(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 21:25:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: The Ultimate Good

In response to discussions about "this world pleasures" vs "next world
pleasures" I *CLEARLY* stated (BM V1#69) that the main reason is because
God is king. I then state >  >  While this has been already echoed by some
people it can be SUPPLEMENTED BY THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION:<  <  . I then go on
and point out how e.g. if I gorge myself with food I both hurt myself (by
overeating) and deprive poorer people whom I could give this food to.
Similarly overindulgence in physical pleasure by avoiding the laws of
family purity might result in my thinking only about myself and hurting my
partner. I clearly stated this was a SUPPLEMENT to calling God king and not
the real reason.

Rabbi Teitz in his response seems to cite me out of context. <  <  Sorry, but
this simplification just doesn't work.... It is not possible to explain why
we get punished for our wrong deeds with simple proofs.  In fact, we cannot
do it even with complex proofs.>  >

But (1) I clearly stated the idea as a supplemental idea(not a prooof) (2)
The above idea is frequently brought down in secular (e.g. nutritional) non
religious sources. It is advocated by conservation groups.

(3) But more important is WHY I learned to think like this. The Yeshiva
High School I went to has a high acceptance rate in Colleges. The students
there initially were trained the way Rabbi Teitz outlined...that the
important thing is faith. Unfortunately this is inadequate in a college
setting. Because of the experiences of our alumni we developed in our high
school curriculum a "Jewish HashKafa Course" that dealt with these
supplemental reasons for doing Mitzvoth. The purpose of the course was
not to explain mitzvoth in a vacuum but to enable religious college
students to intelligently communicate about what they do.

(4) As to Rabbi Teitz's statement <  <  We cannot prove our position over any
other position.  Proofs to the believer are unnecessary, and to the
nonbeliever are not proofs.>  >

This itself is an oversimplification! From the time of the Rambam people
have expressed the idea that Mitzvoth help achieve a balance in the
personality- this idea has proven useful in dialog with people who are
neither believers not skeptics but have a simple healthy curiosity.

I therefore still believe that my comments were a modest contribution to an
age old question and consistent with the orthodox communities needs.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu