Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tylenol and Timtum


Here is a letter from the Yated Ne'eman addressing the cause of kids going off the derech. It highlights the non-rationalist approach taken to an extreme:

Our Chachonim discussed these topics. They said that boys can lose their yiras Shomayim by not wearing yarmulkas. They spoke about timtum halev, which comes from the wrong things going into one's mouth.

When a boy is small as his yarmulka falls off, how quickly do we run to put it back? Do we realize that this can spell difference between whether he will still be in yeshiva at age 17? When we allow our daughters to eat cholov stam chocolate bar, do we realize the ramifications down the line and where this can lead? When our toddlers have fever and we give them Tylenol gelcaps with treif in it, why do we wonder that so many of our youth are falling by wayside?

These things are not opinions or thoughts. These are facts, built into Creation since the first six days.


Menachem Kellner, in Maimonides' Confrontation With Mysticism, describes how according to Rambam, timtum halev does not refer to metaphysical spiritual harm but rather to a deficiency in one's attitude. As such, it would not affect toddlers. (This is, of course, quite aside from the issue that there are more obvious and direct causes of kids going off the derech!)

(Hat tip: One Frum Skeptic)

58 comments:

  1. Garnel IronheartJuly 9, 2009 at 5:46 AM

    This isn't exactly tied in to the post but it seems this is the best way to get a message to you.

    I just finished reading The Challenge of Creation. Here's what I have to say about it.

    Maybe I'm just a fellow kofer b'ikkar but I couldn't for the life of me so what is wrong with the book. Really.

    I mean, for example, look at Modern Orthodoxy. I often refer to their thinking as heter-hunting. You know, find a lone opinion somewhere that agrees with what you're thinking and go with it, to the exclusion of all competing opinions. They can't tell you why they're ignoring those other opinions and ascribing definitive authority to this sole opinion save because they agree with it. And this isn't the halachic methodology. You have to not only pick an opinion but justify why you didn't go with the others.

    And in your book it seems you do just that. You are a very methodological person in addition to your brilliance. For each of your concepts you clearly first bring supporting opinions, not just one but a number of them, not poorly known authorities but all-time gedolim. Then you review the opinions that might oppose your point of view and show how these are not applicable to your particular case. In other words, exactly the halachic methodology that one should use in such a case.

    So again, I just don't get it. You don't say anything that isn't amply supported by a wealth of halachic and haskafic positions. You don't deny any principles of Torah at any point. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, to say the least and learned a great deal. (Whales had legs? Cool!)

    Kol hakavod.

    Anyway, them's me thoughts.

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  2. If this is real, it is sad. How ridiculous that people can not accept the fact that being a poor parent is what causes kids to go off the path or allowing improper influences into their lives. Your kids not wearing a kippa for 2 minutes does nothing, especially if they are under the age of chinuch. People who say things like this bother me.

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  3. Rambam doesn't think that sin can affect the soul?

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  4. If there is no psak in hashkafa, then why isn't face-value presentation of the Rambam's approach without analyzing it's consistancy with primary souces an "appeal to authority" fallacy?

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  5. Examples of non-rationalism going to the extreme elicits from me both mirth and frustration. It also sometimes (not always, but sometimes) makes me wonder about the motivation of the person reporting such examples.
    Do you know of any cases of /rat/ionalism going to the extreme? I wonder if my reaction would be the same.

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  6. Not to mention that according to many opinions, gelatin in food, and all the more so gelcaps in medicine, is mutar.

    http://koltorah.org/ravj/mediGELcaps.htm

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  7. Garnel - thanks for the compliments! But actually, the best way to get a message to me is by email.

    Richard - for Rambam, the soul is essentially the intellect.

    Yirmiyah - The idea of "appeals to authority" is not something to automatically dismiss, since Judaism is essentially defined by authorities. Besides, it can probably reasonably be argued that Rambam's approach is consistent with the Gemara, in this case.

