Pages

Jump to bottom

19 comments

1 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 7:08:26am

Somehow I think I’ve heard these sentiments before……in another context.

2 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 7:12:33am

The YNet opinion piece is a little bit more complex, saying that the general Israeli public was willing to let the Orthodox control matters relating to halacha, for obvious reasons, acknowledging their expertise. However, recent events have called into question that expertise, and rightly so.

There has never been any question that the greatest threat to the existence of the Jewish people has come from within—beginning with the 10 tests of Gd, and subsequent warnings from Moses and the Prophets.

The opinion piece is simply calling for a new conversation—and new conversations should not be alien to the orthodox world, since study consists of studying the art of conversation, as applied to law. Our daily meditations should explore new territory, again, new conversations.

So the idea of new conversations should not be threatening—unless people are putting the words of the Rebbe over the actions of Aaron, which should not happen by any standard.

3 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 7:18:14am

re: #2 Bob Levin

The op-ed itself is very reasonable, calling for dialogue and a willingness to compromise from both sides—something that I have been saying all along.

What’s scary are the comments.

4 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 7:43:03am

re: #3 Alouette

Those comments are always there, in any article or op-ed in JPost or YNet. But this week’s Torah portion specifically mentions these people, and we study the remedy, and we study what brings them out from under the rocks.

Is it possible that the Orthodox could learn new aspects and approaches to Torah from secular Israelis? That’s the precondition for meaningful dialogue, and it’s the precondition for meaningful exegesis of the Torah portion.

So, where do we begin? When do we begin? How do we begin?

These commenter folks show up about 3 times in the Torah, plus a holiday inspired by them, every year. They are constant. No matter how serious we are about them, it’s not serious enough. At the very least, the spirit of innovation should dominate discussions about these people—new approaches to seeing them, new approaches to scripture, new approaches to our Judaism.

And by new, I mean old, because we were pretty good at this at one time. Someone once told me about the study halls around the Kotel—just like 17th century Poland, and they said this with reverence. Well, if we’re revering 17th century Poland, our car ain’t running.

Just look who’s surrounding the car port for proof.

5 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 8:01:34am

When you say “these people” can you be more specific?

And “these people” the Haredim or are “these people” the Talkbackers who think mass extermination is a good idea?

6 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 8:19:22am

re: #5 Alouette

C’maan. Open the playbook Chumash. Amalek, Purim. When are we going to get to work on this problem? Instead, we’re romancing the good old days in Europe—does this make any sense?

7 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 9:22:24am

re: #3 Alouette

The op-ed itself is very reasonable, calling for dialogue and a willingness to compromise from both sides—something that I have been saying all along.

What’s scary are the comments.

What’s scary is that God does not compromise and it is on all sides, is it not?/

8 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 9:39:16am

re: #7 Naso Tang

What’s scary is that God does not compromise and it is on all sides, is it not?/

I guess it depends on who you are talking to, but in our culture, Gd does compromise, pretty much all of the time. The human heart not only gets free reign, but even assistance. I can give you a paraphrase, and I can’t recall the exact citation—but if a person desires to become the world’s greatest thief, Gd will help that person become the world’s greatest thief. This principle applies to all of humanity, although I don’t know if this principle is universal among all religions.

Which lays cause and effect back in the lap of people. It’s on us.

The only time in scripture where this does not happen, that I’m aware of, is in the story of Balaam, who does not say what he so desperately wants to say, because Gd simply won’t allow it. But that’s about it.

9 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 9:53:11am

re: #8 Bob Levin

Yes, but you are a reasonable person. The cheapest excuse in existence is the one that claims to be doing God’s will as a reason not to compromise. We see it in the USA too.

10 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 10:30:23am

re: #9 Naso Tang

Well, thank you. I think I was pretty fortunate to have a teacher that showed me the difference between ‘reading’ and ‘studying’. The two activities aren’t the same. If you read something three times, you still haven’t studied it. And this is not a skill that we learn in school. I managed to jump into a haystack and land on the needle.

There are many, many readers—in all fields, and very few who study.

And thank you for that wonderful set up—because the key to this week’s Torah portion is knowing the difference between reading and studying.

Heyyyy Abbbottt!

11 CuriousLurker  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:19:57pm

re: #10 Bob Levin

Well, thank you. I think I was pretty fortunate to have a teacher that showed me the difference between ‘reading’ and ‘studying’. The two activities aren’t the same. If you read something three times, you still haven’t studied it. And this is not a skill that we learn in school. I managed to jump into a haystack and land on the needle.

