Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Economist on Daf Yomi

Someone at The Economist has been reading Ruminations, and has been moved to write an article about Daf Yomi. In the midst of the world's worst financial crises in 70 years, mind you. Even at the Economist they can distinguish between the ephemeral and the permanent.

We've been writing about Daf Yomi ever since this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Oy vey, if it comes down to the ultra-orthodox, only, carrying the Jewish banner.

I say this because I know that Jews in Europe had arguments between shuls and rabbis. What's so surprising? When you pay money to have your books "interpreted," and you're famous for "splitting hairs," which the Gemarrah does, sentence by sentence ...

You'd come to realize that there's always been choices. At every Seder Table as a matter of fact, you'd see some who believed every word. Others who believed in none of it. Still others, simple enough to just enjoy the food. And, maybe, someone who came from the outside, in. By the pathway of love. Where being accepted by the whole family stood for something, or other.

Meanwhile, we have SPINOZA. First? Spinoza was dropped by his congregation. But then? Spinoza was absorbed by the intellectuals in the European world. He's still there.

Later on, you come to EINSTEIN. He is a "deist." This word was used, also by our Founding Fathers, to denote a man who "believed" ... but who didn't believe in any particular church. Lincoln, here, stands out. Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, as well.

So, you'd see within society there are some who take what they hear in church, with grains of salt. Heck, even Catholics! (Since, following WW2, Italians chucked all the rules against contraception. And, now Italians have the lowest birth rate in all of Europe!) BY design! And, yes, the pope, we're told, is still celebate. (My mom said it must mean he has "night dreams." Over which his conscious mind had no control.) Mother nature, my mom said, is never denied.

But people do learn how to lie about it.

And, then? Within families, give this a few generations ... and you'd be surprised.

For the ultra-orthodox? There's the sad story (just as it exists for the arabs), of marrying cousins. And, in-breeding.)

Does it take time for it all to come to a head? Yes, it does.

Do people who get satisfaction being religious find a group to hang around with? Well, the definition within Judaism is that you need at least a minion, every day, to pray.

When I was young this meant more religious people would sometimes call on my father, to be part of a minion. Where counting women didn't count. Some people pray more fervently than others.

But if you want to wade ahead 1000 years, there's a good chance SPINOZA AND EINSTEIN will still be there. Being a "deist" isn't an insult. Some of America's Founding Fathers thought the best political ideas were SECULAR. (There's just too much hatred involved in religion. Where different groups go for each other's throats.)

What does it mean to look backwards?

Well, I think you'd see that the Torah and Talmud were very selective.

Early on, Josephus, who lived in Eygpt (proving that Jews did move back there!), wrote in Greek ... Because when Alexander invated Eygpt, the new Pharoahs were all Greek.

And, Josephus is what's been saved. (The Catholics saved his writings.)

Not a peep, however, from any particular rabbi of that time period. If you wonder why? You might come to the conclusion that a myth developed. And, the man, himself? Well, to be a myth, he didn't exist. And, knowing what you know about biology, it's a pretty good fact that this man's mom didn't get impregnated by god! Nope. No "light" struck Mary's belly. (Though my Catholic friend swears this is how she got pregnant.)

Add to "that" story that Mary was engaged to Joseph. But he was "away." And, when she went to him, with her explanation, it is presumed he "accepted this." And, then? They had more children, just the same.

Do you have to hear voices to be very religious? In that case, why isn't their more religion in lunatic asylums?

Oh, the "financial crisis" happened because the USA was selling bonds to average Chinese peasants. Who really work hard. And, save.

And, the whole thing with hedge funds, and these bonds, were a scam. Can you just print money to cover debt?

By the way, if Obama wins? And, then, if he has coattails ... so that he draws in enough democrats to Congress; where the Senate has at least 60 democratic senators? Yes. You can expect changes ahead.

Oh, don't be fooled.

You'll hear screams that the democrats created the Department of Education. NOPE. Eisenhower did. In 1954. And, this Bush? Wow, you couldn't grow a more dysfunctional government much bigger.

As to the republican party? Someday, it will be shown to be the private province of the Bush family. Who miss-used the public's trust. How? By making up lies they fed to the social conservatives; who are religious nuts. And, who went about screaming at the top of their lungs.

Oh, yeah. Lots of this crap is housed in America's south.