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estd Dedicated to Scriptural and Rabbinic Verification of Jewish Beliefs and Practices AFFILIATES: 1997 www.USAIsrael.org EMAIL USAISRAEL.ORG: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com WEBSITE: T.E.A.C.H: www.mesora.org www.mesora.org/teach/ teachfs.asp CIRCULATION: emailed: 40,000 EMAIL T.E.A.C.H: avail. online: 30,000 firstname.lastname@example.org Volume I, No. 4...Feb. 22, 2002 www.mesora.org/jewishtimes.pdf Download and Print Free In this issue: Haman's Prayer Haman's intolerance 1, 2, 4 1 Intolerance Q&A's: Purpose of emotions 1 rabbi moshe ben-chaim God desires we use our minds 3 Judaism vs other religions 3 In the Megillas Esther read on Purim, in Fortunetellers 3, 4, 5 chapter 3, verse 4, we learn that the other Shadim: demons 4 ministers had informed Haman that False beliefs: "Superstition" 5 Mordechai was not following Haman's Hate and love 5 command to bow to him. Why did these ministers in King Achashverosh's court need to inform Suggested Readings: Haman? Wouldn't Haman know this, see these and other articles at our site seeing Mordechai perfectly erect? Either Haman knew or didn't know Maimonides' 13 about Mordechai's refusal. If Haman PRINCIPLES The basic foundations which all Jews didn't know, then it makes sense in 3:5 that his anger flared upon hearing of The basic foundations which all Jews must know as true. We urge you to read them: must know as true. We urge you to read them: Mordechai's deviation. As this is in line www.mesora.org/13principles.html www.mesora.org/13principles.html with Haman's nature. When he would first hear of something going against his God's Existence egocentricity, Haman would be angered. Proof? Belief or But perhaps Haman DID in fact know that Mordechai didn't bow to him. This is more plausible, as why should Haman alone be ignorant of Mordechai's behavior? www.mesora.org/belieforproof.html www.mesora.org/belieforproof.html This being the case, we must ask, "Why God? didn't make a big deal about Mordechai's God's Land refusal immediately upon his first Without encounter of Mordechai's disobedience?" One possibility is that the very same ego an open letter to the jewish community: an open letter to the jewish community: which caused Haman to desire others to ask your children: www.mesora.org/openletter/openletter2.html www.mesora.org/openletter/openletter2.html "How many stories within the Megilla happened because Haman was angry?" bow to him, would also cause him to avoid Questions & Answers the reality of that one person disgracing him. This is intolerable to Haman, and Prayer rabbi israel chait perhaps why he didn't face it until it was brought out in the open in 3:4 (suggested E-mail us: email@example.com by Eva Tavlin). Only now did Haman have to deal with it as he could no longer act for Reader: God gave us emotions for a lending money to the poor, and negatively The preamble to prayer is "know his own motives alone, i.e., suppressing purpose; however, if we are to approach His by speaking loshon hora. In some cases we before whom you stand." If one's ideas this disturbing fact. Similarly, Pharaoh wisdom entirely from a rational standpoint, must force ourselves to maintain more concerning the One he is praying to are forgot Joseph after Joseph's death. A rabbi then what are the proper role of emotions positive feelings, as in helping a friend,....at corrupt his prayers must be equally explained, Pharaoh could not tolerate the and sentimentality in our lives and service the same time, we must subjugate our corrupt. I think it should be made clear loss of Joseph. He was in great need of of the Divine Will? "natural" feelings of resistance of helping that one of the cardinal principles of Joseph's insights as a security that he, Mesora: The Talmud states that they once your enemy when his burden is great to the our faith is that the Creator lacks Pharaoh, could successfully rule Egypt. tied up the instincts - also referred to as the Torah's loftier goals. nothing, needs nothing, and obtains Therefore, upon Joseph's death, Pharaoh yetzer hara - and this resulted in chickens Why God created man "this way" with nothing from his creatures. God gains feigned complete ignorance of the entire not laying eggs, and man not moving to instincts, is an area of knowledge which we nothing from our worship of Him. We era of Joseph as a means to say, "I never accomplish anything. Emotions are needed cannot obtain answers. However, man can recite this in our prayer of Neila on needed him and I am a capable ruler to drive man. He needs the psychological examine creation and understand God's Yom Kippur "And even if he (man) is independent of another's assistance". Such design of an "energy source". This wisdom from the perspective of the righteous what [benefit] does he give a denial allows Pharaoh to feel capable emotional energy drives man, motivates observer, as this is how He designed our you?" This is based on a verse in Job once again. Haman acted as Pharaoh, him, and is responsible in all its forms for minds to operate. (35:7). Nachmanides expands on this denying Mordechai's blatant opposition, man's accomplishments. Besides being the fuel of man's actions, topic in Deuteronomy (22:6) and but only to the point that the matter was no Emotions, or the yetzer hara, are the emotions contribute to numerous states, "our words [of praise] and longer avoidable. comprised of feelings of hate, revenge, love, enjoyments, such as learning, family, remembrances of his wonders are Reverting to the Megilla, the other passion, rejection, anticipation, sensitivity, friends and experiences. God designed man considered as nothingness and ministers in the courtyard who brought this jealousy, dignity, and many others. God's to live in this happy