Tuesday, April 1, 2008

on non-Google DIY thinking

Though right about Google, they thought they had the answers from a Jewish egomaniac some 2,000 years ago.

What I have learned from my rabbis is that according to Dvorim 30: 1-12 and on, we are told that a Jew has Torah on the tip of his tongue, and he needs to use this tip-of-the tongue educated intuition to practically use Torah and Holocho. Shulkhon Oruch is for evry one of us to try and at least kn ow instinctively, versus going to a favorite rabbi-magician-mekubal to tell us in a dramatically Biblical way. The same verses say, "it's not high above heavens, or beyond the sea", and in the same spirit, far away, or in the mountains. I have been taught that we must think and analyze Torah and Holocho on our feet.

There is a cocnept of hassidus, which is separate from Hasidut (as a spiritual, charismatic movement). Hassidus is a type of religious behavior that is overly demonstrative, excessive, and/or based on unnecessarily and arbitrarily-sought out strictness. It also includes fanatical pilgrimage and visits to great rabbis, living or dead, often to ask them for easily explainable halochic clarification, or to receive a personal advice. Most of these activities are actually willingly divulged. Again, in line with what I have said in the above paragraph, a Jew who is in touch with holocho, and his rabbi, and reads (regularly) to learn will not find himself doing this Hassidus, and have more free time for that learning, and working out relationships with people in his everyday life - a boss, an employee, students, an grumpy neighbor, a business partner.

In the Shmonay Esrey blessings havdolo we also invoke our ability to distinguish between different degrees of holiness, i.e., an inspiration, a source, a mishnah, a sugya, a rishon, an acharon, a holocho. At the risk of sounding trite, I would say that we are smarter than we think.

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