Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chalk Up Two More

I recently discovered two more Rishonim to chalk up to the list of the alleged "minority view" that Chazal were not infallible in their statements about the natural world - a list now numbering around fifty Rishonim and Acharonim. Both relate to the topic of Chazal's statements about astronomy.

First is R. Todrus ben Yosef Abulafia (Spain, ca.1225 - ca.1285) - not to be confused with his cousin Todrus b. Yehudah Abulafia (and if we were to judge people by their relatives, then Yitzchak Avinu and Yaakov Avinu would be in serious trouble!). He was an important rabbi in Castille, and he was also a kabbalist. In arguing how the esoteric knowledge of sod ha-ibbur could not refer to astronomy, he points out that gentile scholars were more accomplished in this field than the Sages of Israel, as evinced by their triumphing over the Sages with regard to the dispute in Pesachim 94b regarding the spheres and constellations (Sefer HaKavod to Kesuvos 111a). In a particularly sharp comment, R. Abulafia adds that “anyone who has tasted even a little knowledge knows that there is not a fool in the world [today] who believes that the sphere is stationary."

Second is a better known figure - Rabbeinu Bachya ben Asher. In his commentary to Bereishis 1:14, he also notes that the Sages of Israel had to concede to the gentile scholars regarding the stars being fixed in the spheres. Significantly, he adds that the passuk itself supports the view of the gentiles - in other words, he believes that Chazal were not previously able to deduce the correct understanding from the passuk.

It's abundantly clear to me that the Gedolim who rate it as heretical to believe that Chazal had any mistaken beliefs about the natural world, are entirely unaware of how many Rishonim and Acharonim subscribed to this view.

87 comments:

  1. "It's abundantly clear to me that the Gedolim who rate it as heretical to believe that Chazal had any mistaken beliefs about the natural world, are entirely unaware of how many Rishonim and Acharonim subscribed to this view."

    Either that, or they've been manipulated and their opinions have been fabricated.

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  2. No. I have had enough discussions and have seen enough letters to be certain that they are simply unaware of these views.

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  3. Nu, so why aren't you telling them???

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  4. I would love to get my hands on Otsar ha-kavod, however...

    I wonder if you are using the term "rishon" a bit too loosely.

    According to wikipedia (and my own understanding before looking for proof) The Rishonim are
    "Rishonim (Hebrew: ראשונים‎; sing. ראשון, Rishon, "the first ones,") were the leading Rabbis and Poskim who lived approximately ...."

    The word "leading" there seems important to me. I mean, would you call the writers of the Apocrypha Taanaim?

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  5. He's in the ArtScroll "The Rishonim."

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  6. R' Slifkin, Why is there no point in making them aware of these shitos? I have heard that R' Shlomo Zalman rejected that view because he said it is only a "yesh omrim". Wouldn't he think differently if he was shown all these rishonim that hold like that view?

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  7. (Warning: the following comment is meant to be taken as sarcastic)

    Rav Slifkin, you have indeed performed a public service. Until now the Gedolim were unaware of how many important works by authoritative Rishonim and Acharonim have become corrupted over time and now present views that they themselves could never have espoused. While we know the Rishonim and Acharonim universally accepted that Chazal's knowledge of the physical universe was infallible, clearly subsequent text editors and copyists with a streak of kefirah in them altered their holy words to present a view unacceptable to Daas Torah. These texts should, under the guidance of the aforementioned Gedolim, be re-edited back into their original state so that no further people will be misled by these erroneous and heretical statements.
    Rav Slifkin, your efforts to remove this evil stain from our pure Torah should be commended!

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  8. >He's in the ArtScroll "The Rishonim."

    Azariah de Rossi is in the ArtScroll "The Early Acharonim."

    That said, in every generation there are important, leading rabbis who may not necessarily make the popularity grade down the ages (although R. Bachya certainly did). For example, how many yeshivishe folks have even heard of R. Reines, let alone will acknowledge that four generations ago he was a peer of the leading gedolim they do acknowledge?

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  9. I have heard that R' Shlomo Zalman rejected that view because he said it is only a "yesh omrim". Wouldn't he think differently if he was shown all these rishonim that hold like that view?

    Rav Shlomo Zalman is no longer alive. And they don't make 'em like that anymore. It is inconceivable that the group of Gedolim who signed the ban against my work would publicly acknowledge that they were incorrect in any way. Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi conceded to the goyim, but the Gedolim would never concede to me!

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  10. "He's in the ArtScroll "The Rishonim.""

    Interesting, and here I thought all the "real" rishonim had cool acronyms or were recognizable by a single name...

    Live and learn.

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  11. Hey, just a second. That's not exactly what R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach said. See http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/rabbi-shlomo-zalman-auerbach.html for a quotation.

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  12. IIUC they would say, just as in psak there were earlier disagreements that are now halacha psukah, so too in hashkafa (the whole eish to daat thing of the netziv)
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  13. S. commented on "He is in the ArtScroll [list of] "The Rishonim." by pointing out that Azariah de Rossi is in the ArtScroll "The Early Acharonim."

    We know the art scroll lists are problematic. But the point is that even by their own criteria of who counts as a gadol, R. Slifkin has come up with a long list of "rishonim" whose views the current haredi leadership rejects as irrelevant. Yet according to their own set of standards they should not be ignoring these "rishonim."

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  14. Anyone "with it" enough to make a phone call from Israel to the US adjusts his/her call to the time of the other party. It is obvious that the sun can be shining in one part of the globe while it is evening on the other side. And it hardly takes a genius to realize that evening is caused by being in the sun's shadow. There are even plenty of photographs from space showing this...not to mention lunar eclipses complete with the earth's shadow on the face of the moon that are visible to anybody interested.

