Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Words Have Many Meanings

"The surest way of misunderstanding revelation is to take it literally, to imagine that God spoke to the prophet on a long-distance telephone. Yet most of us succumb to such fancy, forgetting that the cardinal sin in thinking about ultimate issues is literal-mindedness. The error of literal-mindedness is in assuming that things and words have only one meaning. The truth is that things and words stand for different meanings in different situations. Gold means wealth to the merchant, a means of adornment to the jeweler, “a non-rusting malleable ductile metal of high specific gravity” to the engineer, and kindness to the rhetorician (“a golden heart”). Light is a form of energy to the physicist, a medium of loveliness to the artist, an expression of grandeur in the first chapter of the Bible. Ruah, the Hebrew word for spirit, signifies also breath, wind, direction. And he who thinks only of breath, forfeits the deeper meaning of the term. God is called father, but he who takes this name physiologically distorts the meaning of God. 

The language of faith employs only a few words coined in its own spirit; most of its terms are borrowed from the general sphere of human experience and endowed with new meaning. Consequently, in taking these terms literally we miss the unique connotations which they assumed in the religious usage. The meaning of words in scientific language must be clear, distinct, unam- biguous, conveying the same concept to all people. In poetry, however, words that have only one meaning are considered flat. The right word is often one that evokes a plurality of meanings and one that must be understood on more than one level. What is a virtue in scientific language is a failure in poetic expression. Is it correct to insist that Biblical words must be understood exclusively accord- ing to one literal meaning? It often seems as if the intention of the prophets was to be understood not in one way, on one level, but in many ways, on many levels, ac- cording to the situation in which we find ourselves. And if such was their intention, we must not restrict our understanding to one meaning."

Internet And Cheyt Adam Ha-rishon

How many sites get you soooo innocently. They promise you things for free. Then you click here or there and they tell that that for only $8.95 cents a month..... Or they get your email address and then flood your email box with promotional material i.e. try to get your money. Free is no longer free.

So was the serpent in Gan Eden. He started out "innocently" - "G-d told you not to eat from all of the trees" [see Rashi 3/1]. What's wrong with that [except that it was a lie]? But in the end he got both Chava and Adam to eat from the tree. He was indeed very sneaky. 

That is also our yeter hara. It starts out telling us to do innocent things but in the end try to destroy us whether it is physically, emotionally or spiritually. 

Beware. 

ואכמ"ל.     

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Necessity Of Kavod

If we want to fix society the secret is - KAVOD [respect]. The foundation of an honest, upright, generous and civil society is respect for G-d, the Torah, leaders, parents, teachers, elders etc. etc. A society that lacks this critical ingredient called KAVOD is doomed to failure.


כבוד שם שמים הוא השורש והעיקר ועמוד כל הבריאה וכל התורה כולה.. כאשר נתבונן על הנהגת העולם כולו נראה, כי הסיבה העיקרית לתיקון האמיתי והסדר הנכון שבבני אדם, אינו כי אם נתינת הכבוד למי שראוי לכבדו. מכבוד החכמים - מסתעף אהבת תורה וחכמה, ומידות טובות ויראת השם. מכבוד הורים – מסתעף חנוך ישר.. מכבוד מלכים – מסתעף כללות התיקון האמתי בחיי האדם המדיני. נמצא, כי רגש הכבוד פועל לקיום העולם בכלל.. נדע ברור.. כל מה שיתרבה כבוד שמים כן ירבו ברכות ושפע טוב וכבוד בעולם, ויחולו על ראש המכבדים שמו יתברך, ומברכתם יבורכו כל באי עולם... (חבש פאר פרק א).

Elchonon Ehrman: Simchas Beis Hashoeva Teshuva And Dance

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