, but to no avail.
The rabbi met the apikorus and after discussing various intellectual issues with him the apikorus said to the rabbi, "aren't you going to try to convince me to return to religion?"
"No," replied the rabbi, "but I do have a question for you,"
"Go ahead and ask," replied the apikorus.
"Why are you an apikorus?"
"Because I have many questions about the way religious Jews behave," retorted the apikorus,
"Aha," said the rabbi, "in that case, I have another question for you."
"No problem, Rabbi."
"Did you become an apikorus after these questions arose, or was it perhaps that you thought of these questions after you decided you no longer wanted religion?"

Thank you for your blog. It's a breath of fresh air. I read your credo and was very touched by where you find God. You have a good neshama and may Hashem guide you to help the unfortunate ones in our society.

Shmarya,Whats with the Ashkenazim that makes so many of them radical, from the black hats to the Socialists and Leftists to the Reform and Reconstructionists,Anarchists, whatever.Shmarya,your just another Ashkenaz extremist. Place yourself with Separdim and learn moderation.

To a Judenhass, I mean "anti-Zionist", website.

Perfect.

Another of your commenters (Rowan Berkeley) is an admitted "anti-Semite."

That speaks VOLUMES.

Occasionally interesting links, but frankly, the stench of Sin'at Hinam and Lashin HaRa' around here is overwhelming.

Hi, I just visit your site for the first time and have been browsing for an hour or so. Actually I got here by linking through from the Haaretz article on the rife in the Satmar and Bobov communities, through to an article on jewish feminism and Dr. Tamar Ross, and she mentioned sth about the pagan origin of hanukka, which made me google and that is how I saw some grueling footage on the AgriProcessors problem and other issues.
What I want to say is that: yes, I agree with your empirical work, I admire it and would say: please go on. Like anything in this world, judaism as practice is human work. That is one of the tenets of judaism; Tora was revealed, the rest has to be done by us. Jews are as human as any other. That jews and non-jews alike don't like this, is different. It is ridicilious to expect jews to be better people. I only can hope for myself to be a better person.
As the current problems show, power is always a spoiler, especially when people want others to think they don't care about power. However, you do mix religion and science, and expect scientific truth and religious truth to coincide; if not, religion fails in your eyes. But that is not what judaism is about - judaism offers a way to live; spiritual and communal, and most of all a way to live with ourselves.
Now, the appaling footage of 'kosher' butchering and other misuse of religious institutions is of course a problem for judaism. To say that the alternative is vegetarianism is unworldly. I would much more endorse kosher-organic. What I am saying is: yes, there are manifold problems. To detect a problem is good thing, to change it to the good is better. So, while detecting problems, it is as usefull to formulate alternatives, but not too radical. To tell people they have to have vegetarian shabbos meals is far out. To offer an alternative to those tasteless factory-produced chicken, is different. We are here to make the world - our world - a better place. This means also to let people have their sense of self. Including celebrating a festival that has an pagan origin. For the people, and if you don't like the people, then for the children. Not everybody can now everything. To be a good jew is hard enough.

Don't let your faith in G-d be shattered by these idiots who feel they can excommunicate anyone.

you tried to use the jewsh organizations for you own needs it did not work . now you are angry. but you will die and no budy will remember you. better concentrate on good.
you know : meat or doche harbe min hahosheh.

Another of your commenters (Rowan Berkeley) is an admitted "anti-Semite."

-- the only times I use that term is to attempt to deconstruct it, since I consider it misleading and propagandistic.

A lot of your posts are insightful which is why I started reading this blog. I think it's important that these issues in the orthodox community are talked about, especially all the bans, and the intollerance. Injustice shouldn't be ignored. We shouldn't be as scared as the Arabs are to stand up to their leaders for injustice. We need to stand up to ours and confront ours.

However, what you said about Moses isn't true. The Torah does not paint our leaders or are forefathers as perfect and neither do the Rabbi's of the second temple. We came from idol worshippers. This is the one major difference between the Torah and other religions. Are leaders aren't painted as perfect, they are painted as real.

First let me tell you a bit about myself, I went to seminary in Israel where I became more religious, however I was becoming religious before for about 5 years. In Israel, I went a little bit extreme (for me) but then I came down and realized that some of the things I was doing, I wasn't doing them because I believe they were part of any real halachic reason, I was doing them to please other people and to fit in. I also found myself thinking, 'girls who don't wear skirts aren't religious' which is just not true. People shouldn't judge other people on such exterior factors.

