Teaching Emunah to Our Children

letter-447577_1280

I was honored with a last-minute invitation to participate in Ami Magazine‘s Premier issue, which appeared yesterday. I responded with the following essay. In general, I like what the editors did — this original version was slightly too long for their parameters — but at the end of this essay I will share my one hesitation.

This past Shabbos evening, I had the opportunity to speak to a small group of High School students on a Shabbaton. I chose an unusual topic — unusual, perhaps, because it is so basic: how we know, from the Torah itself, that it is almost unimaginable that anyone could have written it besides He who could and does fulfill the promises contained therein.

I recall hearing Rav Shlomo Wolbe zt”l speak about a related subject as part of his weekly mussar shmuez in “Lakewood East,” where his son-in-law, ylctv”a Rav Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman shlit”a, is Rosh Yeshiva. Rav Wolbe said that every yeshiva student needs to have five reasons why he knows that HaShem created the world, and five reasons why he knows that HaShem gave us the Torah.

This made a unique impression precisely because this is a subject ordinarily discussed at Kiruv seminars, rather than with B’nei Yeshiva. Some believe that Emunah Peshuta, simple faith, requires that one not investigate such basic and fundamental elements of our beliefs. It may be true that in previous generations, it was unnecessary to grapple with these topics. Today, however, outside influences knock on the door of every Jewish home, and Rav Wolbe said that we must know why we believe what we believe.

In fact, it has often been argued that the Rambam’s famous “Ani Ma’amins,” his thirteen fundamentals of faith, begin with a mistranslation from the original Arabic. For if we turn to the opening words of his Mishnah Torah we find a somewhat different — and stronger — formulation: “the foundation of foundations and pillar of wisdom is to know that there exists a Prime Being.” It is not something that we simply believe, but something that we must know, rationally as well as viscerally.

Rabbi Daniel Mechanic’s Project Chazon offers programs designed to “prevent at-risk behavior before it even begins,” and to “severely reduce or even eliminate self-destructive behaviors in troubled teenagers.” In his work, Rabbi Mechanic uses much of the same material that he used as the director of Aish HaTorah’s Discovery program, repackaged for Orthodox high school students. It shouldn’t surprise us that this is one component of a successful approach — he makes Emunah into something both lively and logical. Is there any chinuch, any education we can transmit, greater than this?

For me, one of the highlights of the evening was that my own teenage daughter was present and listening. For all of the excellent mechanchim and mekarvim (educators and outreach professionals) who devote their lives to educating our children, it is still “the foundation of all foundations” for children to hear these messages from their parents. Nonetheless, it’s not something easy to sit down with them to discuss.

How, then, can we deliver the message without saying it to them directly? By speaking with others. This is yet another benefit of welcoming those not yet observant into our homes — to see how we live our lives, and to learn “why we believe what we believe.” When your children hear you declaring your faith and your knowledge to others, it cannot help but affect them as well.

In the edited version, the final phrase appeared as “it cannot help but affect them too, and keep them far from risk.” My hesitation is that I think it’s a bit presumptuous to claim to know what will keep a child far from risk. First of all, my oldest is still a teenager — need I say more? And second, I know of too many families with children no longer part of the Orthodox community, with too many very different situations, to claim that any one technique will keep a child “far from risk.” We must do our best, communicate, love, and parent — and pray.

You may also like...

48 Responses

  1. Yaakov Menken says:

    I’m going to post this one last response on the topic, and then close debate simply because I don’t have time to deal with it further, and some of these are not comments which we can permit to go without a response.

    I would love to read Rabbi Slifkin’s book, but doing so will not change the Talmud and legal authorities. It is all well and good to talk about what happened when “Chazal made their rules,” but Tana D’vei R. Yishmael said that this came directly from the Torah, and from the Master of the World who knew all its creatures — and that there is no other livestock “in His world” that ruminates and has no cloven hoof. Neither is the case of someone “traveling in the desert” at all consonant with “in the yishuv [settlement].” And finally, were there any suspicion that this might not be true outside the Middle East, the legal codes would have cautioned people not to rely upon this. The very opposite is true.

    It makes no sense to distort the simple meaning of the Gemara, in the absence of a clear and obvious contradiction to it.

    According to Natan himself, in his book, two independent zoologists say they have seen hyraxes ruminate with their own eyes. One of the dissenters implied that one of the former couldn’t tell the difference between a hostile mouth motion and rumination! The fact that most people have not seen them do it is no proof, and apparently, biologically, they can. Kangaroos, on the other hand, apparently do look like they ruminate, “although kangaroos are not a true ruminant.

    As for the arneves, I never said that I know it is not a rabbit. But we know that it is one of the four unique animals, one of only three that is “maaleh geirah,” however that might be defined, without having a cloven hoof. In two of these cases, because they’re domesticated animals (livestock), we have a clear and unambiguous tradition with regards to them which also happens to be absolutely correct.

    Mendy’s claim that the “proof is circular” turns a straight line into a pretzel. Four out of the seven continents were entirely unknown to the ancients. Every continent has unique species. It is simply foolish to imagine that our Sages just got lucky — and those attending Kiruv seminars are not out to be duped. They appreciate the proof because it happens to be true. Extremely few people without a predefined agenda do not find the evidence both obvious and compelling. This is determined not by commenters on a web journal, but by people out in the real world. According to “S.” I guess saying the earth is round is also just a gimmick, since it is also being “debated by reasonable people.”

    Frankly, Rabbi Slifkin seems to be searching for excuses for why Chazal didn’t know that which they quite apparently knew. With regards to the hyrax, he says we absolutely know, but with camels and peccaries we don’t — when the very opposite is much more reasonable and logical. People owned and worked with livestock, not wild animals. What we call a “min,” or type of animal, is based upon pragmatic eyesight and reason, not DNA. It’s pretty obvious that a donkey is not a horse, but that a camel is a camel regardless of how many humps it has. I don’t think any reasonable person is going to try to keep a wolf in the house, regardless of any DNA similarities with poodles!

  2. rtw says:

    “It is what we call rov minyan and rov binyan of experts who thoroughly see the Codes as worthless, particularly after the last round of Dr. Aumann supervised research”
    I want you to know, Rabbi Adlerstein, that it is this attitude that I think makes you one of the most thought-provoking (if not the most thought-provoking) Orthodox writers here on the Net. You are willing to deal with some of the modern issues encountering your faith and have thoughtful things to say about those issues, as opposed to dismissing experts; it shows great tznius on your part, something others would do well to emulate. I say this as somebody who isn’t frum.

