Religious leaders and teachers  are predictably problematic.  But you don't find this theme much except by Reb Nachman. And for me this was a major help for me to be able to keep the Torah at all.
Because I had seen and experienced relatively, rotten, religious, smart scamming teachers and tricksters. So I certainly in my own mind needed to be able to discriminate between bad people and what the Torah actually says.

But more so. I think this is a major principle in the thought of Reb Nachman.
I mean you find people like Isaac Breiter from Poland who made  a list of major principles of Reb Nachman,  but I ask why should this idea of staying away from all religious teachers not be one of them?
Certainly RN makes it central to his thought in many places in the LM.
And logically speaking why should religion be public at all? Why does anyone need a religious teacher? I mean besides besides the Aleph Beit  and basic Hebrew, should not religion be in ones heart and be apparent in ones actions only by the goodness and decency of ones actions, not by how loudly he shouts "Shabat" like a four letter word at passerby's?
You can bet Reb Nachman and the Ari and the Rambam came to their level by private service towards God, not public.

And as a corollary of this you actual find Reb Nachman emphasizing individuality which is  more self constant with people that are off beat but advocate collectivism. What would they do if the collective did not agree with their version? Well we know the answer to that.
Weird groups always have a principle they everyone should follow the collective. That means that all weird groups are following two exactly contradictory principles. One is what ever they claim is their main emphasis  and the other is to follow the collective. But what if the collective does not agree with their principles?


One of the most powerful Torah lessons for me in the LM is 78 vol II. (LM means Lekutai Mohran by Nachman from Uman. Printed by Breslov.)
It does provide support for the idea of the Rambam that learning Physics and Metaphysics brings to fear and love of God which are the major goals of the Torah.
Let me try to be short.
The Torah is clothed in the Creation. So when you learn about God's creation you are learning God's wisdom. That is the short idea.
But you could in theory go into this in detail with bringing different places where the Rambam and Reb Nachman go into this in more detail. This is probably a worthwhile project also since for some reason people tend to go away from physics when they start learning Torah thinking there is some kind of contradiction.

Major sources:

LM II:39; LM II:12; LM I:1; Rambam beginning of the Guide, beginning of Mishna Torah, end of vol III or (vol II) in the Guide in the story about the palace of the King, Sefer Hamidot of Nachman Ot Daat.
 To put this all together you have to start with the idea that the goal of Torah is to come to love and fear of God. Then you need the idea that the the world was created by the ten statements of Genesis, and thus those statements are the life force of all that is in the world. And that those ten statements are the clothing of the Ten Commandments. And the highest statement is the first one "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" in which it does not say openly God said. It is the hidden statement which is the life force of everything and everywhere where God's glory is hidden.
Thus Torah is God's revealed wisdom and Physics and Metaphysics is his hidden wisdom.

That is the short and simple of it.
Also you could add LM I:69. There are people that if exposed to straight Torah will not be able to accept it. So Nachman said over stories in which there was hidden secret Torah lessons. This explains also how often it is better for people to learn the natural sciences rather than open Torah, because זכה נעשית סם חיים, לא זכה נעשית לו סם מוות. By being exposed to open Torah one can become worse. And in fact this often happens before our very eyes.
Also seeing the wisdom inside ever aspect of creation binds ones soul to the purpose of that individual creation which in it s higher source is close to the purpose of all creation which is God's glory.

1) I want to suggest that this learning should be coupled with regular books of Fear of God. Mainly books from the Middle Ages. The world after the Middle Ages lost a lot of Fear of God and so to be inspired in that direction one needs books from that period. Also Musar books after the Middle Ages have a lot of Kabalah and that tends to side track people from good charter into religious fanaticism.
This is why I think the original Musar Movement of Israel Salanter was based on Medieval books of Fear of God and not books based on Kabalah.

I talked about why fear of God is good for you. I brought the idea from  Isaac Blaser and nachman from Uman.
Nachman says fear of God is good for length of days, i.e. not to have to spending your days on things you don't like. Also for literal length of days.
But from that you would conclude to learn Musar, books about fear of God from the Middle Ages. And to some degree that would be right.
But Nachman says something which is significant.He says fear of God comes into a person only at the time he is eating. If one eats without fear of God the fear of God stands off and does not enter into him.


I have to admit that there are times that even when I try to read mathematics fast, there are many things I don't get. But sometimes when I think about it while walking the idea comes in. Like the idea that inside  finite p group (where every element to the power of p^n equals the unit element) the normalizer of a subset has to properly contain that subset.
I thought about this today on the way to the synagogue of Reb Nachman and it occurred to me what the reason might be. I am guessing but this might be right. I think the idea is that a subset never grows. It is self contained. And a normalizer does grow. So I think that that is the reason the normalizer can't be equal to the subset.

