Thursday, June 01, 2006

New Kid on the Blog

I just noticed that Gil Kobrin snuck in quietly with a new blog The Modern Mesorah http://modernmesorah.blogspot.com/

Welcome him as he seems to be a rational and committed Jew. Nowadays that is a rarity.

16 comments:

  1. Unfortunately it is a HUGE rarity. I was looking at not the gadol hador's blog and i totally disagree with him and others who claim that Judaism is not based on proof. We have proof of Judaism and i linked them to an article on www.mesora.org which proves that Judaism is the only true religion. I cant believe people will say anything in order that they don't have to feel responsible for their actions of violating the Torah.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are right. Kabbalah has so christianized Judaism by making "faith" the central dogma.

    If it "feels" good it must be true. So did Avodah Zara - feel good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. David G: Perhaps you can share this "proof" with the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  4. See here:http://yediah.blogspot.com/2006/05/does-god-exist.html

    and
    http://yediah.blogspot.com/2006/02/negative-knowledge-essential-doctrine.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. and JF I know Russel on contingency.

    I don't find him convincing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. jewishskeptic6/01/2006 8:15 PM

    I want to make 2 observations.

    1)Whenever I have a discussion with Orthodox Jews(I mean real ones,not those who want to have it both ways.In praxis keeping Halacha & in Hashkafah kofrim gmurim,Bereshis is myth,no yetsias Mitsraim,etc.),they always start off by talking about God.

    I keep telling them that this does'nt lead anywhere.
    By definition he is unknowable,so how can you talk about Him?

    What you can discuss is the history & the Torah.they are tangible. We have to investigate whether there is any truth to what is claimed.

    So we have to start not with God,but with the tangible Book that is claimed to have been given by this Unknowable to Moshe.

    I am not going to 'maaleh gerah' all that's been said about the Kuzari proof,but iit's utterly unacceptable.

    I always say that instead of all those wonderous & mighty miracles,
    God could have seen to it that an old manuscipt of the Torah-let's say 3000 yrs old-& could be scientificaly dated,& it would be identical to our Torah,or very close to it.
    That's not asking too much.That's much less than 'kriat yam-suf',or the miracles of Eliyahu & Elisha!

    Would that make me a believer?
    Who knows,maybe that would be an incentive,but as of now we have nothing credible.
    I am convinced no such manuscript exists.& if there is it's completely different than our Torah.
    That's why the Chareidi -dati world is so much against archeological digs. They are afraid what might turn up...

    2) I live at the moment in Israel,
    & I notice that Judaism has become very superstitious.
    I have been to many countries & I havn't seen as much superstition as here.
    I always thought of the Jews as 'am chacham ve'navon',apparantly I was wrong.
    Judaism has blended with the New Age! This has infiltrated even into the Charedi world,to an extant.
    Everyone runs to Babbot,Kabbalists,holy rabbis,coffee readers ,taarot cards diviners,etc. All go to them ,religios & secular.
    & almost naked girls have the obsession to kiss mezzuzot.

    I suppose this is the new face of Judaism.

    ReplyDelete
  7. JS.

    Re 1. I understand where you are coming from and others have argued the same. I disagree and feel that I have not been able to convey my point. I will try again. Avrohom found God without the Torah. He found Him through nature, Mi bara Eileh, which is the causation argument. He knew God as unknowable but that he existed. He was trying to understand Him from the result of his actions that is the Passuk Lema'an asher Yetzaveh ... veshomru derech Hashem la'asos tzedakah umishpat. That is the same as veholachta Bidrochov.

    The Torah is a sepearte gift to Jews to help them accomplish what Avrohom did without it. That to my mind is the chazal about avrohom keeping the Torah. Forget the pshetlich it simply means he accomplished the same without having Torah, he figured out veholachto bidrochov on his own.

    Torah min Hashamayim is a separate issue altogether and has nothing to do with God but with Kiyum Mitzvos. It has to do with it not being changeable. Not accepting Moshe's special Nevuah allows for Christianity Islam.


    Re 2. I am just as distressed as you are and it is the fault of the Kuzari and subsequently Ramban's view having won out. Although they themselves were far from the superstition that we witness, their ideas allowed for Kabbalah to flourish, Arizal to be seen as legitimate and all the rest is history. I have posted about it a little, I am writing a post about Olam Haba and neshama now and will be spending a lot on this. One of the reasons I started this blog is the frustration of all the wrong theology that is taught nowadays and the resulting Avoda Zara including among the so called Gedolim. It is painful to see people on blogosphere who have lost their Emunah because of the unprovable canards they were fed. I don't have all the answers but i have understood so many of the questions I used to have that I am confident i will find answers to the others if I persevere and live long enough.

