Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #371

1. A prominent chassidishe rebbe speaks out against people getting involved in kabbalah before they are on an appropriate level to do so:

I recently saw a interesting report in a newspaper published in Eretz Yisroel, called בקהילה (Bakehilla), about the Sanzer Rebbe of Netanya, speaking out strongly against people getting involved in Kabbalah when they are not on the proper level to do so (בקהילה פלוס, כה אייר תשע”ב, p.15). Under a title of סוד ה’ ליראיו, it reported that the Rebbe strongly condemned the spreading of קבלה indiscriminately to the masses, and said that  people should first learn the whole ש”ס (Talmud) with תוספות, among other aspects of standard תורת הנגלה. He warned of serious danger in learning Kabbalah for people not on the level to do so.

See also this, from last year:
Rav Yaakov Hillel recently published a work of Halakha based on Sod(Kabbalah).  Overall it was an excellent work.  In it he made a statement, that to date he has only previously made in English, that in order to study Kabbalah one must be a Beki in all of Shas and Poskim, he went on to say that one needs to be a Beki like Rav Ovadiah Yosef Shlita.
It was a statement that raised hackles all over the Sephardi Yeshiva world.  Primarily for three reasons.
I've seen some prominent 'kabbalists' who seem not to be on the proper level to do so, and who are amaratzim -- forget first learning the whole Shas with Tosafos. There is no need to name names.

2) At Shirat Devorah, a reaction to a Jewish blogger comes out:
When I read Akiva's post Jewish Blogger Comes Out and thought about the misguided attitude of the Asifa Brigade - how they truly have no idea how hard it is for so many people to connect to Torah in their own communities - and who find solace on the internet, and actually manage to learn.......I was reminded of this story of the Baal Shem Tov, which is obviously happening right in front of our eyes:  

I heard from my teacher and father-in-law, who was the chief disciple of Rebbe Yechiel Michal of Zlotchov, that once when the Baal Shem Tov was traveling on the road, he stepped into a wooded area to pray the afternoon prayer. His disciples were dumbfounded to see him hitting his head against a tree, crying and screaming. Afterward, they asked him what had happened. He explained that he had seen, with divine inspiration, that in the generations before the coming of the Moshiach there would be a multitude of rabbis, and that they would be the very ones who would impede the redemption. [Otzar Chayim]
This story was useful for early chassidus, where there were many rabbis who were opposed to them. But I don't know that it is a healthy attitude in general.

There is much Torah one can connect to on the Internet. At the same time, there is much "Torah" one can connect to on the Internet. Anyone can write anything, and put themselves forward as an expert, and say the most nonsensical things. One should not abandon authentic rabbonim and seek out the opinions of the know-nothings. There is no need to name names.

3) At Rationalist Judaism, a guest post on Rabbinic responses to the transit of Venus. More recently, from Rabbi David Katz, a different, kabbalistic, response to the transit of Venus:
This year we will see the "Venus Transit" - Venus' pass through our vision of the Sun.

The famous Zohar that speaks of the Geulah in "72" seems to describe this passing quite well!
[A flame of Black Fire will be held in the Raqia for 60 days...]

Also "Timewave Zero" suggests our decent into the Novelty of 2012 will begin on the Transit Date.

Did the Mayans base everything around visualizing Venus? Did the Zohar give us an Observation Point?
Most importantly, this is likely your last opportunity to see the transit of Venus in your lifetime. DO NOT look directly at the sun for this. You need special equipment. See here for more info. And NASA will be streaming a live webcast.

4) The Internet Asifa here (starts at minute 55) and here:

Rav Matisyahu Solomon, shlita 

Rav Don Segal, shlita 

Rav Ephraim Waxman, shlita 

Rav Moshe Green, shlita 

5) The Internet Asifa #2:

6) Random Thoughts on the Asifa.

7) At On The Main Line, a discussion of a 2006 Internet Asifa in Monsey.

8) At Life In Israel, a medicine gmach shut down. And Rabbi Paysach Krohn at the Citifield Asifa. With audio here. And, as an example of the principle that one man's reductio ad absurdum is another man's ein hachi nami, see this. And in the comment section, a translation of the article behind the picture.

9) Here on parshablog, check out my posts on the haftara of Naso, about the predicting of Shimshon's birth.


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