28 August 2008

I predict








    • Sara Palin will be selected as McCain's running mate. (See the date of this post!)




    • The Stock market will rise rapidly and then shrink back to unexpected lows.




See, That was easy. BHB - a certified Prophet.


In an interesting comment thread over on JA, Moshe states:

The fulfilment of Biblical prophecies is remarkable. I don't know
which unfulfilled ones you had in mind and whether there is any indication with
regard to them of when they would be fulfilled.


I've seen statements to this effect many times. Can someone please enlighten me as to exactly which Torah prophecies are so amazing? Some people claim that the prophecies relating to Jewish Survival are somehow indicative of some divinity. I'm not sure what's so amazing about them. Either the Jewish nation survived or didn't. It sounds like 50/50 to me. (Some will claim that Jewish survival is an indication of something, but let's tackle that separately.)


To be more than co-incidence, a prophecy would need to contain some very specific information. Something such as "God will unleash his fury upon you and then redeem you as his people" is just too generic and doesn't impress me. And when considering the fact that these prophecies may have been dictated/recorded after exile had already been visited on the Jewish nation, prophecies like this seem inevitable.

To be convincing, I would expect the prophecy to be

  • Very specific


  • Unambiguous


  • Clearly documented to have been uttered before the fact


  • An unusual event


In fact, the latter half of Moshe's comment (above) about time-frame is very telling in and of it-self.


My wife thought she had a good case of prophecy come true. "See," she said, "doesn't this mean something?"

She was referring to the following paragraphs in an interesting article by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.




As I thought about these events, I reminded myself of the opening passage in the
Book of Genesis, regarding which Rashi, the great Torah luminary, teaches in the
name of his father - "How is it that the Torah commences with the creation of
the world rather than the giving of the first commandment?" After all, the Torah
is not a history book, but a book of laws to live by. And the answer given is
amazing. The day will come, when the nations of the world will accuse the Jewish
people of theft, of having taken the land by force. At that time, the Jewish
people are to point to the Torah and say, "G-d created the Heavens and the
Earth. It all belongs to Him and He has the right to apportion it to whomever He
wishes - and it is He who gave this land to us."

A great sage was once asked - "Will the nations of the world then believe this? Is this realistic?"

"Yes," the sage replied, "but the problem will be that Israel's leaders will not believe it!"

This past week, I saw this played out in Jerusalem.



Pretty interesting. What my wife had assumed, but was really unstated in the article, was that Rashi was referring to modern day United Nations! And that would indeed have been an interesting specific prophecy. I was a bit reluctant to tell my wife that Jungreis had conveniently left out that Rashi was referring to not modern day Israel, but to the conquest of the Shivaah Amim, seven nations, during Yehusha's times. The part about the sage, too was interesting, but alas, way too unspecific. Why no name?



I don't understand what R' Esther Jungreis was getting excited about.


Here's another example of unspectacular prophecy.



The Artscroll on Yecheskel states that Rav Elchonon Wasserman, in the Kovetz Maamamrim, prophetically warns of Hashem's wrath in a soon to be holocaust as foretold by the following passuk in Perek 20



לב וְהָעֹלָה, עַל-רוּחֲכֶם--הָיוֹ, לֹא תִהְיֶה: אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם אֹמְרִים, נִהְיֶה כַגּוֹיִם כְּמִשְׁפְּחוֹת הָאֲרָצוֹת--לְשָׁרֵת, עֵץ וָאָבֶן



לג חַי-אָנִי, נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה: אִם-לֹא בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְחֵמָה שְׁפוּכָה--אֶמְלוֹךְ עֲלֵיכֶם.





It begs the question, aren't these kind of warnings ubiquitous in Tanach? And hasn't tragedy struck many peoples, not just the Jews, throughout history? It's easy to to find sin and rebellion before any catastrophes. And most irksome of all, is that a reading of the complete section in context, including the method of punishment & exile and the subsequent redemption that has not occurred, very much negates whatever fleeting resemblance of fulfilled prophecy that could be gleaned from passuk 33. (Besides for which, why didn't REW get out of Dodge when the going was good).



I don't understand what Artscroll was getting so excited about.



So, once again, I really would like to know what prophecies Moshe finds to be so amazing.

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    27 August 2008

    Integri-mometer.

    For you new folks out there, and based on my sitemeter there seems to suddenly be a deluge of you, I post a musical interlude between "real" posts.


    This three part song by Mr. MeatLoaf (Kishmo, Kein Hoo) is one of my all time favorites. Well, maybe not quite, but it always piqued my interest.

    I can see how you may not care for parts 1 & 2. But part 3 is super. It starts at Minute 4:30



    Caution- Rated PG-18 (yes, I just made that up)

    So - who has more integrity? He or she?