    ReplyDelete
  8. jewishskeptic6/04/2006 4:18 PM

    DG
    I have read & reread your comment & I am really trying to understand you.

    You write " He found Him through nature, Mi bara Eileh, which is the causation argument. He knew God as unknowable but that he existed. He was trying to understand Him from the result of his actions that is the Passuk Lema'an asher Yetzaveh"

    You must be aware that not everyone is convinced by the causation argument. Great minds like Kant,Hume & many others going back to ancient times have rejected it. So on what basis do you accept that.
    Besides, the " mi bara eileh" is not stated with regard to Avraham,but only in Psalms & Later Prophets & specifically by Chazal.

    " He was trying to understand Him from the result of his actions"
    From which 'actions'? From Nature that is violent & the living world which is 'red in tooth & claw'?

    "

    Torah min Hashamayim is a separate issue altogether and has nothing to do with God but with Kiyum Mitzvos"
    No,it's not a separate issue .
    IT IS THE ISSUE!
    You believe in Judaism because of it's history(without the stories there is no Judaism),and ONLY BECAUSE IT'S WRITTEN IN THE TORAH!
    &THAT THE TORAH IS MIN HA'SHAMAYIM!
    your philosophical explanations only come LATER.
    But when I ask you why do you believe? You will start off with Avraham etc. But your assumption requires proof.
    That's called begging the question.
    Reminds me of jingle I used to hear as a youngster 'Jesus loves me this I know,because the Bible tell s me so'.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Read this article for proof of Judiasm as the ONLY TRUE religion.

    http://www.mesora.org/torahfromsinai.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous, I know that article and have read it several times and have a hard time with it.I will explain when I have the opportunity.

    JS,

    I know Causation argument is seen as a problem by some. However I see it as a a de minimus argument - "Without knowing the nature or essence of G-d, we know that G-d exists because we know from our experience that things, contingent things exist. If anything exists, and obviously finite, contingent things, such as you and I, do exist, then it cannot be the case that everything that exists is contingent. To be contingent means that the existence of the contingent thing is contingent upon, depends upon, some other thing or being. But not everything can be dependent on something else, i.e., not everything can have been caused by, or brought into being by, something else. At least one entity must be in existence by itself, independent of anything else, must have come into being (if it did not exist eternally) by itself, must be its own cause, i.e. must exist necessarily not contingently, and its non - existence is inconceivable. This necessarily existent being is what we call God... " (Isaac Franck)

    That is what I meant when i said MiBara Eileh not necessarily as quoted just a Kitzur of this argument. I have read several times the Copleston - Russell argument and I still find the above quote convincing.

    >From Nature that is violent & the living world which is 'red in tooth & claw'?

    True but also awe inspiring with its beauty and workings. It has taken man millions of years trying to understand it and he still is only scratching the surface. The issue of bad and good are separate issues that need to be addressed but do not detract from the awesome creation we observe. I think I can summarize that the universe is constructed in such a way that it has continuous and eternal existence programmed into it. That is good and man should learn from God to do the same, create and not destroy. That is the veholachto bidrochov I refer to.

    You see the problem taht I have with proving God from a religion perspective is that one immediately wants to find a personal God otherwise it is assumed that He is irrelevant. That is the arguments I get from GH, Ben Avuyah, Mis-nagid and others and they get frustrated. I don't see it that way. I am satisfied with the proof to the existence of a De- minimus God that is the cause of everything. That is not religion but simple logic. The question of what to do with that information is a theological issue.It is only here that religion kicks in and everything else comes into play. That is why Rambam insists that even idolaters knew that there is an unknowable God, that is why he claims that historically man always knew that God existed.

    I hope I make sense and I will try to post some more details to explain my position better.

    JS - I thank you again for your comments . They are extremely helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you have any questions on the article i linked everyone to you should check other articles addressing questions that people asked on this whole thing and i reccomend it because it will answer all your questions.