    People deliberately deny the obvious reality that we all live by when simply making an international phone call.

    Gary Goldwater

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  15. I think it's your duty to personally speak with these gedolim and show them the sources. Even if only one changes his mind it could be revolutionary.

    Within a few decades charedim will probably be the majority of Israel, and eventually they'll be the majority of the Jewish people. If the gedolim don't see the light on this issue we could be trapped in the dark ages for decades, and the age of great Jewish scientists could be over.

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  16. DES- thanks for the clarification, that real quote in context for sure changes his statement alot.

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  17. While it may be the case that some fifty Rishonim held this particular view, it is neccessary to take into consideration the fact that fifty is a relativly small number in relation to the amount of Rishonim the were in history. If there were hundereds of Rishonim who held the opposing view then even though fifty may seem like a large number it is really insignificant.

    Josh

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  18. IIUC they would say, just as in psak there were earlier disagreements that are now halacha psukah, so too in hashkafa

    But, even if one accepts that one could "pasken" in hashkafah, who ever heard of a psak halachah that rates virtually all the Rishonim and a long line of Acharonim as being beyond the pale?

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  19. I don't know which is worse, quoting Wikipedia or Artscrol. No offense Rav Slifkin (especially if you being sarcastic).

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  20. I think it's your duty to personally speak with these gedolim and show them the sources. Even if only one changes his mind it could be revolutionary.

    Unfortunately, there isn't the slightest chance of even one changing his mind, certainly not publicly.

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  21. R'NS,

    I agree and even moreso wonder how something could evolve into a fundamental belief (imho it's like "discovering" a new axiom )-yet this is the only argument I've heard for what otherwise sounds like a very problematic position.
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  22. While it may be the case that some fifty Rishonim held this particular view, it is neccessary to take into consideration the fact that fifty is a relativly small number in relation to the amount of Rishonim the were in history. If there were hundereds of Rishonim who held the opposing view then even though fifty may seem like a large number it is really insignificant.

    True. However since there isn't any record of "hundreds of Rishonim" holding differently, why would you think that they exist?

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  23. Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anyone "with it" enough to make a phone call from Israel to the US adjusts his/her call to the time of the other party. It is obvious that the sun can be shining in one part of the globe while it is evening on the other side. And it hardly takes a genius to realize that evening is caused by being in the sun's shadow. There are even plenty of photographs from space showing this...not to mention lunar eclipses complete with the earth's shadow on the face of the moon that are visible to anybody interested.

    People deliberately deny the obvious reality that we all live by when simply making an international phone call.

    Gary Goldwater

    Gary you are making an anachronistic fallacy. Because you know the earth revolves you don't think of what others would say in a different time and place. Seeing the sun rise and set in different places means to a flat earth society is that the sun moves about the flat earth and it takes time for it to reach any particular place.

    Imagine though if someone believed the earth infinite in length. It would then be impossible to explain logically. But there in lies another assumption, namely that they would examine the issue in terms of regarding the sun as a physical object explainable in the same fashion as what we see on earth. No one ever has reality staring them in the face independent of a model to make sense of it. We all need some sense of things making sense and how we go about it will differ.

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  24. Seeking the factsMarch 29, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I'd like to see those alleged letters to see if they really say it is heretical not to adopt the view of the Leshem.

    What I believe was stated as being deemed heretical by the gedolim was Rav Avraham ben Harambam's view that we TODAY can decide Chazal were mistaken in facts.
    NOT that Chazal can declare other memebers of Chazal as mistaken--which is what Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi did in Pesachim 94 and that is all these fifty rishonim are merely citing.

    These fifty rishonim--by merely citing Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi-- do not support Rav Avraham's view which RZSA rightly labeled a minority view

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  25. I plan to post the letters. Your notion that they are fine with Chazal being mistaken about basic cosmology but not with their being mistaken about spontaneous generation has absolutely no basis. Nobody ever expressed such a distinction. Furthermore, the reason why they said that it is kefirah to say that Chazal erred in spont. gen. is that Chazal knew everything via ruach hakodesh/ sod Hashem liyreyav etc. Which is clearly not the view of all those who say that Chazal were mistaken about basic cosmology.

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  26. By the way, instead of calling yourself "Seeking the Facts," you should call yourself "Seeking to find a way to rescue the Gedolim, no matter how unreasonable"!

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  27. "Nobody ever expressed such a distinction."

    Nobody expressed the distinction because nowhere in the banned books was such a gemara cited!

    To my recollection, none of the books ever used the fact that Chazal's pointing out mistakes of other members of Chazal provides crucial support to the view that they could have been wrong about spont. gen.!

    Only much after the ban did you marshal these gemaras as support, and now you say they should have made a distinction before they were even used?

    (And please cut it out with the childish characterizations and feeble attempts to expose a bias.
    Just post the letters already.)

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  28. What I believe was stated as being deemed heretical by the gedolim was Rav Avraham ben Harambam's view that we TODAY can decide Chazal were mistaken in facts.

    Makes me think it could be useful to distinguish between saying:

    1) "Chazal never got facts wrong", and
    2) "Today we're not allowed to say that Chazal got facts wrong."

    The first is a ridiculous assertion that makes Chazal into superhumans (and as said above is rebuffed by R. Yehuda HaNasi himself), whereas the second could be understood as a "rule of the game", like not being cholek on Chazal in halacha. i.e. We're not saying they always had the facts right, but for purposes of the "game", we don't argue on them.

    The question is whether this is a legitimate "rule"?

