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: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…