    Alex - examples of rationalists going to the extreme are those who retroactively make everyone rationalists, or, in a different vein, those who reject halachos that they personally deem irrational.

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  8. "Yirmiyah - The idea of "appeals to authority" is not something to automatically dismiss, since Judaism is essentially defined by authorities."

    "Know that it is your duty to understand that whoever propounds a certain theory or idea and expects that theory or idea to be accepted merely out of respect for the author without proving its truth and reasonableness pursues a wrong method prohibited by both the Torah and human inntellegence." Intro to the Agada Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam, translation Rabbi S.H. Glick (En Jacob). :)

    Of course I concede that authorities plays a large role in Judaism, but that authority is rooted in the reasonableness of the argument (especially after the disolusion of the Sanhedrin) and is vetted by consensus.

    "Besides, it can probably reasonably be argued that Rambam's approach is consistent with the Gemara, in this case."

    So THAT should be the point, particularly considering that the consensus of authority, especially latter, is going to tend to be in opposition to "rationalism" directly or indirectly.

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  9. Don't understand

    there is no component to the Neshame besides the intellect?

    The soul can not be affected with out the intellect being aware? How do you know? Where does Rambam say this?

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  10. When a boy is small as his yarmulka falls off, how quickly do we run to put it back? Do we realize that this can spell difference between whether he will still be in yeshiva at age 17?

    I can see how this would work. A toddler may not be able to articulate it, but he can observe and see that having a yarmulka on is important to his grownups. He won't know why, but toddlers live in a world full of things they don't understand and accept on faith.

    As he gets older, he'll understand that the yarmulka is a symbol and what it symbolizes. But he'll keep some of the sense of its importance from the fact his grownups cared about it so much when he was little.

    Of course, if it does work, it will be for perfect good, rational reasons.

    Alex, you can argue that Conservative Judaism, which throws whatever parts of Halacha don't appear to make sense, is hyper rationalist.

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  11. Gelcaps are only treife if we pasken against R. Chaim Ozer.

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  12. Yilel, I rejected your comments for several reasons. (1) I know that there are alternate views regarding timtum halev - the goal of this blog is to explore the rationalist perspective. (2) I might have allowed your offensive slurs against me, but not against Prof. Kellner.

    I don't think that this website is for you. Please see the guidelines regarding which comments will be posted.

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  13. from http://havolim.blogspot.com/2006/09/timtum-halev.html

    ...He brings a story from the Briskers that the Rambam once visited Teiman, and met a great Gaon there, with whom he began a correspondence. Once he got a question from him that showed apikursus, and he refused to continue the correspondence. When the Teimani kept sending him inquiries, the Rambam told him to be bodeik the local kashrus. He later got a letter from the Gaon that he did investigate, and found that one local shochet had been ma’achil neveilos and treifos to the community for the past 13 years.

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  14. A "story from the Briskers" about Rambam which goes entirely against Maimonidean philosophy in several ways, does not have very much credibility.

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  15. "I know that there are alternate views regarding timtum halev"

    But the point is, the alternate views are in the Rambam himself, much different then in other Rishon vs the Rambam.

    Didn't Kellner write something about not having to believe in anything? http://www.amazon.com/Must-Believe-Anything-Menachem-Kellner/dp/1874774498

    My issue with your constant quoting kellner, you seam to be accepting what he says as fact, why don't you examine and question him and his views, why hold his view on a higher plane than anyone else?

    I come to this blog for entertainment, tell me who entertainment is not for?

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  16. And what would so say if I found it in igres HaRambam or some other authentic place?

    Against who's version of Maimonidean philosophy? Who is the ultimate final authority on Maimonidean philosophy?

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  17. The alternate views are not in Rambam himself to my knowledge. A Brisker story is not "an alternate view in Rambam himself."

    I am not able to always research everything for a post on this website, especially since I am currently traveling and do not have access to Kellner's book. However he is a respected scholar of caliber. If you are familiar with his arguments and have counter-arguments, by all means provide them.

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  18. Obviously if you found it in a letter of Rambam, that would be a different matter!