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  29. YA,
    What you say is certainly true of the Chazal. However I'm addressing the last paragraph about "Gedolim who rate it as heretical to believe tat Chazal had any mistaken beliefs about the natural world...":
    Gary Goldwater

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  30. Helping the FactSeekerMarch 30, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    R' Slifkin,

    For the record, it seems you misunderstood "Seeking the Facts".

    His point relates not to a distinction between astronomy vs. other fields with regard to Chazal's mistakes; rather, he is attempting to draw a distinction between the numerous Rishonim who state that Chazal were wrong in a case where ONE OF THEIR NUMBER (Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi) acknowledged that, vs a case where Chazal never acknowledged the mistake.

    In other words, he is saying that your numerous Rishonim may hold that one can only say Chazal were wrong if some time before the Chasimas HaTalmud that fact was recognized and thus canonized. However, in a case where Tannaic & Amoraic literature is of of one mind without dissent, those Rishonim would agree with the "modern" Gedolim that one may not say that Chazal erred.

    I'm not expecting to you agree with this theory, but I just want to make sure you understand what he is saying so that you can address it.

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  31. "For example, how many yeshivishe folks have even heard of R. Reines, let alone will acknowledge that four generations ago he was a peer of the leading gedolim they do acknowledge?"

    I have no idea the answer to your question, but PLEASE keep sharing information like this so that more Jews can know. (Because I did not know before you posted that, and I like knowing this kind of information).

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  32. "Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi conceded to the goyim, but the Gedolim would never concede to me!"

    Kol Hakavod Rav Slifkin, that was hilarious! (I laughed out loud).

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  33. I would like to remind readers that this issue was discussed at the end of my interview with Rabbi Avi Shafran (http://onthemainline.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-rabbi-avi-shafran-about.html), spokesman for Agudath Israel of America. The most relevant section:

    BP: And there's never been any godol who held that the Chazal can be wrong about science in the sense that they're [completely] wrong. In other words, when they wrote it - it was wrong. Ever?

    AS: I don't think so, I don't think so.

    BP: Alright. Thank you very much.

    AS: Well, that's my perspective, and I've never heard otherwise [from my rabbaim or authoritative sources]. And I believe that we don't appreciate who we're talking about here. When the Gemara makes the metaphor of angels and humans, and humans and donkeys…that's a qualitative difference. It's not just a quantitative difference. You can't take a donkey and turn it into a human - even with evolution (laughter). So I believe, they [Gedolim] are trying to tell us: You don't know who you're dealing with here. Their words might be inscrutable, their words might seem ridiculous to you, but you're not perceiving them the way you're supposed to be perceiving them.

    BP: Thank you very much for your time.

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  34. Nobody expressed the distinction because nowhere in the banned books was such a gemara cited!

    To my recollection, none of the books ever used the fact that Chazal's pointing out mistakes of other members of Chazal provides crucial support to the view that they could have been wrong about spont. gen.!


    Of course I used this Gemara! It was up front and center, complete with Rabbeinu Avraham and Rav Hirsch's pointing to this Gemara as basis for their approach.

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  35. Makes me think it could be useful to distinguish between saying:

    1) "Chazal never got facts wrong", and
    2) "Today we're not allowed to say that Chazal got facts wrong."

    The first is a ridiculous assertion that makes Chazal into superhumans.


    They don't see the first as ridiculous. See the Leshem in my Sod Hashem Liyreyav essay. They see it as obvious that Chazal had supernatural insight into everything.

    whereas the second could be understood as a "rule of the game", like not being cholek on Chazal in halacha. i.e. We're not saying they always had the facts right, but for purposes of the "game", we don't argue on them

    But they don't say that.

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  36. he is saying that your numerous Rishonim may hold that one can only say Chazal were wrong if some time before the Chasimas HaTalmud that fact was recognized and thus canonized. However, in a case where Tannaic & Amoraic literature is of of one mind without dissent, those Rishonim would agree with the "modern" Gedolim that one may not say that Chazal erred.

    I understand what he is saying, and he is incorrect.

    Again: the reason behind the Gedolim's position is that Chazal had ruach hakodesh for everything and/or were able to decipher secrets from the Torah. As Rav Elya Bet Wachtfogel said: "The Vilna Gaon could have built an atom bomb - do you think that Chazal didn't know something about science?!" Anyone who says that Chazal were mistaken about a basic cosmological fact is disagreeing with this assertion. (Aside from the fact that the notion of Chazal having ruach hakodesh for everything is a very recent innovation!)

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  37. R' Nosson

    I do not believe that the Gedolim missed all your sources. To say that they are unaware of an explicit statement by Rabbeinu Bachya indicates an ignorance on your part of their greatness in Torah scholarship.

    I know that the Gedolim in question hold that the concept of using the idea that Hazal could be mistaken in matters of science as a general guide for resolving difficulties with their statements in light of modern knowledge and scholarship is a path of Kefirah. The answer to these difficulties according to you is usually "They did not know." That is what these Gedolim take exception to.

    Did it ever occur to you that if Hazal present a scientific "fact" of their time, unless it is explicitly for an Halachic point, it could be a hint to something deeper? Or do you consider such a possibility intellectually dishonest because you have already decided that a tacit assumption of Hazal's naivete and gullibility in scientific matters is required in order to be considered rational?

    R' Nosson, I strongly defended you during the book-banning fiasco to many people and I still think you were wronged.

    However, I disagree with your characterization of the Gedolim in question as all being "Don't confuse us with the facts!"

    They do not want to hear from you because you give the impression of having an agenda to show all of Hazal's mistakes, which in their opinion leads you to erroneously concluding so in situations where this is simply not the truth.

    I know you are hurting but please do not let that cloud your rationale. After all this is Rationalist Judaism!