state. God also emptiness to Him". He states news to Haman did so as they didn't want plan is that man harness these instincts and designed man with a natural curiosity which unequivocally that all the mitzvos we to see Mordechai getting away with it. This use them in service of the Torah. Harnessing propels man to appreciate Torah. New do are only for our own benefit and is why the passage states "to see if emotions for Torah's goals can be expressed insights in turn encourage man to seek (continued on page 2) Mordechai's position would stand". positively as in loving your neighbor, further understanding of the Creator. funds required for seudas purim for the poor First American Payment Systems please make checks payable to: Ezer Yoldot Hamercazi USA mailing address: 1312 44th St. Suite # 247 Brooklyn, NY 11219 Creditcard Processing - Merchant Accounts - Low Fees Israel mailing address: P.O.B. 50125 Jerusalem 91502 Israel ranked for best services: www.FAPS.com Volume I, No. 4...Feb. 22, 2002 www.Mesora.org/JewishTimes.pdf Prayer rabbi israel chait does not need our prayers, see the Gemara Yoma 38a which states, 'everything which G-d created was under the term Amidah from the verse in Genesis 19:27 regarding Abraham's prayer. The second is the change that righteous are qualitatively differentiated from the prayers of the ordinary person; that the righteous, only for His own honor and purpose takes place in man when he thinks because their knowledge of G-d is (continued from page 1) (Proverbs 16:4).'" If one would hear of through and organizes his priorities in different and their knowledge of prayer give no benefit whatsoever to the someone who had children for the sole life. The word Tefillah comes from the is different, in their act of praying Creator, "This is something that is purpose of having them praise him word "peelayle" which means to judge, fulfill the potential of man that G-d has agreed upon by all our Rabbis." when they reached the age of four, as the above author in the Otzar given him through prayer. As Rambam Similarly Maimonides in his Guide what would one think of such a Hatefillos says, "to clarify the thoughts says regarding the love of G-d, one's states clearly that no change or emotion person? Would one not think he is that occur in the heart in a confused love of G-d cannot exceed his can be predicated of God (Guide book doubly imperfect, because he is manner". This is derived from the knowledge of G-d (Laws of 1, chap.55). He further states that the overcome by his desire and need for second term for Tefillah "sichah" from Repentance, Ch. 10 Law 6). So too in gravest of sins is to have a wrong prayer, and because he is moved by the Genesis 24:63 regarding Issac's prayer. prayer one's potential for prayer cannot opinion of God (ibid. chap.36). One praise of a four year old? How can we The third change takes place when be realized in excess of his knowledge must never think that they, through ascribe to G-d, Heaven forbid, such man, through his free will and and perfection. Thus only the righteous their prayers, can produce some kind of imperfection? creativity, presents before G-d an truly fulfill G-d's will concerning affect in the Creator of the Universe. Let us take the statement of our alternative life style, a change in his or prayer. The Rabbis do not mean, Such an idea is not only absurd it is Sages "why did G-d make our her plans, as Hannah did when she Heaven forbid the notion, that G-d, the blasphemous. He who believes such an Patriarchs and Matriarchs childless? stated to G-d (Samuel 1:11) "If you Creator of the universe, is in want or in idea would, in the words of the Because G-d desires the prayers of the will... give to your handmaid a man a state of loneliness waiting for some Rambam, "unconsciously at least incur righteous (Yevamos 64a)". What would child then I will give him to the Lord kind of satisfaction that he will receive the guilt of profanity and blasphemy." we think of someone who tormented all the days of his life." This is derived when His creatures praise Him or ask Rambam states in the Yad, Laws another person so that they turn to him from the third term for prayer, "pegiah" Him for something. How can we think Concerning the Fundamentals of our for help? Would we not regard him as from Genesis 28:11 regarding Jacob's that man could praise G-d in any Faith, Ch.1 Law 11, "and He does not self-seeking and even vicious? How prayer. Tefillah is the great medium manner that would be satisfactory to change, for there is nothing that can then can we ascribe such an which G-d gave to man by means of Him, when our teacher Moses, the cause change in Him. There does not imperfection, Heaven forbid, to the which he can change himself. He can greatest of our species, was unable to exist in Him... anger or laughter, Creator? Is it not obvious that these then establish a new destiny for himself comprehend G-d Himself in any way, happiness or sadness..." It is patently words of our Sages are not to be taken in life and a new relationship with G-d. even through prophecy, as it is written clear from the Rambam and Ramban literally, but that they are metaphors It is not the Creator that changes. Man "because man cannot see Me and live that we cannot say of the Creator that that contain a hidden idea, a deeper does not influence the Creator as a (Exodus 33:20)", and could understand He is at one time sad, at another happy, meaning which we must search for? defendant influences a human judge no more than G-d's actions? Even the at one time lonely, at another fulfilled. It is for this reason the author of the who has emotions and is subject to praise of a four year old of the greatest He, being perfect, does not change - Siddur Avodas Halev, states in his change. It is man himself who is human being