Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Peshat and Penimiyus

Rewriting Jewish Intellectual History: A Review of Sefer Chaim Be’Emunasom

Part 12: Peshat and Penimiyus


The message of Chaim B’Emunasom is that every Jew is obligated to accept that every single word of Chumash, Gemara and Midrash as true. But not only does R. Schmeltzer insist that every word is true; he also repeatedly insists that every word is literally true (כפי פשוטו). Now, even R. Schmeltzer has to admit that this certainly does not appear to be the case. After all, we can see that the sun goes on the other side of the planet at night, not behind the sky. And he is probably not willing to accept the physical factual reality of the astounding creatures described by Rabbah bar bar Chanah, such as a baby goat forty miles in length, or a frog the size of a village that was eaten by a snake which was eaten by a bird, and so on. But R. Schmeltzer gets around this problem by defining literally true to mean “literally true in a metaphysical sense,” i.e. referring to the factual reality of the spiritual roots to our universe that we cannot see with our eyes. (See chapters 62, 72 and 73.)

This was indeed the approach of Maharal and some others who followed in his footsteps. But R. Schmeltzer claims that it is the only authentic approach! This not only means ignoring, dismissing or distorting all the Geonim and Rishonim and Acharonim who stated that certain statements of Chazal are not true at all. It also means distorting the words of those Rishonim and Acharonim who held that all the words of the Torah are true in the literal physical, not metaphysical, sense. It means fundamentally ignoring and/or distorting all the debates that raged in the medieval period between various Rishonim concerning the literalness of various statements in the Aggadah. The ferocious quarrel between Rabbi Shlomo ben Avraham of Montpellier and Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam concerning whether the Leviathan is an actual giant fish or an allegory for spiritual concepts, the sharp words of Rabbi Moshe Abulafiah for Rashi’s literal interpretation of certain Aggadatas, the enormous controversy over Rambam’s allegorization of several parts of Scripture – according to R. Schmeltzer, there were no such debates; every legitimate Torah scholar always held that everything in Torah is literally true but in a metaphysical sense!

Astonishingly, R. Schmeltzer even cites Rambam in these chapters. On p. 340, R. Schmeltzer cites Rambam’s instructions on how one should attribute any difficulties in Aggados to one’s own intellectual shortcomings. However, it is abundantly clear from the sources cited earlier that Rambam did not consider this to apply to Chazal’s statements concerning science, which he freely rejected. On p. 362, R. Schmeltzer quotes Rambam about how he is interpreting the Torah’s description of creation ex nihilo literally. But Rambam certainly interpreted many other parts of the Torah non-literally, which is exactly why he was sharply criticized by Ramban, Abarbanel and many others!

49 comments:

  1. What exactly is the difference between "literally metaphyisically true" and metaphore/symbolic representation of a Torah/spiritual idea?

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  2. what ever happened to peshat and penimyus being two sides of the same coin? in your world peshat doesn't even recognize the existence of penimyus!

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  3. Reuven Meir: the difference can be expressed as follows. The Gemara says that Moshe was 10 amos tall. Some take it as a metaphor; it means he was a great man, and the number 10 symbolically represents completeness. But Maharal says that in the spiritual dimension, Moshe was actually 10 amos tall, however the physical dimension cannot express that so well due to its limitations, so Moshe was merely as tall as is humanly possible.

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  4. Dovid - there is such thing as Gemaras that are intended allegorically, such as the Rabbah bar bar Chanah stories. You can call that pnimiyus if you want. But there are other sections of Gemara where, according to the Rishonim, the pshat level is the only level; there is no deeper meaning intended. The famous dispute in Pesachim 94b is a good example. But Maharal interprets all these things as having a pnimiyus dimension.

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  5. Honestly, I don't understand your objections. Rabbi Schmelczer, as well as the Roshei Yeshiva who have provided Haskamos, are of the opinion that all of the Torah is One. In this viewpoint, any legitimate arguments fall under the rubric of "Eilu V'Eilu", which, for reasons tha tcan be explained, does not contradict that conception. An approach that you champion, which perceives 'different schools of thought' is considered to be superficial and misguided (as is explained at length by Rav S. Wolbe in Alei Shur 2), and is the approach often promoted by academics whose basic premises are far-removed from the world of the Bais Medrash. Hence, the citations that you cite to 'prove' different approaches merely underscores why your views are unacceptable. Rabbi Schmelczer, for his part, is not attempting to prove you wrong, but merely to clarify that the views you espouse have no place in the Bais Medrash (as is expressly stated in a number of the Haskamos).

    It is ironic that while your original claim was that you hoped to defend the traditional Torah approach in the face of scoffers such as 'Daat Emet", you now are focusing your efforts on excoriating the yeshivos, their teachers, and their basic principles.

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  6. Honestly, I don't understand what you think you are saying. I have provided a long list of evidence that this sefer utterly distorts the history of Torah opinions of Rishonim and Acharonim, by selectively citing, dismissing inconvenient sources as forgeries, and actually editing other sources to make their meaning quite different. You are claiming that this is "superficial and misguided." Unless you have actual arguments to back that up, your claim is worthless.

    you now are focusing your efforts on excoriating the yeshivos, their teachers, and their basic principles.

    This may come as a surprise to you, but quite a few yeshivas and their teachers, even in the charedi world, would be in full agreement with me that R Schmeltzer's sefer is a horrific perversion of hashkafah.

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  7. a student,

    "...as is explained at length by Rav S. Wolbe in Alei Shur 2..."

    Could you provide a more complete reference for this? Alei Shur II is not such a small book, and I've only gone through small portions of it.

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  8. Put simply: the Roshei Yeshiva, and the Mesorah they impart is that the entire Torah - including both the Written and Oral Law is one organic whole. Disagreements among Rishonim do not indicate a different school of thought, but are understood instead as distinct facets of the One Torah. The Rambam is part of that Mesorah, and is not to be considered as representative of a 'different' school of thought.

    The approach that claims otherwise, well-known, is that of the classic enemy of the Yeshivos and traditional Jewish study.

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  9. So call them distinct "facets" if you wish. But this sefer denies that there are distinct facets!

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  10. But what do you mean, anyway? If one authority says that various sugyas are literal statements about the natural world which are fallible, and another says that they are literal statements about the natural world which are INfallible, and another says that they are allegories, this is three different schools of thought. Calling it "three facets of one mesorah" doesn't mean anything.

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  11. R. Slifkin:

    I read my original post, and then your response, and now I finally understand how you operate.

    My post clearly stays away from any specific point in the book, or your review, but instead is directed to your overall perpective, that of 'different approaches' which you expressly champion. That approach to Torah is anathema to the classic Mesorah. It is the hallmark of academic scholarship, which is perceived as superficial and misguided. Yet, you ignore this challenge.

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  12. Yes, you don't undertstand. Obviously, this was my point. Your approach to the entirerty of Torah is dissimilar fom the classic manner in which Torah is studied. "Eilu V'Eilu" is a basic principle, which does not imply 'different schools' of thought.

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  13. Yet, you ignore this challenge.

    Uh, that's not a challenge. It's a claim, which you have not backed up in any way whatsoever. Saying "You're wrong!" is not a challenge!

    Your approach to the entirerty of Torah is dissimilar fom the classic manner in which Torah is studied.

    Speak for yourself. My rebbeim always acknowledged the differences between different approaches.

    "Eilu V'Eilu" is a basic principle, which does not imply 'different schools' of thought.

    Actually, there are all kinds of views as to the parameters of eilu v'eilu. Furthermore, it does not preclude different schools of thought. Even in the Gemara, we see different schools of thought, e.g. between the school of R. Akiva and that of R. Yishmael.

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  14. "Even in the Gemara, we see different schools of thought, e.g. between the school of R. Akiva and that of R. Yishmael."

    Again you are falling into the trap of academic crap.

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  15. Are you aware that Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman was the first to propose that the Mechilta and the Sifri on Bamidbar reflects R. Yishmael’s school of thought, whereas the Sifra and the Sifri on Devarim reflects that of R. Akiva?

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  16. The only reasonable way to apply the concept of "eilu Veilu" is to understand that there are different types of arguments\positions between hachamim. Some types of arguments\positions of hachamim are mutually exclusive.One side being true necessarily means that the other is not. Such appears to be the type of argument between those Rishonim who see Hazal as fallible regarding scientfic issues and those who see Hazal as infallible on these issues. And then there are other types of arguments\positions of hachamim whereby both can both be right at the same time. An example of the latter might be the classic argument between Hillel and Shammai regarding lighting the menorah. In that case both sides "can be right."

    Why is this so hard for some of us to fathom?

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  17. A 'shitta' is not the same as a 'school of thought'.

    This mistake of academics is quite common, and a result of studying the Rishonim indepedently, without recognizing that the Rishonim are not fabricating their own ideas, but are always coming directly out of the Sugya. In order to understand the Rishonim, and not distort their words; to build principles way beyond the author's intent - or manufacture new 'schools of thought', one must invest the time and energy to first study the sugya, and then afterwards understand each sugya in light of the commentary, but never to study the comment independent of its source. Only after doing so will an an individual recognize that the varied shittos all stem from one sugya. But, those who have left the Bais Medrash and closed their gemara have dispensed with learning B'Iyun, and no longer have the patience to toil over a Tosafos and contemplate each Kushya. Instead, they do 'research' or better yet, search a date base to come up with impressive citations and quotes that fool the uninitiated, or the blog readership, into believing that they must be great scholars. To these pretenders, every Machlokes Rishonim appears to be 'ferocious disputes' that cannot be reconciled, for they have lost touch with the depth of the Gemara and the One source. You, Rabbi Slifkin have fallen into that trap, perhaps because you were too enamored by Olam HaZeh, or perhaps of your inability to humble yourself before those who are older and wiser. Your editorial expertise may have fooled many people, but it is only a matter of time. As I pointed out, look to where you have descended. From your initial claim - four years ago - that you were defending the traditional point of view, you have become focused instead on trying to undermine the Yeshivos and their leadership.

    Actually, I feel sorry for you.

    May you and your family be blessed with a sweet year.

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  18. Student, instead of writing a dozen lines with zero content, and speculating on the reasons for my going off the derech, why not actually provide even a single actual argument against what I have written?

    From your initial claim - four years ago - that you were defending the traditional point of view, you have become focused instead on trying to undermine the Yeshivos and their leadership

    Four years ago, I was defending Orthodoxy against Daat Emet. Now, I am defending the Rishonim from R. Schmeltzer and co, who are trying to undermine these Rishonim.

    Perhaps you can share your wisdom and tell us how the approach of all the Rishonim to Pesachim 94b, and that claimed by R. Schmeltzer to be the One True Approach, can be reconciled and shown to be part of One Mesorah.

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  19. To HaRazieli:

    If you were to speak to a Talmid Chacham, he might explain to you that even in the following two cases:

    1) Rebbe Eliezer says the world was created in Tishrei, and Rebbe Yehoshua says it was created in Nissan

    2) in certain places in Chazal it says the world is flat, whle in others it says the world is round

    where to the unititiated student it could not be more clear that these opinions are diametrically opposed, that one is 'right' and one is 'wrong' -

    still, they are both expressing different aspects of One true reality. The reason that 'this is so hard for some of us to fathom' is because: they spend too much time in front of computer screens, or: their minds are accustomed to secular wisdom, and they equate the Torah with that type of wisdom, or: they fail to recognize that Torah is wisdom of a different sort, and not merely a different subject, or: they have no connection to pnimius, and barely understand what the word means, and hence their understanding of Chazal is always one-dimensional.

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  20. And what would this Talmid Chacham say about those Acharonim who say that some of Chazal were simply wrong about the earth being flat, and other such matters?

    Perhaps you would like to tell us what to make of all those Rishonim and Acharonim who say that Pesachim 94b is to be interpreted k'pshuto, that the chachmei Yisrael were wrong, and you can explain how that does not reflect a different school of thought (or "shittah," if you prefer that word) than that propose by R. Schmeltzer.

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  21. R. Slifkin:

    No one in any Yeshiva cares to argue with you. Because, if you can honestly believe that you have the capability to dispute those Roshei Yeshiva who have said that you are way off-base, to pretend that are merely old fools... blah,blah,blah (all in a respectful tone, of course), anything I say or do will only be further fuel for your fire.

    But, know that it is is only in your world of virtual reality where you can portray yourself to be on equal footing with the Talmidei Chachamim you have chosen to dispute. You are a clever writer, and can fool many people, in print. But, in real life, it is good that you have declared that you are no longer part of the Bais Medrash.

