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Torah and Derech Eretz
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Rabbi Elazar the son of Azaria would say: If there is no Torah, there is no social decorum; if there is no social decorum there is no Torah. If there is no wisdom, there is no fear of Hashem; if there is no fear of Hashem, there is no wisdom. If there is no applied knowledge, there is […]
33. Is There More Good or Evil in the World?
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Many people mistakenly believe that there is more evil in the world than there is good. They come to this erroneous conclusion because they narrowly focus on details of their own individual circumstances rather than looking at the big picture. [III, 12] An ignorant person considers the world as existing to fulfill his own whims, […]
Tzarich Iyun: Bobe-Mayses
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Misconception: The term bobemayse refers to bobes, Jewish grandmothers. Fact: A bobe-mayse is an old wives’ tale or incredible story. While in Yiddish, bobe is an affectionate name for grandmother, and mayse means tale or story; the term bobe-mayse probably derives from a sixteenth-century Yiddish classic Bove-Bukh.[1] Background:One of the first (chronologically and in pride […]
The Chain of Transmission
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Avos: 1, 1 The first mishna in Pirkei Avos starts with an introduction that outlines the Torah’s transmission chain from generation to generation until the Anshei Kennesses Hagedola. Since the mishna’s main purpose is to relay ideas that the Anshei Kennesses Hagedola implemented and preached, this chronological listing seems somewhat extraneous. The question is: why […]
32. The True Nature of Evil
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Sometimes the absence of a property is like a property itself. The absence of heat is cold. The absence of light is darkness. The absence of sight is blindness. The absence of life is death. Even though these negative conditions could be thought of as the “default,” one who removes heat, light, sight or life […]
Turn It and Turn It Again
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Ben Bag Bag would say: turn it and turn it again, for all is in it; see through it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there is nothing that works better than it. – Avos 5, 22 While the actual words of the mishna are cryptic, it is clear […]