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    A Godol weighs in.









    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/baalhabos/356682080457575156/?a=19414#40316








    (A little name-dropping never hurt no one)

    N.B. For the record, I did ask XGH to weigh in and I don't think he's monitoring this conversation.

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    26 August 2008

    Reaction to XGH - Top 5










    What the world is saying about XGH


    5) I said it here first in May 2006, when I started my blog - "Ignorance is Bliss". Or see here for a good recap - Baal Habos

    4) Kinderlach, see what happens when your desire for sex, rules your thought processes - Jacob Stein.

    3) Have a cheeseburger, that'l take care of all your angst once and for all. - Jewish Atheist

    2) So what else is new - Baruch Spinoza




    And the number one reaction is

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .









    1) Colorwar - Lipa Shmeltzer.




    Halevai that the Lipa reaction be the most accurate, not so much for the skeptic blog world, but for XGH's sake.

    I'm just quite busy now, maybe in the future I'll have something more intelligent to say about this, but I doubt it.

    I wish XGH all the best.

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    20 August 2008

    Distortion


    I hate it when believers first knock science and then try to usurp it - all in the same post!

    This article in Cross-Currents, reporting about scientific notions of free will, first states:


    "Scientists, who are accustomed to enjoying near-universal credibility and adulation, are also often not, on a personal level, the most obsequious of people. In particular, they have little patience and open-mindedness towards those who challenge scientific orthodoxy, as global warming “heretics” and alternative medicine practitioners will attest.

    Yet, upon finding the slightest basis for challenging humanity’s uniqueness, these same self-possessed individuals are more than eager to yield their dignity and pride of place in the universe. Apparently, wrote Rav Dessler, when the drive for hefkeirus, the longing to free oneself from the constricting yoke of Divine oversight implicit in such uniqueness, comes in conflict with the opposing impulse towards arrogance, the former prevails"
    .

    So first they try to knock science by bashing the scientists and impugining their motives.

    Then they distort the meaning.

    "...that it is the subconscious that drives our decision-making"


    The reality is that the experiments, while open to interpretation, suggest it's a physical decision, not some nefarious sub-conscious component of the brain as Cross-Currents suggests.



    And finally, the posts usurps scientific prestige by saying science is just catching up the with Torah.

    "In truth, however, it would be premature for anyone to begin partying at the prospect of having demonstrated, once and for all, that we humans are bereft of free choice and, consequently, of responsibility for our actions. In fact, Haynes’ conclusions actually jibe rather neatly with what the Torah has been teaching for millennia: that it is the subconscious that drives our decision-making."

    Don't you just love it?

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    18 August 2008

    Perhaps God is....

    Pre post performance



    This song reminds me of God. No one is quite sure.

    Country Meets Opera.

    The visuals are chintsy but the lyrics, the simple tune and the performance are extraordinary.

    You can just close your eys and listen.

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    10 August 2008

    צַדִּיק הוּא יְהוָה, כִּי פִיהוּ מָרִיתִי

    Eicha - 1:18

    'The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against His word'

    Before my skeptic days, I had no trouble with this. There was a God and He would make everything all right. One way or another. Either in this life or an after-life. God would level the playing field and correct all wrongs. It was that simple. I personally have a decent life so I didn't have a personal Nisayon in this area. I could commiserate with others whose lives are drek and see that they might not easily be swayed. But they must have done something wrong to be in that boat. Or God would make it up to them in such future settlement. But me? Maybe God just liked me. I found "Chain", Grace in his eyes. Or I'm just a Tzaddik.

    But the bottom line is there is no way an Omnipotent God would fail to make things right. And He would recompense me for all the little stupid things in my life that were not 100% perfect.

    But now, without an OJ, without a revelation, God becomes, I'm almost afraid to say, the Bad guy. And it's not my life that I'm basing it on! It's the miserable lot of 99.99% of Humans and animal life that spent time on this planet over the past millions upon millions of years.

    Or, more likely, there is no God. Ch"Vsh. (I have to add that, he might be listening).

    Because if there WOULD be a God, he would have given us instructions and there'd be an OJ or equivalent.

    Poor logic?

    I think Logic dictates the following.

    If we accept the following premise

    "If A then B"


    It also implies

    "If not B then not A"





    See, a common argument in support of TMS goes something like this. First they get you to agree that there's a God; by whatever argument you accede to. And that's not difficult to do, because I think most people for whatever reason, feel there's a God. V'ani Bsocham. Then the argument becomes, it makes no sense for God to have created a world and not given directions to man. Therefore TMS is true!

    But once you've studied it and ruled out TMS, that same argument turn into an argument aginst God.

    Am I missing something?

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 0 comments Do NOT use. links to this post