But anyway, I was disillusioned with a lot of things in Judaism but that didn't stop me from believing in Exodus, Sinai and the oral torah. However, I'm like you in a way. I believe we have an oral torah but for some things such as Rabbinic rulings, I don't know if they all come from G-d or if they all come from the oral Torah. Mind you, I haven't studied enough so my view might be faulty.

However, when I look at other religions such as Christianity and Islam I see that their main problem is they have a group of leaders who are infalliable, who it is impossible to question. This is the fault of their religions and what turns people off of G-d and also distorts the laws of the Torah.

I went to Aish's Discovery which I really enjoyed and still do. It's a well put together presentation with a lot of interesting facts for people who are new to Jewish study. It helps get them interested. However, the logic that they used for Sinai that 600,000 witnesses heard the word of G-d and no other religion claims this proves that it is true. I believe this despite othe r people later trying to convince me that this could be made up. Even if it could be, no other religion claims this. But moving on, if they use the amount of witnesses to prove that Exodus is true (more than 3), how can they expect me to take a leap of faith to believe in 'Rabbinical divine inspiration'. People aren't perfect. The transmission of knowledge by mouth for even the people who are the closeset to G-d can be distorted.

Take for example, Chana who ate from the ample. The snake tricked her into believing that she heard somethign else. People aren't perfect. Moshe was perfect and neither were all our leaders and that's what make them human! But nonetheless we should respect them and listen to their teachings. Does that mean we shouldn't question? No. In black and white societies, people find it hard to do things that go against the grain. They are either religious or they are not. So you see a lot of people leaving Hassidic sects and becoming totally secular. This isn't healthy.

I believe in the Oral Torah but the problem with the Oral Torah is that it was never supposed to be written down. And we can see a reason for this today. It was supposed to be passed down with love from teacher to student and there was supposed to be an active discussion. And everyone in the Jewish world was to be involved. The problem today is that it is a static text, people might break it apart and analyze it and bring it to life but it's fixed and there might be some rulings which are treated like oral torah but they aren't. There are so man y fences that block the image of what they truly are protecting.

Take for example the prohibition against swimming in a pool. The Rabbinic prohibition is against swimming in a lake or a river. It doesn't say anything about a pool. Pools existed at the time of the Rabbi's. There were likely pools and fountains in Egypt. They had wells. The concept of the pool was there. But the Rabbi's of the Second Temple forbid swimming in a lake or a pond, not a pool.

What bugs me is that nowadays, people are just expected to follow in order to get along. Torah is compared to water. If you look at the snow, there are a million different snow flakes and perhaps no two are alike but they are able to bond together. We shouldn't sacrifice our individuality or our questioning, or are beliefs to be as sheep.

We need leaders and sure there is a time to follow but we came from great people who questioned, who were leaders. We didn't come from people who were sheep. There is a time to follow but I don't believe people should suspend their intelligence or intelect in order to just get along. We're not machines. But at the same time people shouldn't worship their intelligence either and become so arrogant that nothing can change their mind.

I was thinking this site is very good for Jews to read if they can handle it and are not the 100% - 0% type, all or nothing...I don't think this site would necessarily make a person give up being religious but then again it might.

I think there is a danger with this site however when non-Jews read it because when non-Jews read stuff like this, they become anti-semetic as they don't see the good. There is much good in the Jewish world and this site forcuses on the negative.

While I think it is good to speak out against injustices in the Jewish community, I don't know how good it is to make the world know about it because the world has a black and white mentality. This site would likely promote anti-semetism. I think it's a good thing that Jews read this site in order to address the issues if they can but I think it's a terrible idea for non-Jews to read this site because they get the wrong idea about Jews as it only presents the bad and doesn't present the huge amount of good deeds, good people, righteous people and Chessed done in the Jewish community.

Perhaps if for every critical word you wrote (which is needed), you could publish a good article praising something that Jewish people are doing.

If your intent is to show these issues to Jews in order for them to address injustices and your intent is not to create anti-semites of non-Jews, than doing this would be a great idea!

Just a suggestion!

Dear Sir and all other contibutors,

I read your biography and foud it interesting. Your complaint concerning the Ethiopian Jews is valid and the apathy of the Jewish authorities very suspect indeed.

