Thoughts on Judaism

Sunday, December 31, 2006

OK I admit it

OK I admit that I am a kofer. Here are some of the ikkarim that I do not believe (with perfect faith):

1) I do not believe that the Baal Shem Tov learned with Achiya HaShiloni.
2) I do not believe that Rav Yehuda Lowy (Maharal) created a Golem with kabalah formulae.
3) I do not believe that, if a woman walks over cut fingernails, she will miscarry.
4) I do not believe that demons haunt the first drop of liquid in a bottle.
5) I do not believe that lice reproduce spontaneously.
6) I do not believe that lava flows from the global flood interfere with scientific dating methods.
7) I do not believe that if a gadol baTorah paskens, that his psak will change physical reality.
8) I do not believe that sages are infallible nor that they could have invented airplanes.
9) I do not believe that people in Monsey heard a talking fish nor that people in yeshalayim met a prophetic dog.
10 ) I do not believe that anything bad will happen to anyone if you do not say "bli ayin hara" after admiring someone's good fortune.
11) I do not believe that people who keep deep chumras are any more religious or holy than people who do not.
12) I do not believe that the Ari Zal conversed with animals and plants.
13) I do not believe that if we conform to modern ideas in science and ethics, we are somehow worse off.

But I do believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. And the sooner the better. I am hungry!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The little bird is annoying

OK, I absolutely loathe the "Little Bird" song that they sing in Chabad children's programs. Below is a copy of the lyrics:

The little bird is calling,
It wishes to return.
The little bird is wounded,
It cannot fly but yearn.
It’s captured by the vultures,
Crying bitterly,
Oh, to see my nest again,
Oh, to be redeemed.

The little bird of silver,
So delicate and rare,
Still chirps amongst the vultures,
Outshining all that’s there.
How long, how long it suffers,
How long will it be,
When will come the eagle,
And set the little bird free.

The little bird is Yisroel,
The vultures are our foes,
The painful wound is Golus,
Which we all feel and know,
The nest is Yerushalayim,
Where we yearn to be once more,
The eagle is the Moshiach,
Whom we are waiting for.

So why would I despise a song with such admirable lyrics. It is just so, so SO SO. Here it is.
This song is a parable (note it is not literal even to the greatest fundamentalist maniac) about the travels of the Jewish people. As far as I know, no sage ever gave this parable, so it is simply conceived for the purpose of kiruv. But even if I am wrong, and it was said by the alter zeide of the Shlumkeforendiker Rebbe, this adaptation is so banal, so insulting to our intelligence, so "in your face", that I have to walk out of the room and supress nausea when it is performed.

The song is bad enough. It drones through very slowly and monotonously. As you see, one must endure 3 full stanzas of this repetitive chant. Arrrrrgh! But the lyrics are absolutely written for an IQ of 16.5, perhaps. It tells me the entire obvious parable. It tells me the entire nimshal, as if I am incapable of discerning some deep subtle point hidden in there somewhere. Its imagery is incomprehensible and obtuse, that somehow this little bird is hated by all the other birds, how it is suffering somehow, how it will be set free by an eagle for some unknown reason. It is trying to say a lot in a few words, but it ends up saying nothing in way too many. It stresses the shtetl mentality, how they oppress us, how they are all horrible, how we are all wonderful and righteous.

In the end, I suppose it wants to tell us that we yearn for Moshiach. But by the time we get there, we wish our eardrums had been punctured with an icepick, and the little bird had been mercifully shechted and fried for Shabbos. It teaches its audience the typical victim mentality, and that this is the reason we should want Moshiach. Personally, I don't think we should want Moshiach because of Iran. It is because of the prospect of "knowing G-d" that should keep us interested. Irans come and go and Germanys come and go, with or without Moshiach. Please guys, rip this one out of the song book.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Someone's Listening

Or maybe just thinking straight.

Thank G-d and kol haKavod to these Charedim. Finally a pashkevil worth posting.

via Godol HaDor

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Iran and Charedim in Sync

For Iranian moshichist Achmedenijad and his amen corner of neoNazis and whackjobs, it is not surprising to hear that he declares the Holocaust a myth and to hear him prophesy the nuclear destruction of Israel and millions of its inhabitants. It is not odd to see Jew haters the world over applaud his efforts to reunite Nazism. It is not odd at all for Tony Blair to declare the conference, like Durban 2001 before it, shocking beyond belief.

But what draws me out of retirement are the Charedim that applauded along with the creme de la scum of the world, as they did for the late Yasser Arafat, nephew and huge fan of Nazi Haj Amin al Husseini. In their vitriolic, but political, hatred of "Zionist" Israel, they also tacitly agreed publicly that the Holocaust is a myth and that millions of Jews should be exterminated. Congratulations gentlemen, vitriolic vicious antisemitism is now authentic Judaism. Disgusting? Revolting? Sickening? Projectile Vomit inducing? Is there an adjective for such an attitude? And you wonder why it is difficult to mekarev yidden into today's "yiddishkeit". If these people are the true shomrei Torah then I hereby KOFER THEIR TORAH AND THEIR GODS, and I am calling the mohel to SEW IT BACK ON!!!! Naturai Karta and those Charedim who support you, you are bitter enemies of the Jewish people!!!