I am back.
But I am not the same.
I will pontificate on politics, religion (from an academic perspective), health (particularly diabetes), and other sundry topics.
Let’s have some fun!
Shiite Islam believes that the only legitimate state is the one established by the Imam or his deputies. Some, such as Grand Ayatollah as-Sistani, believe that Shiites must await the return of the Imam for the establishment of a legitimate state. Hence, he teaches that because most states are illegitimate, no cleric ought to be involved with politics.
But others, like the late Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, believed that the Imam’s agents (the clerics) can establish a legitimate state as they await the Imam’s return. Grand Ayatollah Khomeini created and implemented a system to ensure this. This system ولايت فاقح (in Persian: “velayat-e fagheh”, in Urdu: “vilayat-e faqih”, in Arabic ولاية الفاقة Or “wilayat al-faqih”). We will ne discussing this system over the next few days.
So, here’s my plan: one week of posts, one week of videos, one week of posts. Not sure if it will be every day or thrice a week. We shall see.
The next topic I’d like to cover is the Irani government philosophy, Vilayet-e Faqih.
US soldier kills comrades in Iraq
A US soldier has shot dead five of his colleagues at a base in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the Pentagon says.
Two other people were hurt in the shootings and the gunman is in custody, Pentagon officials have said.
An earlier military statement said the incident had happened at Camp Liberty near Baghdad’s international airport at about 1400 (1100 GMT).
The White House said US President Barack Obama was shocked by news of the “terrible tragedy”.
The president planned to discuss it with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.
“Any time we lose one of our own, it affects us all” Colonel John Robinson US army spokesman
The shooting reportedly occurred at a clinic where troops receive help for personal issues or combat stress.
It is not the first time a US soldier has opened fire on comrades in recent years.
One soldier was sentenced to death in 2005 after killing two officers and wounding 14 other personnel with grenades and a rifle at a camp in Kuwait.
The BBC’s Natalia Antelava, in Baghdad, says troops at Camp Liberty had been enjoying a much more relaxed atmosphere in recent months.
She says there have been few attacks on the base recently, so the timing of the shooting will make it particularly shocking to the soldiers there.
It is the deadliest single incident involving US forces since 10 April, when five soldiers were killed by a truck bomb in the northern city of Mosul.
“Any time we lose one of our own, it affects us all,” said military spokesman Colonel John Robinson.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all the service members involved in this terrible tragedy.”
Earlier this month, a man in an Iraqi army uniform shot dead two US soldiers and injured three others at a base near Mosul.
Iraqi military reports said he was a soldier also working as an imam at a mosque on the base.
US forces are due to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by August 2010.
Today was the day for Birkas haChamah (the Blessing on/of the Sun). According to Talmudic sages, every 28 years the sun returns to the position it was in when God created it. Today was that day. In the morning, Jews (preferrably groups of Jews) gathered, recited a psalm, looked at the sun, and recited the blessing and some more psalms, a passage from the Talmud, and some prayers. In order to prevent inadverdent sun-worship, one is forbidden to look at the sun while praying-reciting, even though one is (ideally) facing it.
Dedicated to my grammarian friends Mrs. Peel, geoff, Sobek, et al.
A song from right-thinking people to/about Obama (language warning)
One of the bloggers I admire the most is SobekPundit. He is not only sensible, articulate, and profound, but has helped me greatly with issues that have confounded me. In just a short while, while meeting him, he helped me gain a greater understanding on an issue that has confused me for some time.
I got to meet him last night. I feel really sorry for him, though. He was quite hungry, but I took him on an impromptu (read: unintentional) tour of Chicago’s expressways, streets, roads, backroads, and parking lots. (Em, I got lost. A lot. Despite getting a Garmin Nüvi.) Because I was star-struck and had been fasting all day, my mind wasn’t as sharp as it could have been. (I hope to make a better impression next time we meet, whenever that may be.)
WickedPinto was going to come, but he got real ill. We both missed him.
We talked mainly about political stuff, languages, and some religion. We commented on blogs and whom we’ve met/seen. He recounted some of his experiences upon arriving, unexpectedly, at the IBSBP.
We enjoyed a good Chicago-style pizza. One thing I have noticed is that Sobek is very sensible. I complained that he should blog more. I hope he will.
Well, I’m fasting again, so I should stop before I start not making sense. I’ll add more stuff later.
The prayers usually follow a set order and contain certain things.
The morning prayer contains various blessings and recitations, Pesukei d’Zimra (“Chapters of Glory,” a set of Psalms and other devotional passages), the blessings before the Shema, the Shema, the blessings after the Shema, and the Amida (Standing) (also known as Shemoneh Esreh (Eighteen) and Tefillah (Prayer)). There is also place and time to read the Torah if it’s Monday, Thursday, or the Sabbath.