  3. Natan Slifkin says:

    Rabbi Menken, I really wish that you would read my book. Of course I am aware that the exclusivity of these animals is used for halachic purposes, and this is something that I address at length in the book. In brief, we see in the Gemara itself (from the topic of birds) that when Chazal made their rules, they were not concerned about animals that are not in the “yishuv.” So the existence of additional one-siman animals from remote regions of America or Australia does not present a problem.

    It’s not “having it both ways” to adopt Rav Hirsch’s view on science and to reject his view on the arneves. The former is extremely well-founded in countless Rishonim, whereas the latter is not at all well founded, and is disputed by every single person to have actually studied the topic in depth – something that Rav Hirsch did not do. On what basis can you assert that all the rabbanim and zoologists and scholars to have studied this topic in depth, every single one of whom identified the arneves as the hare, are wrong? Especially since there is multiple evidence from Chazal themselves (e.g. their not wanting to translate Arneves into Greek because of Ptolemy Lagos, with Lagos being Greek for rabbit, and their substituting se’iras haraglayim instead, because rabbits have uniquely hairy feet, and the accounts of the arneves being used for food and fur.) Check out Rav Amitai Ben-David’s Sichas Chullin, as well as Yehudah Feliks’ books, and I can add another thirty references. They all claim that ma’aleh gerah can mean more than just rumination. Why are you so sure that they are all wrong?

    Your analogy to archaeology is off-base. Again, I have an entire chapter devoted to this topic. It’s easy to imagine an artifact evading detection. It’s not at all easy to posit that there was a species from a family very different from all known families which existed in Chazal’s time and disappeared entirely without trace. To explain why would require a lengthy discussion of paleo-zoology. Suffice it to say that no zoologist with expertise in this area would say that there was an unknown cloven-hoofed ruminant in the Middle East 2000 years ago.

    It is simply not the case that “according to multiple zoologists, the hyrax is a ruminant.” Rather, according to ONE zoologist, disputed by all other zoologists, the hyrax occasionally ruminates. I own a hyrax and I have never seen it ruminate. Incidentally, according to this same zoologist, kangaroos also ruminate. On what basis do you say that he is correct about the hyrax (despite being disputed by everyone else) and wrong about the kangaroo?

    Regarding drawing the line with camelids and peccaries – my point is that we just don’t know. Donkeys and horses are classified as different minim despite their similarities. So are wolves and dogs, even though they are the same species! On the other hand, the many different species of mice are all the same min. So without any system to determine what is the same min, you can’t simply assert that lamoids must be camels and peccaries must be pigs. It’s possible that they are – but you can’t be certain.

  4. S. says:

    The major issue with the airtight proof is that it is not airtight. The fact that it is being debated here shows that at the very least reasonable people think it’s nonsense. Therefore it is, as I said, a gimmick.

  5. Yaakov Menken says:

    As mentioned before, Rabbi Slifkin and I have a warm relationship. He has stayed in my house, and we both share an area of expertise outside Torah which I will hint to by merely affirming that bats aren’t bugs. VehaMeyvin Yavin. But I feel he has gone off course. He wants to dismiss the idea that the Torah identifies these four species, uniquely and exclusively, as nothing more than a “Kiruv proof.” That would be fine if it weren’t firmly ensconced in Halacha, Jewish law.

    In the Gemara Chulin 59a, Tana D’vei R. Yishmael does not, as Mendy claims, make up something new. A statement like “D’vei R. Yishmael felt safe in announcing that that’s what the Written Torah was telling us all along” at least walks along the edge of Kefirah B’Torah SheBa’al Peh, denial of the Oral Torah. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake that we allowed that comment to be published.

    Tana D’vei R. Yishmael is accepted all over the Gemara as Torah SheBa’al Peh, and here he’s not making up some sort of Kiruv proof — the Tana is teaching Halacha L’Maaseh, practical Jewish law:

    Rav Chisda said: if one is going in the desert and finds a livestock animal whose hooves are cut, he should check in its mouth. If it has no upper teeth, is known that it is a kosher animal, and if not, it is known that it is not kosher – only that he must recognize a camel.

    But a camel has fangs [nivi]!

    Rather say, only that he must recognize a child camel [the upper teeth only appear after a few years].

    Don’t say that. If there is a child camel, there is also something else which is similar to a child camel.

    Don’t let that come to your mind, because Tana D’vei R. Yishmael taught, “and the camel, which is a ruminant…” The ruler of the world knows that there is no other thing which ruminates and is not kosher except the camel, and for that reason the verse specifies it.

    A similar discussion then follows, regarding the pig. Not only does the Talmud record this without argument, but it is brought down in legal works, as mentioned earlier. Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, Laws of Forbidden Foods 1:2-3:

    The signs of kosher livestock and wild animals are explained in the Torah, and they are two, cloven hooves and rumination, and there must be both. And any livestock or wild animal which ruminates does not have upper teeth, any livestock which ruminates also has cloven hooves except for the camel, and any animal which has cloven hooves also ruminates except for the pig.

    For this reason, one who finds a livestock animal in the desert, and does not recognize it, and finds its hooves cut, should check its mouth. If it has no upper teeth then it is known to be kosher, as long as he recognizes a camel. If he finds an animal whose mouth has been cut, he can check its hooves. If they are split, it is a kosher animal, as long as he recognizes a pig.

    This is also in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 79(:1). If you can’t rely upon this, then you can’t rely upon anything else our Sages say about livestock and must live life as a vegetarian.

    As for why there should be confusion about only two of these animals, that is also clarified by this same passage. Two of the animals are livestock [behemos], whereas the other two are wild animals [chayos]. Farmers (generally) don’t breed wild animals.

    According to multiple zoologists, the hyrax is a ruminant. Natan admits that Rav Hirsch also challenges the conventional wisdom with regards to the arneves, and he was learning and teaching long before the Origin of Species was published. Rabbi Slifkin has long used Rav Hirsch as the basis for much of his own “rationalist” thinking, and he can’t have it both ways.

