כי לא מחשבותי מחשבותיכם

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Nuggets of Sanity from Sam Harris

Below, you will find two great quotes from Sam Harris in Newsweek in an article called “A Case Against Faith”.

Sam Harris is the author of “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation”.

On the age of the universe:

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.

And a great point about religious ‘morality’:

(…) much of what people believe in the name of religion is intrinsically divisive, unreasonable and incompatible with genuine morality. One of the worst things about religion is that it tends to separate questions of right and wrong from the living reality of human and animal suffering. Consequently, religious people will devote immense energy to so-called moral problems—such as gay marriage—where no real suffering is at issue, and they will happily contribute to the surplus of human misery if it serves their religious beliefs.

Read it all here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tropper Affair: Finally The Coin Dropped!

Did you also notice that Shaindy.com went bust not too long before Leib Tropper was caught with his pants down? See the connection?!?

Which gadol will take over Shaindy.com now?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Motze Shabbos Kol Isha – Maria (Blondie)

(this post was corrected - UK)

When I joined Hillel (Israeli support group for ‘chozrim lisheilah’), one of the things we did was to have a Friday evening disco somewhere in a kibbutz. This was an important song, together with the likes of R.E.M.’s “Losing my religion” and “Hotel California”.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christian Kofer Story

Sick of all them Kiruv Stories? On the OTD Resources websites, I posted a collection of OTD Stories. I am looking for more, so feel free to post them in the comments.

Of course there are not just  Jewish people leaving the fold. Here is the story of Robin C. from Mississippi about leaving Christianity called ‘A Beautiful Story’, as posted on the Rational Response Squad website.

Can you spot the parallels?  

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Morning Kol Isha: Kim Carnes with Betty Davis’ Eyes

This is Kim Carnes’ worldwide number 1 hit and the biggest hit of 1981. In 1982, it was used in a 7-Up commercial campaign. The only thing I remember of her afterwards was her joining in singing for USA for Africa’s We Are the World (at 3:06 min.).

I grew up with this stuff (sigh).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ain’t Buying That!

I try to read a lot nowadays about the Torah from a more scientific perspective (DH, Finkelstein, James Kugel). This way I get a better picture of what the book, that I was taught the Universe was created with, really is about.

But sometimes it helps if you just read things for yourself. So I did some Chumash Rashi on Bereishis (just a few perakim) and I have to say that my perspective has totally changed. I am not reading anymore what I would like it to say or what I am supposed to believe it says, just the plain pshat.

And there I read about this strange thing called Rakia, created on day two:

ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם, וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל, בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם.  ז וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-הָרָקִיעַ, וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ, וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ; וַיְהִי-כֵן.  ח וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ, שָׁמָיִם; וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם שֵׁנִי.

6 And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

So Rakia was a layer that was sandwiched between the lower waters (oceans, lakes, etc.) and the upper waters (supposedly the clouds or the rain). Fine.

On day four, however, the following is written:

יד וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי מְאֹרֹת בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמַיִם, לְהַבְדִּיל, בֵּין הַיּוֹם וּבֵין הַלָּיְלָה; וְהָיוּ לְאֹתֹת וּלְמוֹעֲדִים, וּלְיָמִים וְשָׁנִים.  טו וְהָיוּ לִמְאוֹרֹת בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמַיִם, לְהָאִיר עַל-הָאָרֶץ; וַיְהִי-כֵן.  טז וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת הַגְּדֹלִים:  אֶת-הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל, לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם, וְאֶת-הַמָּאוֹר הַקָּטֹן לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה, וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים.  יז וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים, בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמָיִם, לְהָאִיר, עַל-הָאָרֶץ.  יח וְלִמְשֹׁל, בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה, וּלְהַבְדִּיל, בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ; וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-טוֹב.  יט וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם רְבִיעִי.

14 And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.' And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Duh? So I am supposed to believe that the sun, the moon and the stars were all stuffed into this Rakia thing? Remember that this Rakia thingy must be somewhere between the sea and the clouds!

Does the Torah really wants us to believe that both the sun, the moon and the stars are all within kilometers distance from the earth, nicely put next to each other within a comfortable distance!?!

I ain’t buying that. And nobody should.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hope to be Blogging Soon Again

Sorry, but I caught a bad flu. Hope to be blogging my kofer posts soon again, with the help of the Unmighty.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some Great Interviews with Shalom Auslander

I don’t know if you already read Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander, but if you didn’t yet, go  buy / borrow / steal it. Unless you can’t handle blasphemy. (But then again, what the hell are you doing on my site, you masochist!?) I finished his book in only a few days and that’s quick for a working guy with a family.

This interview /  bookreading on Bookniks is is great fun to watch:

Less funny, but nevertheless intriguing is this interview from npr.org:

BTW: Did you know Shalom is the nephew of Rabbi Norman Lamm?