Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Interesting Links & News for Week ending 31 May 2013

Does God have a sense of Humour?

Do you eat meat out but would never touch pork...? Hallal  lamm hambergers found containing 50% pork

Why be Charedi?

Wanna buy a share in the world to come?

See our very own Daniel Saus & Ryan Levin on Korean TV. The documentary talks of the Korean's interest in Talmud study ( starts 1:30)

Racists, Bigots & Jerks


Perhaps we have become a bit too sensitive of late. Once upon a time throwing insults at one another were merely a commonplace activity used to express disdain and dislike for each other.  Seldom was the insult in anyway correlated with any semblance of the truth, with perhaps notable exceptions of Dumbo, Pinocchio and Carrot top.
But our personal sensitivities of individuals from every demographic, cultural & ethnic origin seem to be judging people too favourably by labelling everyone a racist.
 There are three kinds of people who hurl abuse:
There are racists. These are people who have come to a conclusion- logically or emotionally- that people of different colour, religion or background are objectively inferior. It is a deeply held value that they are superior and believe that a perfect world would place them at the top of the food chain.
There are bigots. These are cultural xenophobes who do not hate out of conviction to a set of values and beliefs, but rather dislike difference. They have no knowledge of other cultures but, out of pure ignorance & possibly fear, hate them all the same.
There are Jerks. These are people who call others nasty names, because they can and want to. The insults are seldom well thought out and generally have no real malicious intent, but they are unpleasant all the same. They do attempt at times to be sharp and witty with the choice of metaphor used against the victim, but in reality it is more the esteem of their comrades that they desire than the damaging of the victim.
When Jerks are confused for racists, we unknowingly grant them an undeserved title of sophistication. Jerks have not contemplated their philosophical positions nor have they given any thought to the ramifications of their words- because they are Jerks.
Let’s not fall into the trap of calling all jerks and bigots in the world ‘racists’.
 Let’s call them by their official titles- Jerks.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Are you truly Free? 21 March 2013

Are you truly Free?
There is a statement in the ethics of the fathers that says 'The only free person is one who is emersed in Torah'. This is counter-intuitive as we usually see Torah as restrictive rather than a liberating activity.
My understanding of the piece is that when we are living a life directed by our natural urges and desires, we cannot ever make a truly 'free' choice, any more than a alchoholic can freely choose to give up his addiction. Through learning Torah, one becomes aware of who we are, in real time, and what motivates us, what inspires us, what scares us and what pulls us. Only then, when we have full awareness of who we are, can we make truly free decisions.
I found the clip below that teaches the same idea, in a more inspirational and clear and concise manner.

This is Water...David Foster Walllace