27 June 2006

What does God expect of me.

R' Chaim always did the right thing. As a young child he listened to his parents and behaved in Cheder. Scholastically inclined, he aced his SAT's, did well in Touro college and was accepted to Law School. Chaim took off another year to sit and learn full time before going off to School.

His Rebbeim rightly sensed this was their last chance to help him out. "What good will you accomplish? You'll just be another lawyer and we already have too many lawyers. And is this what the RBSH'O really wants from you? You have a great set of Keilim on your shoulders. You'll have to give Din V'cheshbon for all the Blatt Gemora that you could have learnt but did not."

Chaim was torn. His parents on one side, his Rosh Yeshiva on the other. He knew he was at a crossroads. Probably the most important decision of his life. It would affect everything, his prospects for Parnossah , his choice of mate, where he lived. Everything. Oih. The Road not Taken. If he only knew.

"Rebbi, But what about science? How could all that knowledge be out there and me not partake of it?"

"My dear Chaim, hundreds of Bnei Torah have gone before you to college and what became of them? Just plain old Baalei Batim. Nisht Kein Olam Hazeh Un Nisht Kein Olam Haba. Besides, a person needs to know, what his obligations are to the RBSH"O."

"But", exclaimed Chaim, "why did God create the world in such a way?" "A nisoyon" his beloved Rebbi said.

"Is Hashem looking to trick us?"

"Chas V'sholom. Ain Hakodosh Boruch Hoo Bah B'trunia Im Biryosav. But there is a Yetser Hora out there to mis-lead you if you follow his path. Some get led astray by Zionism, some can't resist Taavas Olam Hazeh. Look, there are hundreds of ISM's out there. Socialism, Communism, Nationalism. It's only Torah that's true. Only Torah has stood the test of time"

Chaim decided that Hakol Hevel and he was not going to give up on his eternity. His Nitzchius.

He knew in his heart of hearts the Mesilas Yesharim was right. Follow in the path of those before you that already worked their way through the maze. How wrong his parents are. They could not be faulted. They mean well, but they just didn't have the right foundation. I don't see any of my Roshei Yeshiva wanting for Parnassah. Besides, look at all those who went to college and now can't even find a job. Torah is De Beste Schora.

As his Rosh Yeshiva predicted, he married well and grew into a respectable Talmud Chochom.

He knew his success was all due to Siata Dishmaya and he increased his Hasmoda. The sacrifice was definitely worth it. After all, he didn't need to live like Rockerfeller. He didn't need the Kovod his philanthropic oriented friends acquired. He didn't need the wealth his brother had amassed . Chazal assured him of the right path. His wife had worked hard raising the children and they themselves are now Oisek Lishma looking forward to marry off their own children.

His Levaya at the age of 93 was a solemn event with loving family seeing him off to the Oilam Haemes.

Chaim trembled as he stood before the Keesay Hakovod. The Malachei Hashareis were whispering amongst themselves.

"Chaim" boomed the angel. "You were a fine man. But why did you waste so much of your precious time?"

"What?" Tears streamed down his face with shame. But I did Teshuva. My college years were a thing of my long distant past".

"Chaim, what about all those wasted hours since then?"

Chaim was flabberghasted. "I don't understand... I made sure to spend all my free time with my my wife and children. What more could I have done?"

"Chaim, all the endless hours spent toiling on a misspelling of an ancient document. Forcing your wife to work three jobs. Your children, longing for loving parents, farmed out to babysitters. The Charity you did not do. The list is endless. You could have done so much with your life."

"But I avoided all the Yetser Hora's. I didn't give in to any of my Taava's. I simply followed the Torah!"

The Malachim turned to each other. Here's another one. We sent him down to Earth, gave him Bechira, give him a brain with which to make reasoned choices. And he just threw it all away.

Ha Ha Ha , laughed the Sattan. "Religion - my favorite Yetser Hora."

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    20 June 2006

    Kefira - Like a hole in the head

    I once had a rebbi in Beis Medrash, who often stated that Kefira Material, anything that contradicts the Torah, is like a hole in the head. Get exposed to it, even accidentally, and you've damaged your brain with a tiny hole, spiritually speaking that is. Do it often enough and you've got hundreds of holes; effectively you're damaged goods. Not that the Torah is false (CH"VSH), just that you as an individual are no longer capable of resisting the falsehoods of the world.

    I knew instantly that he was right. When I was a mere stripling of 12, I took out this interesting looking book from the library, "God is an astronaut". It tries to demonstrate thru various events in Tanach, that God, as we experienced him, was really an astronaut from another planet. For example, the desciption of the Chayos in the Maase Merkava could resemble a spacecraft. Layouts of the pyramid were really landmarks for alien aircraft. Ancient roads were landing strips for aircraft. The deaths of Nadav & Avihu Bhakrivam aish zara was due to electricity. That's how there were "burnt" without any external markings. There were hundreds of interesting tidbits like that, most of which I can't remember the details. It is considered a flawed work of pseudo science, but it makes for fascinating reading.