would be closer to reality ever. We cannot affect Him or change introduction, "the agadic statements changed. Once he has changed the than our praise of G-d since the four Him no matter what we do, whether we according to their outward appearances same immutable Creator relates to him year old at least perceives something are righteous or evil, whether we pray without understanding their deep in a different way. about the one he is praising. It is thus or do not pray, whether we give charity meaning are prone to cause the blind to Anyone who thinks that through his patently clear as Ramban states, that all or do not give charity, whether we go astray on the way and to lead them prayer he effectuates a change in G-d our praise are as "nothingness and repent or do not repent. to darkness and not light (Otzar denies the third principle of our faith emptiness to Him." Two questions immediately come to Hatefillos p.20)". In this way he which we recite every day, that G-d is The above statement of our Sages mind: (1) If this is so, how can we pray explains Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi's not physical and does not have any was not meant to indicate that G-d is to G-d and expect Him to change our statement in Masechet Sofrim, "Those physical attributes. This means He is in seeking some satisfaction, only that G- destiny for the better, as Moses did who write agadic statements have no no way to be equated with any of His d's will, as expressed in His creation is when he prayed to G-d to forgive the place in the world to come." (It should creation whether inanimate or animate. being fulfilled. Whether His creation is Jews for the sin of the golden calf? (2) be understood that this was at a time The idea that man can cause a change fulfilled or not gives no satisfaction or How do we understand certain verses when we were prohibited to write the in the Creator is an attempt to project sadness to Him. Its purpose is to in the prophets and certain statements Oral Law). onto G-d human qualities. This is provide man with the opportunity to from our Sages which seem to indicate Why do we pray if we cannot strictly forbidden. As Maimonides approach G-d. In giving man free will the contrary? Before explaining the change G-d or exercise any influence quotes in the third principle of faith, G-d made it possible for him to fulfill answers to the above questions I would over Him? The answer is that the "And to whom can you liken Me his potential, one of the methods being like to state something very change that takes place through tefillah sayeth the Holy One (Isaiah through the medium of prayer. This is fundamental. When our Rishonim is not in G-d, but in ourselves. It is the 40:18,25)". Far be it from G-d to be accomplished on the highest level only (early commentaries) teach us a same changeless G-d who treats the like His creatures who because of their by the righteous not the ordinary principle of our faith we do not say that wicked one way and the righteous imperfection are subject to change for person whose ideas of G-d and prayer they did not know a particular another way, the person who repents better or for worse. Rambam makes it are distorted. Our Sages are teaching an statement of our Sages or verse of the one way and the one who refuses to clear that all statements in the Torah important idea, that the ignoramus fails Torah, but that they understood it repent another way, the one who prays that imply otherwise are metaphors to realize his potential not only in differently than it appears to us at first one way and the one who does not pray used by the Torah to teach us some Torah, but in prayer as well. sight. We say that they had the correct another way. Rambam gives an idea and are not to be taken literally The first half of this statement of our understanding of these statements and analogy. The same fire makes one (Yad ibid Law 12). Sages also teaches us an important verses and that we are deficient in our thing black, another white, one thing Now let us examine one of the concept. Our Sages wonder why our own understanding of them. We do not hard, another soft. The change occurs statements of our Sages. "Why were Patriarchs and Matriarchs were derive our own principles from these not because the fire is different but our Patriarchs and Matriarchs childless. Were they not righteous? The statements or verses and reject the because the objects that come in childless? Because G-d desires the answer is that sometimes G-d puts man ideas of our Rishonim. This is what is contact with it are different. Prayer prayers of the righteous (Yevamos in a state of want not because he has known as "emunat chachomim," faith changes man in three ways. First, the 64a)." Let us first examine the last half sinned, but in order that he may have in our Torah scholars. If we abandon change that takes place in man when he of this statement, "G-d desires the the opportunity to perfect himself. Our the above principle, we are destined to realizes that he is standing before the prayers of the righteous." Our Sages Patriarchs and Matriarchs were fail. One may ask as follows: "if G-d Creator of the universe. This comes are teaching that the prayers of the (continued on page 4, col. 1) Page 2 advertsing space available professional web design Web Design - Corporate Identity inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org award winning design: www.1sgdesign.com Volume I, No. 4...Feb. 22, 2002 www.Mesora.org/JewishTimes.pdf God Desires somewhat duplicated? Why not give Moses, the Torah. This acceptance is a found in the Oral Law - also handed to We Use Our Minds him something which could not be 100% proof of God's revelation to the Moses on Sinai. imitated at all? The answer is that G-d Jewish people. Had the event at Sinai The