    "Who is the ultimate final authority on Maimonidean philosophy?"

    There is no "ultimate final authority." However, a serious study by Prof. Kellner carries vastly more weight than a "Brisker story" which is clearly at odds with Rambam's outlook. The idea that Rambam would see a correlation between a treif diet and heretical views goes against Rambam's approach of rating statements by their content, not by who made them. Besides, what on earth is the authority for this story? It's not in the writings of Rambam. So it is presumably nothing more than a legend.

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  19. You are missing the point, and going in circles. It doesn't go against the Rambam's outlook, it goes against Kellner's version of the Rambam;s outlook, the Briskers and many many others had an entirely different "Rambam's outlook"

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  20. (1) I don't think that anyone disputes Rambam's explicit statements about how he accepts statements based on their content, not based on who made them.

    (2) Prof. Kellner has published serious, in-depth studies of Rambam's philosophy. Are there any such works by Briskers?

    (3) See Marc Shapiro's latest book on Rambam for documented examples of how even great Torah scholars are unfamiliar with Rambam's philosophy or unwilling to accept that he held that way.

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  21. "Are there any such works by Briskers?"

    Just because there are no books does that prove they didn't study it in depth? Do you really think R Chaim brisker learned the Moreh with any less depth then he learned the Yad? Are you limited to what books you get get your hands on for your range of understanding?

    "See Marc Shapiro's latest book on Rambam for documented examples of how even great Torah scholars are unfamiliar with Rambam's philosophy or unwilling to accept that he held that way."

    I saw Marc's latest book, 1) it was comical to see the basic elementary reading mistakes he made in the rambam. 2) The book was
    mostly plagiarized.

    And again, about being unwilling to accept "that he held that way" is just silly, that again is based on circular reasoning.

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  22. Do you really think R Chaim brisker learned the Moreh with any less depth then he learned the Yad?

    Yes, of course!

    And also, it's not a matter of the attention he gave to it, it's also a matter of his being from a completely different school of thought.

    And again, about being unwilling to accept "that he held that way" is just silly, that again is based on circular reasoning.

    You must be joking. Look at the great Torah scholars who claimed that the Moreh must be a forgery! Or that the maamar of R. Avraham ben HaRambam must be a forgery! Or that the letters of Hirsch must be a forgery! There are countless examples of Torah scholars who were unable to accept that certain Rishonim/ Acharonim had a completely different outlook from their own. Not all went as far as dismissing their writings as forgeries; some instead engaged in creative reinterpretation.

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  23. Look at the great Torah scholars who claimed that the Moreh must be a forgery!

    Only One part of it, and hardly anyone

    Or that the maamar of R. Avraham ben HaRambam must be a forgery!

    It doesn't exist in almost all collection of Rav Avrhams writings

    Or that the letters of Hirsch must be a forgery!

    It only exist in wagners handwriting no originals, very strange. Many true hirschians beleive it to be forged.

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  24. "Yes, of course!"

    Talk about intellectual honesty.

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  25. Delighted to have discovered your blog, Rabbi Slifkin.

    This timtum business is all about avoiding introspection and serious effort to correct wrongs, while allowing people to still feel good about themselves.

    It's about obsessing over irrelevant things just because we can. It goes together with blaming everything on untestable and unprovable phenomena, while taking measures to influence their outcome. Think obsessive mezuza checking, segulos, tznius as the cause for all of society's evils, etc. It's also always worth a look to see who's making money off of these things!

    Best,

    Simon

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  26. AAnd what's you take on the letter from the Rambam about Kabalah, "it's a forgery!"

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  27. IIRC Rav Avraham ben HaRambam describes timtum as a physical phenomenon that affects ones ability to think "clearly".

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  28. Yilel - WHAT letter from Rambam about kabbalah?

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  29. See Migdal Oz beggining of yesodei hatorah.

    I'll save you some time, your friend (I don't remember his name) who put out the sefer of R Gedalia Nadel's shiurim, claims it's forgery because the rambam doesn't ask the recipient of the letter about his father like he does in another letter.

