Introduction to Organic Torah:

There is a quiet but palpable groundshift going on in the Jewish world. Jewishness is rising from the ashes both physically and spiritually.  After the obliteration of the holocaust,  Halachic [authentic] Judaism (as distinct from secular zionism or reform) appeared all  but irrelevant to most of the world. Outside of Israel,  what remained of Jewish culture was merely a shell of what it once was, and relatively few would recognize it today. In America a self-imposed holocaust had really begun when European immigrants arrived  on her shores some decades earlier to begin the process of assimilation. For Judaism the war really never ended.  It was beseiged on all sides, mostly by people who didn't even know what they were fighting against. People such as myself, who knew they were Jewish, had had  Bar Mitzvah's but were oblivious to the fact that Bar Mitzvah means responsible for the performance of Mitzvot, that is the commandments of the Torah. What even was a mitzvah ? Ah, eating matzah on Passover, or fasting on Yom Kippur, the last embers of an nearly extinct mindset.

To the vast majority of todays Jews, any attempt to awaken them to their inheritance in an ancient culture seems on the surface of things, not only irrelevant, but absurd. They have little or no sympathy for "organized religion" as traditionally practiced, and are likely to see it as the problem rather than the solution. Of course an occasional ecumenical holiday here and there is fine as a spice for life, as long as it is primarily for enjoyment. Nothing morose or self-flagelating required. Nothing profoundly serious like asking yourself, does it make any difference if I discard a culture that survived incredible adversity for over 3,000 years ? Who cares if there is anything to it or not, its outdated . Even worse however, is the fear of being chosen. To tell a nonpracticing Jew today that he is a member of a people chosen by G-d, will almost surely embarrass him. He immediately sees himself as one of worse types of racists on the face of the earth. Holding himself to be special and better than everyone else. A priviledged character, when all he ever thought to do was to be no different than anyone else. Why be so parochial, a veritable fanatic ? Hence he will deny it and claim that the problem is with the antiquated way of life. The fact that others often appear to be chauvinistic towards their own culture or religion means little to him, its a question of the democracy of "all men are created equal" etc.

 But you never know.  One may have to deal with religion one way or the other, because religion is not merely a book or some mummified culture. It is a human need, that is, not only a set of answers to mysteries people are drawn to, but a method of supplying oneself with positive feedback that plays an important role in giving people something they consciously or unconsciously crave. I am valuable, I am good, and I contribute something useful to society, my life is worth something. Aside from this, those who felt that some form of religious discipline is an impediment to happiness in their youth, may suddenly  become circumspect when they have children of their own. Most people want the best for their children and at some point see an advantage to having children anchored to some positive set of values, however much they may feel hypocritical for having rejected what they now want their children to embrace. At least thats the way it used to be.  Aside from this, religion used to be a benchmark of social acceptability for oneself as well as one's family. Before the advent of the electronic media, and the abdication of neighborhood standards, people actually had to worry about these things least they endanger their good name. But this has mostly been obviated in modern day America.

 Aside from all this there is the rule that no human endevor happens in a vacuum. So when something important is missing, we compensate for the lack of it and find meaning and value in some invented, concocted or an otherwise contrived formula.  Of course there are a miriad of levels of need. Some barely feel it and divert themselves with activities that anethetize them to the emptiness. Others are desparate for it and go to pieces from the deprivation.  How many actually believe that the overrated, semi-enlightened mindset called science is in effect our religion and all answers can be sought through it ?

Now on top of all this alienation comes something that previous generations never imagined.  Something  powerful  enough that it seems to have collectively sweep us  as a culture off our preverbial feet. That 'thing' of course is the internet. To those born five or ten years before the new millenium, it is probably somewhere between difficult  and impossible for you to feel the real consequence of what this thing has done to us and will continue to do. But undoubtedly those born inside a new medium are the least fit to judge it.  Members of the previous generations may well be the last who can see this thing somewhat objectively for what it is. It is not a question of rejecting  it,  It is what it is, but on steroids.  Those who are a product of the internet can naively mock me as an antideluvian, but I am not endorsing an anti-internet attitude, quite the contrary, I depend on it.  But I gape in amazement ! Are so many people so hypnotized that they cannot see how this has stood our entire world on its head ? Again this is not a criticisim but an attempt at analysis from one who still has the ability to navigate this thing, having come of age outside of it.