    With all the species that have disappeared in the last 100 years alone, we don’t need to redefine the Torah in order to fit the animals that can be found today, certainly not to satisfy the works of “dozens of such works from the last 200 years” of “academic scholars.” There are dozens of works over the last 200 years concerning the archaeology of the Torah as well, and those not written by Torah authorities often found themselves corrected. In one particularly famous example, the Holyland Hotel model of the Beis HaMikdash was initially built with dual staircases in accordance with modern archaeologists and against the Mishnah. Then the archaeologists did more digging, and the staircase had to be rebuilt. Academic scholars still cling to Wellhausen’s JEPD long after its foundations were undercut, so somewhere we have to draw the line.

    Speaking of which, I am not sure where Natan would draw the line in the Camelid family, if he wishes to claim that the llama is not part of the group. A llama has no fatty hump, an Arabian camel has one, a Bactrian camel has two. As for how I know that a peccary is a pig, I have eyes! Other varieties of wild pigs look far more like peccaries then like the modern pink domestic pig, regardless of the genetic relationship.

    I enclose here two sets of three pictures each: the heads of a llama (actually, a Guanaco, another Camelid), dromedary (Arabian camel) and Bactrian camel, and a domestic pig, peccary, and wild pig. I suspect that no one but Natan can tell which is which — except for the domestic pig.

    Bactrian Camel Guanaco Arabian Camel

    Peccary Pot-Bellied (Domestic) Pig Wild Pig

  6. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Also, for Rabbi Adlerstein, your public attitude toward the codes has been close to being mislotzeis at them. I don’t mean that as criticism, and assume you would agree, apologies if I am wrong.

    No, I agree.

    While I’m sure you are a very big baal kishron,

    No, I disagree!

    can I safely assume that you lack the training in math to make an educated judgment? Or are you just basing yourself on your “sense of smell”?

    The former is true; the latter is not. What I follow is the standard procedure of halacha. In matters that require expert evaluation rather than eyewitness testimony, we have protocols about dealing with conflict. We follow the greater experts over the weaker ones. I do have enough background to follow why background in probability and statistics is crucial in evaluating the data, as well as background in experimental design (in which I had at least a bit of personal knowledge). My memory might fail me, but with the exception of Eliyahu Rips (who I will concede is a tzadik-type, and with whom I have had the pleasure of debating the Codes over melave malka in my home), I don’t know of a single PhD mathematician who has read the materials and attributes any meaning to the Codes. I know of quite a few, both frum and not-frum, who are entirely dismissive. It is what we call rov minyan and rov binyan of experts who thoroughly see the Codes as worthless, particularly after the last round of Dr. Aumann supervised research.

    This is the brief version. I really don’t care to rehash all the material of over a decade ago.

  7. Natan Slifkin says:

    “it certainly looks like the Torah identified four and only four animals, but we’re not certain what two of them are.”

    The only people who are “not certain as to what two of them are” are those who want to make this kiruv proof work. Throughout Jewish history, from Chazal through Rishonim and Acharonim, everyone was quite certain that the arneves is the hare – it is mentioned in all kinds of halachic and aggadic contexts, some of which give descriptions that clearly identify it. Mesorah is lost on obscure species, not on familiar species that are described in rabbinic literature. We’re as sure that the arneves is the hare as we are that the chazir is the pig.

    Every single work ever written on the animals of the Torah (and there are dozens of such works from the last 200 years), by rabbis, academic scholars, and zoologists, concurs that the arneves is the hare. With the sole exception of Rav Hirsch, who never studied the zoology of the Torah and was also motivated by certain polemical concerns, everyone else has always chosen to redefine “maale gerah” rather than to say that the arneves is not what everyone has been saying it is for the last 2000 years but rather is a mysterious species completely different from every known family that disappeared without trace. (The arguments for the hyrax are less overwhelming, but still plenty powerful.) But once you redefine maale gerah, there are other animals to be added to the list – which is why the kiruv workers who use this topic refuse to redefine maale gerah and choose instead to pretend that we have no idea what the shafan and arneves are.

    As for the pig – it is not the only one to have split hooves and not ruminate, there is also the peccary. Now, you could argue that a peccary is a kind of pig. But how do you know? And how do you know that the llama is a kind of camel? After all, donkeys and horses are much more closely related than pigs and peccaries, or camels and llamas, and the Torah nevertheless considers them to be two minim.

    Reb Yaakov, you correctly observed that professional statisticians are not immune to cognitive dissonance. But nor are rabbis.

  8. Mendy says:

    Rabbi Menken:

    > Ignored, on the other hand, is the clear and unambiguous identification of the pig as the only animal on earth with cloven hooves that does not ruminate. As I said earlier, bring us another animal with a cloven hoof and that doesn’t chew it’s cud, and we can discuss it’s impact. Until then, it certainly looks like the Torah identified four and only four animals, but we’re not certain what two of them are. That’s not a gimmick, it’s reality.<

    There are numerous problems with the 4-animal proof, not the least of which is the circular reasoning I pointed out in my earlier post.

    Another is that we KNOW what ma’ale gerah generally means. We know that it’s what the 10 listed kosher animals do, which is unlike anything that ANY known candidate for the shafan or arneves does. So, we don’t know whether the shafan and the arneves are ma’ale gerah at all, as the Torah claims. You cannot build a “proof” of the divinity of the Torah when you cannot even determine whether half of the listed animals do what the Torah claims they do. And that’s enough to cast doubt on the correctness of the Torah’s claim, and make the “proof” unusable.

    But on top of that, R. Slifkin has made a compelling case as to which animals the shafan and the arneves ARE, and the arneves—the hare—does not spit up its food via the throat, as all the kosher ma’ale gerah animals do, and as Rashi states happens in ma’alat gerah. And THAT’s enough reason that the “proof” cannot be used. You cannot build a “proof” of the divinity of the Torah when you cannot even determine whether one of the listed animals does what the Torah claims it does.

    And if you define these terms broadly, you get more animals that do what the arneves does. And THAT’S enough reason that the “proof” cannot be used.

    Faced with so many reasons why you cannot fairly use this proof, you therefore want to rely on the pig. That won’t work either.

    If the pig happens to be the only animal in the world that has fully split hooves but doesn’t chew its cud, that is of no significance whatsoever. It is what it is. Even a human author of the Torah would have said: “Don’t eat the pig; it has only one siman.” It might be important as a proof—though not much of a proof—only if the Written Torah CLAIMED it was the only such animal in the world, which it clearly does not do.

