Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Pictures of the old city in a tour from 2010 and what is Torah (an essay) now that we are done with Shavout

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Advice from the Shrink

You are under no obligation to answer someone who stops you in the hallway to ask you a question, even if you do know the answer. Are you giving anything away, however, if you do?

You carry your feelings wherever you go. Whether you feel good about yourself or you feel bad about yourself.

  You should be able to self-validate your own importance. What Other People say, think or feel about you should not bear witness on your testimony. These are all the things your Parents should have done for you, but no one is perfect.

You cannot live your life successfully playing The Blame Game. Just because someone is a Jerk does not mean you have to talk back to them. There is a big difference.   Don't take everything to heart and never argue with a Fool. People passing you by on the street may not be able to tell which is which.

Don't buy into Other People's negative opinions of you, and your value.   Everyone loves a good victim. Don't be one and don't let anyone else make you feel like one. If there is a Blame Game out there, simply just don't play it.

Just because someone starts a fight does not mean you have to finish it. Easier said than done.   You are a worthwhile, valuable, and important person, but you are not better than anyone else. And no one else is any better than you are.

Treat yourself with respect, like your feelings matter.

You don't need to beat people up to prove to yourself that you are alive.

And you do not have to feel bad about yourself just because Other People lack an accurate accounting of who you are.

You don't deserve to be treated like crap, by anyone, including yourself.

Update your files on who you really are and don't take things to heart.  

You cannot be omnipotent; you have no way of anticipating someone else's stupid actions. It is this inner doubt that triggers your own over-reactions.  

Who gets to choose whether I feel good or I feel bad. You can choose, of course, You can feel good about feeling good about yourself, whether you are buying a car, a mattress, or an option for better health.

Remember to replace that empty feeling of the used candy bar wrapper with a feeling of self-worth, even on a cloudy day.

When you take out the garbage, remember how much fun you had in making it. 

Love Yehuda Lave

National Children's day

A Father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be. (unknown)

The only things kids wear out faster than their shoes are their parents. (John J. Plomp)

24/7. Once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer! (Jodi Picoult)

Starting today, it is me who'll decide when we get up! - baby

People who say, they sleep like a baby, usually don't have one. (Leo Burke)

Today I have given notice on my studio apartment and have moved in with my parents. - baby

Children have neither past nor future. They enjoy the present, which very few of us do. – By Jean De La Bruyere


NATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY The second Sunday in June is known as National Children's Day in the United States.


A walking tour around the old city of Jerusalem.

Rationalist Judaism: What is Torah?


What is Torah?


What actually is Torah? Rationalist and mystics have fundamentally different views regarding this question.

Rationalists consider the Torah to be the divine instruction book for life—teaching us concepts that improve our minds, character and society.

Mystics, on the other hand, believe the Torah to be the genetic blueprint of creation, possessing all kinds of metaphysical qualities, which only on its most superficial level is an instructional text.

The concept that Torah is the "blueprint" of creation, found in a small number of passages in the Midrash, later became central to mystical thought.[1] It supports the notion that one can derive knowledge about the universe from the Torah, and it supports the notion that studying Torah provides energy to sustain the universe.

Today, the mystical view that Torah is the blueprint of creation is so thoroughly embedded in Judaism that most people consider it axiomatic to Jewish thought. Yet the fact is that some of the greatest Rabbinic scholars did not accept it. The concept that Torah is the blueprint of creation is open to multiple interpretations, and the sense in which it is taken today is certainly not what was understood by many early rabbinic authorities.

The notion that the Torah is the blueprint of the universe presupposes that Torah precedes the universe. Such a statement is found explicitly in some early texts. Midrash Bereishis Rabbah[2] speaks about Torah preceding creation by 2000 years. There is also a list of seven things that existed before the creation of the universe, including Torah:
There were seven things created before the universe: the Torah, Gehinnom, Gan Eden, the Throne of Glory, the Beit HaMikdash, repentance, and the name of the Messiah. (Midrash Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 3; Talmud, Pesachim 54a) Yet many thinkers, including Rav Saadia Gaon[3] and even R. Yehudah HaLevi,[4] referenced this account but did not take it literally.[5] Some explained such statements to refer to the Ten Commandments preceding creation,[6] or to the Torah being the goal of creation.[7] Rambam consciously rejected the notion that Torah preceded the universe.[8]

Rambam's rejection of this was due to two reasons. First, Rambam's view of God's uniqueness and unity leads him to states that the notion of anything existing before creation, alongside God, is heretical.[9] Second, it did not fit with his view that many of the commandments were issued as a response to historical circumstances, and thus could not have preceded these circumstances. Indeed, Judaism itself, in Rambam's view, is a consequence of Avraham's initiative in seeking out his Creator, and thus did not exist before Avraham.

(This is an extract from my book Rationalism vs. Mysticism: Schisms in Traditional Jewish Thought, which is very nearly complete.)

[1] A series of books that I wrote around two decades ago, "The Torah Universe," was fundamentally based on the mystical understanding of this concept!
[2] Midrash Bereishis Rabbah 8:2.
[3] Rav Saadiah's comments are cited by R. Yehudah Barzilay, Commentary to Sefer Yetzirah (Berlin 1885, Halberstam edition) p. 92.
[4] Kuzari 3:73.
[5] See Harry A. Wolfson, Repercussions of the Kalam in Jewish Philosophy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 85–113.
[6] Mabit, Beis Elokim.
[7] Ibn Ezra, introduction to his commentary to the Torah. See Abraham Joshua Heschel, Heavenly Torah: As Refracted Through the Generations (New York: Continuum Books 2007), chapter 17, for a discussion of further sources that do not take this statement at face value.
[8] For extensive discussion, see Menachem Kellner, "Rashi and Maimonides on the Relationship Between Torah and the Cosmos," in Between Rashi and Maimonides: Themes in Medieval Jewish Thought, Literature and Exegesis, ed. Ephraim Kanarfogel and Moshe Sokolow (Jersey City, NJ, 2010) pp. 23–58; idem, "Kadma Torah Le-Olam? – Iyun BeRambam," Daat 61 (Summer 5767) pp. 83-96.
[9] See Guide for the Perplexed 1:9 and 2:26, and the extensive discussion in Kellner, ibid.

Strangers When We Meet (from 1960)

A suburban architect loves his wife but is bored with his marriage and with his work, so he takes up with the neglected, married beauty who lives down the street.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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