system of Jewish law - halacha - to Know Him wants man to recognize Him through never occurred, it would not have been is also a major component of Judaism. the use of his mind and exercise of his believed by that generation, and It guides man's every action from free will. He doesn't want us to be certainly not the rest of the world and waking and prayers, to blessings over rabbi reuven mann emotionally coerced into accepting all future generations. The only way it food, ethical and moral conduct, Him. Great miracles impress the became accepted is that it really business practices, social relationships, In Parsha Vau-era, we read about the emotions but since they don't engage happened. All witnesses then passed the and Holidays. Areas of man's life are encounter between Moshe and Pharaoh. the mind, their effect soon dissipates. story down to the following generations always placed in check as he judges G-d instructed Moshe that when Real change is achieved only through through today. each of his actions for Torah Pharaoh demanded proof that G-d had genuine knowledge and understanding. All other religions are founded on a compliance prior to commencement. spoken to him, he should throw down G-d wants us to use our minds in single person's claim that God appeared This process engages man's mind his staff and it would turn into a snake. searching for Him, discovering Him to him. Something of this nature cannot throughout his days when he is not Moshe proceeded to do this before and serving Him. Pharaoh sensed the be proven or disproven, is precisely involved in study - which must Pharaoh. Then something strange and significant difference between the why they formulated their religions comprise the majority of his waking unexpected occurred. Pharaoh miracles of Moshe and the counterfeit with this creed as their central basis. hours. summoned his magicians and they did displays of his servants. That is why the These other religions therefore must In truth, there is no comparison the exact same thing. As might be Pasuk says that "he hardened his heart resort to the requirement of blind between the Divinely designed system expected, Pharaoh was unimpressed and did not listen..." Had he not been acceptance, or faith. of Judaism and other man made with what Moshe had done and stubborn, he would have seen the truth. Besides this miraculous proof, religions for this precise reason that obstinately refused to obey G-d. The Judaism is unique in affirming the Judaism is founded on principles which there is no comparison between God episode concludes with the words, "And supreme value of knowledge in the are rational and comply with man's and man. Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not service of our Creator. We must, nature as a philosophical and This of course is a very small listen to them as G-d had spoken." therefore, strive to cultivate a love and psychological being. Not one law in all glimpse into Judaism. A more The question arises: What was sinful appreciation for the Divine Wisdom of Judaism goes against man's nature. encompassing appreciation of God's about Pharaoh's behavior? He certainly contained in our Torah. Unlike Catholicism which frowns upon wisdom is only possible through much had a right to demand proof that G-d Our Parsha has great relevance to the divorce, and praises celibacy, Judaism more study. had appeared to Moshe. Moreover, he contemporary situation. In every area of embraces the need at times for married was correct to ascertain that the deed significance; religion, societal morality, couples to divorce if they will be was truly miraculous. Thus he summoned his magicians and they were rightful ownership of Israel, we are challenged by false philosophies which happier that way, and Judaism also embraces man's need for sexual Fortunetellers able to achieve the same result. We masquerade as truth and ensnare the happiness and children. These are just rabbi moshe ben-chaim must ask: Why did G-d give Moshe a unlearned. Like Pharaoh, we must two examples of how Judaism sign which could be duplicated by choose between the authentic and the approaches life honestly, without Reader: My friend called another others? Isn't a miracle by definition a illusory. May we fulfill the ideal of the preconceived notions on how man friend on the phone, this friend was supernatural phenomenon which is Havdala prayer. May we have the should live. Catholicism makes man speaking to a rabbi known for his beyond the scope of human power and wisdom to discern between the true and into a mystical idea approaching their kaballah. this rabbi tells the lady "the thus can only be attributed to Divine the false, the holy and the profane, view of an angel, one who is above lady who just clicked in to the phone intervention? Israel and the nations. actual human drives and emotions. This call and started telling her things about If we study the text carefully, we can opposes Judaism at its core. Judaism her and she must come to him quick find the answer. Superficially, the act of How Judaism accepts that man's happiness must stem there is a great danger. Moshe and that of the magicians appear from his being in line with his nature. Now my friend who is a yemenite to be similar. However, they were Judaism realizes that besides man and not a pushover told me how this different. The Torah says, "And the Egyptian magicians did this with their Differs from satisfying his psychological needs, he has a much higher part which must be rabbi told him everything about him and hit it a direct bullseye. He told him "secret devices". When a skilled magician performs a trick, he controls the environment in which it is executed. Other Religions addressed - his soul. By man ignoring this essential part of his nature, he will never reach his ultimate, Divine