    Instead, 1,500 years after matan Torah—and after exploration of almost half the known world by the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, and after Greek and Roman science established zoology and found that there was no other animal such as the pig in all the known world—D’vei R. Yishmael felt safe in announcing that that’s what the Written Torah was telling us all along. And they weren’t telling us this as any kind of proof, and it cannot be used as any kind of proof: any such proof would be circular, because the reliability of their pronouncements about the meaning of the Written Torah is contingent on the divinity of the latter—the very thing at issue in the “proof.” If the Torah had been written by men—the very thing to be disproven—then the Talmud’s interpretations of what G-d meant in the Torah would be irrelevant and meaningless. To accept and rely on the Talmud’s interpretation is to accept the very thing that needs to be proven. That’s called a circular argument.

    The Talmud’s point here was not to present any proof of the divinity of the Torah. It was that if you found an animal with split hooves and a crushed mouth, and you knew what a pig looked like and could exclude it, you could assume the animal was kosher and schecht and eat it. Enough of the contiguous world had been explored that they felt safe saying the pig was unique.

    Furthermore, if you want to rely on the presence of the word “hu” as indicating exclusivity (i.e., “hu” means “only it”), as claimed in Chulin, then please tell me how the psukim could possibly have been written WITHOUT the pronoun “hu.” And please tell me how to read the word “hu” (“only it”) this way in Vayikra 11:7: “And the pig, because ONLY IT has a split hoof and is fully split [not true: all the kosher animals do as well] and ONLY IT does not chew its cud [not true: ALL tref animals do not chew the cud].” It just doesn’t work.

    In any case, whether you rely on the fact that only 4 animals are listed in the Torah, or on D’vei R. Yishmael’s highly idiosyncratic and twisted reading of the word “hu” (a word that the p’sukim need just to make sense), you’re assuming the divinity of the Torah in order to prove the divinity of the Written Torah (as I’ve shown in my other post), and thus are using a completely circular and invalid argument.

  9. Yaakov Menken says:

    A potpourri of comments have flowed in… some responses follow, by no means complete.

    First and foremost, “dr. bill” launches us down a very dangerous road. Once we claim that the very basics of Judaism require “faith beyond reason,” we might as well join the Notzrim, ch”v, who are ever so much more proficient at “leaps of faith” then we are.

    It is a false path, and reality is not a geometric theorem. Logical conclusions are just that, logical conclusions based on the factual evidence. And as a colleague of mine put it, we have much more evidence supporting G-d’s existence than we do that our brakes will not fail the next time we travel 60 mi/h. All that is required is open eyes and an open mind. Is it possible that despite all of the studies, the occurrence of lung cancer in habitual smokers is nothing more than coincidence? Yes, it certainly is possible. But it is not a logical conclusion given the evidence.

    We trust in G-d that everything He does for us is for the best, whether or not we can see the goodness. That is where faith has its place in Judaism.

    Chareidi Leumi challenges the idea that Maimonides actually wrote his 13 Fundamental Principles, as found in his commentary to the Mishnah on the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin, which, as I said, was originally written in Arabic. I have never heard this claim before, and, if true, only bolsters my point that Maimonides’ formulation in his Mishnah Torah is more reliable, given the disparity.

    For those unfamiliar with the research, here is an extremely brief synopsis of the history of the Torah codes:

    First, Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg did some research, and proved that when a group of rabbis’ names and dates of birth and death was selected from a neutral and previously-published source, using appellations preselected by a neutral third party with no direct connection to the research, these various strings of Hebrew letters are found as equidistant letter sequences in extraordinary proximity to each other, in a fashion wildly unlikely to be explained by chance.

    Second, Brendan McKay, Dror Bar-Natan, Gil Kalai and Maya Bar-Hillel did some research, and proved that when you intentionally cook the data and hand-pick good results, you will find strings located in proximity in a fashion wildly unlikely to be explained by chance. They explained WRR’s work as a product of intentional fraud.

    [The last member of the team, Bar-Hillel, is a psychologist. She is on record as saying that “nothing will convince her” that the Codes actually exist, a declaration of faith over fact. Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann, Israel Prize winner and Nobel Laureate in the field of economics, wrote to Bar-Hillel, and used this statement from her as part of his argument that the “refutation” from McKay et al failed the test of common sense.]

    Not to be outdone, Barry Simon argued that it doesn’t really matter if the data was cooked, and should be discarded since it could have been, even though it wasn’t. To further buttress his point, he gathered a collection of signatories, none of whom did any independent research but all of whom were anxious to join with Bar-Hillel in her declaration of faith, and claimed that we should ignore the work of one of the world’s leading mathematicians because he is not a “professional statistician.” [By this same logic, of course, one should discard anything that Natan Slifkin has to say about zoology, as his degrees are in Jewish Studies and Jewish History.]

    For a good, neutral, third-party evaluation of the Codes, I suggest reading the Analyses of the “Gans” Committee Report, which leads a logical and unbiased person to the conclusion that the Codes are hardly disproven, but still under a cloud of doubt which remains to be resolved.

    To return to Rabbi Slifkin’s work, I believe that a neutral reading of, for example, the chapter on The Hyrax readily available online, supports my contention that he leaves us with more questions than answers. He does attempt to refute the accuracy of either of two alternate identifications of the shafan, but also, with compelling honesty, points out that according to numerous researchers (e.g. Hendricks and Janis) the hyrax does, in fact, ruminate. Even if the few remaining species do not, most species are now extinct, so the bottom line is, we don’t know.

    All of this brouhaha is made about the cases where there is ambiguity and dissension as to the identification of the animals (which is hardly surprising; consider that without special dinners hosted by Zivitofsky and Greenberg, we would soon lose the Mesorah necessary to remember that many birds are kosher to eat, beyond chicken, turkey, duck and goose). Ignored, on the other hand, is the clear and unambiguous identification of the pig as the only animal on earth with cloven hooves that does not ruminate. As I said earlier, bring us another animal with a cloven hoof and that doesn’t chew it’s cud, and we can discuss it’s impact. Until then, it certainly looks like the Torah identified four and only four animals, but we’re not certain what two of them are. That’s not a gimmick, it’s reality.

  10. Dr. Isaac Betech says:

    B”H
    Dear RTW
    I understand your point.
    By now just for the records, Natan Slifkin has refused to debate on the scientific validity of 2 of his books.

