There is a limit to sexual freedom from the standpoint of the Torah. Reform Judaism is admirable in many ways but in this issue I think they are going against the Torah.
The right aspects of reform are its support of Israel and recognition of the importance of laws of the Torah between man and his fellow man. And my family in fact went to Temple Israel of Hollywood and that is where I had my bar mitzvah. But Reform is not careful enough when it comes to laws between God and man. In any case, I would still attend only Temple Israel as that was the place my parents decided was right for us. But personally I would try to be more careful about the laws of the Torah.
In any case when I decided to learn Torah I went to NY and was very happy with the Lithuanian yeshiva world. But if I was in LA, I still would go only to Temple Israel,  [and avoid the Orthodox there like the black plague.]


Rabbi Yochanan rejected Rabbi Zakai's idea completely. [Sanhedrin page 63] R Zakai had said one who does all four services to a false god in one span of forgetting is liable only one sin offering.

The reason was that bowing-השתחוויה is mentioned separately from service. So it is coming out to teach. And we have a principle כל דבר שהיה בכלל ויצא מן הכלל ללמד לא על עצמו יצא ללמד אלא על הכלל כולו יצא anything that was in a set and has been mentioned separately has come to teach something about the whole set.

My question here is from chapter Shevuat HaEdut page 37. We have an argument there about oaths which revolves around the question of a certain verse is a ריבוי ומיעוט וריבוי or כלל ופרט וכלל inclusion exclusion and inclusion or a set and individual and a set.
From what I can see that means there can be an argument of the same verse is considered an inclusion or just a general set. Maybe that is the reason of Rabbi Zakai? Did he think of service as a active force of inclusion? And not just a set? If so would that have not taken the two verse bowing and service out of the rule of  anything that was in a set and has been mentioned separately has come to teach something about the whole set. That means bowing wouldn't have had to teach anything about general service?
This is just a guess. I mentioned this in passing to my learning partner on Shabat and he did not think much of it. After all Rabbi Yochanan told Rabbi Zakai, "teach it on the street."
What i assume my learning partner meant was that even though in tractate Shavuot there is an argument about some verse if it is a set or a force of inclusion  כלל או ריבוי that does not tell us anything about our verse over here concerning bowing and service.
There is a basic canon of Torah that is different than the Christian canon. The basic Torah cannon includes the written Torah which we have together with Christians but also the Oral Law which Christians don't accept.
But the Torah cannon is not fluid. You can't just write a book in Hebrew about Torah topics and say it is a part of the Oral Law.--even though people do this all the time. The reason they do this is the basic Torah cannon is hard to read. It is not light literature. And it is hard to understand. And it is against worship of people. If some person has  a particular figure he admires and he wants to worship him or her, they add some book or series of books that  make worship of that person to be considered kosher and desirable.