There are many, many readers—in all fields, and very few who study.

In our tradition, any person with knowledge who doesn’t utilize it is likened to a donkey laden with books.

It’s true that there are many readers and few who study, but I’d take it a step further and say there are even fewer who put that study into practice. It’s all good & well to be aware that there’s a difference between the reading & studying, but actually making the commitment take that path is quite another thing as the constant struggle with the (lower) self is a long, arduous, and often unpleasant journey with no guarantee of ever reaching the desired destination.

There are so many pitfalls, so many times that you will trip and fall flat on your face…it requires a huge amount of steadfastness to keep picking yourself up off the ground, dusting yourself off, and then resuming forward motion inch-by-inch, hoping that you can make decent headway before dropping dead. This is what’s referred to as the “greater jihad” in Islam.

Anyway, my point is just to emphasize how imperative it is that action—personal striving in the form of serious commitment to self-monitoring/awareness & improvement—accompany studying and talking about knowledge.

Have you ever heard of the book, The Conference of the Birds, by the 12th century Persian poet Attar? That journey is exactly what it’s about. One of my favorite stories from it is about striving, no matter how humble:

The Old Woman Who Wanted to Buy Joseph

It is said that when they sold Joseph to the Egyptians the latter treated him kindly. There were many buyers so the merchants priced him at from five to ten times his weight in musk. Meanwhile, in a state of agitation, an old woman ran up, and going among the buyers said to an Egyptian: “Let me buy the Canaanite, for I long to possess that young man. I have spun ten spools of thread to pay for him so take them and give me Joseph and say no more about it.”

The merchants smiled and said: “Your simplicity has misled you. This unique pearl is not for you; they have already offered a hundred treasures for him. How can you bid against them with your spools of thread?” The old woman, looking into their faces, said: “I know very well that you will not sell him for so little, but it is enough for me that my friends and enemies will say, ‘this old woman has been among those who wished to buy Joseph’.”

He who is without aspiration will never reach the boundless kingdom. Possessed of this lofty ambition a great prince regarded his worldly kingdom as ashes. When he realized the emptiness of temporal royalty, he decided that spiritual royalty was worth a thousand kingdoms of the world.

One last thought on this, to broaden the scope in light of your comment #2, and to attempt to take the idea of (spiritual) enlightenment to its logical conclusion:

As far as I know, all—or at least most—traditions have some concept of nirvana, fana, the annihilation of the self (ego) that is a prerequisite for a state of true enlightenment.

Were humanity as a whole to reach that state, would it not obviate the need the need for such self-identifying labels as Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc.?

12 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:32:19pm

re: #11 CuriousLurker

Weighty concepts, with merit, but we must not forget that there are many who read and study with great dedication, and are still wrong.

13 CuriousLurker  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:55:18pm

re: #12 Naso Tang

Weighty concepts, with merit, but we must not forget that there are many who read and study with great dedication, and are still wrong.

Heh, yes, sort of a heavy subject for a Friday afternoon on a political blog.

You’re right, there are some who don’t realize that they’ve wandered far off the path and and become mired in mud, so to speak. That’s what the teachers/guides are there to help with. Some of those seekers of truth will eventually find their way back, even if it takes years, others simply never will…and they’ll reflect poorly on their fellow travelers. No matter though. As the old saying goes, “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

14 Bob Levin  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 2:52:59pm

re: #13 CuriousLurker

Late on a Friday. Ah, so…I will still maintain that there are few who study. I was in school for too many years, and if I didn’t find this one teacher of sociology…I’d only know how to read. Needle in a haystack.

The English language limits this discussion—which is really worth continuing if anyone who really gets how to do pull quotes wants to do this, just saying—but: reading—not fun, studying—fun in a very quiet way. If you only read, that annihilation of ego, not fun. If you study, it can also be enjoyable, kind of like when a soup comes together. Speaking of which.

Later dudes and dudettes.

15 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 4:24:37pm

re: #14 Bob Levin

It seems to me that the key is where one starts from, and how one learns where to start probably comes from outside oneself.

Some study what they know; some study what they don’t know.

16 CuriousLurker  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 4:58:34pm

re: #15 Naso Tang

Some study what they know; some study what they don’t know.

THIS. When we study and rely on only that which we already know (in our limited experience), we’re like the oilman’s parrot:

STORY II. The Oilman and his Parrot.