"Normalizers grow" means that unless the first normalizer of a subgroup is the whole larger group then they have to keep on getting bigger. The N(N(H)) has to be larger than N(H)

Poltusk, Poland.The Rosenblums.

Two families of Rosenblums that were killed in the Holocaust, Avraham and his wife Zirel and a daughter Feige, and another Rosenblum  Ben Zion with his wife Finkel and children Mendel, David, Reishel, Roiza, Golda, Feiga
It seems that Fishel Rosenblum,Avraham,and Ben Zion and their wives and children did not make it. But I think Fishel's children might have gone to Israel. The other Rosenblums like Yaakov ben Alter apparently had gone to the USA before WWII had started. [My bother told me he came to the USA in 1913]  There was a Bund, and Shomer HaZair, and many Gur. [The Zionist Shomer HaTzair was not popular with the parents who were religious nor with the Bund. ] A Jewish high school. For some reason the Polish government wanted the boys to learn in a non Jewish high school. Their teacher of music ended up being a famous anti Semite. The same person who had printed the first blood libel against Jews in Russia in 1881. In any case the Zionist oriented people tried to get to Israel. I would not be surprised if Fishel's children were among them. There were many attempts, some successful and some not. 

Zionist types of people --if they were young--tried to get to Israel illegally. The English were ruling Israel at the time and did not allow any Jewish immigration. But people from Poltusk tried to get there anyway.

Pultsuk was religious in 1881 but was definitely drifting away from that.  There were a lot of the group of Gur. The Rav, Elazar Hakohen, was connected with the Chidushei HaRim and then when that Admor [religious leader] passed away was offered to become an admor himself but refused and told the people that wanted him for an Admor that he was going to go over to the Sochotchov group. That was the author of the Eglei Tal. These people were all serious  Talmudic scholars.
The last Rav was Rav Unterman. Also well respected. He had written a essay of the Tzefira that was very pro Zionist.
Then the Sefat Emet [the next admor of Gur] called to him and they had a conference and then when Unterman returned to Poltusk, he said he could no longer be pro Zionist in public. All the religious leaders in Poland were highly hostile to the Zionist movement.
By 1920 there was the Shomer Hatzair, and a Jewish theater, and a secular Jewish High school

My impression is that the Jewish community then was cohesive and supporting of all subgroups within it. Reading this was complete shock to me to realize how different the Orthodox community was that I experienced in all places. In some places like the Mir or Far Rockaway there was support from the general Torah community. But in general I think Baali Teshuva in the orthodox world are  treated like shooting fish in  pond. It is not that I have any clarity about this issue, but it is just seeing how different the Jewish community has become as compared to the Jewish of community in Poltusk has generated these thoughts. 

Of the Rosenblums that got to New York, one became a professor in Mathematics and wrote a book on Mathematical Logic. 
Actually I mean the Rosenblum that was a professor right after WWII. Nowadays the Rosenblums that are professors in Mathematics are all over the place. 

One Rosenblum became an engineer for the USA Army and created the first Infra Red camera, then a camera for the U-2 and then his own inventions and then he worked for TRW  and created laser communication between satellites for NASA. That was Philip Rosenblum. 

Alexander II was the Russian Tzar that gave Jews official permission to settle in Poltusk.

During WWII there were gentiles that handed over Jews to be killed and there was one that tried to save as many Jews as he could, and he himself was killed.


Three core principles Joy, Private conversation with God, learning fast have been my core principles
But I added another one about truth.
And I want to discuss them each briefly.
1) I might seem serious, but in fact I have taken this idea of joy of as central.
First I want to say that this idea of  can be defended. I know some people might wonder where in the Torah is there a command to be happy? I wondered about this also.
But in fact Reb Chaim Vital, the disciple of Isaac Luria, list the four good character traits thus: (1) humility, and to be infinitely low in ones own eyes תכלית השיפלות, and to go away from all kinds of anger, (2) Silence,- to speak only Torah, or what is absolutely necessary for the body, or for the honor of people; (3) to minimize body pleasures--even those that are necessary, (4) and joy in ones portion for "Everything that happens from Heaven is for good," and also joy in mitzvot. And these good character traits are the very essence of the Torah and the purpose of the Torah as he explains there. [This short chapter of Chaim Vital is quoted in full in the beginning of the אבן שלמה of the Gra that came out recently.]
So being always happy is a even more that a mitzvah as these four good charter traits are essence of the mitzvot. [To the Rambam the purpose of the mitzvot is to bring to good character and to Reb Chaim Vital good character depends on the foundational soul (which is composed of four parts) and that is the clothing of the Intellectual soul upon which depend the 613 mitzvot. That is basic good character is needed to keep any mitzvah. Otherwise one just thinks he is doing a mitzvah but it is in fact a sin. The evil inclination always dresses up in mitzvahs and come and tells you "come and do a mitzvah." But then after one has good charter the mizvot are to bring to a higher level of good character.