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  38. I do not believe that the Gedolim missed all your sources.

    Sorry that this is hard for you to believe, but it's the truth. Speak to them, and you'll see.

    To say that they are unaware of an explicit statement by Rabbeinu Bachya indicates an ignorance on your part of their greatness in Torah scholarship.

    Not at all. Even a great Torah scholar is not going to be familiar with every comment made by every Rishon!

    Look, just go to any of these Gedolim and ask them which Rishonim ever said that Chazal were mistaken about anything in the natural world. Or ask them what the Rishonim said about Pesachim 94b. You'll see that I'm correct.

    Did it ever occur to you that if Hazal present a scientific "fact" of their time, unless it is explicitly for an Halachic point, it could be a hint to something deeper?

    Clearly you are not sufficiently familiar with my books, or else you would know that this was my first resort, and an approach that I apply in several cases.

    They do not want to hear from you because you give the impression of having an agenda to show all of Hazal's mistakes, which in their opinion leads you to erroneously concluding so in situations where this is simply not the truth.

    Actually, my banned books only mentioned THREE such cases. And in each case, I was quoting prestigious Acharonim who said it, and I brought numerous lines of evidence to show that these Acharonim were correct.

    For example, the dirt-mouse. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Chazal were not speaking literally. All the meforshim always understood this literally. The context dictates that it is literal. There is no "deeper meaning." And Rav Hirsch points out that no such creature exists, but Pliny reported it as existing. So tell me how I "erroneously" concluded that Chazal were mistaken.

    As for their impression of my "agenda" - well, considering who supplied them with information and select extracts from my books, it's hardly surprising that they would have the wrong impression of my agenda!

    I know that it hurts you to think that the Gedolim might not be all that they're reputed to be, but please don't let this cloud your judgment! Read my books, study the sources, and speak to the Gedolim.

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  39. What I believe was stated as being deemed heretical by the gedolim was Rav Avraham ben Harambam's view that we TODAY can decide Chazal were mistaken in facts.
    NOT that Chazal can declare other memebers of Chazal as mistaken--which is what Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi did in Pesachim 94 and that is all these fifty rishonim are merely citing.


    There are many sources where geonim, rishonim and acharonim state that Chazal were mistaken, in cases where no member of Chazal acknowledged that.

    See here:

    http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/sources-indicating-that-chazal-did-not.html

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  40. What I believe was stated as being deemed heretical by the gedolim was Rav Avraham ben Harambam's view that we TODAY can decide Chazal were mistaken in facts.
    NOT that Chazal can declare other memebers of Chazal as mistaken--which is what Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi did in Pesachim 94 and that is all these fifty rishonim are merely citing.


    There are many sources where geonim, rishonim and acharonim state that Chazal were mistaken, in cases where no member of Chazal acknowledged that.

    See here:

    http://torahandscience.blogspot.com/2006/04/sources-indicating-that-chazal-did-not.html

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  41. Dear, Rabbi Slifkin.
    I would like to thank you for the tremendous work you are doing, it is a great service to all who study Torah.

    When you say that the Gedolim rate it as heretical to believe that Chazal had any mistaken beliefs about the natural world, you are talking about the Rabbis in the yeshivahs of today.

    Herein lies the problem of the yeshivah world throughout most of history.

    When students enter into most yeshivahs they are programed to believe that their Rabbi is a Gedol and he can do and say NO wrong.

    This type of conditioning wedges the Rabbi between the student and an expanded world of Torah and knowledge that will never be realized, limiting the student's potential. And for some even wedging the Rabbi between the student and Hashem.

    Thanks to you this dose not have to continue.
    May God bless and help protect the children of Israel. Amein

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  42. "I do not believe that the Gedolim missed all your sources. To say that they are unaware of an explicit statement by Rabbeinu Bachya indicates an ignorance on your part of their greatness in Torah scholarship. "

    Welcome to Sillyville. The sources are in the book. Rabbi Slifkin didn't write a book without sources or just with his personal musings. The sources are either not known or ignored, or both. In many cases sources he brought are not known because they do not teach (and therefore gedolim did not learn) hashkafic texts in yeshivoth. How many you view as "gedolim" have learned the Kuzari, a classic Jewish text? I'd bet none. Unless you call Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb a gadol, then the count would be one. But obviously he wasn't limited to a typical yeshiva education.

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  43. R' Nosson,
    Besides for being familiar with many of these Gedolim and their students and knowing first-hand that many of them do have knowledge of the Hashkafic texts in question, I also am quite familiar with many of their Talmidim who have this knowledge as well. I am not trying to defend their viewpoint or methods. What I am saying is that if you come across to their world as having an agenda to erode confidence in Hazal they will have a certain "Kannaistic" attitude in their response.

    There is a big difference between asking "which Rishonim ever said that Chazal were mistaken about anything in the natural world" (Your words, R' Nosson) and asking "What does Rabbeinu Bachya say about this posuk or concept?"
    The former clearly defines an general agenda and the latter defines a specific one. Ask the former and there will be a reaction, ask the latter and there will be a response. The general agenda to show that Hazal were not infallible, to their minds is very close to an agenda to show Hazal were not so great. I am not saying I agree with their alarmist and paranoid impression, just that this is what goes through their minds. A little diplomacy from the rationalist camp would help far more than attempting to frontally shove the truth down the Yeshiva World's throat.

    Student V,
    You wrote "How many you view as "gedolim" have learned the Kuzari, a classic Jewish text? I'd bet none. Unless you call Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb a gadol, then the count would be one. But obviously he wasn't limited to a typical yeshiva education."