An oilman possessed a parrot which used to amuse him with its agreeable prattle, and to watch his shop when he went out. One day, when the parrot was alone in the shop, a cat upset one of the oil-jars. When the oilman returned home he thought that the parrot had done this mischief, and in his anger he smote the parrot such a blow on the head as made all its feathers drop off, and so stunned it that it lost the power of speech for several days. But one day the parrot saw a bald-headed man passing the shop, and recovering its speech, it cried out, “Pray, whose oil-jar did you upset?” The passers-by smiled at the parrot’s mistake in confounding baldness caused by age with the loss of its own feathers due to a blow.

—From the Masnavi i Ma’navi by Jalaluddin Rumi. Translated and abridged by E.H. Whinfield, M.A.

17 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 5:08:10pm

Assuming the clumsy assumption that the passerby had ESP and knew the meaning of the question, one can conclude that both parties were subject to the whim of their masters.

18 CuriousLurker  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 5:29:48pm

re: #17 Naso Tang

Well, yes, I guess the assumption is that it was a neighborhood store therefore the passers-by knew the story of how the parrot lost his feathers. Assumptions, assumptions, and more assumptions.

We make a lot of those, don’t we? Perhaps more than we’re aware of. I think we often mistake our assumptions, which (outside of a controlled scientific environment) are almost always based on incomplete and/or narrowly understood data, for facts. I know that I’ve been guilt of that more than once.

19 Achilles Tang  Fri, Feb 3, 2012 5:36:21pm

re: #18 CuriousLurker

True.


This page has been archived.
Comments are closed.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
#Thegreatpoolpondconversion - 210411The pumps are pumping along. Like they always should have.They go on when the sun comes out, they go off in the clouds and at night.We barely pay attention to their functioning and now can focus on the sight and ...
Dangerman
4 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 309 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 0 •
AFI - Dulcería (Official Music Video) "Dulcería" comes from AFI’s new album, Bodies, out June 11. Available for preorder everywhere now: riserecords.lnk.to ​ Directed by Adam Mason, produced by Elizabeth Mason LYRICSI saw sugar there, dancing in the sweet air. When my eyes began to ...
Thanos
5 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 450 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 8 •
The Shaolin Afronauts - Winds Across Gayanamede (Live at Adelaide Festival Centre) Recorded 21 January 2012 at Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide, Australia. Winds Across Gayanamede is taken from the second album from The Shaolin Afronauts; Quest Under Capricorn. The album drops 16 July on vinyl, CD and digital download via Freestyle ...
Thanos
6 days ago
Views: 397 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 4 •
#Thegreatpoolpondconversion - 210404Did you spend all week thinking about solar power and pumps? We didn't either.A week of flawless electrics and hydraulics.The first few days we went out to check on it like hourly.Now we don't even think about itThe proof of ...
Dangerman
1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 758 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 7
Tweets: 0 •
Springsteen - “Prove It All Night” Live at Cleveland Agora, 1978This is so perfect.
Secret ANTIFA Operative
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 893 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 3 •
Foster the People - Lamb’s Wool (Official Music Video) Official animated music video for Foster The People's single 'Lamb's Wool' off of their most recent EP 'In The Darkest Of Nights, Let The Birds Sing'. Listen to 'Lamb's Wool' here: stem.ffm.to Listen to 'Lamb's Wool (with Poolside)' here: ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 836 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 2 •
Talk Talk - It’s My Life (Live at Montreux 1986) Live at Montreux 1986 is a concert video release by the British synth pop band Talk Talk of a concert at 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The show was part of a tour that started in April 1986 ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 877 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 2 •
KALEO - Skinny [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO] Music and Lyrics by JJ Julius SonNew song “Skinny" available now: kaleo.lnk.toFrom the upcoming album Surface Sounds out 4/23: kaleo.lnk.to What makes you feel good?What makes you angry inside? Why don’t you love me?You want to fuck me or ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 2 days ago
Views: 929 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 3 •
Hania Rani - Live From Studio S2 Listen to 'Live from Studio S2': hania-rani.lnk.to The full live set video was premiered on the evening before the annual Piano Day worldwide celebrations (March 29th). The motivation to make the recording of the live performances which became the ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 2 days ago
Views: 964 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 •
Billy F Gibbons - West Coast Junkie “West Coast Junkie” the new music video by Billy F Gibbons from his forthcoming album ‘Hardware’, available on June 4th on Concord Records. Pre-order ‘Hardware’: found.eeGet signed and exclusive bundles: found.ee Directed by: Harry ReeseProduced by: Matt Sorum Listen ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 4 days ago
Views: 2,599 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 4 •