  11. Dr. Isaac Betech says:

    B”H
    Dear Mendy
    I will wait B”H
    You already have my email.

  12. Mendy says:

    Dr. Betech:

    I’m in the midst of writing a long article (100-150 pages) on the 4-animal proof, and I will publish it on the internet. I hope you can wait. All I will say at this point is that Aish’s “proof” is fatally flawed, and for a multiplicity of reasons. We’ll have to wait until I publish to see if you agree.

    ab:

    I held off on publishing my correspondence during the lifetime of Rav Noach, zt”l, because I didn’t want to cause him grief, and since his petira I have been exceedingly busy. I may include it as an appendix to my article.

  13. Mendy says:

    >David Sedley is absolutely correct, and this is only ONE of Aish’s many utter confusions about the 4 animal argument. IIRC, in my correspondense with Aish, they ASKED me if I thought that Chulin 60b uses the 4 animals as a proof of Torah miSinai. It most definitely does not.<

    Nowhere does the Written Torah state that the 4 listed single-siman animals are the only such in the world. It was d'vei R. Yishmael that claimed than the camel and the pig were the only such animals. This was based on the Torah’s enumeration of these specific animals, and/or on the Torah’s use of the word “hu” in connection with them. In either case, such a “proof” is circular:

    (1) D'vei R. Yishmael’s interpretation of the ordinary pronoun “hu” as suggesting exclusivity is idiosyncratic. There is nothing in the word itself that suggests exclusivity. In fact, the p’sukim would not read well WITHOUT this word. It HAS to be there. D'vei R. Yishmael’s unusual reading of this word is, at most, a part of the Torah she-be'al peh. To use the Torah she-be'al peh’s idiosyncratic reading of a word in the Torah as a proof of divine authorship would be a "bootstrap" argument—a type of circular argument. The authority and reliability of the Torah she-be'al peh itself hinges on the divinity of the Torah she-biktav, which is the very thing to be proven. If the Written Torah is of human authorship, the interpretations of it in the Oral Torah have no authority or reliability. You can’t use the latter to prove the former.

    (2) As for the mere enumeration of these 4 animals being indicative of an exclusive list, a “proof” of divine authorship based on this likewise would be purely circular. The very question at hand is whether the Torah was written by G-d or by men. If it were written by men, the 4 animals would have been enumerated merely to provide the only examples in the area known by those men, and not in order to claim that the list was exclusive. To read the list of 4 as being indicative of exclusivity—because otherwise, the list would be superfluous, something that G-d does not do—would be to assume divine authorship, the very thing to be proven.

    In either case, chazal were smart enough not to make the kind of circular argument that Aish makes. Rabbi Mechanic, and Aish, are plainly wrong, and R. Slifkin is clearly correct.

  14. rtw says:

    “I am ready to debate Natan Slifkin on this issue in an intellectual, multimedia (scientific sources on screen)…”
    Yes, but Rabbi Slifkin’s made it clear in multiple posts that he’s not debating you and you haven’t yet placed those sources on screen. So for the rest of us, that which is asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

  15. Dr. Isaac Betech says:

    B”H
    Dear rtw, you wrote:
    That which is asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    IB:
    Of course you are right, that is the reason I originally wrote in this comment thread:
    I am ready to debate Natan Slifkin on this issue in an intellectual, multimedia (scientific sources on screen), respectful, protocolized, neutral, public forum.

  16. ab says:

    Mendy,

    Post your corresponcence with Aish. I think it would be enlightening to many.

  17. Natan Slifkin says:

    Since Isaac Betech mentioned that I refused to debate him on the scientific validity of evolution, it should be noted that I provided seven reasons for this refusal, which can be found on the RationalistJudaism website.

  18. Mendy says:

    Back in 2000, I sent Aish Hatorah a long letter refuting their 4-animal proof by pointing out 7 fatal flaws I found in it. I then spent 3 months eating my heart out in a frustrating correspondence with their top man, with R. Mechanic cc’d. They answered NONE of my 7 points, and seemed to me to be just trying to give me the runaround. I finally accused them of misleading the public, and they cut off the correspondence. And then they went on using the alleged “proof” for years, sometimes replete with an oinking-pig prop.

    If anyone doesn’t believe me, I still have the correspondence.

    Torah shouldn’t be sold like snake-oil. There ARE no proofs.

  19. dr. bill says:

    the beat goes on. i recently received a link to a video telling of the miraculous knowledge (from Sinai) of the (average) period between lunations. objections to, IMHO, this affront to chazal’s knowledge demonstrated by kiddush al pi cheshbon is a secondary issue and undoubtedly will generate debate on one of the less well covered areas of halakha. what is most disturbing is why the need to keep coming up with these proofs? read the Rav ztl (or his uncle ztl i beleive, but i need to check) on this topic and the need for a miraculous, undocumented, mind-boggling, extension to what chazal attributed to halakha lemoshe misinai evaporates. i for one marvel at chazal, whose error wrt calculation of the molad is about one part in 5 Million (accumulating about 3 hours in 1800 years.) However, when this error is ascribed to God, it is a little more disturbing! Those who understand kiddush hachodesh, should listen and share their reactions. is it not better to respect chazal than question an error by God?

  20. Poshiter Yid says:

    I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say the Codes are proof of anything. I have been to the seminars led by Harold Gans, and he always says they aren’t proof, they are just interesting phenomena. However, that being said, if they ARE true, it would certainly buttress the statement of the Gaon who said “All that ever was, is, or will be, is in the Torah”, and to my knowledge, he didn’t have access to any computers.

  21. rtw says:

    “In the last 20 years I have done extensive research on the supposed counterexamples and have not found even one that disproves the Torah and Talmudic assertions.”
    That which is asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

  22. S. says:

    >Also, for Rabbi Adlerstein, your public attitude toward the codes has been close to being mislotzeis at them. I don’t mean that as criticism, and assume you would agree, apologies if I am wrong. While I’m sure you are a very big baal kishron, can I safely assume that you lack the training in math to make an educated judgment? Or are you just basing yourself on your “sense of smell”?

    It’s not only a math question, it’s also a textual question. Code proponents assume a nearly perfect text and act like we don’t have a Minchas Shai pointing out doubts on every page of text.