The idea is that there is no mitzvah to be miserable. Nor to make others miserable. And this determines what is a mitzvah is.

2) Conversation with God. People often think of God as being far away. And they think he is accessible only through hard types of actions.  all you need to do to get close to God is to talk with him as you would talk with a friend.
Where can you find God? In Times Square, in a church, even in a synagogue. In any place you decide it is time to tell Him your troubles and ask for help.
If possible I would like to start a world wide talking with God movement. That is to make it a project to go up into the mountains every weekend (with proper outdoor gear and boots) and to go off to some secluded spot and talk with God. But also to speak with Him on the way to work every day and on the way back home and on the subway. And to know and believe that this is all you need to get to God. You don't need to go to any spiritual person. You can go to God directly.

3) Learning fast has been a big help for me. Not only has it helped me learn the Oral Law much more thoroughly than I could have without this advice but also in the natural sciences.

[But in terms of learning Torah I ask people to learn at home. Get yourself a full set of the two Talmuds Babylonian and Jerusalem, Mechilta, Sifri, Sifra and Tosephta and plow through them.}
Also the Mishna Torah of the Rambam with the commentaries on the page.

4) Truth at some point become important to me. When my world was falling apart and I saw myself sinking rapidly I decided the one thing I needed to hold onto was never to say an untruth under any circumstance. I discovered after that the amazing power of truth to hold one up under all kinds of floods and disasters. It provides an invisible force field than nothing can penetrate.

Tractate Shabat page 68a

When one does work on Shabat, any of the 39 [sewing, lighting a fire, carrying in a public domain etc], he brings a sin offering.
The Mishna Shabat 67b says one who forgot Shabat completely brings one sin offering for all the Shabatot. If he forgot about each Shabat he brings for each Shabat. If he knew Shabat but for got work he brings for each work.
I had two questions here. One I brought up with my learning partner today and the other i thought of later. It turned out the first question was asked by Tosphot.

But we need a little background to see what my questions are.
Rav and Shmuel say part I of the Mishna is one who never knew Shabat תינוק שנשבה. The Gemara asks then  one that knew Shabat but forgot it completely would bring for each separate Shabat. Then in part II let the Mishna say that and then we we know all the more so the actual case it does bring. This stopped me cold. Because the Mishna has to say the case it does state in order that we should not think he brings for each work. That is my first question. Tosphot does answer it, but his answer seems to be very involved and  and Maharam, the Maharsha, and the Mararshal all get involved.
 My second question is that the Gemara keeps pushing things to the left. It gets to the point where one who forgot the particular shabat or work has to bring for each kind of work. And then it has the same question-tell us just he forgot shabat and we will know a fortiori one who forgot work.
My question is the same as before. Why can one who forgot work be liable for each separate kind of work


I've never seen a guy actually, gleefully set out to destroy the life of his wife.

 When things go bad, women run straight to a man, including those Strong Independent Empowered Women, who don't exist.

The military, police officers, security officers - and all the rest - protect those who cannot protect themselves, and that basically includes all women. Yet while some women are grateful, many are not.
Now imagine if men did didn't protect women. They'd be up the  creek. Specifically we're dealing with white men protecting all women.
I've mentioned before I've had white women, black women and Asian women run to me for help,  My friends and I did these things with no complaint or no expectation of payment.
Yet I nearly and nearly every other man have been abused by women, often, in my case, straight out of the blue. Many women today are pampered and deluded. Not all, but enough to be noticeable. And no matter how deluded they are, when things get tough, they'll turn straight to a man.

A strong independent woman is a myth.  The reality is that a women will never be independent. 
-They need men to create and build companies so that they can get a pay check.
-They need to marry a man so that she can divorce him and extort him for child support, when in reality, she has no proper management of her money.
-They need government (mostly comprised of men) to be able to play around with the family courts and implement feminism.
Women are not independent.  Which is why they fail miserably when it comes to playing dad and mom. http://www.returnofkings.com/

But more so than this. Have you ever seen a man concentrate all their time and effort on destroying a woman he has loved and been his partner for years? Obviously not. But for women this is standard fare and does not even raise an eyebrow anymore.
And there will always be some stupid white knights to help her.