mission to pick a letter out of an envelope and before he picked told him the letter, when my friend picked this letter the He sets up a stage, keeps the audience at rabbi moshe ben-chaim of attaching himself to God. Man rabbi said check the envelope all letters a certain distance and manages all of the achieves this mission and thereby - are different. His rabbi was not only "props". It is very impressive but we Reader: Is it Jewish belief that ultimate happiness - by his immersion able to predict this persons past but told know it is an illusion based on a very separates Jews, or is it practice, and in study of the creation and Torah, him if he does so and so 48 hours later skillful sleight of hand. The miracle of how? actualizing his true goal and purpose in so and so will happen by the way it did Moshe was done in the open without Mesora: What separates the Jewish an appreciation of the Creator. The happen like that the rabbi gave my any secret devices. A truly honest religion from all other religions is Torah, Prophets and Writings, along friend different types of amulets of observer would recognize and primarily it's proof of Divine origin as with the Talmud, were written in a different malachim to safeguard acknowledge the difference. The Pasuk demonstrated through God's revelation highly stylized format which takes him. One night his daughter woke up also points out that the staff of Moshe of Himself to all the Jews at Mount years to master. Their style is such, that and told her father she saw a malach swallowed those of the magicians. Thus Sinai. This was witnessed by as one delves deeper and deeper, he sitting on her sisters bed watching her the act of Moshe was clearly superior to approximately 3 million Jews as an finds more profound ideas. This sister. (this girl had no idea the parents his opponents. If Pharaoh was intelligent voice speaking to them from analysis and search satisfies man in its went to this rabbi) genuinely interested in the truth, he the fiery mountain. No other religion very process, as well as through factual I am thinking to go to this rabbi to would have investigated the matter makes such a claim because Divine enlightenment. As God possesses see what this is all about what do you carefully and recognized the difference revelation to the masses never happened infinite wisdom, man will always see think? Is it against the torah to go or is between the genuine miracle of Moshe to others, and as the Torah says, it will new insights provided he has toiled it like the Ramban holds, a science. (By and the deceptive magic of the never happen again. (Deut. 4:32-34) under the tutelage of those before him the way, people used to read clouds or illusionists. Judaism is the only religion whose trained in the method of Talmudic and listen to the birds to tell the future) Yet we may ask: Why did G-d give claim is supported by world acceptance Biblical exegesis, teamed with the Thank you. (Response on page 4, column 4) Moshe a miracle which could be of the Old Testament, the Five Books of essential modes of interpretations only Page 3 advertsing space available inquire at: email@example.com For Public Companies Seeking Funding - Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Volume I, No. 4...Feb. 22, 2002 www.Mesora.org/JewishTimes.pdf King David made mention of it here in we should not cross over the correct Psalms. path of life by treating fantasy as Shadim: Prayer When one is isolated, his desire to be reality, even when we 'see' it. How "Demons" around civilization causes him to much more so when we don't. project onto reality - he will think he I would also mention the Rashi in rabbi israel chait rabbi moshe ben-chaim sees someone. But it is all an illusion to parshas Noach, that Noach took two of satisfy his fear, or his loneliness. Thus, every species, "even shadim" in to the As in all cases, especially when one what the Rabbis are telling us not to ark. I believe this fits in well with our approaches an area where the Rabbis offer greetings to is in fact our theory. Noach was now embarking on a (continued from page 2) discuss unusual and almost impossible 'psychological fantasies'. Giving state of isolation aboard the ark. answered through their prayers. In phenomena, a rational and objective greetings to that which is a mirage, Perhaps Rashi is intimating this aspect addition they achieved thereby a approach must be kept. crosses the line from fantasy to reality, of isolation by suggesting higher degree of perfection. This If we look into the instances one of man's worst crimes. The Rabbis, euphemistically that Noach entered teaches us the great value of prayer regarding shadim, we find that the knowing that these shadim are only shadim into the ark. since we usually only think of prayer Rabbis tell us not to give greetings to a daydreams or illusions, enjoined us not as a means to obtain something we want and do not realize that the friend if we are in a field, or at night, lest he be a "shade". Other cases where to 'talk to them'. This only causes one to allow fantasy to have the same level Fortunetellers greatest benefit may result from the one is warned also include pits, and of truth as reality. There are so many rabbi moshe ben-chaim perfection we receive through the act mountain tops. areas of the Torah which deter man (continued from page 3) of praying itself. Additionally, a gemora on page 66a from living an illusory life, that the Now consider how in Tractate in Gittin states that if one hears a voice Rabbis saw it fit here to remove us Yevamos, our Sages through the calling from a pit saying, "divorce my from this behavior. Talking to a Mesora Response: First rule, don't medium of a metaphor explained all wife from me", we listen to him. The phantom of the mind gives credence