  23. S. says:

    >If there are kiruv professionals or amateurs who have a more genuine approach not involving questionable codes and such, now is the time for them to step up to the challenges laid out in this article. Knocking those already involved falls way short of this.

    I disagree. Teaching a gimmicky Orthodoxy can be very damaging to FFBs, despite R. Mechanic’s contention that the Codes and so forth are sound. Gimmicks can be damaging, far more so than the old stand-by “tradition.” For better or worse, the Orthodox lifestyle Orthodox children are raised with *is* traditional (apart from nitpicks) and you can’t argue with it.

  24. Baal Habos says:

    R’ Menken, once you resort to the use of selectively attributing professional and scientific outcome to cognitive dissonance, we might as well suspend ALL reason.

  25. Dr. Isaac Betech says:

    B”H
    Dear Joel
    You wrote:
    November 29, 2010 at 3:10 am
    R’DM,
    R’NS provides specific counterexamples to the simanim thing (I’m glad I was older when I found out this was not true-and I feel badly that I had used it in a number of discussions over the years)- if he is profoundly wrong it should be easy to prove.
    KT

    IB:
    In the last 20 years I have done extensive research on the supposed counterexamples and have not found even one that disproves the Torah and Talmudic assertions.
    I am ready to debate Natan Slifkin on this issue in an intellectual, multimedia (scientific sources on screen), respectful, protocolized, neutral, public forum.
    As documented on the slifkin-opinions website, I invited NS to debate on the evolution of the species and he publicly refused.
    May be if you convince him this time, he accepts to debate on the simanim thing?
    Chanukah Sameach.
    [email protected]

  26. Michoel says:

    I personally tend to doubt the authenticity of claimed codes phenomena for two reasons. It strikes me as counter-intuitive that Hashem would provide “proof” of the Torah in a manner that is just impossible for your average person to understand and therefore force people to rely only the opinions of professionals who do not agree. Also, I see no good reason to not rely on Prof Aumann who has expressed himself on this.

    That being said, I’m glad the subject of codes has come up again because there are some things that I have wanted to ask Prof Barry Simon and R. Adlerstein for a while.

    Way back, more than 20 years ago, Prof Simom put up his anti-codes page. At that time, it contained a petition that anyone with a doctorate in math could sign, stating that they did not believe in the codes phenomena as statistically relevant. We’ll, 20 years ago I was that young person who had taken a seminar and looking for affirmation as per YEA, now already frum but with questions. I found that page on line. Far from causing me to doubt the codes, it gave them greater credibility in my eyes. The page contained the names and email addresses of about 20 mathematicians. I emailed nearly all of them some question and something very peculiar happened (mathematicians are apparently very friendly folks!) Almost all of them answered me. All but 1 that answered told me point blank that they had done NO RESEARCH into the codes but that I should contact Dr. McKay who was the maven on the subject. The one person that did research the codes, a religious gentile, professor from one of the eastern bloc countries, I don’t recall which, was FAR FROM CERTAIN THAT the codes were not valid and he went on the explain why he had signed.

    Since the “probability” of a non-religious person believing in the codes and yet remaining non-religious is very close to absolute zero, I was left with the clear impression that Prof Simon was just trying to argue from rank, possible with some sort of agenda. I know assume that I was wrong. But I would really like to know what Prof Simon hoped to accomplish. Also, for Rabbi Adlerstein, your public attitude toward the codes has been close to being mislotzeis at them. I don’t mean that as criticism, and assume you would agree, apologies if I am wrong. While I’m sure you are a very big baal kishron, can I safely assume that you lack the training in math to make an educated judgment? Or are you just basing yourself on your “sense of smell”?

  27. rtw says:

    Rabbi Menken, you’ve completely given Slifkin’s book a 180. It’s called The Camel, The Hare, and The Hyrax because it’s talking about the camel, the hare, and the hyrax! I hate to ask again, but please read more carefully in the future!

    Rabbi Menken, you seem to be saying we have reason to doubt the work of Brendan Mckay and Barry Simon. I haven’t seen any good reasons.

  28. Natan Slifkin says:

    Rabbi Menken, you appear to have misunderstood my book. The Discovery crowd claims that we don’t know the identities of the animals in the Torah’s list, but I claim the exact opposite. What I proved was that we can be very, very confident about the identities of the animals in the Torah’s list – via Chazal, mesorah and from the consensus of everyone who has studied the zoology of the Torah, including Rabbonim as well as academics and zoologists. The problem that these animals don’t chew their cud is usually solved by saying that “maale gerah” doesn’t need to mean “chew the cud” – but once you redefine it, there are many more such animals. (This does not present a problem with the Torah, which makes no claim that these are the only such animals in the entire world.) There are certainly many gaps in the fossil record, but nobody with expertise in this area would claim that this is relevant to discussing the identities of these animals, for reasons that I explained in my book.

    Regarding the statement in the Gemara in Chullin that this topic is a rejoinder to one who says that Torah is not from Heaven – there are at least three different explanations of what the Gemara means. The one used by Discovery was first proposed by Naftali Hertz Wessely.

    If Discovery feels that the proof is solid and that my book has no merit, why can’t they publish a detailed explanation of the proof and rejoinder to my book? The answer is obvious. Incidentally, I should mention that a number of people in various Aish branches, as well as people from Arachim, accepted my conclusions and stopped using this “proof” for that reason.

  29. Yaakov Menken says:

    I, for one, didn’t imagine that my complimentary reference to the work of Project Chazon would have me called upon to defend every assertion made – or not made – in a seminar I have never attended. But while I am quite familiar with Rabbi Adlerstein’s opinion (and Barry Simon’s as well), I don’t believe professional statisticians are any more immune to cognitive dissonance than those in any other field.

    As for my friend Rabbi Slifkin’s work, he’s proven that we don’t know which three animals chew their cud and don’t have cloven hooves, which everyone at Discovery seminars is more than frank about. With all of the gaps in the fossil record, it is pretty far-fetched to all of a sudden reverse course and say that here, there is no gap, and we know there is no such third species that meets the definition without including a fourth. Bring us another animal with a cloven hoof and that doesn’t chew it’s cud, and we can discuss it’s impact.

    At the Vaad I attended, Rav Wolbe zt”l did not enumerate his own list of proofs, he said each person must have his own. As we see in this thread, the same facts can be seen by different people in different ways.