Obviously the internet is extremely germaine to any cultural analysis, and that means Judaism too. There is no value neutral here, although people's senses are anesthetized by it, so as to make it virtually invisible.  I am afraid that the default attitude is, that if it were difficult to appreciate a revival of Jewishness, this will make it impossible. But conversly the internet is giving the our cultural revival the biggest boost possible because of its comprehensive coverage of all human endevor. However, the social media it has spawned, is another story, which is in a category all of its own.

To really appreciate our modern electronic culture and its effect on us. we need perspective. We need a birds eye view of just how (western) culture and the subsequent  mindset that resulted from it have evolved. In that respect much of humanity is groping in the dark and have little clue where to begin despite the obviousness of these forces. But let me introduce you to an exceptional man who was quite well known before the new millenia but whose scholarship unfortunately seems to have become obscured in a fog despite or maybe because of its amazing depth and breadth.  I am referring to Marshall McLuhan, who most of his peers knew as the man associated with the phrase "the medium is the message". Many of societies previous savants sensed that his work was very relevant but only rarely  took  the time to really delve into it to get the message in all its power. Of course it is beyond the scope of this essay to attempt to explain the true depth of McLuhans' work, but to those who are willing to do the research, I think its relevance to the current status of our culture and resultant attitudes toward many things helps explain  why we are the way we are.  His influence will become clearer in the essay I have called "The most amazing technology" but I have paraphrased him in various places where it seems to me very relevant. Reading his book "The Gutenberg Galaxy" is like riding a time machine through much of history and culture.

With McLuhan as a guide, I can take my observations a step further. He prophesied that the effect of electric speed would result in a retribalization of society from its previous eye orientated one-thing-at-a-time book bias. The realization of this understanding is clear to see in the social media of today and its reorientation of most of the major social perceptions which were considered standard even just thirty or forty years ago. For example, the speed at which individuals come face to face with each other while groping for companionship and common interests (you have [facebook] friends !) . Immediately they are expected to trust one another with personal details and trivialities which used to be considered strictly private matters. This is indeed astounding to us oldsters. Radio and TV may have exposed us to wide variety of worldly matters and homogenized us with their persistant ads and entertainment , but they were too disjointed to really tribalize us. Today influencers and other shrill voices coopt our very nervous systems as an extension of the electronic media. It is not uncommon for somnambulist youth  to live the majority of their waking hours totally immersed in this neural network, bombarded with political, social or just plain fantasy scenarios he  or she must absorb  to become bonafide members of the tribe. Heaven help the dissident who should be such a misanthrope  to demure on any significant issue. They can be instantly excoriated as a danger to society  and rejected from humankind, as we indeed see on a daily basis. It is almost as if there is a conspiracy against allowing individuals to reach personal conclusions based on the individuality of their own lives and logic (or lack of it). Everyones judgement about the private activities of another he has no inkling of, becomes of paramount importance to the public mob. What societal conventions or civil discourse is going to stand up  under such pressure ? The effect of this on our constitutional republic is undeniable !

