by Joel Rich
June 7, 2012
The Moral Diet
By DAVID BROOKS
Next time you feel tempted by something, recite the Ten Commandments. A small triggering nudge at the moment of temptation, Ariely argues, is more effective than an epic sermon meant to permanently transform your whole soul.
I’d add that you really shouldn’t shoot for goodness, which is so vague and forgiving. You should shoot for rectitude. We’re mostly unqualified to judge our own moral performances, so attach yourself to some exterior or social standards.
Ariely is doing social science experiments and trying to measure behavior. But I thought his book was an outstanding encapsulation of the good-hearted and easygoing moral climate of the age. A final thought occurred to me. As we go about doing our Good Person moral calculations, it might be worth asking: Is this good enough? Is this life of minor transgressions refreshingly realistic, given our natures, or is it settling for mediocrity?
Question: With the push by major universities to online courses with 1,000s of students, perhaps supplemental by local face to face time, has anyone thought of the applications for Roshe’s Yeshiva?
President Joel in what sounds like an address to gap year students as he recounts his family history (not sure if this is to establish his bona fides, establish a connection with the audience, scratch a personal itch or something else). He then articulates the need for taking responsibility and the vision and reality of YU – contrasts with Touro, Queens et al.
Question: Did President Joel really remember “Me and Bobbie McGee” as a Kris Kristofferson song or did he choose to mention the writer so as to not mention the Southern Comfort drinking, blues belting singer who made it famous posthumously (and might have raised Kol Isha issues or is it not applicable to a posthumous listening?).
Nothing surprising – finding balance isn’t easy – key issues are to find balance, not be consumed by the job and use your time productively. The panel of real people and their experiences was worthwhile – especially the real estate software consultant (ok – we’ll see if anyone gets this reference) with keen insight into dynamic balance seeking in life and that lying isn’t just forbidden (me – isn’t it a yeish omrim in S.A. J), it’s bad business!
Haoseik B’mitzvah (if you are involved in one mitzvah you are exempt from another). Is the reason for the exemption hutrah (the 2nd mitzvah is now inherently in applicable to you – like a shoteh) or dchuya (the 2nd mitzvah is applicable to you but what can you do – like an ones).
R’Weiss thinks this is a halacha mesuyam (technical detail not a grand TOE thing) as is his general approach! He also feels haoseik doesn’t apply when the mitzvah is one of speech or a “continual” mitzvah (like writing a sefer Torah) nor can you use this in your normal routine (e.g. Dr’s have to make time to daven unless an unplanned emergency).
History and sources of priestly blessings – glad to hear that R’Gottlieb is as flummoxed as I am about why “we” (in galut) don’t have it done on a daily basis (BTW, I heard it was a fire not jail that kept the GRA from reinstituting it).
Why don’t we follow Talmud’s prescription of 1/3 Tanach, 1/3 Mishna and 1/3 Gemara? (i) practical – it’s a function of the amount to be covered; (ii) it’s a function of where you are in your career of learning; (iii) Talmud includes other 2.
*R’MT thinks creativity stems from breadth of knowledge and stability (me – see Eugene Stoner and the development of the M-16; but IMHO this is just one model of creativity.)
*R’MT accepts machlokot as a result of Eilu V’eilu, not transmission errors.
*R’MT is mchavein to the Stones – “You can’t always get what you want”
Everyone needs therapy, especially http://www.jewishideas.org/blog/what-about-me-blog-essay-frum-man-complaints .If you have a lot of complaints, it’s about you and don’t write babyish and anonymous blog posts (that’s why I include my name and assume the logical.and was implied!). Read the 7 habits and learn to have a good attitude, use effective time management, and to be considerate and have a clear vision/personal code.
*Lots on issues on holiness of Jerusalem and Israel
*Conversion at Sinai
*Is there anything that is not either required or forbidden (yes)
*Shadal was “somewhat” orthodox
*Why gaavah is totally forbidden
*Lot’s of technical sotah stuff
Agnosia is a selective defect in consciousness which results in an inability to recognize things others can – it could be faces, music…
Makes one appreciate the processing power of the brain and how it analyzes/selects data to process.
Alzheimers and frontal lobe dementia. The former primarily expresses itself in non-age appropriate memory loss – the latter in behavioral and language changes. What we know and where research is going.
Technical detail, not too much on the time/space continuum retroactivity yet.
*Explanation of how “special” readings were handled in triennial cycle.
*Was all of Torah given in one fell swoop?
*Tashmishei Kedusha (don’t use bima as bookstand?)
*R’Moshe had to borrow the parochet from Cong. AABJ&D in West Orange to perform a wedding because there was no chuppah!
*R’YBS on halachic status of Israel flag
*Many haftarot have both a surface and deeper connection to the parsha
*Do Kohanim and Levits get drafted (machloket!)
*Is a Levi who does some other levi’s avodah chayav mita?
*Ben Azzai – teaching Torah was his “ptur” from getting married
*Mishpacha and ger definitions
Discussion of layout and underlying approach of the new English Steinsaltz Talmud. Kept Tzurat Hadaf because that’s what market wanted. Discussion of how technology allowed better product and how had to vision from beginning for better IPOD application. What is the future for Jewish Books?
Talmudic sources on birchat kohanim and the speaking role (if any) of those receiving the blessing. General agreement (but exceptions) – don’t say pesukim, do say dream additions if applicable to you, Kabbalistic prayer at end – does anyone have time to say the whole thing?
First in a series. Why would a happy guy like me listen to this?
Everything happens for a reason.
Traditional take on Torah and women’s roles. Defining Torah and how it is only a way to triumph over Yetzer hara. Women are separate but equal. First in a series.
Fascinating history of accidental discovery of thorazine, definition and impact of schizophrenia and current research based on our current understanding of the mechanics of the disease (the prenatal learning of Torah may have an impact!) DNA vs. environmental factors?