December 23, 2022
People tend to decide on an ideology or course of action, and then hunt for Torah sources to justify it after the fact. Everyone would reflexively agree that this is intellectually dishonest and completely antithetical to the Torah, but almost everyone is guilty of this.
Followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe decided that a dead person could be Moshiach — and that of all the deceased candidates to choose from, including King David himself, it would be the Lubavitcher Rebbe — only after he died, and then went cherry-picking to defend their claim. Until the very moment he died, his followers went on the local news insisting that he would recover from his final illness. When that false prophecy went awry, they simply buried it, changed their story, and built a new Torah around it.
When I was growing up, LGBTQ+++ wasn't yet a thing, just G, and the propaganda at the time was merely to be sensitive to their struggles (presuming they were actually struggling, not embracing it), and to "separate the sin from the sinner" (which is nonsense and antithetical to the Torah). We know where things led from there, which was entirely predictable, but that didn't stop people from hunting for Torah sources to justify turning the Torah on its head every slippery step of the way.
The same is true with the murder of unborn children (which was given the sanitized term "abortion"), contraception, and encouraging singles to get married later and later in life.
The same is true with giving ever-increasing amounts of pharmaceutical products — none of which are actually good for you, though at times they may be necessary — to healthy adults and children alike.
The same is true with making every excuse imaginable for Jews to remain in the diaspora, no matter what. If there is one area where Jews show their cleverness and ability to pick cherries, this is it.
And, of course, the same is true with justifying the tyranny and corruption of the last three years. Locking people in their homes, forcing people to suffocate themselves, forcing people to take injections of Amalek juice, closing down shuls and yeshivas, redefining normal human contact as a deadly risk, and referring to anyone who thought otherwise as a rodef, with all that implies — all of that came complete with Torah sources and sanctimonious, manipulative assertions.
I can provide numerous other examples of this intellectual dishonesty and abuse of Torah, and so can you. When people start with a conclusion and then work backwards to justify it, they can always find a Torah source, or distort one, to give it some credence.
That is not observing the Torah, but trampling all over it, because the Torah is here to inform us and guide us, not to serve as a crutch for those who first decide the way it's going to be. We are supposed to approach the Torah with an unbiased mind, genuinely not caring what the "correct" answer is, and let the Torah speak to us, instead of imposing our will on the sources.
The same phenomenon has become the norm with "science", where the talking heads start with a desired conclusion (masks work, the shots are safe and effective, we need to become slaves and destroy civilization to save the planet, men and women are figments of our imagination, etc.) and then simply fabricate a study or a statistic to "prove" it.
Prepping — or preparing for emergencies — has become more mainstream in recent times, and many Jews have begun to embrace this trend. In principle this seems to be responsible behavior, even obligatory according to the Torah. But how many people have actually studied what the Torah has to say on the subject? Are there not boundaries, limits, and guiding principles when it comes to prepping as with everything else?
That was the subject of this week's Torah class, which was based on the parsha. The recording is available at https://rumble.com/v21rm3o-r-and-b-torah-fellowship-38-prepping-according-to-the-torah.html.
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Check out this classic bit of propaganda from Avi Shafran in Ami Magazine from December 16, 2020.
Why Trojan horse publications like this are still allowed in the most "strictly Orthodox" world without a peep of protest is hard to understand.
There's a lot wrong with this article from start to finish, more than I care to catalog, but there's one point he makes that bears particular mention.
"I felt that the benefit of covering my mouth and nose was outweighed by the danger to my health in not receiving sufficient oxygen. I could feel, I felt, that I wasn’t getting enough air.
But then I found research that showed that oxygen levels did not decrease as a result of masking — even when the masker was engaged in strenuous exercise...And so, I realized that it was really just the discomfort of breathing warm air and enduring fogged eyeglasses that argued against the public health benefit of wearing a mask. I was being a shul snowflake."
That's right, he could literally feel that he was starving for air (at least he felt that he felt that way, whatever that means), but a study claimed otherwise and made up an alternative reality to explain the feeling of suffocation he was experiencing. Therefore, he wasn't really starving for air, despite what his body was telling him. And if you feel you are starving for air when you place something over your mouth and nose, you aren't, snowflake, so stop complaining about it and just get used to it.
Avi Shafran is Agudath Israel of America's director of public affairs, and to the best of my knowledge has not issued a retraction and apology for his ridiculous, dangerous propaganda that runs entirely against the Torah. But keep supporting the organization, because they are super duper Orthodox — all the gedolim say so, or something like that.
As for Ami Magazine, I guess as long as you virtue signal with hagiographies about gedolim and not showing pictures of women, you can get away with insidious propaganda and leading Jews astray from the Torah in the name of Torah.