Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just a bit more than thirty

I had a whole inspiring post written about today, the ninth of Adar, that also included some snag bashing. Unfortunately that post was lost for all time, so I think I'll skip the snags and instead bash the most recent edition of "Think Jewish", chabad.org's answer to the competition.

So Aaron Moss has a whole beautiful article explaining why everyone has a god. It's actually a really nice article, and makes some really good points. So maybe I'll just copy whole bunches of it and then bash it at the end. Sounds good? Excellent.

Your god is the thing that you believe to be infallible; you trust in its power despite any evidence to the contrary; you believe it will always be there, is all-powerful and omnipresent. It's the thing you can fall back on no matter what. The bedrock of your life-this is your god.

If you think science has all the answers, then science is your god. And belief in science can be as irrational as any religious conviction. Its adherents blindly accept the most outlandish theory, as long as it was presented by an expert in the field.

Another common god is love. Believers in love make lofty statements about its divine qualities: "Love conquers all", "Love is forever", "All you need is love". Even though experience has shown that love is not all you need, and it certainly doesn't conquer all, their faith is not shaken.

Others worship money. And no matter how many miserable millionaires they meet, their god remains infallible.

A very popular modern god is self. "Believe in yourself. If you put your mind to it there's nothing you can't do." Nothing you can't do? Sounds pretty divine. A pity it's not true. We have limitations. There are things that are simply beyond our capability.

It is such a relief to just let G-d be god. If G-d is god, I can be human. I am not G-d. Nothing about me is infallible-not my feelings, not my intelligence, and certainly not my bank balance. I don't have to be perfect. G-d does a good job of that.

Science, love, money, and self are all very important. But they are also fickle, ever-changing, and unpredictable. The G-d of Israel hasn't changed. If anyone or anything should be god, it's G-d.
--------
Ok, very nice. Good points he makes. So what's my problem? Very simple. All he's really saying is, everyone has a crutch. The Jewish crutch really works! That's why you should be Jewish. Because we have a working crutch. It's such a non-Chassidic way of looking at things. Heck, it's such a non-Jewish way of looking at things. My G-d can beat up your god? What does that do for anyone? It's like Mr. Moss never learned B'yom ashtei assar '31. We don't serve G-d, we don't believe in G-d, because he does good things for us. We don't in believe in him because he's the only thing in existence with any power. We worship and serve because Anah Nesiv Malkeh!

60 comments:

sarabonne said...

Hmm, well not to nitpick but you should probably include the "crutch" quote..
Otherwise, seems like a nice article.

The Real Shliach said...

Huh? The whole thing is the crutch quote! Fine, I'll edit it a little.

Crawling Axe said...

1. No such thing. We believe in science for the same reason we believe in anything. Probably more.
2. True. As Russians say, love is evil, you can even love a goat.
3. Whatever. I came to respect people who respect money.
4. Nu-nu. It depends which direction you’re looking.
5. And now what? How did Acher become Acher? Ein od milvado must be from out perspective. Otherwise, it’s incomplete.
6. Oh, these are Aaron Moss’s thoughts, not yours. Yawn.

There is a book, “Please tell me what the Rebbe said”. Sometimes I want to e-mail chabad.org writers and tell them the same: “Please shut up about science, economics, politics, sociology, theology, psychology, geography, geometry, philately, and just tell me what the Rebbe said. In your own words or not. I don’t care. Because when you do, you do a good job. Otherwise, you don’t.”

The Real Shliach said...

Ouch. Care to comment on my assertion? Or did you but I was too lazy to figure out what you were talking about?
Also, you know, the Rebbe talked about all those things, why can't chabad.org? Besides, not everyone is like you; most people aren't yet interested solely in Sefer Maamarim Melukat.

Crawling Axe said...

There is a difference between the Rebbe and e’s (former) boss.

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

The Rebbe knew what he was talking about. Plus, you know, ruach ha’koidesh, etc.