to believe everything you hear. Many this in the few short words,"The Holy gemora asks, "perhaps it is a shade? No. it. The Torah desires that man abandon people tell stories over again and again, One blessed be He, longs to hear the It is when you see a shadow. But the all that is false, "m'dvar skeker tirchak", greatly distorting the original, which prayer of the righteous". shadim also can have shadows? No. "from falsehoods, keep distant". itself may be a fairy tale that was taken I of course cannot expound on You also saw a shadow of a shadow." This now explains why the gemora by a few as literal. These ridiculous every statement of our Sages in this On the surface, this is a very strange in Gittin said that if one saw a shadow, stores are constantly repeated. article, nor do I claim to understand gemora indeed. But there must be an then it is a real person, and you can Unfortunately, these stories replace every one of their statements. I only idea here. divorce the wife of this person in the truth and become the belief of many wish to stress how important caution There are a number of questions: pit, although you do not see him Jews. is when approaching a statement of 1) Can it be taken literally that there clearly. When a person creates these This rabbi clearly violates Torah our Sages, and how careful we must are demons running around the earth? illusion to comfort himself, that people laws. I do not have to explain what he be not to grasp at the first idea which Have any of us ever seen one? 2) Why are in fact around, he only creates the does. Although if you wish, see Saadia comes to our minds, especially where are we not admonished from greeting minimal information needed to Gaon in Emunos v'Daos where he such an idea contradicts the basic our friends in the city? Why is the convince himself of this. That is, either refutes magic, explaining the Egyptian premises of our faith. warning only in the fields, pits, night a form of the person's face, his height, "magicians" as using slight of hand. He In closing let me explain what is time, and mountain tops? Are shadim his hair color, or something else distinct says they had no powers. meant by Isaiah 43:7, "And everyone unable to enter cities? This is truly to the person he desires to be around. If halacha and reason opposes this that is called by my name I have odd. 3) What is the warning about? But what is not needed, is not created, 'rabbi', he can claim to lift buildings, created for my Glory." The Radak Will they harm us? If so, what's the such as a shadow. This offers the and I still wouldn't follow him. comments: "Israel, who believes in difference if we greet them or not? Can person's psyche no comfort, and is We are bound not to seek satisfaction Me, I have created for my Honor, so they not harm us equally whether we therefore not created by the fantasy. for our insecurities by these types of that they spread My Glory to all the greet them or not? 4) In the gemora in Therefore, if one sees a shadow, it most prohibited methods. Rather, the Torah people." Radak is saying that G-d's Gittin 66a, how does a shadow prove probably is a real person. The gemora teaches that these are all false, and compassion and kindness is not that it is not a shade? goes on to suggest that even shadim against God's desire that man use his limited to the nation of Israel, but I believe the answer to all these have shadows. This means that in some mind in all areas. includes all of mankind. It is questions can be approached by first cases, one will create a more defined incumbent upon Israel to be looking at one peculiar bit of illusion. This is possible, so the gemora You must know, catering to the concerned about all of humanity as information - that is, the location where adds that when there's a shadow of a instinctual need for security hurts a well as themselves, and to teach all of we are warned not to greet friends. All shadow, then for certain, it is not a person in the following ways: mankind the true ideas of Torah. This the cases, pits, fields, mountain tops, shade. This means that completely is stated in Isaiah 2:2,3 and elsewhere night time, are cases where one is in a detailed illusions do not exist, and 1) It directly violates God's words, throughout the Prophets. It is G-d's situation of isolation to some degree. hence, it must be a real person one is diluting the reverence owed to the will that all of mankind should have Either geographical isolation; mountain seeing, and greetings are then Divinely given Torah. the opportunity to live according to tops or fields, or psychological permitted. 2) He will be incapable of directing the Torah way of life. This is what the isolation; night. It now makes sense that shadim don't his life appropriately when the "false verse is teaching, not that G-d, What does isolation do to a person? enter cities. Deciphered, this mashal notion" no longer works. Heaven forbid the notion, is seeking Man, a social creature by definition, (allegory) means that images of friends 3) It teaches an unfair view of God, His own glorification through human fears isolation more than anything. This are not created when they are in reality as this position of relying on "mystics" recognition. is why solitary confinement is the worst near to us, as is found when we are in implies that God selected only these We should understand Proverbs type of imprisonment. Isolation is even cities. Here, no need exists in our few mystics to have a monopoly on 16:4 mentioned above in a like recognized by the Prophets as one of the minds to create illusions. At night how the remainder of mankind makes manner. It is for our benefit that we worst situations, and requires one to however, when we are psychologically their life decisions. recognize G-d's Glory, not for His. 