Don't worry about all the insulting things that are said about you, sometimes we can learn from our accusers. Some of them might be speaking the truth in a veiled sort of way; some might be trying to help, but don't do it right; some are just jealous or plain evil.

In a way this site might not be good for non-jews. But some non-jews realise that the Jews are not perfect and have internal problems. One can learn from another's problems and ubderstand them better, it is suspect to consider oneself perfect or to expose oneself as perfect.

All the best and keep going strong. G-d knows who you are, let Him decide and not others.

Greetings!

Hi there,

I found your website by accident. The content is very interesting. I myself am Catholic. Catholicism has also been tainted to a degree by corrupt individuals in positions of authority and trust. But there are so many good people within Catholicism too. It's unfortunate that a small minority of 'rotten apples' give the rest of the good folks a bad reputation. It appears this is the same scenario within Jewish circles. Anyway, I just wanted to write and say I'm so glad to hear you still believe in God. God isn't the problem. God is Love. It is a difficult thing when people you once believed in or had trust in fail to measure up. All we can can do is to continue to stand up for justice, compassion, truth and decency in our own way. The rest will follow.

All the best with you spiritual mission,
Dee Kay

like simply chopping off part of a newborn's penis isn't abusive from the get-go

Russians have a good saying that applies to Shmarya (it translates roughly as): Heard a ring, but can't find the bell.

Shmarya,

It seems like you have read a few books about Yedishkait, may be even some Rambam, but you still seem to have serious gaps in the way that you understand this world. One of the basic things is that you have to ask yourself what do you gain from atacking people and ranting. Do you think that you are bringing a light to something that everyone else did not know about? Is it really reasonable to believe that the world waited for Shmarya to reveal "dark" secrets of the charedi world? You probably know that the answer is "no". These are well known problems and there is no chidush. So what did you gain from creating this blog? Instead of spending your time and effort on gaining precious mitzvot, you gave in to your yetzer to create a website of shtut. Aren't you going to feel silly when you realize what a waste of time this was?

Perhaps it is not business of mine to give suggestions, but since this is an open blog, may be I am not too far out of line. I would recommend that you work on better understanding how Hashem runs this world, and what is our task in it. In particular what it means to be shutaf - partner with bore olam. there are many good books. You may try Me'Am Lo'Ez series on Torah. It is a wonderful collection of pirushim from various sources put together by a great Talim chacham R. Yaacob Kuli (of blessed memory) and his talmidim. He answers a lot of your questions. Kuzari (if you have not already learned it) is another classical text that can be very helpful.

good luck,

Hashem ishlach lecha refua shelema, refuat hanefesh, refuat hamoach,

Mordechai

I think you need to reread this post. I also think you need to ask yourself if you have any personal responsibility to make change.

maybe you to are a liar

you should go to a bris and ask a doctor how much "pain " a baby goes through.

maybe you forgot the REASON we are still in exile,and G-d is still in exile .sinat chinam and lashon hara ,the foundatation of your habitual negative posts.

Instead of finding this garbage about people.GO RAISE MONEY FOR DARFUR! you are producing an empty site which is sickeningly anti hareidi and more narrow minded than the "WORST" hareidi

spend your time wisely.

After thoroughly combing your site, I come to the sad realization that you were never religious. RELIGION IS BELIEF. One who believes realizes that altough there seemingly are some inconsistencies, as well as some corruption, it does not disprove the religion as a whole. SORT THE GOOD FROM THE BAD! SEEK THE TRUTH AND YE SHALL FIND! But NO! that's to easy. My guess is that in your twisted thinking process it is alot more "fun" to seak out the "problems" and fret over it forever and ever, or better yet, create a website to vent your frustrations. If you ever TRULY had EMUNAH AND BITOCHON all these matters would never had even the slightest impact on your belief. You may have started a crusade and gotten people (and yourself) to become "genuinely" religious. But no. You rather took the path of refuting its mere existence. You have thus unmasked and exposed your true face.
YOU ARE A KOFER B'IKOR!
You only use our sacred Talmud to drive points that lend to the makeup of your convoluted opinion.

You're a cheap slut who sold your soul and your religion and YOUR people for a dime.

