Tuesday, June 9, 2009

B'Toraso Shel Rav Gedaliah

Rav Gedaliah Nadel was a fascinating figure. He was one of the foremost talmidim of the Chazon Ish, and lived underneath from Rav Chaim Kanievsky in Bnei Brak. On the other hand, he believed that the world was billions of years old, accepted evolution, held that Chazal were fallible and science, and that the mabul did not cover the entire world. I had a memorable meeting with him before he passed away.
After his passing, Rav Yitzchak Shilat published a compilation of his teachings, entitled B'Toraso Shel Rav Gedaliah, which was promptly placed in cherem. Of course, they couldn't claim that Rav Gedaliah had heretical views, because he was too big, so instead they claimed that the book misrepresents his views. (It was prepared by one of his main talmidim, from audio recordings, and from my own meeting with him I can confirm that he held these views.)
I was please to see that the incredible website www.hebrewbooks.org now has this work available for free download. Furthermore, it is possible to copy-and-paste text from the PDF file. Baruch Hashem for the Information Age!

14 comments:

  1. Interesting coincidence as just yesterday I saw a blog reference that mentioned that R. Nadel's works were on hebrewbooks. Took a chance, and found B'Toraso there! I had given up hope on getting a copy as previously was told that it could only be obtained by visiting R. Shilat personally. Yay!

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  2. "On the other hand, he believed that the world was billions of years old, accepted evolution, held that Chazal were fallible and science, and that the mabul did not cover the entire world." .

    The question is why. What got to him that he accepted the true history of the world? What's the story of how he was enlightened? I'll bet it's an interesting one.

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  3. "What got to him that he accepted the true history of the world?"

    Some might see this as implying that the Chazon Ish accepted a (or /the/) false history of the world.

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  4. Did Rav Nadel write any other books?

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  5. What "implying?" That's of course true. The world isn't really a few thousand years old; that's the metzius. If someone accepts that view then he or she is accepting a false history of the world. Nothing could be more poshut.

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  6. Is there an english translation available

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  7. I don't know of any other works by Rav Nadel, nor of a translation, but I have some important parts translated in my book The Challenge of Creation.

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  8. I also have a translation of several parts that I did myself some years back - I will put it in the next post.

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  9. "After his passing, Rav Yitzchak Shilat published a compilation of his teachings, entitled B'Toraso Shel Rav Gedaliah, which was promptly placed in cherem."

    Oddly, the jpost article you linked to said R' Nadel's book was banned, but the only words they quoted were the following:

    "The greatness of Rabbi Gedalia Nadel, may this righteous man's name be a blessing, was known to all," wrote the rabbis.

    "His genius was incredible and he was an exemplary model of Torah scholarship. As a student of the Hazon Ish he had an unwavering grasp of the truth of the Torah. Yet few could plumb the depths of his thoughts... Therefore we fear that ideas found in unauthorized texts or recordings will be published in his name. We hereby warn not to rely on any book published in his name by any other than Rabbi Nadel's family and students."

    I just want to verify that "warn not to rely on" is the same as "ban."

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  10. It is also available here:

    http://seri-levi.com/blog/2008/11/13/mito/

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  11. It's gone from hebrewbooks.org

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  12. What???!!!!

    I can't load the site right now, so I can't check.

    I know both the sponsors of Hebrewbooks.org, so if it is gone, I will speak to them about it.

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  13. Reb Nathan,
    So, have you talked to the hebrewbooks sponsors?
    thank you,

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  14. Hi,

    2 questions:

    - How is it possible to contact rav shilat?
    - Did you hear about another book: hidoushei rav guedalia, that contains letters and paskim of rav guedalia?

    Kind regards

    Nathaniel

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