'bench gomel', (praising G-d for being alone, or in fields, we will create 4) It cripples him from using his saved) as we read in Psalms, 107:4, images to comfort us. mind, so in future scenarios, he will May we live to see the day when "They wandered in the wilderness, in In summary, shadim, according to have no intelligent resources to help the earth will be filled with the the desolation of the path, they found no the Rabbis, are created to satisfy real himself out of his problems. knowledge of G-d as the waters cover inhabited city." Not finding inhabitants concerns, but they are fantasies created (continued on page 5) the sea (Isaiah 11:9). is utterly distressing, to the point that in our minds. As the Rabbis warned us, Page 4 advertsing space available professional marketer / copywriter inquire at: email@example.com & web producer inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org Volume I, No. 4...Feb. 22, 2002 www.Mesora.org/JewishTimes.pdf is a mere projection of one's wishes onto an these two commandments is needed. love ourselves is a realization that this False Notions: object , and this falsehood has somehow "Do not hate your brother in your heart." person is also created by God, and shares "Superstition" rabbi moshe ben-chaim achieved popularity. Ask someone why only red, and not green bendels work. They have no answer. Ask how a penny thrown into a fountain, or by blowing out birthday candles As Jews it is essential that we regard each other as brothers and sisters following the same path in life. That is, the path of God's will. Even those Jews who are not our goal to love God. So, what we are speaking about here is not love of the person himself, meaning his personality - but everything that pertains to the person. makes wishes a reality, and again they have following "the path" should still be viewed Which means that we rejoice in his good Reader: My question is about luck? Can no answer. Ask about lucky stars, or how a as our Jewish brethren. And of course, fortune and grieve over his misfortune. a person be born under a "lucky star"? person who is a created being can change converts are also God's children and are Isn't it that we grieve over his good fortune Someone, a religious person, recently nature, and again, no answer. Not even therefore, our brother and sisters. We and rejoice at his misfortune? Aren't we commented about a common friend who is Moses had the ability to alter nature. All should realize that together we have one jealous of his accomplishments and wish born September xth 19xx, that his birthdate miracles performed were rendered by God goal. So if we see our brother or sister they would crumble? But it is incumbent is a lucky number. Is there any religious alone. The Torah clearly says that Moses sinning in their speech or actions, or both - upon us all to assist our neighbors in substance behind such a statement. left Egypt and prayed to God to stop the we have an obligation to correct their wrong everything that furthers their wellbeing and Someone gave me your address today and I plagues. The same applies to the other doing at the time it occurs. Now this is an happiness. This is required of us even would be grateful for an answer. prophets. extremely difficult task that most of us regarding someone whose personality Mesora: An intelligent person must ask Rational thinking is at he core of would rather ignore, hoping that our irritates us. If he should fall we cannot themselves why these good luck charms Judaism. If something makes no sense to us, obligation to rebuke will just "go away." look at this as an opportunity for us to rise - exist. The answer is, that all imagined we do not follow it. This applies as well to a We know that it won't "go away" and to or to find great happiness in our own powerful objects have a person's insecurities written command in the Torah. Ibn Ezra, a ignore this obligation is actually a sin. We progress if it is at the expense of our as their origin. People are searching for a Rishon, a foremost commentator says this in are obligated to confront and inform our neighbor's disadvantage. security blanket. Some are in the forms of Exodus, 20:1. See our article. Ibn Ezra was fellow Jew without causing them any rabbits feet, wishbones, penny fountains, a great mind, and extolled by others such as embarrassment. In a kind, and gentle etc. The reason being, people are insecure Maimonides. He teaches that if a certain manner let him/her know of their wrongdoing. Whatever complaint we may Fortunetellers about what life holds for them, and seek to command instructed us to do some action rabbi moshe ben-chaim rid themselves of this security. which did not comply with reason, we could have against our brother or sister must be What is the Torah's approach? Judaism not perform it. Certainly then, we should brought honestly out in the open. "We must (continued from page 4) approaches all areas with the utmost abandon that which is not only ridiculous, talk it out patiently." With genuine concern rationality. We learn that there are many as lucky stars, but is commanded not to be for his/her well being, with tact and I am certain you would not quit your job types of warlocks, palm readers and followed. sensitivity we rebuke so that we do not sin. if this rabbi told you to do so. Even if he enchanters which are strictly forbidden by Judaism is based on following the mind, By remaining silent and not rebuking, we guessed the truth once or twice, you still the Torah. There are many permutations a through which method we penetrate sin and we will harbor negative feelings and would not place your sustenance at risk. crippled psyche develops. Some people falsehoods. The world at large may feel that hatred. "Because I only think of myself, I Why? Because you wisely realize