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  30. I have an untersting post about non-kosher food and timtum halev Is non-kosher food objectively harmful?

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  31. Perhaps he is referring to the Rambam's letter of self-indictment about PHILOSOPHY. R' Yosef Kafach considered it a forgery but it is in fact authentic.

    See here:
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp004.htm
    'In a letter addressed to R. Jonathan, of Lunel, he says: "Although from my birth the Torah was betrothed to me, and continues to be loved by me as the wife of my youth, in whose love I find a constant delight, strange women whom I at first took into my house as her handmaids have become her rivals and absorb a portion of my time."'

    The irony is obvious.

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  32. ספר דגל מחנה אפרים - פרשת עקב ד"ה ומלתם

    ומלתם את ערלת לבבכם וערפכם לא תקשו עוד. היא תמיהה גדולה מה ענין לב לעורף, ויש לפרש בזה על פי ששמעתי מאא"ז זללה"ה על מדינה אחת ששאלו במכתב להרמב"ם ז"ל על תחיית המתים לומר להם מן התורה ומה שדרשו חז"ל בגמרא מן הפסוקים אמרו שיש לדורשם באופן אחר ולא רצה להשיבם הוא בעצמו דבר אך אמר לתלמידו ר' שמואל אבן תבון שהוא ישיבם, וזה תוכן דבריו בקיצור נמרץ על פי חכמת הטבע כי מכל מיני מאכל ומשקה נעשה דם ומהדם יורד אל הכבד ומהכבד עולה הברירות אל הלב ומהלב יורד המובחר והדק אל המוח ושם שורה השכל וחיות של האדם ומי ששומר עצמו ממאכלות המותרות והאסור והטמא נעשו דמיו צלולין וטהורין ויש לו לב טהור והמוח והחיות שלו נעשה חיות טהורות להשיג אמיתית החיות שהוא אלהות של כל העולמות המחיה את כולם ומי ששומר עצמו יותר ומקדש את אכילתו על פי דרכי ה' ותורתו נעשה מזה בנין אב והוא השכל לכל רמ"ח אבריו ומתקדשים ומתטהרים וכן להיפוך ח"ו נעשה בנין אב שכל עכור ומעופש בדיעות זרות וחיות שלו נעשה בחינת מת והיא אבי אבות הטומאה לכולם ורמ"ח אבריו נטמאים וטמא טמא יקרא לכל דבר ונעלם ממנו אמיתת החיות שהוא אלקות של כל העולמות ונטמא ונופל לדעות זרות ואלהים אחרים הם אלמים אלילים מתים וזבחי מתים יקראו להם לכן התנאים והאמוראים ובעלי המדות וחכמי המשנה הם שמרו נפשם שלא יתגאלו בפת בג המלך הזקן וביין משתיו ולכן האירו אור שכלם והיה שורה עליהם רוח הקודש לפרש כל מאמר סתום בדת התורה הקדושה כי שרתה עליהם כח אלוה אשר הוא ואורייתא כולא חד ואור נשמתם גם כן הוא חוט המשולש אשר לא ינתק לעולם ולעולמי עולמים אבל אנשים הללו בודאי טמאים ונטמאו דמם ומשם לבם ומוח שלהם נטמטם במאכלות האסורות והטמאים ולכך החיות שלהם נוטה למינות ואפיקורסות ולא יוכלו לקבל מתיקות נופת צוף דברי מאמרינו הבנוים על פי שכל אלקי עולם ומלך עליון והואיל והעיזו פניהם ויצאו לחוץ פתאום יבא עליהם הכורת וכרות יכרתו אותם
    וכל אשר להם וכך עלתה להם כי לא היו ימים מועטים עד אשר בא עליהם מלך גדול והרג אותם וביזז כל אשר להם עד כאן תוכן דבריו.

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  33. >Look at the great Torah scholars who claimed that the Moreh must be a forgery!