1) The Torah cannon is the regular "Tenach" (Old Testament), the two TalmudsMechiltaSifraSifriTosephtaTorah CohanimMidrash Raba. It is  lot to read, but you could go through it in a year or two.  When you add the commentaries, it takes more time.
2) The Torah cannon also is different in the weight given to each section. The Oral Law is not given the same weight as the Written Law. We know it is just human beings trying to understand the Divine wisdom of Torah. But it has more weight that just anyone's opinion.
3) Halacha literature has a funny kind of status. Because it tends to stick with the Oral Law it partakes in some aspect of the respect we have for the Oral Law. It at least has the advantage that it is understandable. You don't need to spend two weeks on one page as you do when you study Talmud. But it has the disadvantage that it is not in fact the Oral Law. It is just someones opinion of what the oral law would say about some issue.
4) Kabalah also has a funny kind of status. It is not the Oral Law. But some people think it was handed down in some kind of secret tradition. Even so, it is not the Oral Law. It is, at best, a possible addition.
5) Shelomo Luria had a few choice words about the Rambam. Let's say he did not like the idea of anyone trying to rewrite the Oral Law--even someone of the stature of the Rambam. Nowadays the divorce between halacha and the Talmud is complete.  People that follow halacha don't know nor care what the Talmud says. And the modern Halacha books of the Charedi world are perversions of halacha as understood by the Talmud--even those of Rav Ovadia Joseph. Certainly Reb Ovadia did not intend this but the simplifications he introduced into a halacha are definite perversions.
E.g. you can crack nuts on Shabat and put the shells on the table. To say otherwise is a perversion of halacha. You can't make a pile. So what you have is people supposedly trying to make halacha simple but what they end up doing is distorting it into Picasso portraits.
And in fact even this is being stricter than you really have to be. Because that Mishna (Chapter Beit Shamai in Shabat where this issue comes from) is Beit Shamai--the Gemara reversed the order right there. The opinion of Beit Hillel right there is even shells of nuts that you can't eat are not mukza. [That is Rashi's opinion there on the page.] And that is  Stam Mishna (a mishna with no names) [Beit Hill and Beit Shamai is considered "stam"] coming after an argument and the Halacha is like Stam, Not to mention Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai who does not hold by mutza at all except for things that are not fit for any use and which one put away like figs on a roof to dry.[The halacha is in far like Rabbi Shimon but the Talmud itself does state cases in which R Shimon would agree there is Muktza --so I am not using his opinion here to find a permission. I am just mentioning it as another thing to add to the role call.] And if you look at the reason for muktzah the Raavad brings the reason for it don't apply when there is no public domain around.
So I am not saying Reb Ovadia is not right. Rather it is possible to simplify halacha without perverting it. Halacha today means taking the most strict opinion and making it stricter (in the name of making it "simple") and then presenting it as an unquestionable immutable law given at Mount Sinai.
So fine that Reb Ovadia wants to say that shells are muktza. Fine, he has plenty of support. All I am saying is when people write in his name not to peel the shells and put them on the table that is plainly false. and even the shells --it is not to everyone that they are mukza.


For Jews coming to the USA going to college was of prime importance. Today I would have to say that it would no longer be even desirable. Technical schools yes. but not college. Universities are no longer what they were. Allen Bloom saw this trend already in his The Closing of the American Mind but today I think is is deteriorating at an exponential rate.What Jews used to think collage was for--values and education I think you could find a lot more of in a Lithuanian Yeshiva based on authentic Torah. [All other types of yeshivas are counterfeits and cults.]
But as afar as technical skills goes you still need some program for that. But I did notice that they way people go about learning technical skills  depends too much on tricks. I recommend just taking the basic texts  and plowing through them. Say the words in order aloud and rapidly and go on until you have finished the whole book. [The the story of the wise son and the simple son in Sipurai Maasiot of Reb Nachman.] I mean the part after the simple son became successful and some minister advised him to learn and he learned more by his simple way than the wise son learned with his gigantic I.Q.. Also see the book Binyan Olam and Orchot Tzadikim and Sichot HaRan 76 which bring down the same basic idea.
There is a verse in the Torah which Rav Shick used as a proof of pantheism, "There is nothing without God" אין עוד מלבדו. But if you open the Rambam יסודי התורה א:ה you can see he explains that verse to mean there is nothing without God, not there is nothing but God.


In Israel, there is a tight kind of community that believes in just learning Torah. This is different from the American yeshiva world, in  that going to work in Israel is considered a bad thing. The thing that keeps this going is government stipends from the State of Israel. Some use this stipend system even though they could not care less about learning Torah. But that is to be expected with any kind of institution. There will always be people around that will try to misuse it.
In any case, it seems to be an ideal situation for people that want to learn Torah their whole lives. And some people manage within this system fairly well.  I can tell by a glance who is learning Torah seriously, and who is just playing games. And I can tell there are a considerable number of people that are very much into the idea of sitting and learning all their lives for the sake of Torah alone. You don't see this much in the USA, even if people say that that is what they are doing. But in Israel you see this in  cities where there are traditional Lithuanian yeshivas.

I should mention this is an ideal I believe in, even if I don't have the merit to do it myself.