The afternoon prayer consists of a Psalm, the Amidah, and Tachanun.
The evening prayer contains the blessings before the Shema, the Shema, the blessings after the Shema, and the Amidah.
For the morning prayer, the essential elements are Pesukei d’Zimra, the Shema with its blessings, and the Amidah. The essential elements for the afternoon prayer are the Psalm and the Amidah. The essential parts of the evening prayer are the Shema and its blessings and the Amidah.
More details on these elements forthcoming!
I have noticed something.
In the city, it seems that turn indicators cease to work, and turn lanes are suggestions. And “yellow” means “speed up”.
All I can say is that praying, fasting, working, and doing home work take up way too much time.
A post, inaugurating a new week-long series, should be up later today.
Why is the Talmud so important?
Rabbinic Judaism believes that God revealed to Moses two Torahs: the Written Torah (Torah shebikhsav, which is contained in the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch or the Torah) and the Oral Torah (Torah shebe-al peh). The Written Torah cannot be understood without the Oral Torah. For example: when God commanded that the people put mezuzos on their doorposts, what does it mean? How is it done? The Oral Torah explains all of this.
Until Rabbi Judah the Prince (Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi), most of the Oral Torah was oral. But as the Jews began to be dispersed, and there was the fear that the Oral Torah, or portions thereof, might be lost, the sages decided to write it down. This resulted in the Mishnah and, ultimately, the Talmud.
Because the Written Torah is considered to be unintelligible without the Oral Torah, Rabbinic Judaism places great emphasis on studying the Oral Torah. Indeed, many Orthodox Jews are more familiar with what the Oral Torah says than what the written Torah says.
The Oral Torah is the lifeblood of Judaism. Without it, they wouldn’t know how to practice what the Written Torah commands them, and without the perspectives and insight provided by the Oral Torah, Judaism would not have been able to reform.
Indeed, the Oral Torah is considered to be as authoritative (if not more) than the Hebrew Bible. This is why Jews spend so much time and effort to study the Torah.
In times of national crisis, the government steps in to save the day. Financial crises have been the biggest tool with which the federal government has enlarged itself and its impact on various levels of society. No better example of this is the government’s reach and scope as a result of the Great Depression. We’re still dealing with the consequences of government interference; and it seems some questionable elements are now here to stay.
In the current crisis, it is interesting to me to see many right-thinking people (“right” here meaning “correct”) staying that the government’s efforts to bail us out is not the best idea. After all, it was government’s interference and political agendas tha got us to where we now are: how could more of the same be the solution? However, they say, if nothing is done, the results could be quite dire. This is especially true when people realize and consider that this whole economic gambit – stocks and shares and trading and whatnot – are more emotional (or irrational) endeavors rather than the rational, cold, hard thinking world many presume it to be. Most of the panics are purely perceptional; and many recoveries from the panics are also based on perception. And so something has to happen to increase confidence. And that something just might be government interference.
*shrug* I don’t know. All I know is that this too shall pass. I just hope this is not the beginning of the end of the autonomy and self-sufficiency of common society. I feel uncomfortable when society begins to depend on the State for everything.
Due to not having been very well yesterday, I was not able to compose a post for this morning. Depending on work load, there may be one up later today. If not today, then certainly tomorrow.
Whenever a major tragedy strikes, Pakistanis tend to react in certain ways.
First, they are incredulous. They can’t believe what happened. They want verification.
Then, they begin to formulate explanations. Based on how they understand the world, the attack was done by so-and-so for such-and-such reason, agenda, and motive.
Finally, they begin to share and swap theories. Some are parrots, basically: “A said X, N said Y, C said Z,” widening the confusion and spreading stories.
And then there is the spin. Pakistani reporters report one thing; foreign reporters report another thing; official authorities say many things. In these things, there are many misconceptions; some of these things are driven by a certain understanding (true or false) of issues involved; some are driven by conspiracy theories or by some agenda through which all facts, players, and events are filtered; and some things (particularly from official sources) are deliberate misinformation.
So it becomes exceedingly difficult to ascertain what actually happened. And the people are far more fond of using these incidents to bolster their paradigms or support an allegation, rather than finding out, spreading, and adhering to the truth.
A post on the recent tragedy in Islamabad will be up later today.
Next week, there will be posts detailing the issue with Pakistan. XBradTC asked some good questions, which I intend to shed light on if not answer.
In short, the issue is complicated yet important, and there is hope yet.