Thursday, November 13, 2008

15 Marḥeshwan 5769: Yarov‘am ben Nevaṭ Day/World Kindness Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Protect Civilians in DRC” and “Pledge to Higher Quality, Lower Cost Health Care”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Neither flour nor Torah”: The author makes a good case that relying on donations for long-term Torah study is not merely economically unsustainable, but also against Jewish tradition. It is indeed correct that many of our greatest scholars have had actual jobs. I would also like to add the principle אין סומכים על הנס (“[We] do not rely on a miracle”).
  2. “Amazon UK pulls Scientology exposé for 'legal reasons'”: Translation: The Church of Scientology is using the law to threaten Amazon.com from distributing The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology by John Duignan and Nicola Tallant. This would not be the first time the Church of Scientology tried to play dirty with the law.
  3. “From Tiny Sect, Weighty Issue for Justices”: Summary: Summum, a pseudo-Gnostic/Egyptian new religious movement, is caught up in a legal battle. Pleasant Grove, Utah, has a monument of the Decalogue (often incorrectly called “the Ten Commandments”) in a public park, and the Summumists want to put up a monument of their own Seven Aphorisms next to it. City Hall is against it.

    I am not reporting on this case to make a legal commentary. Rather, one of the comments in the article struck me as particularly odd. To quote:
    Su Menu, the church’s president, agreed. “If you look at them side by side,” Ms. Menu said of the two monuments, “they really are saying similar things.”

    The Third Commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

    The Third Aphorism: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
    I find it incredible that Ms. Menu can claim any real similarity between the Decalogue (Exodus 20:1-13 and Deuteronomy 5:6-17) and the Seven Aphorisms. The Decalogue is a proclamation to the Jewish people that YHWH is their god and how they are to behave. The Seven Aphorisms deal with physics and metaphysics. A casual reading is more than enough to realize that they are not saying similar things. Why Ms. Menu bothered to lie so flagrantly, I have no idea.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “Prank NY Times: `All the news we hope to print'” and the on-line version of the prank. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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