  30. Barry Simon says:

    I am glad to hear that codes are never presented in Project Chazon and I applaud the program’s success.

    However I feel I should comment on your assertion that Rabbi Adlerstein is “profoundly wrong about the codes”. The fact that it is “statistically impossible to attribute the Torah Codes to chance/coincidence” is in the end a matter of statistics. NONE of the codes proponents close to you is a professional statistician and only one, Prof. Rips, is a professional mathematician. I do not see any point in rehashing the arguments but the overwhelming opinion of the professionals is that there is NO statistical validity of any of the codes experiments. (For those wanting background if you Google “Codes Simon” you’ll get my codes website and that has a link to the work of McKay and to the Professional’s petition).

    I do not believe there is anything to add since the last round of discussion three years ago (Google “cross-currents Bible Codes Announcement”) so i do not plan to get involved in a long thread on this subject.

    Barry Simon
    IBM Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Caltech

  31. David Sedley says:

    I’m looking at Alei Shur now. It seems that these are Rav Wolbe’s suggested reasons for belief. He requires belief in three things – Creation, Matan Torah, and Mashiach/Techiyas HaMeisim:

    1. Looking at nature. It is impossible for a creature or the universe to have created itself. (With the caveat that ‘nature’ is a dangerous concept which can hide G-d from us – but there is not greater foolishness than thinking like that!)

    2. Once you believe that G-d created the world He must necessarily have revealed His instructions to His creatures. Therefore Matan Torah is the necessary ‘makeh b’patish’ to creation.
    Furthermore, one MUST believe in Matan Torah because the entire nation of millions of people witnessed it, the Torah describes it in detail, and nobody in ancient times ever denied it. Furthermore, we trust our parents that they would not lie to us about this tradition.

    According to Rav Wolbe both of these claims are unrefutable.

    His final ‘proof’ seems to be based on Mashiach and Techiyas HaMeisim (though I’m not sure whether he is still trying to ‘prove’ at this stage, or just describing what will happen)

    Then he has a different approach. The Torah lifestyle of a Talmid Chacham is a good and purposeful one – therefore he will be very happy with his chosen lifestyle. (Not convinced that this is a ‘proof’ but it is a good reason to continue with that lifestyle – as long as it is good and purposeful).

    Rav Wolbe then says that each person should try to add as many other reasons as they can to this list. Not using philosophy, but simple intelligence.

    He continues the rest of the vaadim with the importance of Emunat Chachamim.

    I only skimmed through the piece, so I may have misunderstood (please correct me) or may have missed some other ‘proofs’. I didn’t see anything about having 5 reasons though. Could someone quote me a more specific reference for that.

    For the record, the Seridei Aish has a very different approach to Rav Wolbe on this issue, and writes that we should not base our faith on rational or philosophical explanations. His article is one of the more life-changing ones I have read for a long time:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=32992&st=&pgnum=371

  32. David Sedley says:

    Rabbi Mecahnic

    I seem to have a different gemara than you. My Chulin 60b says that the proof of Torah mi’Sinai is that the shasua animal has two backs and two spines. I don’t see anything about animals with only one siman being a proof of anything. But I would be very interested to hear your proof of Torah min Hashamayim based on shasuah. Also, if it is an authentic Torah proof, why do you not teach it to your 200,000 students?
    And as for your codes – please back up your claim with some kind of evidence! You are arguing against a pretty impressive team of statisticians “Solving the Bible Code Puzzle, by Brendan McKay, Dror Bar-Natan, Maya Bar-Hillel, and Gil Kalai”: http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/StatSci/StatSci.pdf
    If you can rebut them please do so. Either in this forum or anywhere else.
    As for the five – I am surprised that Rav Wolbe’s close talmid Rabbi Kelemen chose to only use four arguments in his books – it is not like him to go against his Rebbi!

  33. joel rich says:

    R’DM,
    R’NS provides specific counterexamples to the simanim thing (I’m glad I was older when I found out this was not true-and I feel badly that I had used it in a number of discussions over the years)- if he is profoundly wrong it should be easy to prove.
    KT

  34. Ori says:

    Rabbi Daniel Mechanic, what evidence do you present in Project Chazon Seminars?

  35. Shades of Gray says:

    “We are better off teaching about the extraordinary nature of Jewish history and the value of a Torah lifestyle rather than marketing such “proofs.”

    Based on what I’ve read about students’ reactions to “Project Chazaon”, they are happy with it, and it fulfills a need(I attended a mainstream, yeshivish, high school, which had a year-long curriculum for the 13 ikkarim; however, an educator told me a few years ago that such a curriculum was, and still is, rare in yeshivos). The question is what to do, should down the line, those educated by Project Chazon encounter “sophisticated kefirah” (the term I think used either by R. Mechanic, or a different speaker, at a recent gathering of Flatbush rabbonim)? I’m assuming that Project Chazon does not equip students to win debates with those sophisticated in their alternative beliefs, should students encounter them (as some adults indeed may have) who might either argue on the proofs presented, or develop lines of reason not discussed in such seminars?

    I would think that the benefit of Project Chazon is to introduce yeshivah students to basic bedrock of emunah and hashkafah. The Kohein Gadol, when reading the Sefer Torah on Yom Kippur would say, “more than what I read to you is written here”; here to, students will realize that there is also more to learn than what is presented( I recall a rav mentioning that he had examined copies of Doros HaRishonim owned by two European roshei yeshivos, and that it was apparent they had studied it cover to cover; however, we would not appreciate, he said, unless we had a knowledge of the sugyas involved(our shiur, which the rav was addressing, was sixteen). Even assuming Doros HaRishonim does not deal with all contemporary issues, the benefit of its study would be to give people a grounding in principles of mesorah, so that their conception would not be hazy. This would be adequate for our day, which notwithstanding any sophisticated anti-Torah ideas available due to the information age, is still sociologically different than the heady revolutionary days of both secular and Jewish Europe).

  36. Shades of Gray says:

    “what are the five and five from R’ Wolbe?”

    I don’t remember “five reasons” offhand, but in his va’adim on the subject of emunah in Alei Shur, Volume II, he elaborates on this.

  37. Rabbi Daniel Mechanic says:

    In response to the previous poster’s mistaken claims and opinions:
    1) In fact, it is indeed true that it is “statistically impossible to attribute the Torah Codes to chance/coincidence” and, although I have enormous respect for Rav Adlerstein and his opinions,I, and many others, are convinced that he is profoundly wrong regarding the Codes phenomenon.