It’s fine to talk about anything — if you know what you are talking about. But mainly, the point is to talk about Torah. Some people are more interested in talking about other things. I am also guilty, but I don’t make a smart face while doing it.

What you wrote I’ve been saying ever since I came to one of the MO strongholds. Stop treating Eibeshter as an ATM machine.

le7 said...

I thought dis wasn't for public consumption.

The Real Shliach said...

When you're too lazy to write something new...

fakewood inc. said...

CA
chabad.org isnt written for you. crack open a likutei sichot if you want to hear what the rebbe has to say.

fakewood inc. said...

o yeah the eibishter is the only atm machine.

Crawling Axe said...

Why? I love some articles. Others are supeficial, but also very nice.

But you can’t talk narishkeit and somehow get the truth out of it. I am so sick of the whole “consciousness is required for the collapse of wave function” crap.

fakewood inc. said...

its not catering to you if you happen to like ok but dont judge based on what you want out of it.

le7 said...

I discovered today that reading es.chabad.org makes it much more palatable.

The Real Shliach said...

Or you could all just go read Beis Moshiach et all.

Crawling Axe said...

Well, “Pyccкий” is “Coming Soon” (what’s the obsession with capitalization?), so I don’t have such a luxury.

le7 said...

Ah but the key to making it more palatable, it reading it in a language that's more difficult than your mother tongue. That's why I'm reading it in Spanish.

Crawling Axe said...

RTS, I was about to say, “so, it’s mashiach.ru for me”…

Crawling Axe said...

If they had chabad.org in Yiddish, I would read it.

fakewood inc. said...

if the torah was as much as a jay i wouldnt stop learning.

The Real Shliach said...

jay?

fakewood inc. said...

sorry
if torah was as much fun as a jay i wouldnt stop learning.

The Real Shliach said...

how much fun is a jay?

Crawling Axe said...

Vos iz jay?

fakewood inc. said...

spliff?

fakewood inc. said...

i thought you guys were less sheltered.

Crawling Axe said...

I’m not sheltered. I am just not American.

Crawling Axe said...

And yeah, sorry, no frame of reference there.

fakewood inc. said...

jay is international. a cigarrete of pot.

fakewood inc. said...

you come from nowher with the chabad.org in yiddish so i figured i would follow.

Crawling Axe said...

A ceramic cigarette?

What do you mean, out of nowhere? Chabad in Spanish. Chabad in Russian. Chabad in Yiddish. Natural progression.

fakewood inc. said...

ok do me a favor already with the questions go to wikipedia.

if you speak yidish go to kehos an buy a likkutei sichos.

Crawling Axe said...

Thanks.

Crawling Axe said...

Re: ATM. True. I should’ve said “merely”.

fakewood inc. said...

i hear that. please tell me you were messing with me about jay right.

Crawling Axe said...

Jay — no, pot — yes.

fakewood inc. said...

ok cool where r u from anyway,

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Jay is dated. Now we know when the last time you had one was.

fakewood inc. said...

dubbi spliff blunt cone never much liked bowls to official. what ever you want. jay is the ultimate classic..

Crawling Axe said...

In Russian, the classic is “kosyak”, which means “doorpost”.

fakewood inc. said...

cool so if i ever find myself in russia i need i know what to ask for.

Crawling Axe said...

A fork?

Crawling Axe said...

Btw, I resent the implication that Yiddish is only good for reading Likkutei Sichois (although that would be enough). How will you understand the greatest Jewish musician (kivyachol) of modernity without knowing Yiddish?

The Real Shliach said...

CA: good point!

e said...

CA: ru.chabad.org is up and running, to a limited degree.

I don't think Aron Moss was saying that G-d is a crutch. He was saying that when you put your faith in other shtuff you get disappointed. But putting faith in G-d doesn't disappoint. The skeptic would say, "Oh. G-d is just a better crutch." Rabbi Moss says it's because G-d is the true god; it works because it's true.

