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December 16, 2011



As a Litvak ben Litvak, I must point out that computers don't "learn" anything.

One could have stopped the argument one line earlier, and conclude (rightfully, according to many derakhim) that one's ultimate purpose is learning.


boy this is as dumb as it gets. hashem sent washing machines and dishwashers and computers? oy. next time, try blogging before you finish the vodka. and by the way, there are lovely mp3s of davening. just play them on the mp3 player that hashem sent you.


To Micha:
Two Jews once came to a Rav for a judgment and each presented his case. The first one brought proofs, citations and arguments. The old Rav listened, picked at his beard and said: "You are right!".

The other one also presented his arguments, quotes and explanation and to him to, the aged, wise Rav said: "You are right".

The Gabbbai couldn't contain himself. He asked the Rav: You said that he is right and you also told that the one that he is right. They can't both be right?!"

The Rav shrugged his shoulder and said to him:" You are also right".


Sorry buts let be fair, the heart also has a machine, its called the defibrillator.

But in all seriousness please refer to Zohar Yisro 90B. 'Oraisa ve Kudsha Brich'Hu Chad Hu'


Yes, that Zohar as explained by Nefesh Hachaim Shaar 4 is the basis of the Yeshiva world hashkofo that learning is the highest thing. But it is possbile to explain the Zohar differently, as Rebbe Rashab in RSVov explained it on p.312(Vayidaber, Bamidbar). That serves as the basis of the view that Tefila is greater than Torah study. He explains that Nishmos Yosroel come from the level of Kav before AK and join Torah at at the level of Chochma D'Atik. Then at level of ZA, to which Nishmos Yosroel are conveyed by Torah, the three, Kudsha Boruch Hu, Torah and Yisroel are ONE. To draw Nishmas Yisroel form Above the Gulgaglta, that is from above AK, is done through Tefila. In this way, Tefila is higher than Torah.

I think this is an old machlokes, see Shabbos 10a
רבא חזייה לרב המנונא דקא מאריך בצלותיה, אמר: מניחין חיי עולם (תורה) ועוסקים בחיי שעה (תפלה - צורך חיי שעה היא לרפואה לשלום ולמזונות)?

והוא סבר: זמן תפלה לחוד וזמן תורה לחוד


Indeed Tefilah is the highest of all avodas. This is clear from following sources- Berochos daf 32b "greater is Tefillah more than all of the korbonos". Also Zohar parshas Veyakel daf 201a. Also Pri Eitz Chaim Shaar HaTefillah perk 7.

Don't get me wrong as I like a good joke as most others, However this joke is non sensical as it implies atleast from my reading that Limud HaTorah lacks the gravitas that only Tefilah seems to have. That a machine could be substitute for Torah learning but not Tefillah.
This is obviously untrue as the whole process of Tefillah in its most elevated form entails the ascent of the Mispallel via the Shemos Hashem. Where is the source for our knowledge and relationship with Hashem? Obviously the Torah itself. (Ramban in hakdoma to Chumash) Since the joke was in the name of a Chasid, its probably fitting to quote a kli rishon from the Chasidim such as R Nochum meChernobler (Meor Aynayim in Likutim)) Tefillah without Torah "ein Tefilaso shelaima. Since he lacks the Seichel of the Torah, consequently he will not know how to mispallel with the Shem"

Now back to the joke, what machine can we suggest has the capabilities of knowing and intuiting the Shem Hashem HaShalem in all its wonder and mystery?


Actually a machine that uses neural networks can mimic any thinking process. It can't mimic emotion, unless you take a hard
materialist position that emotion is also material. Per cybernetics your position is not correct.


Thinking about it more, the issue is what learning is and whether it is just about the brain, for what kinds of people and whether some use learning to escape their primary obligation to have a spiritual life that involves feeling and connection to the Divine. Learning without that is an intellectual activity only, at least that is the chassidic position-you need dveykus too. I think this is what the joke meant to say.
This whole issue is explored in Norman Lam's Torah Lishmo, also available in English.

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