    Only One part of it, and hardly anyone.


    But what about those who did?

    >Or that the maamar of R. Avraham ben HaRambam must be a forgery!

    It doesn't exist in almost all collection of Rav Avrhams writings


    So you're also claiming that it's a forgery? See my response to Rav Moshe Shapiro for the extensive evidence of its authenticity.

    >Or that the letters of Hirsch must be a forgery!

    It only exist in wagners handwriting no originals, very strange. Many true hirschians beleive it to be forged.


    WHICH true Hirschians? And would they also happen to be people who are hashkafically opposed to its contents?
    There is not a shred of doubt that the letters are genuine. The claim of forgery is based on the fact that the letters from Rav Hirsch were unsigned and were not written in his handwriting. However, Professor Mordechai Breuer, the greatest expert on Rav Hirsch in our day, noted to me that it was the custom for family members to make copies of correspondence. He laughed when I told him that there were people claiming the letters to be forgeries. Rav Hirsch’s letters were part of a lengthy exchange with Rabbi Hile Wechsler, and Rabbi Wechsler’s original handwritten letters are extant. To maintain a belief that the Hirsch letters were forged, one would have to claim that somebody was consistently intercepting the letters that Rabbi Wechsler was sending, and was writing responses in a style and handwriting that fooled Rabbi Wechsler into thinking that he was corresponding with Rav Hirsch and continuing the correspondence! This is absurd. The Wechsler letters prove beyond doubt that the Hirsch letters are genuine.

    The fact that you nevertheless claim that they are forgeries reveals that you are just as biased and intellectually dishonest as those who you are attempting to defend!

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  34. "Yes, of course!"

    Talk about intellectual honesty.


    What on earth is that supposed to mean? Are you complimenting me on my forthrightness, or attempting some sort of insult? If the latter, I have no idea what.

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  35. "But what about those who did?"

    I would like names of people who did, before I can respond, I only know of one person, who said so about the third chelek, and he himself quotes the third chelek in his seforim, so his position in completely unclear.

    "So you're also claiming that it's a forgery? See my response to Rav Moshe Shapiro for the extensive evidence of its authenticity."

    No, I'm not, never did. All I claimed is they were (in their minds) on very solid ground. They didn't just deny it because they didn't like it.

    Where is the response?

    "WHICH true Hirschians? And would they also happen to be people who are hashkafically opposed to its contents?

    There is not a shred of doubt that
    the letters are genuine. The claim of forgery is based on the fact that the letters from Rav Hirsch were unsigned and were not written in his handwriting. However, Professor Mordechai Breuer, the greatest expert on Rav Hirsch in our day, noted to me that it was the custom for family members to make copies of correspondence. He laughed when I told him that there were people claiming the letters to be forgeries. Rav Hirsch’s letters were part of a lengthy exchange with Rabbi Hile Wechsler, and Rabbi Wechsler’s original handwritten letters are extant. To maintain a belief that the Hirsch letters were forged, one would have to claim that somebody was consistently intercepting the letters that Rabbi Wechsler was sending, and was writing responses in a style and handwriting that fooled Rabbi Wechsler into thinking that he was corresponding with Rav Hirsch and continuing the correspondence! This is absurd. The Wechsler letters prove beyond doubt that the Hirsch letters are genuine."

    What was Rav Schwab's position on the matter?

    "The fact that you nevertheless claim that they are forgeries reveals that you are just as biased and intellectually dishonest as those who you are attempting to defend!"

    I never did, you brought up the issue of forgery, so I responded. I personally have no idea if they forgeries or not, and in general have no reason to suspect so.

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  36. "Kafach considered it a forgery but it is in fact authentic."

    That's ironic, I thought only right-wing minded people were so closed minded that they just write things of a forgeries.

    "What on earth is that supposed to mean?"

    I wouldn't exactly call it an insult, but why would you have the right to assume, Rav Chaim Brisker, a person who's identity was marked by an unwavering iyum analysis of anything he approached, and especially in the Rambam, not give the moreh iyum as the yad?