    I do not need to bet. I know what I experienced in Yeshiva:

    As far as knowledge of Kuzari and other great hashkafic classics, I learned them in Yeshiva and they were quoted and learned by my Rebbeim and their Rebbeim as well. Any one who makes such a silly assertion that the leaders of the general Hareidi Yeshivah World are not familiar with the classical Rishonim on Hashkafa either never really learned in a Beis Midrash level Yeshivah, had no relationship with a Rebbi, did not pay attention to his surroundings, or is just playing ostrich. If you disagree then you are disagreeing with my experience in Yeshivah and with my contact that I have had and continue to have with its world.

    Welcome to Sillyville indeed.

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  44. R' Nosson

    Another point. I own and have read your books. I know you do not use this approach unless you feel it is necessary. I just feel that the conversation should remain intellectually honest on both sides of the aisle. Some of these gedolim may not be aware of your sources. Others, you and I both know to whom I am referring, are very aware and still do not seem willing to engage in honest and forthright dialogue with you. They have their reasons and the following may be one of them: There is an impression that your work gives to some people that you are out to shake things up even if unnecessary. If your goal is to try to help guide Klal Yisrael towards Emes, the frontal approach never worked. [The Ba'al HaAkeidah writes that the purpose of Shiras Haaazinu is for the Hamon Am of Klal Yisrael to be able to look into it later (perhaps at the end of all Golus) and see in retrospect that Hashem's will gets fulfilled either way]

    If we focus on learning and teaching Torah with an honest Hashkafic approach (and if we do not relegate our learning and teaching to a framework of proving a certain Hashkafah, limiting our own understanding and growth in the process) then eventually the Emes will be left standing and the Sheker will blow away like chaff in the wind. I agree with much of what you write. I disagree with your method of communication of those same ideas. I feel that you continue to slow the inevitable march to Emes by trying to frontally force it before Klal Yisrael is ready. An important element in Emes is its connection to reality and an unfortunate but necessary element of reality is the facts on the ground and the imperfect Hamon Am that will twist, misunderstand, or baselessly disagree with Emes until they learn it by being burned by it. Be patient with them and forgive them for they know not what they do. ;-)

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  45. I would like to draw everyone's attention to this question.

    And to anyone who can tell me.

    Whom from all the Gedolim, Rishonim, Acharonim, etc. etc. from throughout all of history, that were never wrong and always correct with everything they taught, and considered so by all their peers ?
    Please, place their name or names here on this blog, and we all will see that there is such a man or woman in existence. And then we can seriously consider the claims that are made, that the others were correct as well. Thank you

    Remember the old adage, "show me a perfect person and I'll show you Gan Eden"

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  46. Sorry, there is no way I believe that.

    Tell me, which yeshiva!?

    And who taught your Kuzari shiur?

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  47. Student V,
    In Yeshivah of Far Rockaway - My Rebbi, Rav Aharon Kaufman learned Maharal with us and introduced us to the approach of the GRA and Rav Chaim Volozhin.
    In Bais Rav Chosid taught Kuzari and Rav Nosson Weisz taught Nefesh Hachaim and Maharal. Rav Brazil learned Michtav Mei' Eliyahu with me privately and was completely fluent in Kuzari and quoted it often even in his Shmuessen. Rav Lehrfeld never kept it a secret that he was more than familiar with the Moreh and Kuzari. In Detroit, Rav Leib Bakst ZT"L encouraged me to learn Chovos Halevavos and was quite conversant in Shaar HaYichud. In the Mir we had Chaburos comparing Ramchal's two versions of Mesilas Yesharim (unless you do not think that is philosophical enough.)We also had a group who would learn Tanach, each person on his own with one commentary and we would meet usually every two weeks to compare notes. We had a Chaburah late Thursday nights from Rav Dov Zupnik (a Talmid of Rav Nochum Partzovitz) in Tzidkas Hatzadik. On Tuesdays I heard a shiur that many Mirrer talmidim went to given by Rav Chaim Brim ZT"L on Chovos Halevavos. In Lakewood I was part of one group learning Akeidas Yitzchak and another learning the more advanced Ramchal seforim. Most of us by that time had been through Ramban Al HaTorah and Midrash Rabbeinu Bachya as well. There were plenty of more advanced Talmidei Chachomim to discuss the issues with. Did you learn in Yeshivos?

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  48. How is the study of Maharal, Gra, Michtav Me-Eliyahu, Kuzari, Ramchal, Rav Tzaddok, and Nefesh HaChaim relevant to knowledge of rationalist Rishonim? If anything, studying those is usually an indication that a person is less open to accepting the reality of what the rationalist Rishonim held.

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  49. I totally disagree with your approach to drawing defining lines of "rationalist" versus what ever you think the others are. Things are not as black-and-white as that. The Ba'al Akeidah often discusses (and often debunks) Aristotelian philosophy. The issue was not just knowledge of the rational rishonim but whether the Rebbeim really have a well rounded knowledge of the seforim at all. Remember that I objected to both you and Student V's assertion as to the ignorance of Gedolim regarding as classical a sefer as Rabbeinu Bachya on the Torah. As far as rationalist Rishonim, you hold that Kuzari is not rationalist. Okay. Do you hold the Moreh is not? How about the Ba'al Akeidah?

    You said "If anything, studying those is usually an indication that a person is less open to accepting the reality of what the rationalist Rishonim held." Really? So you hold that in order to be capable of grasping the rationalists one must close his mind to any one else's opinion and remain ignorant of all but the rationalist approach. That does not sound too scholarly or intellectually honest to me. I have learned many of the rationalist seforim as well (Rabbeinu Yedaya Hapenini is on your list of rationalists.. No?) Of course there are differences of opinion and ideas very different from the typical Yeshivishe hashkafah to be found in the rational rishonim and unless one has an agenda to color the entire world kabbalistic, of course he will see what they are saying.

