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Showing posts from December, 2010

Growth Through Hypocrisy

Wikipedia defines hypocrisy as:
Hypocrisy is the act of persistently pretending to hold beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually hold. Hypocrisy is thus a kind of lie.I was feeling particularly unimpressed with my actions one day and sighed, "I am such a hypocrite.";  which only made me feel worse, because I hate hypocrisy with a passion.  (I actually used the word "fraud", but I don't want to admit that in public.)  It was pointed out to me, however, that if I hate being hypocritical, that means that I don't define myself as exemplifying that character trait and so I am not a hypocrite.  (Oh gosh... does that mean I am being hypocritical about my hypocrisy?  Not going there...).  So I am making an effort not to regard myself as "a hypocrite", but rather as someone who acts (at times) hypocritically.

So lets begin anew: I was feeling particularly unimpressed with my actions one day and sighed, &q…

Thought for the Day: G-d is Not a Vending Machine

... that takes prayer in the top slot and dispenses results in the bottom tray.

You are wondering why I am pointing out the obvious?  Then I guess you don't know me so well; but I am saying it now davka because the fact that many people (mostly non-religious and non-orthodox Jewish) think this way came up recently.  A former colleague who is both a statistician and a religious atheist (i.e., dogmatic in her belief that reality just "poof" came into existence for no reason) very gleefully reported that a case study had been performed with two groups of sick people; one group had people praying for them, the other did not.  She told me with a note of triumph that  there was no statistically significant difference in their cure rates.  I told her my conclusion from those results: Sounds like proof that G-d doesn't always do exactly what you ask, even if you ask nicely; I am not shocked.

Not to let it rest so easily (after all, she is a religious atheist and feels compell…

Derech HaShem: 1:3;3,4 Two worlds

The Ramchal now explains to us the necessity of two very different stages of our life.  First, olam haze (the here and now), that is very well known to us; or at least we feel that way.  The second, some mysterious after life know as olam haba, that we believe in but somehow does not have the same reality to us.  We will see, though, that in fact the situation is quite the opposite: olam haba is the more "real" of our realities and olam haze is a temporary preparation arena for olam haba.  In fact, it is not unlike the development of the fetus in the womb as preparation for life in this world.

In order to most exquisitely experience the relationship with his Creator, one must be the master of his own perfection as a human being.  That is, he must remove all of his own flaws and also strengthen positive traits; both through his own efforts.  Obviously, that means that man must start off in a state of imperfection.  However that statement bears some contemplation.  For as alon…