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  37. I saw the "Response" to Rav Moshe.

    Again I never claimed anything was a forgery, you brought it up, so I responded.

    What about the letter from the Rambam, why may that be dismissed a a forgery? What about the Zohar? Why may that be dismissed as a forgery? Why may rationalists dismiss all of Kabala as a forgery?

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  38. See "The Soloveichick Heretige" by Shulamis Meisalman z"l, who worte how her father R Moshe Soloveichick never read the Moreh bacuase his father, R Chaim forbade him to.

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  39. "R Chaim forbade him to."

    Yes, he clearly knew the dangers of learning Moreh, and that it's not for everyone. However R Chaim himself was know to have learned the Moreh, and I believe the book states that was exactly why R Moshe wanted to learn it in the first place.

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  40. As a complete side note...
    Running to put a kipah back on the head of child can be very bad chinuch. Of course different kids have different temperaments. Much better to just set a good example and tell them things that will inspire them to want to wear it.

    Also, many very great people ate and continue to eat Chalav stam.

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  41. "The fact that you nevertheless claim that they are forgeries reveals that you are just as biased and intellectually dishonest as those who you are attempting to defend!"

    Dishonesty is when you don't post my comment reminding you I never said that.

    Dishonesty is you refuse to name the alleged scholars who considered the Moreh a forgery.

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  42. Yilel:

    I would like names of people who did

    Rav Yaakov Emden.

    All I claimed is they were (in their minds) on very solid ground.

    But that simply reinforces my point. They didn't consult manuscript experts or Hirschian experts. They took some questions and turned them into definitive evidence that the texts were forged. Nobody without their bias has ever reached that conclusion.

    What was Rav Schwab's position on the matter?

    That they were genuine.
    Incidentally, you still haven't named the Hirschian scholars that you claimed regarded the letters as forgeries. Please name them.

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  43. That's ironic, I thought only right-wing minded people were so closed minded that they just write things of a forgeries.

    I never claimed or implied that only right-wingers make such errors. But they are more prone to it, for several reasons. In part, it is because their notion of yeridas hadoros makes it hard for them to accept that Rishonim/ Acharonim said something that in their hashkafic view is unacceptable.

    why would you have the right to assume, Rav Chaim Brisker, a person who's identity was marked by an unwavering iyum analysis of anything he approached, and especially in the Rambam, not give the moreh iyum as the yad?

    His identity was marked by iyun in the Mishneh Torah. It is accepted and even recommended practice in the yeshivah world to intensively study the Yad but not the Moreh. It's not even possible to understand the Moreh without a background in Greek and Moslem philosophy.

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  44. What about the letter from the Rambam, why may that be dismissed a a forgery?

    I haven't researched it and I didn't call it a forgery. I merely asked about it. Someone said that Rav Shilat rated it as a forgery; he is generally rated as a reliable scholar.

    What about the Zohar? Why may that be dismissed as a forgery?

    For all kinds of reasons, e.g. its mention of nikud and other concepts and words that were unknown in Talmudic times, versus the complete lack of evidence that it was written in Talmudic times.

    Why may rationalists dismiss all of Kabala as a forgery?

    They don't.

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  45. Dishonesty is when you don't post my comment reminding you I never said that.

    Dishonesty is you refuse to name the alleged scholars who considered the Moreh a forgery.


    Actually, nothing to do with dishonesty, but rather due to being very busy traveling and having sporadic internet access.

    Now, I have some questions for you.

    1) You claimed that there are Hirschian scholars who rate the letters as forgeries. Who?

    2) Why did you include so many ad hominem insults in your comments that I did not post? I never feel any need to insult people, I merely offer objections to their positions. Why do you feel a need to engage in personal insults?

    3) How do you learn peshat in the sugya of Pesachim 94b re Chachmei Yisrael vs. Chachmei HaUmos?

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  46. "Rav Yaakov Emden."