    This thread was not about Rationalist Rishonim per se and I was responding to the silly assertion that all the Gedolim who signed the ban against your books were ignorant of all your sources. In the course of my response, Student V decided to question whether there is any serious study of Hashkafic texts in Yeshivas and that explains my previous post.
    R' Nosson
    Please try to focus on the conversation and not pull me into something that we were not even discussing!

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  50. Of course the Moreh is rationalist, but how many people in the yeshivah world, or Gedolim, have learned the Moreh?

    (As for Akeidas Yitzchak, I don't know enough about it to comment.)

    So you hold that in order to be capable of grasping the rationalists one must close his mind to any one else's opinion and remain ignorant of all but the rationalist approach.

    Not at all. My point was that people who focus on "yeshivishe" hashkafah sefarim, are very often closed-minded to the rationalist approach. Surely you're not denying that?

    There is some serious study of some hashakic works in some yeshivos. But I maintain that the majority of those who signed against my books are ignorant of the majority of the sources in my list, as well as being very poorly educated about the rationalist Rishonim in general. For goodness' sakes, several of them insisted that any such sources must be forgeries!!

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  51. R' Nosson

    About those "gedolim" I am in complete agreement with you. As far as those seforim influencing and closing the average mind to the true meaning of the rationalist seforim, you are right in that it often is the case but it is surely not the rule. I believe that the more serious issue you must deal with are those gedolim who are familiar with rationalist Rishonim and yet still signed (or signed letters stating they are not opposed to the ban).

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  52. Even though its true that gdoilim can sometimes be manipulated, in general they are the master manipulators themselves. They know the sources but chose to ignore them to the point of holding the opinions that they deem dangerous as kfira even though these opinions were shared by the earlier authorities. If I know, they surely know.

    Yehu, you say that in Lakeweood you participated in an advanced chabura in Ramchal's sforim. Did you learn his perush of his kesubah? His diary? What do you think? How about the controversy of his banning? What do you think? What advanced sforim of his did you learn? Ramchal's popularity in the Torah world never stops shocking and depressing me. When RS posted that he dressed as Ramchal on Purim I was totally shocked.

    Akeidas Yitzhak holds that there is no physical tchias hameisim. In parshas vayeirah he describes his life long and unsuccessful fight against kehila sponsored Jewish brothels. Was this learned? Was the halachik and moral argument of both sides analyzed? Or was it the usual selective 'feel good' type of learning without pain and conflict?
    Oh, it's a rishon! Oh, it's so gevaldik! We don't understand anything but he is so deep! It's 'Baal Akeda'!

    Look, in the world we live in there is no choice but to try to educate yourself and have your own opinion, unless we don't mind being manipulated. What I do is take a source such as Rambam, Akeida or, lehavdil, Ramchal and try to get the complete picture. As the posk says: 'yosif daas yosif machov' - it is painful but worth it.

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  53. Carol,

    You are just doing exactly what I said others are doing. You are assuming alot of things about a world that I experienced and that you did not. You are assuming:

    1. That I am unaware of the controversial background of the Ramchal (both the rumor of his youthful "indiscretion" and the rumor of Sabbatianism [in an age of anti-Sabbatian paranoia])

    2. That in Lakewood we just learned Derch Hashem, Mesilas Yesharim, and Daas Tevunos and never touched Kelach Pischei Chochma, Adir BaMarom or even Sefer Hehigayon.

    3. That I was given a predigested tour of select passages of Akeidas Yitzchak and did not learn through every Shaar (as well as the pieces on the Megilos that are rumoured tonot have been written by Rabbeinu Yitzchak Abin Arama [not actually the son of Arama, rather Abin Arama was his family name.])

    4. Therefore you assumed that I am not familiar with his more controversial views and with his involvment with some of the more seedy controversy of his times.

    5. You assumed that Yeshivishe people are not critical thinkers and do not follow things back to their source and therefore whenever Akeidas Yitzchak (or for that matter Rambam) quotes Aristotle, I probably do not look it up at its source with the best translations I can find to see if it is an accurate representation of his view.

    6. You also assume that the rumors about the Ramchal were correct and therefore it nauseates you to hear that there were other people who were not known for glossing over controversy that disagreed with your conclusions about the Ramchal. As Samuel Morrison (in his introduction to his masterful biography of Christopher Columbus) stated, it is better to find contemporaneous writings and evidence when trying to determine the truth in history than trusting revisionism masquerading as critical analysis.

    Yes, I am a proud product of the Yeshivah world and although I agree that I have bumped into many that your accusations would be true about, you are painting with too broad of a brush.

    Last of all, my nickname is Yahu, a nickname for Yoseph Eliyahu, not Yehu. If you would remember the Tanach (that I am sure you learned with all the Meforshim), you would realize nobody in their right mind would name their child after either Yehu, one being a "lo yutzlach" and the other a Rasha.

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  54. Yahu, please be rational about Yehu. It was obviously a typo and I apologize for the anguish that it has caused.

    I am moradik impressed by your answer, however I think I had stated clearly that I study the sources and not only what is written about them. My conclusions about Ramchal come from his writing and not from what others write about him. My question was how you, people, deal with these issues in, let's say, Lakewood when you encounter them in learning? So, tell me. If a man claims in his writtings to be Moishe Rabeinu and greater than moshiach what's the reaction in the Beis Midrash Gavoah?