After thoroughly combing your site, I come to the sad realization that you were never religious. RELIGION IS BELIEF. One who believes realizes that altough there seemingly are some inconsistencies, as well as some corruption, it does not disprove the religion as a whole. SORT THE GOOD FROM THE BAD! SEEK THE TRUTH AND YE SHALL FIND! But NO! that's to easy. My guess is that in your twisted thinking process it is alot more "fun" to seak out the "problems" and fret over it forever and ever, or better yet, create a website to vent your frustrations. If you ever TRULY had EMUNAH AND BITOCHON all these matters would never had even the slightest impact on your belief. You may have started a crusade and gotten people (and yourself) to become "genuinely" religious. But no. You rather took the path of refuting its mere existence. You have thus unmasked and exposed your true face.
YOU ARE A KOFER B'IKOR!
You only use our sacred Talmud to drive points that lend to the makeup of your convoluted opinion.

You're a cheap slut who sold your soul, your religion and YOUR people for a dime.

Now about that failed messiah thing. Well, that's a whole 'nother issue. But I hear ya...

Hey your gonna burn in hell ,and the funny thing is that deep down you know this .


BeiNG CHABAD ISNT CONSIDERED JEWISH AT ALLL!

Sorry pal. I'm not Chabad. Just a simple "JEW"

why waste peoples time w your flatulence..go get an education so your not just another sniveling rascist

Shame on you. Your soul seems to require a great amount of Teshuva. It is sad to read your site, you seem like such a depressed and anti-social person. I came across this site by accident and I wish I never had to read this lashon hara. You obviously have a deep hatred of Hashem, and that frightens me. Do you really have dreams of destroying Judaism? Maybe you should seek help for your dementia.

It's not God I have the problem with. I have a problem with pricks like you. Slink off.

Scott/Shmarya

firstly i am not attacking you just want to see your standpoint. what is the point of this website? In other words what is your mission here? Also what posisition where you in to help the Beta Israel? again im tryng to understand where you are coming from, not attack you. Is your claim that the reason Chabad did not help is because of racism? If racism is the claim it just does not match from what i've seen. My best friend's mother is from india she converted and met the Rebbe several times and recieved many blessings from him. Her skin color is very dark, my best friend's skin color is very dark, they are truly remarkable people whom are dedicated to the Rebbe's mission. Also at the Chabad shul I daven in there are several black converts who are very involved in the comunity and who are very well accepted by all. There is also a yemenite family who are lubavitchers at the shul. Additionally, and on the Rebbe's request I know several people personally who are working day after day and wth great dilligence to spead the noachide laws around the world, and bring Torah to Gentiles of all backrounds and nationalities. When mayor Dinkins came to meet the rebbe during the riots he asked the Rebbe for a blessing that these "two communities should live in peace," the Rebbe answered "no one community, under one G-d."

One more addition, I do know of one lubavitcher who's cousin just marriend an Ethiopian who had converted according to Halacha, She and her family are very observant.

No black Luibavitcher shluchim, even though there are and have been qualified candidates.

No help for black Jews even though halakha mandated this help.

Banning Ethiopian Jews from Chabad schools in Israel but not Russians of questionable descent.

There is much eveidence of Chabad racism, just as there is of haredi racism. All you need to do is look.

With all respect, (and of course you are not under obligation to answer my questions)......you did not answer what I asked you. I am just trying to figure out were your coming from. unfortunatley there is much racism in the world period. Racism is racism no matter where it comes from, a Lubavitcher, a modern orthodox guy, a secular jew, a christian minister, a secular gentile, a muslim extremist, your average muslim, blacks hating whites, whites hating blacks, etc etc. In fact making such a generalization that because some people who are affiliated with a specific group hold racist ideas,makes them all racist is in a sense...."racist" Obviously it is not ethnic discrimination, but it is discrimination nonetheless. I'm sure there are racist religious jews unfortunatley just as there are racist secular Americans unfortunatley. My best friend as I said is lubavitch, and I am a BT and have learned much chassidus from various lubavitchers, I have personally never been told anything racist, or that it is appropriate to have racist beliefs by any of them. In fact it's all been quite the opposite. The stress placed on the coming of Moshiach, the way that I have learned it and believe it is about unity, not just amongst Jews but amongst all peoples of all colors and backrounds, that there literally is nothing else but
G-d....I.E in the core we are all of one soul from inanimate life all the way up to human beings. Again, I do not attack you, its not always easy to get across a tone via the internet.