    ReplyDelete
  12. look for articles on questions on sinai

    ReplyDelete
  13. devils advocate6/05/2006 9:29 AM

    anonymous
    this is how I understand the arguments:
    main problem with article is it doesnt account for the fact that yidden forgot there was a torah.
    So how could the mesorah be perfect?
    If they forgot the torah, then maybe the "story" of sinai was a later invention and the people assumed it true since it was something that happened a long time ago. (think of the true story of the golem of prague which many believe is true, and have told their children it is true. They didnt lie, they thought it was true. But we now know its fiction.)

    Secondly, even in talmud, basic practices seem to remembered in complete opposite to other views.
    In fact we see that they as far back as chazal, they couldnt agree on some of the most basic observances. (think chanuka, tefillin etc.)

    FInally, its also clear that there were opposing views to chazal to who had the legitimate authority to mesorah. How does our perfect tradition account for that? We have chazal telling us they were wrong, but thats like the republicans saying the democrats are wrong, without ever reading the other sides views.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1)Whenever I have a discussion with Orthodox Jews(I mean real ones,not those who want to have it both ways.In praxis keeping Halacha & in Hashkafah kofrim gmurim,Bereshis is myth,no yetsias Mitsraim,etc.),they always start off by talking about God.
    I keep telling them that this does'nt lead anywhere.
    By definition he is unknowable,so how can you talk about Him?
    What you can discuss is the history & the Torah.they are tangible. We have to investigate whether there is any truth to what is claimed.
    So we have to start not with God,but with the tangible Book that is claimed to have been given by this Unknowable to Moshe.
    I am not going to 'maaleh gerah' all that's been said about the Kuzari proof,but iit's utterly unacceptable.
    I always say that instead of all those wonderous & mighty miracles,
    God could have seen to it that an old manuscipt of the Torah-let's say 3000 yrs old-& could be scientificaly dated,& it would be identical to our Torah,or very close to it.
    That's not asking too much.That's much less than 'kriat yam-suf',or the miracles of Eliyahu & Elisha!
    Would that make me a believer?
    Who knows,maybe that would be an incentive,but as of now we have nothing credible.
    I am convinced no such manuscript exists.& if there is it's completely different than our Torah.
    That's why the Chareidi -dati world is so much against archeological digs. They are afraid what might turn up...


    It seems to me that we should not expect conclusive proof when it comes to evaluating an historical phenomenon like the origins of the Torah, but rather a reasonable argument supporting our understanding (after all, once can not conclusively prove that Caesar was assassinated any more than one can conclusively prove that the Torah is of Divine origin).

    The goal is to be intellectually honest, consistent, and reasonable - not necessarily to have conclusive proof for ever article of belief in our cosmology. For after all (and taking the position of the true skeptics), who can positive and conclusively prove anything? All we have is high degrees of probability, but never certainty.

    2) I live at the moment in Israel,
    & I notice that Judaism has become very superstitious.
    I have been to many countries & I havn't seen as much superstition as here.
    I always thought of the Jews as 'am chacham ve'navon',apparantly I was wrong.
    Judaism has blended with the New Age! This has infiltrated even into the Charedi world,to an extant.
    Everyone runs to Babbot,Kabbalists,holy rabbis,coffee readers ,taarot cards diviners,etc. All go to them ,religios & secular.
    & almost naked girls have the obsession to kiss mezzuzot.
    I suppose this is the new face of Judaism.


    It is the unfortunate influence the nonJewish world has had on the Jews in exile. There is the idea that when the Jews leave this current galut, 4/5 will "get left behind," as happened in Egypt.

    You must be aware that not everyone is convinced by the causation argument. Great minds like Kant,Hume & many others going back to ancient times have rejected it. So on what basis do you accept that.

    "Great minds" is a rather subjective term. People who are unconvinced by the argument of causation do not hold by certain axioms that a human must accept in order to live a practical life. Remember, the Torah is as much a practical guidebook as it is a metaphysical manual.

    If they forgot the torah, then maybe the "story" of sinai was a later invention and the people assumed it true since it was something that happened a long time ago. (think of the true story of the golem of prague which many believe is true, and have told their children it is true. They didnt lie, they thought it was true. But we now know its fiction.)

    That would imply a mass and universal acceptance of unverified information, something that is highly improbable.

    Secondly, even in talmud, basic practices seem to remembered in complete opposite to other views.

    Practices are differentiated from facts in that the former exist as a function of reasoning while the latter exist independent of reasoning.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great site lots of usefull infomation here.
    »

    ReplyDelete
  16. I find some information here.

    ReplyDelete