Rationalist judaism gas quality


There’s a fabulous story about the football (soccer בלע"ז) match this week between Israel and Scotland in Glasgow. As the television cameras panned around the crowd at the stadium, viewers caught sight of an elderly rabbi, wrapped up against the cold in a thick coat and scarf, learning from a sefer! The camera paused on this extraordinary sight, as one of the commentators laments that he missed the goal, and adds that the book must be a good read!

The rabbi was none other than Rav Zev Leff of Moshav Mattityahu. He was in Scotland visiting his children, and he took his grandchildren to the football game. It’s an extraordinary kiddush Hashem, and a lesson for us, in two ways. But before getting to that, since this forum is about explaining the Rationalist Judaism perspective of Rambam, there is a comment that must be made.

In the Forward’s charming article on this story, it quotes Rav Leff as saying that "If for one second there would be no one learning Torah anywhere in the world, the world would cease to exist.” This is, of course, common doctrine in the yeshivah world today, and was strongly articulated by R. t gastrobar el tenedor Chaim of Volozhin. Indeed, for this reason, study shifts in the Volozhin yeshivah were arranged so that there was at least one student learning Torah at every moment of every day and night. The doctrine is presumed to lend credence to the mystical view of Torah study; that it creates the spiritual energy necessary for the world to function.

Second, it says that they neglect the Torah, not that they neglect the study of Torah, and so it might refer to neglecting the observance of Torah. If we look at the full text of the Midrash, we see that this does indeed seem to be the reference. The context is a discussion of the severity of the punishment for the trivial sins of the righteous, naming Moses, Aaron, Nadav and Avihu (which were not sins of neglecting Torah study), which segues into a discussion of the Deluge (which was likewise not a punishment for the sin of neglecting Torah study). electricity vs gasoline It says:

"And why is there all this (punishment)? Because of [their transgression against] ‘The Torah of God which is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of God which is sure, making the simple wise; the precepts of God which are right, making the heart rejoice; the instruction of God is lucid, making the eyes light up; the fear of God is pure, abiding forever; the judgments of God are true, altogether righteous; more desirable than gold, than much fine gold; sweeter than honey, than drippings of the comb’ (Ps. 19:8-11). From here we see, the sages said, that whenever people neglect the Torah, the Holy One seeks to destroy the world, as it says, ‘Give praise to God, you divine beings,’ (Ps. 29:1, which concludes with a reference to the Deluge), and the divine beings are the ministering angels. The Holy One said: I multiplied men (at the time of the Deluge) like the birds of the heaven and the fish of the sea, and they did not fulfill My will, therefore I hid My face from them." (Tanna Devei Eliyahu Rabba 2)

But there’s also a second lesson here, which Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz pointed out. Clearly, Rav Leff does not have any interest in attending football games, especially not in a cold Scottish winter. And yet he did! He went because, as his daughter explained in an interview, he wanted to spend time with his grandchildren, participating in something that is important to them. As Rabbi Horowitz writes: "If all parents and grandparents had the attitude that spending time with their kids/grandkids is something well worth going outside their own comfort zone, those of us who deal with teens-at-risk would get far less “business” down the road." Indeed!

In order of magnitude, anti-vax attitudes were highest amongst those who were high in conspiratorial thinking. Of the five characteristics of Science Denialism, the top is Conspiracy: arguing that scientific consensus is a result of a complex and secretive conspiracy between Big Pharma and the Government. Pop culture tells us that the big pharmaceutical companies know all about the simple, natural cures for everything — cancer included — but are covering them up in order to continue milking sick people for profit. (See too http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/315761/Best-practice-guidance-respond-vocal-vaccine-deniers-public.pdf)

What people don’t realize is how regulated, stringent and difficult the Pharma Industry is. Developing vaccines is not that different from drug development. It is an expensive, long and structured process that sees many drugs fail before reaching the market. bp gas prices I personally worked on a drug for multiple sclerosis for twelve years, and it failed. It just didn’t work, despite all the effort we had put into it. And nobody at Teva thought for a second that we should cover it up and get it to market. Even if someone had tried, the FDA would never have bought into an argument of benefit to a patient—because there wasn’t any.

Clinical development is a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety. Many vaccines undergo Phase IV formal, ongoing studies after the vaccine is approved and licensed.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of employees in a company working on a single product at any given time. There are countless interactions with the Health Authorities all over the world. Stringent practices for reporting adverse events (side effects) and following the safety of patients. Therefore, there are thousands more hospital employees, contract researchers, government officials and so on who are also involved in a clinical study for a single product at any given time. It is ludicrous to think that all of these hard-working, honest people are part of a conspiracy.

I know of myself and my colleagues that there is one thing that drives us, gets us up in the mornings and makes us stay in this tough industry: Maybe, and it’s only a maybe, we will bring a new medicine to benefit the health of a patient somewhere in the world. gas tax in new jersey May I be rewarded with that accomplishment, many times over, and not have to hear about children falling sick and dying because people think that I am part of an evil conspiracy.

"When you say that there are many statements made about which one cannot possibly say that they originated only with the Sages… I must say that I agree with you that there are indeed many statements made by our Sages which did not originate from them but which were handed down to them, especially the stories of events of far-off days in the past, e.g., the stories of Abraham in Ur of the Chaldeans, the stories of Moses before he was elected by God, and so on. A proof for this lies in the fact that many stories told by late Amora’im can be found, almost word for

"But even here there is no need to assume that these tales originated from Sinai, but, rather, that they were part of an ancient folk tradition. It seems to me reasonable to say that even from earliest times, from the days of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Shem and Ever, such stories were transmitted and eventually were related to Abraham, and he passed them on to his descendants.