The Reasons for the Rebbe's not getting involved with the issue of the Beta Israel can only be known best by the Rebbe, and from all his other deeds that the world over has witnessed and been affected by I would have to say that his intentions where not coming from cruelty. Additionally your argument that there is no pekuak Nefesh isssue regarding your home town or any other American town or city is not true. I am not calling you a liar by any means, however something to think about and understand the rate of intermarriage between Jews and non Jews is still very high, and the quality of jewish edcation amongst the majority of Jews today is very poor. This is an issue of saving Judaism and saving souls. I have cousins who's children are not Jewish, I know i personally could have and perhaps would have not married a Jew if I had not learned the importance of doing so.

Shemayra,
Sorry to bombard you with posts i just happend to think of something else. The reason why many other Charedi groups have a disliking of Chabad is because the Rebbe saw the above mentioned issue of assimilation and lack of education as an issue of Pekuak Nefesh and believed we live in desperate times which called for desperate measures. This idea of bringing Judaism to the people is what turned many closed minded people off to Chabad's philosophy. "These Jews haven't washed their hands in the morning and your putting teffillin on them?" "your chasidim will go off the path and get invovled in "goyishe" things" they yelled....and as we can see it was certainly an issue of saving Jewish lives, as people responded resoundingly. So many Jews have now embraced their heratige and their calling and have given and are giving their children Jewish educations.

With all due respect, try reading the blog. I answer your questions many times over. And, unless you can find a halakhic justification for the Rebbe's contention that the spiritual needs of Jews in Minnesota come before the actual lives of Ethiopian Jews (there is none, BTW), there is nothing more to say about this matter. The Rebbe failed, period.

What you call "pekuakh nefesh" is not pekuakh nefesh according to Jewish law and there is no halakhic equivelence between actual saving of life and kiruv.

Go learn.

To the contrary of many of the commentors who obviously feel threatened by Shmarya's presentations on issues -also obviously, considered 'taboo'issues for many, I commend him for having the courage to address these issues. Moreover, such issues turn out to be uncomfortable for some, but compelling and enlightening to many more, me included. Right is right, wrong is wrong in any religion or culture. There are those who fail to admit this fact, and much less, act to correct it.

The Ethiopean niggers are trying to steal wealthy daughters from my students and take away government welfare from kollel chachimim. They should all be put in cherem with the other BTs and fakers. They ain't kykes and are not welcomed in Monsey.

What ever happened to Ahavas Yisroel? "This Jew hates that Jew.. And that Jew hates this Jew."

It's no wonder the Moshiach hasnt come yet (and I'm a Chabadnik)!

Not all Chabadniks believe the Rebbe is Messiah (I'd venture to say most are still waiting). I've never heard a Chassid claim the Rebbe to be G-d in flesh either. These are all things poor Shmarya is consumed with. Consumed with contempt for fellow Jews.

I dont judge any fellow Jew. I love all you ornery sons of bitches! :D

a un perro que ladra no se le responde... se lo ignora. y a los que actuan maliciosamente disfrazados de ortodoxos, se los debe condenar no amparar.

a un perro que ladra no se le responde... se lo ignora. y a los que actuan maliciosamente disfrazados de ortodoxos, se los debe condenar no amparar.

I have a feeling that you might not be very aware of recent developments among the intellectually honest yet spiritually-oriented type of people who can now be found in Israeli religious Zionism. I am thinking of yeshivot such as Otniel, Siach Yitzhak, Ma'alei Gilboa, Petach Tikva, etc., academic institutions such as Beit Morasha, and organizations like Rabbanei Tzohar and Be'Ma'agalei Tzedek.

Come to Israel, check it out.

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NATURAL THEOLOGY by Rudyard Kipling:

PRIMITIVE
I ATE my fill of a whale that died
And stranded after a month at sea. . . .
There is a pain in my inside.
Why have the Gods afflicted me?
Ow! I am purged till I am a wraith!
Wow! I am sick till I cannot see!
What is the sense of Religion and Faith?
Look how the Gods have afflicted me!


PAGAN
How can the skin of rat or mouse hold
Anything more than a harmless flea? . . .
The burning plague has taken my household.
Why have my Gods afflicted me?
All my kith and kin are deceased,
Though they were as good as good could be,
I will out and batter the family priest,
Because my Gods have afflicted me!