    2) After having personally presented thousand of seminars to over 200,000 frum students,it’s news to me that “Project Chazon presenters claim…” ANYTHING about Codes. For a number of reasons, Codes are never presented in the Project Chazon Seminars!!

    3) As the Gemara in Chullin (Daf Samech) explicitely states, the “simanei kashrus” claim indeed serves as an answer to those who deny Torah Misinai, and I, and many others, are convinced that Rabbi Slifkin is profoundly wrong.

    .4) After having personally presented thousand of seminars to over 200,000 frum students, it’s news to me that “no such presentation is complete without triumphantly pointing out..” simanei kashrus. For a number of reasons, this powerful piece of evidence is rarely presented during the Project Chazon Seminars.

    [YA – And I am profoundly relieved to hear that an excellent service is not being marred by the inclusion of two arguments, which I profoundly believe will not bring honor to Torah in our day! I am glad that we can have a situation we can all live with, even as we all disagree about some issues to the core!

  38. Natan Slifkin says:

    YEA – They’ll be lucky if they come across my book. More likely they’ll come across one of the numerous atheist websites which show that the topic is not only not a proof of Torah, but a great challenge. Emunah should not be based on such shtick. As I heard from my Rav, someone who tells kids that “if they ever find another animal with one kosher sign, I’ll take off my yarmulke and eat on Yom Kippur!” (which is what is done in these presentations) is not teaching the correct approach to emunah. We are better off teaching about the extraordinary nature of Jewish history and the value of a Torah lifestyle rather than marketing such “proofs.”

  39. Bob Miller says:

    YEA,

    If there are kiruv professionals or amateurs who have a more genuine approach not involving questionable codes and such, now is the time for them to step up to the challenges laid out in this article. Knocking those already involved falls way short of this.

  40. Ori says:

    Why would people who are sure the Torah is true take the risk of lying to teenagers? Lying to bolster your case is typically a sign of insecurity.

  41. Chareidi Leumi says:

    >In fact, it has often been argued that the Rambam’s famous “Ani Ma’amins,” his thirteen fundamentals of faith, begin with a mistranslation from the original Arabic.

    The Rambam never wrote any famous Ani Ma’amins. They are a formulation of a section of the Rambam’s commentary on the Mishna which was written by someone else. What you are probably refering to is ibn Tibbon’s translation of Sefer haMitzvot where he translates עתאקד as belief. As R’ Haim Heller pointed out in his edition of the sefer haMitzvot and as R’ Kapah pointed out in his second translation of this work, עתאקד is better translated as “knowledge through intellect.” Of course, I am highly skeptical regarding whether the Rambam would approve of the kind of kiruv techniques which organizations such as Project Chazon use as “proof”, but that is a topic for a longer discussion.

  42. susan meltz says:

    I think the lectures on Chumash given by Rabbi David Fohrman are far more effective in showing the truth of Torah than any “gimmicky” Torah codes. For non-mathematicians or staticians (or zoologists, in the case of R Slifkin) they don’t rely on scientific “authority” or one-upmanship, and simply speak for themselves to any intelligent person. While accepting the claims of the Torah codes, I have never felt comfortable with them, since, having no background in math or statistics, I just don’t understand the technicalities – I accept their veracity solely on the basis of trusting the mathematical expertise and authority of those promoting them, and feel very vulnerable to any other mathematician coming to refute them completely.

  43. YEA says:

    After sitting through a Project Chazon presentation, any intelligent teenager with internet access will most likely search the web to find out if it is true, as the project chazon (and other) presenters claim, that, just to give one example, it is statistically impossible to attribute the Torah Codes to chance/coincidence. At that point they will probably wonder if they can trust anything they hear at such a presentation. And I don’t mean that they will come across websites written by “haters of Torah;” I mean websites with essays/video presentations ripping the codes apart featuring none other than Rav Yitchak Adlerstein. And, of cousre, no such presentation is complete without triumphantly pointing out that no animal other than the arneves, shafan, gamal, and chazir have ever been discovered which have the signs listed in the torah. After searching for corroborating information on the internet it’s not unlikely that one will come across Rabbi Slifkin’s book on the subject and find the following quote on his website: “We do a great injustice to the Torah and the Sages by providing explanations that don’t really hold water.” This quote is, once again, from Rav Adlerstein.

  44. joel rich says:

    Did your amendment of the closing stem from further consideration or from differing audiences?
    KT

    [As I said at the beginning, the editors made the change, not me. — YM]

  45. dr. bill says:

    You write “…how we know, from the Torah itself, that it is almost unimaginable that anyone could have written it besides He who could and does fulfill the promises contained therein.” “…he makes Emunah into something both lively and logical.”

    I wonder about the lively, i doubt the logical.”

    IMHO, even at HS age, emunah is primarily lived not taught. Emunah requires faith beyond reason, and denying the truth of many ikkarim is hardly unimaginable. To move emunah to the realm of the logical/provable, is a dangerous proposition, at least for a teenager who will (eventually) learn what logical/provable means. I also believe that at that age (and in fact any age) lo hamidrash ikkar ela hamaaseh applies to emunah as well. Classical mussar makes more sense to me than discussions of emunah.

    To tell anyone, as the Kotsker is reported to have famously said, “a yid maeg hoben kashes” and concentrate on mitzvot is a far better message, at least in my community. I find that questioning areas of emunah are the consequernce not the cause of going “off the derech.”

  46. Mark says:

    Not everything can, or needs to be taught in a classroom. Certainly some of the philosophical underpinnings of Emunah can be taught in a classroom setting and as a student progresses through years of schooling, he will encounter many sources and discussions about Emunah. That, however, is not what I’d rely upon because all these sources are worth “bupkas” if the kids don’t see Emunah practiced in their own home. It doesn’t require lectures [I can’t recall ever being lectured on this subject by my parents who raised a large family of Bnei Torah] or even discussions [although those are fine if you’d like.] It requires children to see their parents go through life and live as Baalei Emunah as they face all the usual challenges that life throws their way.
    Not everything can be dealt with in a scientific manner or by creating a program or curriculum. Some things just gotta be learned through life experience.

  47. asher says:

    what are the five and five from R’ Wolbe?