that this want to know if they do a specific "action", certain objects contain fantastic powers. We am selfish, I will not rebuke I will take rabbi's tricks aren't following reason, and whether they will be successful. Others are should not be impressed with world revenge and I will sin. You hurt me, I am lack proof of duplication. unsure what "time of year" is a good time opinion. We should determine if a claim threatened and because I feel that somehow "Reason" is necessary in guiding one's for them. And some just want to be told stands the test of reason. Only then do we you control my reality, I want revenge." life. Reason is consistent. Since you desire things about themselves without asking any follow it. The Rambam in Hilchot De'os Chapter 6, a consistent livelihood, you must follow a questions. I wonder why when it comes to physical says: "Whoever has the possibility of realistic path to obtain it. Hopefully, you For each one of these questions, there are health, or running their businesses, these rebuking sinners and fails to do so is would not quit your job at the behest of a those who take advantage of the people who wish on stars do not go to witch considered responsible for that sin, for he rabbi. This proves to you the indispensable unenlightened, feigning the possession of doctors. All of a sudden, health and wealth had the opportunity to rebuke the sinner." need for "reason" inherent in the human such knowledge, and mislead people with become matters in which a proven, rational This statement is quoted from Shabbat 54b, mind. Following "false notions" and false "answers". It is interesting why these approach is selected. But in areas of greater which relates that, after the destruction of "tricks" is a deadly path and destroys the psychics and fortune tellers still sit in small, importance as one's philosophy, here, the Temple, the righteous were also slain mind. decrepit rooms charging a few dollars. Can't people readily run to palm readers. This tells mercilessly. Why were they subjected to For this reason, you would not quit your they predict a simple lottery number? you about what today's society values most. such punishment? Because they failed to job, even at the behest of this rabbi. I feel This disease exists even within Jewish To them, the body and the wallet are more rebuke the transgressors. this proves to even you, that reason is the circles, in the forms of red bendels to ward important than the soul. Even if nothing is resolved, no matter only course the human mind can accept. off "evil eyes", and rabbis' blessings This comparison is one way you can how frustrated we feel, no revenge may be Following tricks that cannot be repeated claiming to alter reality. show someone that they truly value rational taken. Frustration will cease when we do consistently is not something for which we The Talmud deals with peoples' thinking over superstition, and hopefully get what is commanded of us - to rebuke. It is are ready to place our lives on the line. blessings, but it is not as most understand. them back on the track to an intelligent life, important to constantly remind oneself, of A girl seeing a "malach" is definitely a In the Talmud, blessings took place where a abandoning the world of fantasy. our universal brotherhood and our behavior proof,...that the girl has imagination! Tell knowledgeable and objective individual must reflect this. It is absolutely necessary me, how does she know what a malach is would look into a person's nature and describe what he specifically needed, or he Hate and Love that we force ourselves to understand these ideas objectively and intelligently and that she can distinguish it? Should I also believe my friend's son if he says he saw a would point out a flaw. But this is using rivka olenick implement them in our lives. As difficult as monster? rational objectivity - not clairvoyance. The "Do not hate your brother in your heart." this is, it is true. We are all part of our People believe what they wish, just as Talmud actually states that two great rabbis (Leviticus 19:17,) "Love your neighbor as "Father's House". King Saul believed he heard Samuel both had their son's go to their students for a yourself." (Leviticus 19:18) If sentence 18 "Love your neighbor as yourself." The talking to him from the dead. Saul felt it blessing. Not the reverse. came first there would be no need for saying of Hillel is well known: "Do not do was true. If King Saul can make that (See our site for an article discussing this sentence 17, meaning if one is commanded unto thy neighbor that which thou wouldst mistake, we certainly can! topic.) to love, then obviously one is commanded hate to have done to thee." This is the These tales attract our emotions. How Returning to your question, there is no not to hate. However, if one is commanded guiding principle of all of our deeds. This is does the Torah teach us to react? To study rational explanation for lucky charms. No not to hate, does that mean one has to love.? turn changes selfishness and self-love into human nature, to understand our instincts, one who you will ever speak to in your The Torah is profound and not within our consideration and love of our neighbor. The to see through fallacy, and to guide these lifetime will be able to explain how these limited grasp of logic. A clearer strongest basic feeling towards God and drives away from beliefs in falsehood, charms work. This is because they don't. It understanding of the relationship between Man is love. To love our neighbor as we towards realization of reality. Page 5 national academy of continuing legal education free ny state cle credit available high quality used computer equipment & phones: 1-866-go-nacle email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
"Superstition - Mesora"