    Good luck to you on your new quest. I am sure that you will find fame and fortune.

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  22. Actually, if you really did want an answer to your question re: Pesachim 94B, there are enough Talmidei Chachamiim in Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim (and even Ramat beit Shemesh) who would be happy to answer your question. But, since you have demonstrated that you would dispute even the most respected Talmidei Chachamim of our time, it is not really an answer that you want or care for, but merely more fodder for your blog, and book, and your next speaking tour.

    Go ahead, perhaps you will someday win a Nobel prize. The Yeshiva world has overcome many enemies, and outlasted them all.

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  23. > Only after doing so will an an individual recognize that the varied shittos all stem from one sugya.

    That different conclusions were reached based on the same original sugya does not in any way mean that those conclusions are the same, or even “different facets” of the same thing. It just means that each person understood the sugya differently.

    > where to the unititiated student it could not be more clear that these opinions are diametrically opposed, that one is 'right' and one is 'wrong' - still, they are both expressing different aspects of One true reality.

    Of course, how foolish of us not to see that two mutually exclusive physical realities are in fact both the way it really is! Excuse me, I’ve going to go decorate my house now with some square circles.

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  24. Here wgat the Rambam says about derech halimud changing and evolving;

    אבל מה שיעשה יהושע ופנחס בענין העיון והסברא, הוא שיעשה רבינא ורב אשי

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  25. Perhaps you would like to tell us what to make of all those Rishonim and Acharonim who say that Pesachim 94b is to be interpreted k'pshuto

    no rishon ever said this gemara doesn't have a penimiyus.

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  26. No one in any Yeshiva cares to argue with you.

    Student - Amazing, isn't it? All these people who are allegedly capable of proving me wrong, and yet none of them care to do it! And yet, this entire sefer was written in order to prove me wrong...

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  27. no rishon ever said this gemara doesn't have a penimiyus.

    They said that the chachmei yisrael were talking about astronomy and they were wrong. Which is not the pnimiyus approach of Maharal etc.

    Heck, if the Rishonim's views on this Gemara were fine, why does R. Schmeltzer have to claim them to be forgeries or otherwise dismiss or ignore them?!

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  28. To say that the rishonim disagreed with the fact that shas and mishnayos can both be learned in pshat/remez etc. ypu will have to do better than hollering "pesachim 94b" as if that can drown out the words of the gr"a , besht, maharal, arizal and the others

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  29. The book was not written to prove you wrong. It's purpose was to help some poor Yeshiva students who were naive enough to fall for your "amaratzus" wrapped in pseudo-scholarly wrapping.

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  30. Tomare, there are plenty of examples, Pesachim 94b is the most blatant of them. Why would I have to do better than that?

    You may well be right that the book was not written to prove me wrong. However, you are here to prove me wrong, so go ahead and do it - or accept that I am right.

    Or why not go and speak to your Rosh Yeshivah. You might be surprised to find out that he agrees with me, that there are indeed different schools of thought.

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  31. all one sees from the rishonim in pesachim that on a peshat level the gemara means that chazal were wrong-to say that this means there is no penimius does not follow
    with regards to my rosh yeshiva-what he says does not matter as he does not compare to the gedolei olam who gave haskamos on this book-i suggest you take the same attitude with regards to your own rebbi r' karmel

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  32. Today is the 100th yahrzeit of the Ben Ish Chai. Why don't you look at what he had to say on this topic, and tell me if that is consistent with Chaim B'Emunasam:

    http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/ben-ish-chai.html

    with regards to my rosh yeshiva-what he says does not matter as he does not compare to the gedolei olam who gave haskamos on this book

    Oy vey. So now nobody is allowed to dispute these Gedolim, not even your own Rosh Yeshivah? Have you seen what R. Moshe Feinstein had to say about such things?