All the politically correct morality which drives the social media crowd crazy and makes them unable to distinquish between religious beliefs and political rights is nothing more than a secular religion inculcated by the  anethetizing  nature of the media at hand.  These manipulated people now proceed to act in an identical manner to those religious crazies whom they feel are most deserving of condemnation. They become intolerant of anyone else's right to believe as he sees fit because their tribally induced feelings and morals now take presidence over their follow citizens rights. The idea that my feelings on a debatable issue are so important that others must endorse them and pay attention used to pass as narcissism.  The critical point of American historical distinction in world history is obscured. That being the unique protection and tolerence for those you do not agree with, such as underwrites freedom of speech, belief and conscience.  Social love and kindness, as important as they are, have nothing to do with political rights which are the primary responsibility of our government. That means for those hypnotized by social media, what our government owes us as citizens and what we owe each other, regardless of anyones private feeling about those coming over the border or anything else. Equating open  borders with the human rights of non-Americans is a totally different proposition. Saying they must be let in regardless of their  acceptance of our legal and political standards, their intentions towards us, or their state of health simply because they are human beings deserving of mercy is akin to defining the country as a convent for the poor and indigent based on gross overgeneralizing of the matters involved. Emma Lazarus's heart warming sentiment on the Statue of Liberty is a private religious issue and as noble as it may be , has nothing to do with anyones politican rights and obligations. After all, what right does anyone have  have to compel others without their consent,  to bear the cost of now feeding, clothing, housing, medically treating, and educating the new comers who may believe that they can enter by force or with total disregard for our laws as opposed to former generations of immigrants who came here gratefully and respectfully asking or waiting their turn for permission to enter. This does not exclude cases of dire need, and there are exceptions, but the underlying principle remains valid. What about those with malicious intentions ? Should they be crossing the border unimpeded as well ? What about the rights of those on the other side of the border ?

 Should we now force people to give charity ? Should we simply declare the U.S. null and void as a political entity and melt in with the rest of the world with all its desparate and craven rulers ?  Are we as a people responsible to wage war on the malcontents of the world ?  Those who disregard these unavoidable issues would be far more worthy of respect if they saw their duty as to care for such indigents within our own borders from  their own resources, which is what people such as Mother Theresa did. True, America was built by immigrants and will never stop accepting them, but it was not without conditions and a measure of our capacity to absorb. A repeat of the emptying of Castro's jails, making a fool out of an American president (Jimmy Carter) and his constituents is hardly a worthy precedent of responsible government.

 With few exceptions people give precedence to the lives and wellbeing of their own family over the lives of others. Why ? Because we still live in an imperfect world where it is necessary to take steps to survive the  needs or threats which eminate from outside ones political establishment and protect ourselves and those we love. The internet, by instantly bringing together people from every part of the planet, has narrowed the gap between the familiar and the strange and given a boost to an accepting  but still somewhat naive attitude as to what our real (i.e. political) relationship is with these people and their government.

You can disagree with this analysis but if you do, you owe it to yourself to read Mcluhan's insights into the phenomena of our electric based culture which has truly come of age through the internet.  I assure you it is an eye opener, but like most worthwhile endevors requires time and patience, but you will not go away unchanged.

Getting back to our original plan to examine Torah more closely,  you may be wondering what is the relevence of the preceeding to Torah and Judaism ? Do not loose sight of the theme upon which I have focused this website, the Organic  Torah is what our modern eyes and newly reorientated senses should be seeing. The  essence of the Torah has not changed in thousands of years, because it doesn't have to in order to stay relevant, although this is not the same thing as saying the ability to stay relevant or even adjust, is an integral part of Torah.  Our eyes however, are seeing things differently than when the Torah was given to the  freshly minted  Israelite nation, so it behooves us to be cognizant of what this difference means and its ramifications. I feel safe saying that most of those who see something in these essays, would nevertheless find it difficult to relate to much of it, if I had dressed it in the garb of generations long past. But organic implies holistic and given that many of the original props of Jewish culture have changed as well as our environment, we should see in Torah a path back to wholeness  and healing which will unite the incongruent pieces of our mental and spiritual life. I sincerely hope that I succeed in making this point.

In light of the above, visitors to this site may suspect me of wanting to make some kind of fundamental change to the traditional understanding of the Torah.  Far be it from me ! My purpose is only to present the original in a way that it can be more easily understood and appreciated, rather than remaining unknown and obscure due to widespread ignorance of the original doctrine.

I am not so optimistic to think that I can convince just anyone that there is an amazing panorama that they are missing, or that this will broaden your mind and give you an entirely new perspective on life (which I believe it will !) . Human society seems stubbornly statistical. We can almost always break it down to general categories or types, personalities and intellects.  Much as I would like to reach and inform all people, I will probably have to settle for an occasional  thirsty soul, much as I myself was. Regardless, I think it will be interesting and maybe even exciting for those who decide to bear with me, especially if you relish being surprised at what you probably don't know. It is just that I have working against me considerable forces of inertia, hypnosis and just plain indifference.