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  55. Yahu, I understand that my prior question might have taken you too far into unchartered waters. So let me ask you about an idea that Ramchal is very passionate about and you must have encountered it because it's a very basic kabbalistic idea. It goes something like this. Before the coming of the moshiach all 'holy sparks' have to be released from their 'captivity' in the 'husks'. This 'tikkun' is to be accomplished by mass rape of Jewish women by Gentiles. You see, when a Jewish woman is being raped, according to Ramchal, the sitra achra goes out of her and enteres the rapist while she receives the 'holy sparks' from her rapist. This is a very well known kabbalistic idea. What did the haburah think of this 'tikkun'?

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  56. Carol,

    The reaction to such reports varies from the "I do not believe that he wrote that. It must have been a forgery by some maskil" to "He was talking about his neshama and not about the reality on the ground." to "Even though there were issues, like Rambam says "Mekabel HaEmes Memi She'Amro" and leave the controversial stuff alone." I personally practice the third approach but do not recommend it for those who emotionally cannot get over the possibilities (or according to your analysis - probabilities) of there being issues regarding the character of the source.

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  57. Yahu, thanks. Why reports? These are texts that everyone can read. Don't they study the texts?
    Now please tell me specifically about the idea of the rape 'tikkun'. The thinking behind this idea was the basis for the Shabbatean and Frankist immorality. You surely heard about it. What do they say in the yeshiva? Sod Hashem leyirav? What? Has anyone ever said that this is crazy? This is about the sickest idea I have ever encountered. Just think, we are praying daily for the speedy coming of the Moshiach. According to this kabbalistic idea we are praying for our women to be speedily mass raped. Am I wrong?

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  58. Carol,
    I am suprised that you can't distinguish the post hoc eschatological explanation of Ramchal regarding the tragic factual circumstances of mass rape of Jewish women by gentile men throughout the exile and the antinomian ad hoc explanations of the Sabbatians and Frankists regarding their "matir issurim" customs. Us mindless drones in Lakewood could. And by the way, the idea did not originate with Ramchal.

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  59. Carol,
    Another point: Moshiach's coming does not necessarily entail that these tragedies occur. Throughout the writings of the Mekubalim the two possibilities of "be'itah" or "achishenah", are always maintained. The former requires all the tragic processes and the latter, if we merit it, will be a miraculous fix-all. This idea is Talmudic in origin but is not rejected by Ramchal or other Kabbalists. We pray for "Achishenah" and not for a continuation of "be'itah", which as a matter of the facts of reality will entail the tragic rape of Jewish women by gentile men. Try learning Ramchal without an "All men back then were misogynistic!" agenda and you might have figured this out for yourself.

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  60. Yahu, please. I said that this is a well known kabbalistic idea that had not originated with Ramchal. But let me make sure I understand your position. When you are saying this is a 'post hoc eschatological explanation of Ramchal', are you saying that there is no actual 'tikkun' happening? Let me be very clear. Is the 'sitra achra' being transferred to the rapist and 'holy sparks' to the victim? Yes or no?

    'Moshiach's coming does not necessarily entail that these tragedies occur.' Sure doesn't. What it entails is people being just, kind loving all humanity and G-d, giving and caring. A woman will walk on the street without being humiliated or taunted as the novi promised that a wolf will dwell with a sheep. Why? Because people will see first and foremost the godliness of creation. This is my view. People who commit rape belong in jail. People who believe that rape benefits the victim on a spiritual level belong in a lunatic asylum.

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  61. 'Try learning Ramchal without an "All men back then were misogynistic!" agenda and you might have figured this out for yourself.'


    Please. What have I ever said to deserve this? Because I object to the lunatic justifications for most evil behavior I hate men? Oh, please. Men are awesome when they are scholars, fighters for justice, lovers, athletes etc. I have tons of good things to say about them. G-D bless them. Who was talking about men? Can we just focus on the subject of discussion here?

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  62. Above you said the Moreh is rationalist or there was a school of thought that certain Rishonim were rationalist. This is not the case. Rambam was not a rationalist and not rishon who believes in Prophecy is a rationalist. They believed in approaching Torah through a construct of logical deductions, but they definitely were not rationalist.

    Rationalism is "the doctrine that knowledge is acquired by reason without resort to experience." We experienced Har Sinai. We experienced leaving Mitzrayim. After all there is a mitzvah to see yourself as having left Mitzrayim. This in opposition to "rationalism."

    As far as the sages making mistakes? We see there is Tractate Horioth dealing with this. In terms of dealing with natural phenomenon, I don't believe this as such a great debate as you are making it out to be. Finding a few Rishonim doesn't cut it.

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  63. Carol,

    I see there is a need to bring the level of vocabulary down a notch so I will. You clearly did not understand the distinction I was presenting.

    Ramchal was addressing the fact of these rapes, not justifying the evil actions of the men committing them. The fact that you could misinterpret his and others' words as justifying rape and abuse shows a lack of knowledge of a. Ramchal's other seforim, such as Mesilas Yesharim, b. of how the Ramchal was esteemed by many of his contemporaries who were accepted mainstream Gedolei HaDor of his times (Mahari Basan, GR’A etc.), and c. it illustrates a severely limited and superficial understanding of context.

    He’ala’as Nitzotzos is a general idea that is embraced by all of the Kabbalistic greats, from the Arizal and Shelah hakadosh to Rashash and Ben Ish Chai. All mitzvos and maasim tovim can accomplish it. Any Jew can choose to do this. Another way it is accomplished (based on a Talmud Yerushalmi) is through the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism. This brings back sparks that fell even lower, but it can not be chosen by the Jewish People; the gentile must choose so (even in the case of the Yefas To’ar). There is even a lower level of sparks that only find their way back through horrendous circumstances that are not within our control and can be the results of very wicked choices of very wicked people.