This ought to be a nice thought for kool-aid drinkers.

e said...

(OK. I finished reading all the comments, so now I can comment on the recent action.)

Yiddish--at least the Yiddish spoken in Lubavitch today--*is* only good for lku"sh. If you learn Yiddish from the Rebbe's sichos for the sake of understanding the Rebbe's sichos, you won't be able to use your Yiddish for anything else.

When the Rebbe speaks, almost all of his nouns are Hebrew.

le7 said...

Well I listen to my landpeople's grandkiddies be spoken to in Yiddish and understand most of it and there is no way I can pick up a likuttei sichos.

So, huh?

e said...

perhaps that's because you don't know Hebrew well enough.

I assert that (knowledge of Hebrew) + (knowledge of landpeople's grandkids' yiddish) ---> (knowledge of lku"sh yiddish)

Of course, the first 4 volumes have real Yiddish in them, so landpeople's grandkiddie yiddish might not be enough.

fakewood inc. said...

That's why you need lsd.

Cheerio said...

which is how a friend of mine's father found G-d.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Because most yiddish spoken outside of Lubavitch today is paylish-hungarian hybrid. Except in Chabad litvishe yiddish is going the way of the forvitz variety. (Real pity because it's the only kind I know)

Crawling Axe said...

I once heard a moshul from some bochur about two brothers, who each was very wealthy. One had milk intolerance, the other was an appikoires and vegetarian, so they each kept a separate kitchen. Then, Madoff stole one brother’s money, and, lehavdil, Obama stole the other brother’s money, so they became poor and started stealing other people’s money through welfare. So, each could only afford some potatoes and fish, and they decided to join kitchens.

fakewood inc. said...

cheerio
through a likkutei sichos dictonary?

Cheerio said...

fakewood - ah, no.

fakewood inc. said...

id like to know how you get closer to g-d through acid.

e said...

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/848022/jewish/Can-Hallucinogenics-Aid-Spirituality.htm

The Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita addresses precisely that question.

fakewood inc. said...

that doesnt answer it. it says it might be possiible but dont do it.

Crawling Axe said...

You can only get closer to G-d one way — by being botul to Him. How is taking acid making you botul (especially considering that you’re actively breaking His Will)? It makes you more in touch with the beheima inside of yourself.

Cheerio said...

taking acid can also break down the shell of physicality that surrounds you and put you in touch with the one true G0d.
definitely not advised behavior, but it can happen, and if it does, cool.

Crawling Axe said...

Not it can’t. What you will experience is illusion of getting in touch with G-d. Just like those people who sit around campfire holding hands, with their eyes closed, singing niggunim, don’t experience G-d — they experience themselves in a more world-removed (i.e., sensory deprived) state. That’s what meditation is all about — to be able to go deeper within yourself.

Drugs simply disrupt normal neural activity and don’t even allow you to go deeper within yourself — they simply allow you to stop experiencing the world normally. Actually, you don’t even have to take drugs — just spin around for a few seconds, and because the normal vestibulary processes will be disrupted, you will see the world “change”. Drugs do exactly this. It has as much to do with G-d as eating strawberries with your eyes closed.

To really get in touch with G-d, one needs to become bottul to G-d — reach a certain level of avoida, where one’s actions are subservient to G-d’s will. For sure anyone wasting his time on a blog (me included) is not there, and any exalted “spiritual” experience (whether during davening, dancing, singing a niggun, learning a ma’amor or Gemara, drinking mashkeh or taking drugs) is fake and not G-dly in any way or form.

Stop deluding yourself. Our generation is not generation of experience, but generation of action. The deepest of exile. But seconds before redemption.

fakewood inc. said...

wow would make an excellent maggid and then shmuel munkes can come and shecht you. praise the lord.

Crawling Axe said...

Reb Shmuel Munkes shechted only tzaddikim. I would be very safe.