    "Look at the great Torah scholars who claimed that the Moreh must be a forgery!"

    I believe the word scholars is plural, and as I wrote I know of one who said that about a part. R Emdem said that about the third chelek only. I'm sure you know R Emden does quote the third chelek in his seforim, so although he argues against, part of it, his true position is unclear.

    Please don't go around saying great scholars, as if there are many, until you can back your position with fact.

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  47. One of the Gedolim who banned my books also said it, but I cannot name him.

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  48. Actually, nothing to do with dishonesty, but rather due to being very busy traveling and having sporadic internet access.

    Then I'm sorry, I saw later comments posted, so I assumed it was skipped by.

    Now, I have some questions for you.

    1) You claimed that there are Hirschian scholars who rate the letters as forgeries. Who?


    Hopefully I'll have an answer shortly.

    2) Why did you include so many ad hominem insults in your comments that I did not post? I never feel any need to insult people, I merely offer objections to their positions. Why do you feel a need to engage in personal insults?

    I have no recolection what I did this afternoon let alone exactly what I wrote in a comment while being engaged in many other thing yesterday. If you have a question about a specific statement I made I'll be glad to answer.

    3) How do you learn peshat in the sugya of Pesachim 94b re Chachmei Yisrael vs. Chachmei HaUmos?

    Which part the first argument or the second, or Rebbe's statement?

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  49. "One of the Gedolim who banned my books also said it, but I cannot name him."

    In regard to how much of the sefer? Or was it the generic שלטו ביה זרים?

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  50. Re. where the sun goes at night. The debate and Rebbe's statement.

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  51. In regard to how much of the sefer?


    I don't know. What difference does it make?

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  52. 1) You claimed that there are Hirschian scholars who rate the letters as forgeries. Who?

    R' Schwab, and I'm sorry but my source is very reliable.

    I don't know. What difference does it make?

    To me there is a difference between if he said it on his own, or simply was repeating what R Emden said. I understand where you are coming from, but I can't respond to an anonymous statement, becuase if I don't know who said it, I don't know with how much authority it was said.

    Re. where the sun goes at night.

    I don't have the sefer with me and just can't remember the name, but it's explain there beautifully in accord with science, AND it's not a stretch.

    The debate

    That Chazal considered themselves fully competent in matters of science, and didn't defer to the science of the day.

    and Rebbe's statement.

    Like the Shita.

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  53. Well, I know someone who heard directly from R. Schwab that it IS authentic.

    In any case, like I explained, the evidence is irrefutable. Even if R. Schwab would have said otherwise, it would mean that he was mistaken.

    I don't have the sefer with me and just can't remember the name, but it's explain there beautifully in accord with science, AND it's not a stretch.

    Can't wait to hear it. Until then, I must admit that I am extremely skeptical about it not being a stretch.

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  54. "Can't wait to hear it. Until then, I must admit that I am extremely skeptical about it not being a stretch."

    While you may scream about the necessity to know Aristotelian philosophy to understand the Moreh in context, you fail to realize, without knowledge of the ancient scientific terminology and approach you don't begin to put the scientific statements in the gemara in context. It's the equivalent of not knowing the language.

    Although this is off topic, how does this Rambam "work"
    רמב"ם יד החזקה - הלכות תשובה פרק ב
    וזהו דרכם של זרע ישראל ולבם הנכון אבל הגוים ערלי לב אינן כן אלא ועברתן שמרה נצח וכן הוא אומר על הגבעונים לפי שלא מחלו ולא נתפייסו והגבעונים לא מבני ישראל המה

    How can the be a natural difference between Yidden and Goyim's natual feelings?

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  55. "I never claimed or implied that only right-wingers make such errors. But they are more prone to it, for several reasons. In part, it is because their notion of yeridas hadoros makes it hard for them to accept that Rishonim/ Acharonim said something that in their hashkafic view is unacceptable."

    "Many of our coreligionists thought that King Solomon believed in the Eternity of the Universe. This is very strange. How can we suppose that any one that adheres to the Law of Moses, our Teacher, should accept that theory?" Guide 2:28 (Freidlander).

