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The Twain Legacy

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 26

(26) Anonymous, June 6, 2010 2:26 PM

Knowledge that doesn't go to the heart, is useless

Strange Joe, you do not even know me and look at the way you have judged me. Isn't this the same about Mark Twain? Who here was personal friends with the guy? So you have studied his published books, that were edited and polished and had to be approved by publishers. If you have read his fiction works, how would anyone know him personally by that? You may not be interested in what I write, no different than what Rabbi Salomon had said he is not interested in reading what Mark Twain had to say in his journals. In the promotion of this book, Mark Twain's journals will be revealing who Samuel Clemens was really like as a person. Whether it does or not, whether this book has been edited to fit the wishes of the publishers, do we really know that? The 5000 page journal of his deepest thoughts. The promoters of his book, who has read it, are hyping it up as so. Even a public figure, the world does not know everything that goes on behind the scenes. Commenting back to you, has gotten you off accusing the Rabbi of a sin and now onto me, well good enough, I have accomplished what I am aiming at. Because beginning with your first post, #1, wasn't that what you were doing? If Mark Twain poured on paper his angry thoughts with words about the people that had hurt him in his life, It was therapy for him at the time. Even the Rabbi, as a psychotherapist, would know that putting anger out on paper, is better than keeping it bottled up inside. The fact that Mark Twain is famous, his therapy will be made know for all the world to read. Are you saying Joe, only the ones would have read Mark Twain's other books, are the only ones that can comment on his upcoming book to be published? Your display of vile, for no good cause but to try to belittle me, which it has not worked, only shows what is in your heart, or whose spirit you have.

(25) Liz, June 5, 2010 8:21 PM

The only one here comparing Twaine's books with the Tora, to begin with, is RAbi Salomon. Actually the critique here is that it is so stupid and senseless to actually make a comparison.

(24) Joe, June 4, 2010 6:25 PM

Perhaps a teachable moment....

A few things that I truly hope my anonymous interlocutor takes to heart. 1. Do not use the Torah as a spade to dig, is a statement from Perkei Avot - The Ethics of the Fathers.. It is collection of moral instruction and insight into living, from the sages of Israel. It is quite famous. You should perhaps read it. The core principle of this dictum is that you should not seek your own profit from Torah knowledge. You glorify Hashem by doing your best to follow his instructions, not attempt to glorify yourself through profit from your learning or other's perceptions of your piety. 2. This dovetails with my main points in two ways. First, you should know what you are talking about before you comment. You should know about Twain before commenting on him. Second, and more importantly, you should know central Jewish thought and Torah study before presenting yourself with a condescending air of sanctity and Jewishness towards others. 3. Your claims of fighting off Christian theology are laughable and irrelevant. Do you think that gives you a pass for butchering Torah through phony displays here? Perhaps you should learn some more Torah before butting heads with another ignorant blow hard from another faith? 4. I am certain that R. Salomon would be surprised to find that he is a Rebbe. 5. You thank me for clarifying that I value Torah. How condescending! Only a very insecure and uneducated person would doubt for a second that I do not from what I wrote. 6. Only very insecure and ignorant people try to claim that an argument is unpopular as a form of debate. Do you really think that because some knee-jerk web trolls abuse Torah, I am going to abandon Torah to be popular with anonymous pixels? That is insulting. 7. The lesson all through this, is to know what you are talking about before opening your mouth. As Twain said, it is better to keep silent and be suspect of being a fool, than it is to speak and be confirmed as one.

(23) Anonymous, June 4, 2010 7:44 AM

Putting some water on the fire

Actually Joe I wasn't angry at all when I wrote any of that. You are appalled by the Rabbis talk, and express your opinion in a way you really wanted someone to respond to that, so I did. I also knew Twain got a kick out of it and even wondered somehow was Twain a Jew. So far Joe, no one has spoken up they are in agreement on your views of what the Rebbe said was appalling. You do have a right to your own opinion on it. I am glad you clarified you do respect the Torah. I hope others will challenge you for you like to debate. So I do hope I made you happy by responding in debating. Do not use the Torah as a spade to dig, to me it means don't use it as an excuse. Do not use it to rationalize away what is right, what it is actually saying. Don't twist it around to say what you want it to say. Call me ignorant if you want, but that is what it means to me. Furthermore, I never have heard that saying. It's late, and I spent several hours on the phone with a christian why Jews are not going to Hell. So I'm debated out for now. Goodnight Joe!

(22) Joe, June 3, 2010 6:46 PM

Taking some fire

In general, arguing with anonymous web trolls is a futile effort. But, this is Aish, and there are Torah principles here to fight for. The Torah teaches us humility amongst many other things. It teaches respect. It teaches respect for learning. It teaches us that when we see greatness, we are to aspire to achieving it ourselves by realizing that we are not there *yet*. It is not that I am a lover of Twain per-se. There are many other authors, like Borges, Eco, Garcia-Marquez, Singer, Bellow, Dostoevsky, Melville and Shakespeare, to name a few, that would have gained the same response from me, under similar circumstances. It is certainly *not* that I value Twain more than Torah. In fact being opposed to Loshan Ha Ra is a Torah value. Being opposed to self-indulgent ignorance, as displayed by many of the writers here, is a Torah value. What does "do not use the Torah as a spade to dig" mean to some of you?The very fact that the first response to making a Torah based criticism - that we do not commit Loshan Ha Ra and that we have humility and respect for learning drew angry accusations that I do not somehow value Torah, is the sort of irony and hypocrisy that Twain excelled at pointing out. In fact, I am certain that if somehow in Olam Haba, he were reading those responses, he would be tickled pink. He made a career out of lampooning the ignorant, self-righteous and insecure hypocrites of his age when they falsely cloaked themselves in foolish displays or piety and false sanctity. Some things never change. Of course, Torah detests such things too.

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