by Joel Rich
From the New York Times - 9/2/2009 - Eerily familiar:
Ayatollah Khamenei said this week that the study of social sciences “promotes doubts and uncertainty.” He urged “ardent defenders of Islam” to review the human sciences that are taught in Iran’s universities and that he said “promote secularism,” according to Iranian news services.
“Many of the humanities and liberal arts are based on philosophies whose foundations are materialism and disbelief in godly and Islamic teachings,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at a gathering of university students and professors on Sunday, according to IRNA, the state news agency. Teaching those “sciences leads to the loss of belief in godly and Islamic knowledge.”
For years, the study of subjects like philosophy and sociology has been viewed suspiciously by Iranian conservatives. During the earliest days of the Islamic Revolution, the nation’s leaders closed universities and tried to sanitize curriculums to fit their Islamic revolutionary ideology. The efforts ultimately failed under the weight of more pragmatic forces eager to engage with Western economies, and a student population hungry for contemporary ideas and contact with the West.
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A must listen. Mendelson’s time period and messianism. Listen to the response to Van Dome (sp?) – does it apply to us today (where do our loyalties lie?).
R’MM – Jewish messianism is not anti-nationalistic because either we believe it but don’t think we can affect it or we just pay lip service!!! (As my friend counselor K taught me – “Oy,Tata Zisa”)
Universalistic messiah was not limited to reform! Fascinating tshuva concerning contributions to church building fund.
You had me at, “The Rav”! Yom Kippur sacrifice as a sacrifice of the Tzibbur = that of Knesset Yisrael which is greater than the sum of the individuals in the tzibbur, it is a single entity through time and space.
Rambam – mitzvah is to hear the shofar
Rabbeinu Tam – mitzvah is to blow the shofar
R’Weiss’s reconciliation – they agree the “maaseh” (act) is blowing and mahuut (kiyum?) is hearing, question is which is main element for blessing.
Some good mussar which could be summed up as don’t be people who are “hearing without listening”.
Don’t be haughty – it’s usually due to low self esteem. (Rich Family Crest – Al Yithalel chacham bechochmato…Ki im bezot yithalel hamithalel haskel veyadoa oti-- Rough translation- Don't be proud about what I gave you but what you do with it).
Be humble in prayer - nothing “is coming to you” (someone please explain to me those whose misheberach text is “because ploni commanded to bless them” or “because we pray for them"). This explains how we stand during tfilla (R’Aryeh – women with feet together – how about the possibility that the minhag is ancient and the reasons are reverse engineering? Please discuss possibly reverse engineered reasons as a basis for psak).
Famous R’Chaim on 2 types of Kavanah (me – affectation when Shatz says first bracha more slowly than others?).
An interesting, if over my head, analysis of a possible approach to animal sacrifice. Starts with the Talmudic story concerning the banishment of the desire for idol worship. This banishment included a trade off - causing sacrifices to be less meaningful to us.
Rambam explains the institution of animal sacrifice as a method to wean us away from idol worship. This could mean there is a universal impulse for this type of action which is being channeled to the worship HKB”H. Idol worship looks to achieve transcendence through peak physical (e.g. violence) experience, we seek to ritualize.
An introduction to the sources and how practices have changed over time (me – so you mean everyone saying their own kaddish may not have evolved as a mass kiddush hashem?).
Review of famous case in Amsterdam and response of the Chavot Yair. Worthwhile thinking about how “traditions” start in response to local needs if there is no obvious prohibition.
There seem to be a series of these available on www.613.org. I used to have a friend (hard to believe, I know) who purchased these and lent them out. IIRC the format was a halachic subject followed by mussar. Here it seems they’ve posted the mussar portions of some of his classes.
Why a 2-step process for man’s creation – 1st life, then ability to talk? We aren’t created complete but need development, thus experience counts (me – most people with experience seem to agree on this point J). We must consult gedolim with experience.
Mussar on responsibilities to family and community. Use “greatness of man” rather than “lowliness of man” when giving kids mussar. Story of Chofetz chalm crying and saying “Shabbos, Shabbos” as best mussar. [me – general rules are generally interesting, specific application varies by individual; and by individual by time and place – i.e. keep a lot of tools in your toolbox and think carefully about which to use and when]
Bringers of Shalom (peace) will see messiah – we suffer from lack of these folks even within orthodox community (interesting – doesn’t categorize M.O. as in or out of this group).
Ramban as a zionist propagandist! R’Frand as a clost Tzioni – recognizing Hashgacha’s role in 1948? (hmmm – I guess he hadn’t gotten the memo yet, or maybe I didn’t get the update).
Nicely done history of “The Rav” (as called by R’SZ Auerbach!).
Focus on Messianism may be a reaction to troubles (exile). Interesting, the only non-torah articulated value in Maimonidies 13 principals is messianism.
Rabbi Akiva introduced concept of a messianic mission distinct from a messianic person (Bar Kochba).
Original Muslims were not temple-centric nor messiah-centric. Shia were persecuted and do have messiah focus.
Discusses Rambam’s writings on topic.
Very philosophical stuff! Halacha isn’t reflected by reality, it’s applied to reality – like math there’s an “ideal” world and we see to what degree reality approximates the ideal (actual psak is not a major issue).
Metaphor of people who only can see shadows thinking they represent reality.
Different levels of Torah commandments (e.g. specifically written in torah vs. derived). Includes my favorite R’Weiss category “Ratzon Hatorah” (the Torah’s will) which is based on torah’s laws or stories. Includes some Elul mussar as well.
Why isn’t blowing 100 sounds on Rosh Hashana B’aal Tosif (adding on)? Why isn’t not blowing shofar on Shabbat B’aal Tigra (subtracting)?
Reconciling seemingly contradictory gemaras concerning “Lo Lishma” – the propriety of actions done for initially improper reasons. Defining Lshma – “proper” reasons. Categorization methodologies of Brisk and Baalei Tosfot (not considered – maybe the Talmudic authorities actually differed on these points?).
Yom Kippur – detailed analysis of eating and drinking prohibitions plus a dose of mussar.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
New OU Nach podcast series. Closer to R’Leibtag than R’Reisman! Interesting insights into Cyrus’s repatriation policies and religious beliefs (not quite monotheistic, more like “I’m gonna use every trick in the book…. I’m gonna make you love me” – The Temptations).
2-Lists of who came back to Israel (not a lot) and where (fairly small territory).
3-Begin to rebuild Beit Hamikdash; the Mizbeach was first. Viewed as continuation of 1st Beit Hamikdash but could not complete on a grand scale. Scene of those who had seen the first bayit crying while those who hadn’t were thrilled (me – see Horiyot 6a for a strange bit of demographics).
4-Construction on hold till year 2 of Daryavosh.
5 – need to prove permission to rebuild
6 – documentation confirmed & expanded
7 – Ezra appears – official backing of Persians for his interpretations
8 – Resources arrive
9 – Quakers (Chareidim) appear – intermarriage – Bad?
Thursday, September 03, 2009
by Joel Rich