    :)

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  56. 1) See note 14, in Prof. Shapiro's TUM Journal article(TIDE in the Shadow of Hitler"), linked below:

    "It is interesting to note that after rejecting his earlier view and assuming the role of Hirschian apologist, R. Simon Schwab indeed followed this approach.
    See Lawrence Kaplan, “Torah u-Madda in the Thought of Rabbi Samson
    Raphael Hirsch,” BDD 5 (Summer 1997): 28 n. 25, with reference to two letters
    of Hirsch about the non-binding nature of the Sages’ scientific statements:

    In my memorable phone conversation with Rabbi Schwab . . . our conversation
    at one point turned to the recent important collection of writings
    of Rabbi Hirsch, Shemesh Marpeh, edited by Rabbi Eliyahu
    Klugman and published by Rabbi Schwab himself. . . . I took the opportunity
    to express my surprise that these two letters of Rabbi Hirsch to
    Rabbi Wechsler were not included in the volume, which purports to
    include all of Rabbi Hirsch’s major Hebrew writings, published and
    unpublished. Rabbi Schwab replied—and I am citing him practially verbatim—“
    Yes, you are correct. The editor [Rabbi Klugman] consulted
    with me, and I advised him not to publish them. I told him that the letters
    are controversial and likely to be misunderstood, and that his publishing
    them would just bring him unnecessary grief (tzoros).”

    http://www.yutorah.org/_shiurim/3.%20Marc%20B.%20Shapiro%20-%20Torah%20im%20Derekh%20Erez%20in%20the%20Shadow%20of%20Hitler.pdf

    2) It is interesting that R. Schwab in his essay on Jewish Chronology(Selected Speeches) lists R. Avroham b. Harambam among other mareh mekomos for understanding agados chazal without questioning its authorship or attribution.

    3) See following article on segulos from Yated, offering a more balanced approach, and criticizing a popular trend:

    http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/yated/kishke_segula.html

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  57. Once I'm quoting R. Schwab zt'l on the Hirschian letter and R. Avrhoam b. Harambam, let me quote him on segulos, from the Yated article I linked:

    A great-granddaughter of Rav Shimon Schwab had been to Eretz Yisroel. Upon returning, she visited her grandfather, a red string tied around her wrist. When Rav Schwab saw the string, he asked his granddaughter why she was wearing it. The girl told her grandfather that it was a piece of a red string which had been wound around Kever Rochel seven times and that wearing such a string was supposedly a segulah for a shidduch and other things.

    When he heard this, Rav Schwab - in his trademark pleasant manner - asked the girl if she thought that perhaps she should not wear it. The granddaughter asked if he thought she should remove it, and he responded in the affirmative. Of course, the girl obliged, and Rav Schwab himself removed the red string from her hand. After removing the string, Rav Schwab explained to his granddaughter why he had felt that it should be removed.

    “If you wish for something,” Rav Schwab explained, “then you should daven for it. That’s how a Jew deals with all situations - with tefillah, Torah, and mitzvos. If there is a segulah which is part of our general service to Hashem, then such a segulah may be acceptable. There are no quick-fixes, however. A segulah which is not tefillah and has no component of avodas Hashem in it, but rather is merely a quick-fix, such as wearing a red string, is unacceptable.”

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  58. While you may scream about the necessity to know Aristotelian philosophy to understand the Moreh in context, you fail to realize, without knowledge of the ancient scientific terminology and approach you don't begin to put the scientific statements in the gemara in context. It's the equivalent of not knowing the language.

    What are you talking about? Of course it's essential to know about ancient scientific terminology in order to understand the Gemara. When did I ever indicate otherwise?

    (Incidentally, I did not "scream" about the necessity to know Aristotelian philosophy to understand the Moreh; I stated it. I find your choice of terminology bizarre.)

    Thanks for the interesting Rambam reference, I will look into it.

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