A Rabbinic Quote


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A man once approached one of the great Chassidic leaders, who in turn asked him, "For what did you come here?"

"To find God."

"Then you came for nothing. You're wasting your time."

"Why?"

"God is everywhere."

"Then, tell me, master, why should I have come?"

"To find yourself."

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This goes right along with what R. Hillel had to say (Perka Avot - I 14)

If I am not for myself, (then) who is for me?

If I am only for myself, (then) what am I?

If not now (then) when?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ba'al

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"He, who for the sake of learning, lowers himself by exposing his ignorance, will

ultimately be elevated." [Talmud]

Objectivish were those rabbis.

Ah. You noticed. By way the first generation Objectivists for the most part were brought up Jewish. Is this just a coincidence?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Hillel seems to be saying that we ought to be for ourselves so that others will be for us, and that we're nothing unless we are to some extent for others. Peter Keating would agree, but not Rand.

What did the Chassidic leader mean by finding oneself? It's way too broad a notion for us to conclude safely that he meant it the way Objectivists would.

The one about exposing one's ignorance in order to learn has been around since Socrates and applies as well to anybody who undertakes difficult intellectual tasks as it does to Rand. She might agree, but I don't recall her ever saying this.

I don't know anything about the context of the quotes, much less in the original language, but my hunch is that the selection and translation are tendentious.

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I don't know what they mean, but I have always thought the second Hillel quote to be the strongest urging for self-esteem--and deeply depressing to procrastinator

That it is.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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"He, who for the sake of learning, lowers himself by exposing his ignorance, will

ultimately be elevated." [Talmud]

Objectivish were those rabbis.

Ah. You noticed. By way the first generation Objectivists for the most part were brought up Jewish. Is this just a coincidence?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Oh, is that where you're going? Rabbi Rosenbaum, Rabbi Branden, Rabbi Peikoff?

What they could have accomplished as Talmudic scholars, yes?

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One of my favorite is "Two Jews, three opinions." In a small southern town, the two Jewish families built three synagogues: one for each of them and another neither would go to.

Israel has its problems, but albeit founded as the Zionist state, it is not a theocracy. Though some in their government would want that, they have other opinionated people to deal with. As a consequence of that, they have two anti-Zionist, pro-Arab parties in the Knesset, one explicitly Marxist labor. Those parties also are represented by women, seated as deputies. Now, show me an Arab/Islamic state where a Zionist woman sits as an elected representative.

... but that "three opinions" thing, that would not have been kosher with the Ayn Rand collective, would it?

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But it would have to have been Rebbetzin Rosenbaum....

Thanks: not one of the 20-odd Hebrew words I know. Unsurprising - thin on the ground aren't they, the "rebbetzim"? Alyssa would have settled all that male dominated bumf.

Judaism would still be reeling in shock from her.

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It sure would. Loosely connected, I read a good novel about a modern rabbi's wife called The Sunday Wife. A worthy update on Madame Bovary -- a beautiful, ambitious Orthodox girl marries a rabbinical scholar and much ensues. Highly recommended---I don't know if Baal is a novel reader but his wife might get a kick out of it.

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It sure would. Loosely connected, I read a good novel about a modern rabbi's wife called The Sunday Wife. A worthy update on Madame Bovary -- a beautiful, ambitious Orthodox girl marries a rabbinical scholar and much ensues. Highly recommended---I don't know if Baal is a novel reader but his wife might get a kick out of it.

I read mostly in history, math, science and philosophy. I am now reading The Game of Thrones which I am enjoying a great deal. I also read all of Tolkien's Ouvres. I tried getting into Harry Potter, but I found it thin gruel. I even read Les Miserables while I was recuperating from pneumonia. My novel reading is mustly localized in the various science fiction genres, particularly alternate history and alternate time lines. That is my homage to the "many worlds theory" of quantum physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It sure would. Loosely connected, I read a good novel about a modern rabbi's wife called The Sunday Wife. A worthy update on Madame Bovary -- a beautiful, ambitious Orthodox girl marries a rabbinical scholar and much ensues. Highly recommended---I don't know if Baal is a novel reader but his wife might get a kick out of it.

I read mostly in history, math, science and philosophy. I am now reading The Game of Thrones which I am enjoying a great deal. I also read all of Tolkien's Ouvres. I tried getting into Harry Potter, but I found it thin gruel. I even read Les Miserables while I was recuperating from pneumonia. My novel reading is mustly localized in the various science fiction genres, particularly alternate history and alternate time lines. That is my homage to the "many worlds theory" of quantum physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Baal: I just read "Why Does The World Exist"**, by Jim Holt. I think you might really enjoy that, given your temperament and interests. Give it a Google.

**Spoiler alert: nobody knows.

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Speaking of Holts, Tom Holt has some of the drollest fantasy mixtures of kitchen sink and fairytale ever written. Ye Gods is a good one that comes to mind, a lot of retired gods bickering in an old folks home...

Alt history is my great favourite too, but they are so hard to do well, too often they just stick a 20th century person into the past . I like best the ones that posit things like, what if for some reason north America remained undiscovered until now? What if Alexander the Great lived to be old and held all of Europe? and so on... but there are not many good ones.

A modern one, SS-GB by Len Deighton, in which Germany had recently won the war (as well it might have) is not only good Alt-H but a very good thriller/

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It sure would. Loosely connected, I read a good novel about a modern rabbi's wife called The Sunday Wife. A worthy update on Madame Bovary -- a beautiful, ambitious Orthodox girl marries a rabbinical scholar and much ensues. Highly recommended---I don't know if Baal is a novel reader but his wife might get a kick out of it.

I read mostly in history, math, science and philosophy. I am now reading The Game of Thrones which I am enjoying a great deal. I also read all of Tolkien's Ouvres. I tried getting into Harry Potter, but I found it thin gruel. I even read Les Miserables while I was recuperating from pneumonia. My novel reading is mustly localized in the various science fiction genres, particularly alternate history and alternate time lines. That is my homage to the "many worlds theory" of quantum physics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Baal: I just read "Why Does The World Exist"**, by Jim Holt. I think you might really enjoy that, given your temperament and interests. Give it a Google.

**Spoiler alert: nobody knows.

To explain why the world (I assume this means the universe) exists we must invoke a cause which exists in the world. In effect we are saying the world exists because the world exists which is not terribly informative.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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