MEDIÆVAL
My privy and well drain into each other
After the custom of Christendie. . . .
Fevers and fluxes are wasting my mother.
Why has the Lord afflicted me?
The Saints are helpless for all I offer—
So are the clergy I used to fee.
Henceforward I keep my cash in my coffer,
Because the Lord has afflicted me.


MATERIAL
I run eight hundred hens to the acre
They die by dozens mysteriously.
I am more than doubtful concerning my Maker.
Why has the Lord afflicted me?
What a return for all my endeavour
Not to mention the L.S.D!
I am an atheist now and for ever,
Because this God has afflicted me!


PROGRESSIVE
Money spent on an Army or Fleet
Is homicidal lunacy. . . .
My son has been killed in the Mons retreat,
Why is the Lord aficting me?
Why are murder, pillage and arson
And rape allowed by the Deity?
I will write to the Times, deriding our parson
Because my God has afflicted me.


CHORUS
We had a kettle: we let it leak:
Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week. . . .
The bottom is out of the Universe!


CONCLUSION
This was none of the good Lord’s pleasure,
For the Spirit He breathed in Man is free;
But what comes after is measure for measure,
And not a God that afflicteth thee.

As was the sowing so the reaping
Is now and evermore shall be.
Thou art delivered to thine own keeping
Only Thyself hath afflicted thee!

If you claim you abide by halacha and you believe in the mesora, how are you so absolutely sure that the Ethiopians (who are practically my next door neighbors in Israel, by the way, do you actually help them?) are actually Jewish? Are you a qualified halachic authority to determine that they are Jews and more of your brethren than hoards of other suffering human beings in Asia and Africa? Would you endorse the arrival of the latter to Israel as well, due to lessons of the holocaust? By the way, speaking about safety in Israel, I live in the north of Israel and was compelled to flee due to last year's Lebanese war. My Ethiopian neighbors had to flee as well. Perhaps it would be a better plan to have them emigrate to the U.S. they would at least be safer there...

If they aren't lawfully Jewish and you believe they should have nonetheless been brought to Israel, due to lessons learned from the Holocaust, why don't you initiate propaganda for bringing many more emaciated, third world populations to benefit socially and economically in Israel rather than die of hunger in their native countries?

In short, most of your arguments are ridiculous. However I pity you for being an outcast, and btw, Jewish history does not smile upon individuals who attacked Jewish leaders...

Vita

I see you have no background in halakha (Jewish Law).

At minimum, a sofek Jew is treated as a full Jew with regard to pekuack nefesh and most other things, except for marriage.

That means they had to be rescued EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY MAY NOT BE JEWISH.

The only option for rescue was bringing them to Israel.

This means that, according to Jewish law, they had to be saved and taken to Israel.

I suggest you start by learning some halakha, and, after that, you can apologize to those you slandered.

shmarya, I see that YOU have no back round of halacha, for you dont know the definition of a 'safek'. A safek does not mean "maybe, could be",. A safek is a specific status of doubt. For example if a baby who is FOR SURE jewish gets confused with an identicle non-jewish baby, then both are in the status of a 'safek jew'. However without a previous status of certainty somewhere in the story, we have no safek. what we have is simply 'I dont know'. any bodys mother or great-great grandmother COULD be jewish. does that make every goy a 'sofek jew' until otherwise proven? Although the ethiopians may have some sort of argument, they definately do NOT go into the above catagory

You have a certainty. They were ruled Jewish by the RADBAZ.

The sofek applied here is not my innovation – it was appliede by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (who certainly knew halakha) and dozens of other rabbis. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef deals with this sofek in his teshuva on the issue.

In other words, again, Chabad has taught someone (in this case, you) very poorly.

i'm interested in what smart people have to reply to the "sephardic guy"

i'm interested in what smart people have to reply to the "sephardi guy":

Shmarya,Whats with the Ashkenazim that makes so many of them radical, from the black hats to the Socialists and Leftists to the Reform and Reconstructionists,Anarchists, whatever.Shmarya,your just another Ashkenaz extremist. Place yourself with Separdim and learn moderation.

i'm not smart, so what i think is - sephardim (i.e. moroccans) are not real jews but converted arabians and the likes

what makes us ashkenazim so "extreme" is our CREATIVITY and intelligence (although not in my own case)

I would like to use you for my thesis for the psychology of a push-awayed unstable man.