On the other hand there is a parallel community of Religious Zionist yeshivas that do believe in work and this system also I approve of. And each one I think is good and I have no preference one over the other. But it is when I see abuse of either system that bothers me.
The advantage of the Religious Zionist is that you see less abuse of the system. If people want money, they work.  If they are satisfied with little, they learn. You don't get that freedom in the Lithuanian yeshivas. But in the Lithuanian yeshivas, you get a degree of learning that is of the highest quality.
Both systems and communities complement themselves. It is like a natural ecosystem with its natural balance.
I cant stress enough how essential this idea of sitting and learning ones whole life is in the Israeli system. And the source of the idea is legitimate. [See the Nefesh HaChaim from Chaim from Voloshin. He brings the main sources. But you can see this yourself in the Gemara and Rambam.] And throughout the ages this was considered the highest ideal. It is just that it was never realizable until the State of Israel was born. Before that it was kind of ad hoc. The best a person could do who wanted to be learning was to accept some rabbinical post but that often had the unfortunate effect of taking ones time away from Torah. There never was sufficient funds in any community to support anyone who wanted to get married and still spend all their time learning. So people found arrangements with rich father-in-laws. I am not saying you have to like this, or agree with this. It is just that you have to understand it in order to understand what the Litvak yeshiva world in Israel sees as the goal of life.
But in the USA you see less of this, perhaps because of the expenses involved.
Certainly I saw plenty of people in the three great NY yeshivas, Chaim Berlin, Mirrer, and Torah VeDaat that also wanted to spend their whole lives learning Torah and somehow managed it. But in no case did I ever see this without the support of the wife.

 I would have to say the Religious Zionist approach is probably closer to the actual path of the Torah.
Mainly because as you have guessed that living off charity ones whole life is not the path of Torah. And in the USA, I have even seen places that claim Torah is a legitimate means of making money in order to get people to support their kollels. [That is, of course, a lie; and a malicious one at that. It is meant to scam people.] So there are enough kinks in this system to get me thinking the Religious Zionist approach is better. Torah with Work. And if one does Torah alone, then he does not lie about what it is he is doing. Torah is not a means for a living. Rather there is a kind of permission  (to some opinions) to accept charity in order to learn. But that is all it is -- charity.

The Gemara says they asked in the attic of Natza  which is greater   learning Torah or doing mitzvot.
The conclusion  is paradoxical, Torah is greater because it leads to deeds. In Bava Kama R Yochanan says learning is greater and the gemara asks from the event in that attic. So it is thinking deeds are greater. The gemara there concludes teaching is greater. This does not depend on the question if learning is considered a act. We see in the Gemara in Sanhedrin 63 words are an act. It is something that is a small act. Still in any case God can account learning to be greater that deeds.




and once upon a time, people shot hordes of invaders crossing their borders, and threatening to destroy their way of life....

Dead on, BoredRoom. (Pun intended.) So if a man breaks into your house you are supposed to make sure he can do it without injury to himself?
What is so different of stopping these hordes, (regardless of their motivation), than that of a man locking his house up at night? Does not a country have a right to protect the integrity of its borders and to decide who get entrance and who doesn't?
These people are invading Europe mostly due to the fact that they have the curse of the world, Islam, in the countries from which they came. But all of these PC clowns in Europe don't have the testicular fortitude to say so and to expel their problem.
Nothing will change until we as a planet are ready to eradicate Islam. It's just that simple.


I have not done enough work to understand Muslims yet. The only reason I comment on other things is because I think I have done sufficient work to merit to an opinion.
What would it take for me to merit to an opinion? Reading the material that forms the basis of their world view and etc. But how much of this kind of thing can anyone stand? Maybe to stand up to an enemy you don't have to have an opinion about what make them an enemy.


I am not so upset about "yes" means "yes." Mainly my feeling is that people should marry young. That is right after high school I think people should spend about 4 years in yeshiva learning Talmud and girls should be in seminary. During that time they should get married. Then after that work or collage. And this aspect that collages in the USA are becoming more puritan is I think a good sign.

And what starts in California inevitably goes east and more east and west. Though I suffered greatly in yeshiva but now I can see that the whole thing was good for me. I know there are people that have legitimate complaints about yeshiva but it is after a human institution with human failings. Still it is the best thing out there.

But the  yeshiva can't be a cult yeshiva. Those are easy to spot. What you need is a place like Ponovitch or Mercaz HaRav. It is usually very clear the distinction between an authentic yeshiva  and a cult yeshiva.