Thursday, November 20, 2014

Go to a spiritual healer...

Hi,

"Those who are physically ill taste the bitter as sweet and the sweet as bitter. Some ill people desire and long for inedible foods, like dust and charcoal, and despise good foods like bread and meat, all according to the particular illness. So, too, people whose spirits are ill desire and love bad traits, and despise the good path and are too lazy to follow it, and they find it very heavy, due to their illness… 

"They should go to sages who are healers of spirits, and they will heal their illness by teaching them good traits, until they bring them back to the good path…"

(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deiot 2:1)

המצפה לישועה,
Mordechai

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Risking the lives of soldiers to spare civilians on the other side

Hi,

Thoughts on war:

Rabbi Avraham Shapira, War and Ethics, Techumin 4, pg. 182:
When there is no substantive risk to our soldiers, there is no permission to strike lives or property. However, when there is a discernible risk, one must remember that it is not only a matter of weighing one unit opposite a civilian population on the scale. The loss of one unit, or part of it, can affect the entire battle…

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Ethics and War, Techumin 4, pg. 185:
The price [of war] is also paid by the enemy, who is also graced with the Divine image, and one should grieve whenever Gd's creations drown in the sea. On this point, the issue of quantity is meaningful, and one certainly must weigh the justifications for harming many in order to save an individual.

Hoping for better news,
Mordechai

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Amalek today?

Hi,

"If any people seeks to destroy us, we are commanded to do battle against it when it rises up against us, and this battle of ours is an obligatory war on the basis of the verse from Exodus (17:16), 'The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.'"

(Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, Fate and Destiny, footnote 25)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Monday, November 17, 2014

Taking the middle path

Hi,

"There are many traits in each human being; this one is different from that one, and extremely distant from him. Some are people of rage, always angry. Some have settled minds, never angry – and if they are ever angry, it is once in many years. Some are extremely arrogant, and some are extremely humble, and some are desirous, never satisfied from pursuing desire, and some are of very pure heart, not desiring even the little that the body needs. And some have a broad spirit, unsatisfied even with all of the world's wealth, like Ecclesiastes 5:9, 'One who loves silver will never have enough silver.' And some reduce their spirit, sufficing with even a little that isn't actually enough for them, and not pursuing all of their needs…

"Between each trait and its extreme opposite are intermediate traits, equidistant from each end. And in the set of all traits, some traits are congenital, per the nature of one's body, and some are traits toward which a person's nature is directed and which he will acquire more quickly than other traits, and some traits are lacking in a person from birth, but he learns them from others, or he turns himself to them independently due to a thought in his heart, or he hears that this is a good trait, worthy of following, and he habituates himself to it until it is established in his heart.


"The two extremes in each trait are not a good path; one should neither follow them nor teach them to himself. Should he find that his nature is inclined toward one of them or prepared for them, or he has already learned one of them and practiced it, he should bring himself back to the good and travel the path of the good, the straight path."

(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deiot 1:1-3)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Between Fire and Ice

Hi,

"This Torah is like two paths, one of fire and one of snow. One who inclines one way will die in fire, one who inclines the other way will die in snow. What should he do? He should walk in the middle."

(Talmud Yerushalmi, Chagigah 2:1)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Experience is the best teacher

Hi,

"Experience is a more honest witness than all of the theories founded upon proofs."

(Rabbi Moshe Sofer, Chatam Sofer Yoreh Deah 45)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Medicine must be tried and true

Hi,

"The sages said explicitly that medicinal treatments are not subject to [the prohibition against] 'Emorite ways', meaning that anything mandated by natural studies is permitted, and anything else is prohibited… 

"Do not be troubled by the sages' permission of a tzaluv's nail or a fox's tooth, for in their day they thought these were the result of experience, and were medical… Anything proven by experience may be practiced, even where logic does not dictate it."

(Rambam, Guide of the Perplexed 3:37)

Have a great day,
Mordechai