Friday, March 18, 2011

Purim Torah by Rav Shmuel Brazil

Our friends and admirers at Matzav have posted a witty piece of Purim Torah by Rav Shmuel Brazil which purports to reveal the Real and True Message of the Japan Disaster.  Here's the best passage:
These four elements might seem for a while a fixed component of nature. However, our emunah is that they are all being constantly controlled by Hashem and can be altered at any given moment. When Hashem makes war He can utilize all of these elements to do His will and command. This is hinted in the passuk איש מלחמה ה’ the word איש is gematriah 311 which is the same gematriah as the first letter of each of the four elements ארמע. What we have witnessed in the last few days is the fulfillment Hashem eesh milchama. First an earthquake which corresponds to the element of earth, then a tsunami which parallels the water element, then a meltdown whose radiation is carried by the wind and finally a volcanic eruption which corresponds to fire.. Hashem’s revenge on the Japanese people, whether because they were allies with the Nazis in WW2 or because they incarcerated and cruelly treated three innocent Yiddishe neshamos whose innocence is clear to all except for their kangaroo court, was all enveloping utilizing all the elements to demonstrate His decisive omnipotence. No man made advanced technology could stop or even slow the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown and volcano. Everyone stood helpless, stunned and paralyzed as Hashem with one swift blow used His elements to demonstrate as He did to Pharaoh in Mitzrayim that in merely seconds what seems to be one’s reality is no longer. One’s past present and future literally went down the drain in seconds right in front of one’s eyes.
Great stuff. Only there are a few silly errors and oversights, which I'll helpfully point out below:
PERUSH DOVBEAR

1) These four elements might seem for a while a fixed component of nature. No, sorry, that isn't what they seem like at all.  The "four elements" are a chemistry error first published by the ancient Babylonian authors of the Enuma Elis (c 17th century BCE) This error became the mainstream view of the nature of things, and was subsequently accepted by Greek philosophers and the Sages of the Talmud. It has no basis in reality, and isn't even Jewish in origin. 

2) However, our emunah is that they are all being constantly controlled by Hashem and can be altered at any given moment. Sorry again but its rude to use the pronoun "we" as if to suggest that everyone thinks like you. I, for, instance disagree that God only controls the 4 elements. My belief is that he controls everything.

3) This is hinted in the passuk איש מלחמה ה’ the word איש is gematriah 311 which is the same gematriah as the first letter of each of the four elements ארמע.  Sharpshooter fallacy

4) First an earthquake which corresponds to the element of earth, then a tsunami which parallels the water element, then a meltdown whose radiation is carried by the wind and finally a volcanic eruption which corresponds to fire.  Sharpshooter fallacy, again.  You might have just as easily said that the reactor is fire (several blazes erupted at the plant, and the radioactive fuel is very hot) and the volcano is wind (the hot ash is being carried by the wind) 

5) Hashem’s revenge on the Japanese people, whether because they were allies with the Nazis in WW2 Little odd, don't you think, that no tsunamis or earthquakes have hit the ACTUAL Nazis.  (and as Muppet says, if you're going to excoriate the Japanese for WWII behavior, doesn't the Rape of Nanking trump merely allying with the Nazis?)

6) because they incarcerated and cruelly treated three innocent Yiddishe neshamos whose innocence is clear to all except for their kangaroo court Their innocence isn't clear to me. Why is it clear to you? Weren't the caught with drugs? And, even if they were tricked into carrying them, they were still carrying them. I'm not sure how exactly you expect the Japanese authorities to establish that the boys were tricked prior to an investigation or trial. You apparently take it as an article of faith that the boys are innocent, but you haven't explained why the Japanese should share that belief or why they are wrong for following their own system of justice.

7) No man made advanced technology could stop or even slow the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown and volcano Well, that's false. Tokyo's excellent earthquake-proof buildings certainly prevented damage, and the reactor disaster would have been far worse had it not been built with up-to-date technology.

8) Everyone stood helpless, stunned and paralyzed In the videos I have seen from the moment the quake and tsunami struck, no one is stunned or paralyzed. Everyone is  moving around, seeking shelter, or trying to avoid harm. 

9) with one swift blow ...Over the course of several days. Fire and Wind, per your explanation, weren't employed until a few days after Earth and Water

10) to demonstrate as He did to Pharaoh in Mitzrayim that in merely seconds what seems to be one’s reality is no longer Seconds? The plagues were carried out over the course of a year.

11) One’s past present and future literally went down the drain in seconds right in front of one’s eyes. See note 9; also I don't think the earthquake etc. managed to destroy the past, as that would be a very good trick indeed.


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