"Yet I would not swear to the accuracy of these tales or to equate them with the stories of Moses and the prophets. Possibly, some of them were merely told for moralistic and instructive ends. Even the stories of Abraham, Terach and Nimrod in Ur of the Chaldeans may have been told for homiletical purposes. They may have been constructed on the basis of the view that Abraham recognized his Creator when only three years of age, as derived from the numerical value of the word ekev, and on the basis of the phrase, "I am God who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans." One should not reject someone who adopts this standpoint, for indeed, there are views that hold that Abraham did not recognize God until the age of fifty-two or more. gas lighting Had those tales been held to be incontrovertible truths, one could not have set his conversion during his later age.

Let’s begin with measles. The overwhelming consensus of expert medical opinion is that vaccination should be done and would have prevented the current tragic situation. Unfortunately, there is a significant body of people who are skeptical of "expert consensuses" (for reasons discussed in my post on the Lakewood Suicide Squad). They aren’t evil, even though their actions have terrible consequences. They sincerely believe that the so-called experts cannot be trusted and are wrong, and they will give you all kinds of reasons for this.

Now let’s turn to the missile barrage from Gaza. According to a large body of military experts who spoke up in favor of the Disengagement in 2004 (see the list of experts in the advertisement pictured here, as well as the citations at this link), this wasn’t going to happen. The Disengagement was going to enhance the security situation. General and Prime Minister Sharon claimed that disengaging would give the IDF a free hand to respond with full military force if Gaza attacked us. gas bubble in throat Ha! (It reminded me of the Oslo days, when Peres insisted that giving guns to the PA was safe, because the first time that one of those guns would be used against an Israeli, Israel would swoop down in force and end everything.) To many of us ordinary folks, on the other hand, it was obvious that the Gazans would attack Israel, and Israel would not have a free hand to respond, because of international condemnation. Clearly, these experts were all wrong.

In matters relating to hard science, expertise is of great significance. Yes, it’s always possible that there is some kind of fundamental epistemological error, or some kind of bias. However, given the huge amount of hard data available with regard to vaccinations, and the broad spectrum of people who possess expertise in this topic and all share the same conclusion, it is reasonable to be sure that the experts know what they are talking about.

Matters relating to war, peace and politics are more complicated. Yes, military expertise certainly helps. And it’s frustrating to see the well-meaning but not well-thought-out armchair generals on Facebook talking about how the IDF should carpet-bomb Gaza, without thinking through the moral, tactical or political implications of such an act. gas utility cost Still, the fact is that projections as to what will bring security are heavily shaded by one’s political outlook, as well as a host of psychological and sociological factors. For example, secular Israelis tend to be more desperate for acceptance by other countries and thus inclined to believe that this can be achieved, whereas religious Israelis tend to be more resigned to being globally despised.

As for the expertise of Daas Torah regarding who to vote for, it’s simply a myth. Torah does not give any special insight into which mayor to vote for. Torah is an immensely rich body of wisdom accumulated over a long period in many places by many people, and it certainly does not have a single viewpoint that can be mapped on to the simultaneously immensely complicated question of how to govern a city. Furthermore, there’s no reason to think that great Talmudists, or descendants of Chassidic Rebbes, possess any particular wisdom – in fact, Chazal state explicitly that there is the possibility of a Talmid Chacham completely lacking wisdom. Thus, there is no reason to think that the Lithuanian, Sefardic, Peleg or Chassidic voices of Daas Torah have any particular insight as to which mayoral candidate to vote for.

There’s a fascinating letter that outgoing Beit Shemesh mayor Moshe Abutbul sent to someone who begged forgiveness for not voting for him. Abutbul notes that he opened the city up to enormous expansion of the charedi population, and laments how in every other city in Israel, they throw charedim out and do not want charedi communities to be established. He thereby echoes a common refrain in the charedi media, bemoaning the intolerant, hateful anti-charedi sentiments of society at large.

And yet, in the very same letter, Abutbul also boasts of how he catered to the charedi community by giving 90% reductions in municipal taxes to kollel families. This is consistent with several public addresses that he gave to non-charedi communities in Beit Shemesh, in which he proudly told the stunned audiences that it is their privilege to be the Zevuluns for the Yissachars of the charedi world. la gasolina He also ridicules (both in this letter and in interviews that he gave) those who attempted to prevent the settlement of new neighborhoods until adequate infrastructure was in place. It should also be noted that in the various clashes between dati-leumi and extremist charedi communities that took place, such as with the Orot Banot school and with the tzniyus signs, Abutbul expressed his belief that the dati-leumi community should be tolerant of the strictures demanded by the extremists, even though the dati-leumi community was there first.

You can’t have it both ways. If you believe that the priority is to rush the settlement of charedi families even if the city infrastructure can’t cope, and you believe that the city budget should be disproportionately paid for by non-charedim (who are effectively subsidizing people in kollel), and that as the charedi population increases the non-charedim should accept extremist charedi societal demands, then how can you simultaneously express horror and disapproval that other cities in Israel do not want to become charedi?!