Other than contact with you I haven't left the dome of the corruption-free zone of the Talmud.

I would like to use you for my thesis for the psychology of a push-awayed unstable man.

Touro College, by any chance?

Other than contact with you I haven't left the dome of the corruption-free zone of the Talmud.

Must be Touro.


Dear self h******g Jew
Just few words
You must be a very little man with a big Ego
Some people engage in this world in Building , others in demolition
I guess you know where you belong .
Life is very short 43400 days
Good luck in Gehinom , its not so bad over there , you be able to continue your LeshenHora & all other “good deeds” .
By the way, their are no angels down here , they all in haven .

Your follower.
Pupsik

So say all of you who have ignored Shmarya's comment on other rabbis hiding the fact that certain rabbis have molested children. Does that mean they condone it? Much like the Catholic church does? What say you?

You have torn him a new one yet ignored the one point that he and many others want to know: WHY DO RABBIS DEFEND INDEFENSIBLE ACTIONS COMMITTED BY OTHER RABBIS? If G-d is their true creator then should they not expose the misdeeds of other rabbis? It makes all of the religion look bad when the religious leaders look the other way or protect bad behavior, just like what happens in Christianity, Islam and Catholicism.

While you are wasting brain power and soul fuel on your ranting and your anger, My chabad community is helping families in need of financial and emotional support, enabling children attend their camps affordabley, giving parents with children with severe special needs breaks and huge support, etc,. i could go on. And yet here you are, still complaining. So sad, my friend. It is good you didn't become a Rabbi---many people I know rise above personal adversity---sadly, you have fallen. Life is good. God is good.

God Bless

I understand your anger and frustration. But you can't rely on man to fulfill your dreams and hopes. Just look at the Gematria of Elohim Acheirim, "other gods" which is the same Gematria of Moses, who is also 345. This teaches not to worship or rely on man, but rely on the God of Jacob , who is just, righteous and does not accept bribes.

I am not lubavitch, to me it is just a
messianic-cult. Too much reliance on a person that just died. Sounds like idol worship where the Torah says do not contact the dead. Don't get me wrong, I am a grandson of great chasidisim, but I am not chasidic. But I am very much a Torah Jew. Remember, throughout the thousands of years of Jewish history, only four jews never sinned. The rest did. We are only human, but at least, we bring light to the world. We don't know Moses burial place because people would turn it into a shrine of worship. Just focus on God, as if you rearrange the letter make up of the yod , hey , vov, hey, it comes yod yod dodi, which means God is my best friend and that is nothing but the whole truth.

Sorry you're having to endure all this vitriol (and I know precisely how it feels, being a [so-called] "meshumad"). I pray you obtain the blessing found in Yarmiyahu (Jer. 29:11-14), as you search for Him with all your heart.
Regards!
Glenn

Shmarya, I hear ya, man.
But you should give THEM some credit, like what they tell how AGUDA came from very little to be a representative of extremly wealthy individuals of Boro Park/Flatbush/Monsey.
Their lifestyles is CAPITALISM; I studied Law and could never find single indicment against any of THEM.
UOJ is clearly upset about Kolko-Margulies cover-up and some, so he gets more upset.
But truth must be told.
Aguda is for WEALTHY "BAALABATIM" ONLY!
Recently I posted on Cross-Currents, e-mailed some of my questions about Aguda friendship with Gay-loving politicians(as long as they can take money from them and then scream:"purity of our camp", I can continue loving Karolina Kurkova, platonicaly obviously).
Speaking of above, I was either given no answer at all, my comments were DELETED from Cross-Currents, or, at best Aguda operative told me to "learn Torah", while he will be scheming with Gay-lovers.
BTW, I told all of them that I am unemployed and have NO income.
Shmarya, I have a lot of disagreements with you but I hear ya, maaan...

Interesting that "learning Torah" is a some sort of "ultima ratio regum".
People are told and used to stay in kollel for years, but even when some protest lodged against Agudas Baalabatim hipocricy, answer is the same: ""learn" Torah"...

I nominate this Web site as The Official Shit Sheet of the Jewish People.