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  33. It's funny for you to quote the ben ish chai, because i'm sure you'll agree with what he say about the same gemara in pesachim

    ספר בניהו בן יהוידע על פסחים דף צד/ב
    ת"ר חכמי ישראל אומרים גלגל קבוע וכו'. הנה הרב בעל ספר הברית במאמר ב' פרק ה' האריך בדבר זה, והביא דברי הגמרא כאן ומה שאמר רב אחא בר יעקב וסוף דבריו כתב אחר כי כן הודע לנו דעת כל חכמי ישראל בגלגל המזלות מסתמא כן דעתם גם בגלגלי כוכבי לכת אשר למטה ממנו שהכוכבים חוזרים ופורחים באויר גלגלי הרוחניים שלהם, ורב אחא בר יעקב מסופק בהם כמו בגלגל המזלות, ומ"ש במדרש רבא בשם רשב"י אין אנחנו יודעים אם פורחים הם באויר, ואם שפין ברקיע, ואם מהלכין הם כדרכן, הדבר קשה מאד ואי אפשר לבריות לעמוד עליו, הנה מאמרו זה היה קודם כניסתו למערה, כי לאחר יציאתו משם כבר קרן עור פניו מרוח הקודש שלבשתו וכל רז לא אניס ליה ונהרין ליה שבילין דאצילות וכל שכן מה שיש בסוף עולם העשיה, באופן כי חכמי ישראל הדבר ברור אצלם שהגלגל קבוע והמזלות חוזרים בו, וכן יסד הפייט ביוצר ליום אחרון של פסח וכו', מפני שהמזלות גשמיים והגלגל רוחני, ודבר זה הוא כמו עוף הפורח באויר אשר אתנו, שהעוף גוף גשמיי והאויר גוף רוחניי, וכן שאר הגלגלים והכוכבים במסילותם אשר למטה מן המזלות עד כאן דבריו יע"ש. ואני אומר שגם רב אחא בר יעקב אינו מסופק בעיקר הדבר אלא ברור לו האמת כדברי חכמי ישראל שהגלגל קבוע והמזלות חוזרים, והוא לא ערער כי אם על התשובה והסתירה שעשה רבי, ורצונו לומר אין זו תשובה ואין יוצא מזה הכרח, יען כי יוכל הדוחה לדחות ולומר דילמא כבוצינא דריחייא, אי נמי כצנורא דדשא. ומ"ש הרב הנזכר לעיל. על דברי רשב"י דאמרו משמו במדרש רבא זה היה בתחילת ימיו ואחר כך ודאי נתברר לו האמת כדברי חכמי ישראל, דבריו טובים ונכוחים בזה דודאי כן הוא:
    ודע כי לפי דברי רבינו האר"י ז"ל בעץ חיים שער ציור העולמות פרק ב' משמע דמ"ש בברייתא חכמי ישראל אומרים גלגל קבוע עיקר כונתם על הרקיע, ובעבור שהגלגל קבוע ברקיע לכן לפעמים כוללים אותו עם הרקיע ובמקום שצריך לומר רקיע אומרים גלגל בלשון מושאל, ועיקר התנועה יחסו אותה למזל שהוא הכוכב אשר הוא נקודת הגלגל ונשמתו, ולכן אמרו ומזלות חוזרים, ולפי זה אם יאמר אדם גלגל קבוע אין זה טועה, דעיקר הכונה היא על הרקיע ומחמת שהגלגל קבוע בו ממש יוכל לדבר על הרקיע ויזכריהו בשם גלגל בלשון מושאל, וכן נמי אם יאמר אדם גלגל חוזר גם זה אינו טועה, די"ל כונתו הוא על הגלגל דוקא ולא על הרקיע. ולכן חכמי ישראל שאמרו גלגל קבוע ומזלות חוזרים, כונתם באומרם גלגל קבוע הוא על הרקיע ותפסו גלגל בלשון מושאל. ומסוף דבריהם שסיימו לומר ומזלות חוזרים אתה תבין תחילת דבריהם שהיתה כונתם על הרקיע והם אמת ודבריהם אמת, אבל חכמי אומות העולם אי אפשר לתקן דבריהם, מפני שסיימו לומר ומזלות קבועין וזה שקר גמור שאי אפשר לתקן אותו:

    שם ונראין דבריהם מדברינו. פירוש כפי השערת השכל נראין דבריהם בעולם יותר מדברינו, אבל ודאי כפי האמת דברי חכמי ישראל הם באמת
    וצדק. ולכן גם עתה שאומר נראין דבריהם קרי לדברי חכמי ישראל דברינו, כי רק מצד חסרון ידיעה שיש לבני אדם בעניינים אלו אז נראין דברי חכמי אומות העולם יותר, ולכן לא אמר תשובה לחכמי ישראל שביום מעיינות צוננין וכו' כי אין זו תשובה וטענה לפי האמת לסתור דבריהם. ועיין להרב ספר הברית במאמר ד' פרק יו"ד מ"ש בזה יע"ש, ואופן הישוב אשר עשה יש לעמוד עליו ואין כאן מקום
    להאריך בו.
    ואני אומר דמה שאמרו חכמי ישראל חמה ביום מהלכת למטה מן הרקיע ובלילה למעלה מן הרקיע לא קאי על גוף החמה, אלא קאי על כח הנשמה שלה אשר תוקף החום שלה הוא בא מן כח הנשמה שבה, וזה יסתלק ממנה בלילה להיות מהלך למעלה מן הרקיע שלה שעל ידי כן יתרחק מגופה הרבה מאד וממילא יחלש כח החום הבא ממנה, והוא בדוגמת האדם שהוא ישן שיסתלק ממנו כח הנפשיי שבו וישאר בגופו כח נפשיי קצת לצורך חיותו. וחכמי אומות העולם אומרים בלילה כח הנפשיי של החמה מתהלך תחת הקרקע, פירוש תחת קרקע ארץ העליונה הנקראת תבל שאנחנו דרים בה. וכאשר תשכיל להבין איך הוא מצב שבעה ארצות, ואיך הם עומדין בכדור הארץ תבין דברי אלה בטוב טעם. ובמקום אחר כתבתי בזה ואין כאן מקום להאריך בו:
    ואיך שיהיה ידוע תדע באמת ובאמונה כי דברי חכמי ישראל בכל מקום המה חיים וקיימים שהם אמת ודבריהם אמת, ומלבד הסוד אשר כוונו לרמוז אותו בתוך דבריהם, הנה לפעמים תמצא שגם בדרך הפשטי יש להם כונה עמוקה ומחמת שאנחנו חסרים כמה הקדמות גם בדרך הפשט לכך אין אנחנו מבינים כונתם על האמת אפילו כפי הפשט של הדברים, ואנחנו מצפים לביאת מורה צדק שאז השם יתברך יאיר עינינו ונראה נפלאות מתורתו ונבין דברי חכמים וחידותם ונשיג האמת לאמיתו:

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  34. what does R. Moshe say? I saw in the artscroll biography on R. Moshe that you must listen to Gedolim on topics outside of halacha.

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  35. Tzvi, good find! So we see him bringing two very different approaches in his two commentaries. Now I have no problem saying that I agree with one and not with the other. I am not saying that either is outside of legitimate Judaism, just that I agree with one and not the other. But you are stuck!

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  36. R. Moshe says that a rabbi is entitled to argue even with the godol hador, as long as he does so respectfully.

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  37. I think the heat/light ratio in this thread really makes it clear to what extent the study of "hashkafa" in yeshivos has become at best an extra-credit subject, based mainly on vague emotional "shmoozim" and one-line answers given by Roshei Yeshiva to satisfy teenage bachurim. Where is any attempt at critical thinking?

    One thing I can say to all the yeshiva guys protesting here is that it is Rabbi Slifkin who is promoting unity among Orthodox Jews against those like the author of Chaim b'Emunosom who are creating divisiveness by declaring their beliefs (bizarre as they are) to be the only ones that ever existed, against all evidence

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  38. I find it hard to believe that anybody could be so stupid as to think that Judaism has always been monolithic. It isn't today and it never has been.
    Has anyone who says this read any of the Ralbag's works and contrasted them with the Maharal's? Or Rav Hirsch's and contrasted them with those of the Satmar Rebbe or Rav Schach?
    I think the main problem with people like this is that they simply have no idea what they are talking about. The only way somebody could think that the Ralbag and the Bobover Rebbe are expressing identical ideas is if they have absolutely no understanding of either and no historical perspective whatsoever.
    What do these people make of the Ralbag's assertion that God doesn't know the details of man's actions?
    Do they say that we don't really understand him properly, and that really he meant the same thing as the Maharal, Reb Chayyim Volozhiner and Reb Moshe Shapiro? Or do they say that "he's not from our beis hamedrash"? At least the second answer is honest.
    Honestly, Reb Natan, it's not worth your while debating people who are either ignorant or insane.