In my life I've known a few men leave a few women, and a few women leave a few men.
But I have never, NEVER seen a guy leave a woman then kick her out of the house and threaten to call the police if she tries to see her kids, or reclaim her car, but at the same time demand that she continues to pay all the household bills whilst she is cooked up in a motel, or on her Brother's couch.
Or put public messages up on Facebook saying that he's glad he's got rid of her and now he's going to destroy the loser and fuck all her friends where possible. Or try to get her sacked by spreading malicious gossip about her. Basically defame her online to all her friends and family because he got a bit bored with the long hours she was working, or he was jealous that the family next door drive a slightly newer SUV, or went abroad last year skiing.
And finally when the divorce comes in, legally extract the home, half the savings, half her pension, and allow her a measly 1 night a week with her kids.
Never seen a guy do that. Yes guys leave their wives and this can be hurtful and destructive on its own.
But I've never seen a guy actually, gleefully set out to destroy the life of his wife. If anything, they have all cushioned the blow as much as possible.


I am from the resistance.

The argument between Abyee and Rava about doing idolatry from love or fear of the idol.

An idol can be anything from heaven and earth. It does not have to be a physical object.
If one accepts it as his god by accident, then he is liable to bring a sin offering. If on purpose, he is liable the death penalty.
What if he did not accept it as his god, but served it from love of the image, or fear that it might hurt him?

This is the argument between Abyee and Rava about doing idolatry from love or fear. [Sanhedrin 62b]
The argument is very simple at first. Abyee says: One who serves an idol from love or fear is liable. Rava says, he is not.

Then Abyee finds some place where the idea of idolatry by accident is mentioned and he asks what is it referring to? One who bows to a house of idols thinking it is a synagogue is not doing anything wrong because his heart is towards heaven. If he bows to a statue thinking it is not an idol also it is nothing. Why does he skip the simple case-he forgot it is an idol?

Now my learning partner has suggested that  a sin without pleasure (הנאה) will be liable only if it is a mistake in material facts. [For in most sins either a mistake in facts or law would be counted as an accident.] Now that idea would help us here in Sanhedrin 62, but not in Shabat where we know if one forgets Shabat he is liable. Forgetting Shabat certainly is not the same as making a mistake in law.

That leaves us where we began. So far I have no decent idea of why Abyee skips this seemingly obvious case.

 (A case of mistake in material facts would be if he ate forbidden fat חלב which he thought was normal fat שומן. That is liable because there is pleasure involved. A case of mistake in law would be if he thought there is no prohibition in eating forbidden fat חלב. That also is liable a sin offering.)

הבעיה כאן היא זאת. כשרבא רוצה למצוא שגגת עבודה זרה, הוא הולך לטעות בדין, ואז האדם חייב קרבן. וכשהגמרא רצתה למצוא שגגה שהוא פטור בשבילו היא הלכה לטעות במציאות. איפה הדיון הפשוט? שהוא שכח שהצורה הזאת היא עבודה זרה
  רואים מזה שהגמרא והרמב''ם מדקדקים לומר דווקא טעות בהוראה
לא כמו שבת שבמצב שאדם שכח שהיום שבת כן הוא חייב קרבן.

 A person can be an idol. If a person says, "Serve me." He is automatically liable. [Sanhedrin 62a]. If others tell you to serve a certain person or that if you serve him you will get such and such benefits then they are liable the death penalty. This explains why the Gra [the Villna Geon], signed that particular excommunication [the famous cherem] on hasidim. He must have thought that with hasidim serving a tzadik is an important principle.  Since in the Torah serving a tzadik is idolatry he decided to sign the excommunication.


The Gra defines the path of Torah.

1) Joy is holiness in itself.
It is much more than just extra extra credit. This significantly changed my whole approach towards serving God. If I was doing some kind of practice that I thought was obligatory according to Jewish law, but I knew this practice made me depressed, I dropped it.

I said to myself, "If this would really be an obligation according to the Torah, it would not be making me depressed."

This would especially apply to how I would keep Shabat or pray.

 In the LM : "Joy is the realm of holiness in itself; and depression is the evil realm, and God hates it."
And I also thought that to make people upset also was not a mitzvah. This related to how I would interact with others. I assumed the only interaction with others that could count as a mitzvah would be when I would bring them joy. This in fact has support from the Gra when he equates Joy with the world of "Bina" Understanding. Which is the root of all holiness.

2) Talking with God.  prayer is  the highest goal of all--- to be talking with God all the time. If possible in a forest. When I was down and out, this gave me a connection with God that has kept me going through thick and thin. I dread to think where I would be today without this amazing practice.

3) Say the words and go on. This amazing piece of advice has gotten me through much of the oral law.When I thought I was not understanding, later on understanding just came spontaneously. Without this advice I would never have gotten as far as I did in the Oral and Written Law,-- or Mathematics and Physics either.