Hi Shmarya,
Respectfully, I don't agree with your comments about mesorah being broken. While there may always be some 'bad apples' in a barrel, and it is likely that this was the case in every generation, firstly, people's flaws in one areas doesn't invalidate their ability to pass on Judaic teachings. Secondly and more importantly, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the 'bad apples' argument being generalised to the point where 'faulty information' is being passed along. Centuries ago around the world communication was not an instant thing, but yet there would be a consensus from the scholars of the day over, for example, the numerous Tosefists, Rashi or the Rambam or the Rosh as to what was a valid halacha, and the nature of the way halacha has been formed is one of combative questioning and reasoning between different rishonim and acharonim, such that one deviant view 'das yochid' by anyone is not followed as halacha.

PS: one final thing is that you obviously feel let down by the Lubavitcher Rebbe and this has led you to effectively reject orthodoxy as a whole. We are taught firstly not to judge others until we are in their shoes and secondly, even if you are right (nb- I think you can always find corruption anywhere if you go looking for it hard enough) maybe your place is not in chareidi circles but elsewhere within normative orthodoxy.

The point is, the mesora is NOT unbroken. It in fact has many breaks.

Further, we have a generation of rabbis who either lie or are fools. On top of that, we have material produced by them that speaks of previous generations of rabbis as perfect, without flaw or fault.

These same rabbis believe the entire universe is less than 6000 years old. They also believe that belief in an older universe is heresy.

In other words, you have a generatio that is entirely untrustworthy.

And, thanks to historians we have a pretty good idea that previous generations were no different.

In short, we have no evidence for an intact mesora and much evidence against it.

Wow, some discussion. That statement of belief is sad, but in many ways true. It reminds me of a wise Rabbi who once said:

"You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. "You blind rabbi, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, rabbis, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, leaders, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, `If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' "So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. "Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of death?"

One commentor above wrote a seemingly wise metaphor:

"A man complained that the Jews of a certain town were all sinners, and therefore, their religion must be false. The rabbi answered him that the Torah can be compared to soap. If the people don't use the soap, they become dirty. Who do you blame for that, the soap or the people?"

So close, but no cigar! In fact the Torah is a mirror. The mirror can show you how dirty you are, but you don't try to comb your hair or wash your face with a mirror! Your "beliefs" are wrong because you know NOT the words of G-d through the prophets!

King Solomon said, "there is no one who does not sin." 1kings 8:46.

The prophet Isaiah said, "we are all like an unclean thing, And all our goodness is like filthy rags to G-d; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away."64:6

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." ibid 59:2

The Torah is a mirror that shows our dirtiness - our sin. G-d's soap is the blood of sacrifice! Death in place of death.
"And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words." Ex 24:8

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.' " Lev.17:11

And about the sin of those rabbis...Who is surpirsed? For is there ANYONE who has not sinned? Is there anyone born of woman who has kept the entire Torah perfectly? You cannot...the mirror of Torah reveals it and that is why the sacrifice is necessary!

As for your assertion that Moses and the fathers lied to us, well then you lie to yourself! If you say you are Jewish (religiously,culturally, ethnically, or in citezenship), and you believe the Torah is lies and myths, then you lie! You are not Jewish. Jewish is a heritage and religion built from the faith of Abraham through G-d's covenant with him. If you don't believe Moses, then Abraham is an imaginary character. Then there is no basis for a Jewish heritage in the "seed of Abraham." It's made up! You betray yourself and G-d if you do not research for yourself the claims of Torah! What archaeology has proven Torah wrong? What science? What genetics? Don't spout to me about evolution- learn something first- critically analyze and then make conclusions. Look at both sides. Don't generalize and say that science proves the Torah to be myth. You need to take your eyes off of sinful man and seek G-d, this "creator" you do believe in and see what He has to say about it. I believe His statement starts with, "In the beginning, God..."

You probably did not study classical history. The ancients had no concept of historical truth. They wrote in myths, parables and fables to communicate essential nuggets of truth, but cloaked them in easily remembered stories. This was done largely because most people were illiterate and there was no such thing as a newspaper or printed book. The stories made sure the important message was communicated and remembered.

These stories were easily understandable because they contained cultural references people understood. We no longer understand these references and that makes the point of some of these biblical stories very obscure.

To me, the idea that the bible as written is LITERAL ACCURATE history is not plausible.

Thank you, though, for reading and for your comment.

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