    I felt this was gibberish, but it always left a slight impact on me that maybe what happened back in bibilical times was really the result of an encounter with a more sophisticated culture.

    Later, personal encounters by me with real science and history was more than enought to leave me with serious doubt as to the accuracy of Torah Misinai as we know it.

    This brings me to individuals like Lakewood Yid, Chardal and others who hang around GH blog. I just can't see how they can escape the Kefira holes that my Rebbi warned me of. I wish them lots of luck, cause they'll need it.

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    11 June 2006

    The curse of Tiresias

    Several of us on TFSG were debating the issue of disclosing to others our new found beliefs regarding Judaism . One argument went that maybe we're "responsible" for telling others in our lives so they can share of the truth. After all we don't let children believe in fairy tales forever. These adults may find out the truth anyway, etc. My argument was that I know that basically the audience is not receptive. In addition most people with true Emunah are quite happy. Their lives can be productive, disciplined and the promise of an afterlife certainly is icing on the cake.

    Even upon hearing the truth, and believing the truth as we see it, many of us don't change our lifestyle at all. So what's to be gained in upsetting other people?

    The question of medical ethics came up, do you tell a terminally ill patient when there’s no cure. The consensus was "It depends".

    Ever hear this old joke?
    Q) How do you tell a male Chromosome from a female chromosome?
    A) Pull down its Genes.

    Well, I'm in the middle of this fascinating book, "Genome, the autobiography of a species in 23 Chapters" by Matt Ridley. (Notice that all the books I review are fascinating?) It's a book about our human genetic history and it goes thru a discussion of the science behind genetics. I tell you I still can't tell a Chromosome from a Ribosome, and certainly not a male chromosome from a female one. But, I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, the concept of DNA, as being the software instructions of our lives, and the components, DNA, RNA, etc, is all kicking in.

    The book goes on to describe the recent discovery of the genetic cause of Huntingtons Chorea as being related to too many repetitions of the "CAG" word in a mutated gene located on Chromosome 4.

    This fatal genetic disease is now predictable with 100% certainty by blood tests. It is available and recommended for those with a family history of this horrible disease.

    Based upon the results of the testing, the severity and even the age of onset of the dreaded disease can be determined.

    The problem facing those unfortunate people is that in most cases, there is no point in knowing whether one has the defective gene. There is absolutely nothing to that can be done to help.

    The author says science is now in the position of Tiresias who had the gift of seeing the future but was unable to change anything.

    The author states, that as it turns out, 80% of those considered being at risk, chooses ignorance.

    I could not help but think of the similarity, not exact, to my assertion, that ignorance is bliss.

    Now wouldn't that be great if a simple blood test could confirm Torah Misinai. Hmmm, on second thought maybe it wouldn't be great. After all what would everyone blog about then?

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    06 June 2006


    After many weeks of reading nothing but religious/skeptic topics, I turned my attention to some light read.

    Krakatoa - the day the world exploded by Simon Winchester.

    The title may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this was a real great read. I expected a book about the catastrophe, much like you'd expect to read about the recent Tsunami. In this respect, it did not fail. It provided fascinating eye-witness accounts to a major event such as not witnessed before in modern civilization.

    But this ended up being a romp through many areas of interest including Sociology, History, religion & science.

    A fascianting tidbit was a discussion of the so called Wallace line http://kjett.bol.ucla.edu/wallace4.htm

    Wallace observed an imaginary dividing line in the region that separated two distinct sets of plant and animal life that logically could not be in such close proximity to each other. With great foresight and without an understanding of Tectonic plate theory, he partially explained how Geologic forces played an important role in the evolution of life.

    So while I tried to get away from skepticism, it just seems to follow me around. The real amazing thing is that so many of the natuarl sciences fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

    This does not negate God, but it sure sounds like an ancient earth to me.

    The book also touches on the role the eruption came to play in Islamic fundamentalism which led to one of the first outbreaks of Islamic violence in modern times. This too is fascinating. In the Jewish world, there are often rumors of impending disasters, comets, etc. If a Kabbalist's prognostication would happen to coincide with a calamity in the Jewish world, that Kabbalist will achieve instant fame and status despite all failed predictions of the past.

    And finally, my completion of the book just a few days before Shavuous, could not help but make me wonder if Kabbollas Hatora at Har Sinai was indeed related to some volcano activity in the past.

    The book could have been a little shorter, but it's worth getting past the boring beginning.

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