Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Those Who Deny the Oral Law are Not Benign

I am not by nature a squeamish person.  As one example, as an undergraduate decided on my own to work learn about the skeletal system by removing the skeleton from a rabbit and mounting it.  My grandfather (who, interestingly enough was quite squeamish) had gotten me a book detailing the project (he really loved me; I really miss him).  The project took a few weeks and the college gave me space to keep my things and work on it.  That's not the proof I am not squeamish.  The spot I had was in the room where they prepared cadavers for the human anatomy class and the only time I had to work on the project was during lunch.  That's the proof.

I have seen many films depicting the horrors of the holocaust.  They are, of course, awful and sad; but only one gave me chills and was difficult to watch.  It was a short home movie that had been taken of Adolf Hitler, yimach sh'mo v'zichrono, spending some downtime with his family (siblings and their children) at the Berghof.  What was so chilling was watching Herr Hitler gaily playing with his nieces and nephews.  The scene I remember most was him dancing and them laughing.  If one didn't know better, they would think they were looking at a normal, decent, even nice, human being.

The truth is, I think that is precisely what he was; a nice guy, essentially normal and decent.  He had some crazy ideas about what was good and bad, but they were ideas that were part of the general Weltanschung (world view) that was extant at the time.  He certainly had many, many supporters; among them businessmen, university students, and scholars from all fields.

I know it doesn't make me popular to compare the leaders of those religions who deny the Torah sh'B'al Peh to the Nazis, but the comparisons are chillingly accurate.  Except, of course, that the Nazis were bent on destroying us physically, while those deniers are bent our destroying us spiritually.  At this point I shall just note without further comment that a Jew who has his body destroyed can still experience that for which he was created, Olam haBah, while one whose neshama is damaged is in for eternal suffering.

I have oft been told that I just don't understand the non-frum mindset.  I find that to be an odd charge.  I actually grew up attending Temples of the Reform Jewish Religion.  I attended their Sunday schools, observed my mother's conversion to that religion, and went to social events.  When I was about 10 my father had an argument with the rabbi, so we moved to a Synagogue of the Conservative Jewish Religion.  I attended their sunday school, after-school program for bar mitzvah training, regularly attended both Friday night and Saturday morning services, and ultimately had my bar mitzvah there.  I later taught sunday school in a Temple that housed both Conservative and Reform Jewish congregations.

I am afraid that I understand what is on the minds of those leaders all too well.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…