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  39. J., as hard as it is to believe, people really do go for this. There's one volume of Afikei Mayim (based on Rav Moshe SHapiro) claiming that in the machlokes between Rambam and Ramban regarding korbanos, they were both simply speaking about different aspects of the Maharal's perspective.
    Of course there are limits to how far even they can square a circle, so some people, such as Hirsch when proven not to be a forgery, are instead relegated to being "outside the Beis HaMidrash."

    Regarding why I am debating with such people, see this post:
    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2009/08/interlude-does-anyone-take-this-sefer.html

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  40. Besides, J., just look through the comments above, you'll see people who believe in this!

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  41. I find the end of the above Beiyahu very troubling. How can he say there are things that we will never understand the p'shat under biyas go'el? Lo bashomayim he! If hashem gave me the torah - as the Rambam says I was at har sinai - then my mind must be able to process it!

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  42. Ephraim wrote: "makes it clear to what extent the study of "hashkafa" in yeshivos has become at best an extra-credit subject,"

    I'd like to reiterate my plea to you, ephraim, to be careful how you characterize, stam, yeshivos. Please see my similar words to you in
    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6906205856510467947&postID=5830463657447983458
    (In case it gets cut off, here it is again: )
    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=
    6906205856510467947&postID=
    5830463657447983458

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  43. Student:

    I do not know what yeshiva you are reffering to, but when I learned under R A.C. Levin at Telz, when RRS was there, there was no such thing as Elu V' Elu. It was always, this way or you are an apikores.

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  44. um...both approaches? I would love to entertain myself with watching you trying to learn a tosafos

    ואיך שיהיה ידוע תדע באמת ובאמונה כי דברי חכמי ישראל בכל מקום המה חיים וקיימים שהם אמת ודבריהם אמת, ומלבד הסוד אשר כוונו לרמוז אותו בתוך דבריהם, הנה לפעמים תמצא שגם בדרך הפשטי יש להם כונה עמוקה ומחמת שאנחנו חסרים כמה הקדמות גם בדרך הפשט לכך אין אנחנו מבינים כונתם על האמת אפילו כפי הפשט של הדברים, ואנחנו מצפים לביאת מורה צדק שאז השם יתברך יאיר עינינו ונראה נפלאות מתורתו ונבין דברי חכמים וחידותם ונשיג האמת לאמיתו:

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  45. Student,
    Do everyone a favor including yourself, admit that your extremely confused. I have never read such nonsense in my life. The more you try to eloquently write things that do not make sense, the more the World sees how in the Yeshiva World terms like eilu v' eilu are thrown around without any rational understanding of the concept.

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  46. >>"terms like eilu v' eilu are thrown around without any rational understanding of the concept."

    Who says this concept ultimately has a rational understanding?
    See Rabbi Shimon Schwab's chapter of introduction to Zvi Lampel's "Dynamics of Dispute"

    Also see the Ritba's comments to the phrase in TB Eiruvin:

    דף יג עמוד ב] שיכול לטהר את השרץ מן התורה. כתבתי קצת שיטת התוספות בזה במסכת סנהדרין בס"ד.
    אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים. שאלו רבני צרפת ז"ל היאך אפשר שיהו שניהם דברי אלהים חיים וזה אוסר וזה מתיר, ותירצו כי כשעלה משה למרום לקבל תורה הראו לו על כל דבר ודבר מ"ט פנים לאיסור ומ"ט פנים להיתר, ושאל להקב"ה על זה, ואמר שיהא זה מסור לחכמי ישראל שבכל דור ודור ויהיה הכרעה כמותם, ונכון הוא לפי הדרש ובדרך האמת יש טעם וסוד בדבר.

    Sounds like it's really a non-rational kabbalistic secret...

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  47. For the record (I don't want to be mixed up with some of the other commenters here) I fully accept the concept of Eilu v'eilu, when applied to many halachic and hashkafic disputes.

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  48. And I think that there are perfectly valid rational understandings of it!

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  49. Why is everyone ignoring the BIC quote at September 4, 2009 12:45 AM?

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