    (Of course this is all true only if destiny is still on a “Be’itah” track. If we merit “Achishenah” then all bets are off. Hashem could bring them all back himself if he thought it was the best.)

    Under no circumstances were Ramchal and any of the other Kabbalistic greats who embraced the concept of he’ala’as nitzotzos insinuating that rape is to be encouraged. They were attempting to make spiritual sense out of a tragedy that was all to commonplace. Of course they did not mean to imply that if the victim asks “Why me?” one should answer “Do you know what a tikun was just accomplished through your violation!?!” But on the other hand, would you say that a person who suffered and perished in the holocaust did not accomplish a tikun of Kiddush Hashem through his/her death?! Would you tell the surviving relatives “Ach! What those beasts did to you and your relatives! And nothing spiritual was accomplished!”

    The Sabbateans (whose original excesses preceded Ramchal by about 40 years) and the Frankists abused the concept of He’ala’as Nitzotzos for their antinomian delusions- believing that they were accomplishing tikun by choosing to experience ecstatic spirituality through sin. Forcing the sparks back in, as it were. Matir Issurim. There is nothing in the writings of Ramchal to indicate he remotely held of such an idea.

    You insist on interpreting the Ramchal and others in a way that clearly indicates an accusatory agenda of encouragement of aberrant and abusive behaviors. It appears that you have an a priori (beforehand) assumption of guilt on their part and therefore whatever you can, will be interpreted as such. Essentially it appears that what we have here is the proverbial shooting of an arrow and then painting the bulls-eye around it. The only problem is that you did not get the bulls-eye accurately centered. Anyone who seriously learns Mesilas Yesharim will not only be taken by the amazing scholarship, but more so will be drawn by the forthright humbleness and piety that it exudes. To even begin to accuse the Ramchal of encouraging such wickedness would never even cross the mind of one who has learned seriously Ramchal’s other works.

    If you want to "try to educate yourself and have your own opinion" and reach a conclusion worthy of true scholars' time and energy you cannot afford to be a maverick. Your opinions about Ramchal and the Kabbalistic idea of Tikun and He’ala’as Nitzotzos exhibit a vacuity that can only be the result of either an agenda, or a lack of dialogue with those who are well versed and expert in the nuances of Kabbalistic wisdom.

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  64. Yahu, can you please answer the question I had asked: Is the 'sitra achra' being transferred to the rapist and 'holy sparks' to the victim? Yes or no? I don't want to say anything else until I have you answer. Thank you.

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  65. Carol,
    Do you even know what "Sitra Achara" and "Nitzotzos" mean? Fine . Do not say anything else.

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  66. R' Nosson

    As far as "Who?" is concerned, you very well know who and you will not tempt me to lower this discussion to one in which specific names of various Gedolim who signed or supported the ban are "measured" or evaluated by you or me.

    I have a different question for you:

    How is it that you, who wrote the books that you have written, did not come across this Rabbeinu Bachya until now? In the my world, the next Pirush learned after completing Ramban Al HaTorah is Midrash Rabbeinu Bachya.

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  67. Yahu, refusing to answer is also an answer. You simply avoided facing the issue in a typical yeshivish manner. Instead of a simple 'yes' or 'no' I got pages of unnecessary explanations, personal insults and humiliation. When cornered you insult and end the discussion. You approach is regrettable but ,alas, quite common.

    I discuss text and ideas and when personally insulted turn the other cheek, forgive and don't bear a grudge. So we are good here.


    I would just like to defend myself against ridiculous accusations:

    1. I never said that Ramchal or mekubolim advocate or defend rape.

    2. We never discussed holocaust so you should not be assuming anything about my views.

    3. You assumption that I hate men was bizarre. Let me just add to my earlier rebuttal. If I defend the human and civil rights of Arabs or transgender people that doesn't mean that I hate Jews or am going for a gender reassignment surgery. Likewise, defending Judaism against a wicked idea that 'sitra achra' dwells in Jewish women and can be extracted through mass rapes doesn't make anyone into a men hater. It does make one into a decent human being.

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  68. Yahu said,
    In the my world, the next Pirush learned after completing Ramban Al HaTorah is Midrash Rabbeinu Bachya.


    Where is that? Back in the USSR? People generally learn things that they are interested in. Ein adam lomed ela bamakom shelibo chafez. If not they become hamor noseh sfarim.

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  69. Whoever you are "Yahoo" Can't you think of a more original name to hide behind when you write your snide and silly comments?

    You obviously have no clue that Rabbeinu Bachya's commentary elucidates many issues in the Ramban. It is the logical next step any serious scholar takes in studying Chumash. Where I come from people use "ah bissel sechel" when it comes to their studies.

    My assumption was that those who are writing on this thread were interested in an honest and forthright and rational discussion regarding the knowledge of Rishonim who are willing to say Chazal erred in matters of science. "Ain adam lomeid elah bemah shelibo chafetz" has nothing to do with deciding for one's self that certain pirushim are not important because they do not interest him.

    What in the world does the fact that one's interest in certain areas or types of learning have to do with anything in this discussion? Forget it. Do not bother answering. You creep me out "Yahoo"!

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  70. Yahu, if already, the seder is usually Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra and Sforno. Where do Ashkenazim learn Rabbeinu Bachya? I never heard of this one.

    Why are you continuing to assume and insult? What makes Yahu better than Yahoo?

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  71. Yahu is my nickname (based on my given name) that everyone knows me by. Yahoo is your form of anonymous mockery and insulting of me.

    Abin Ezra is usually learned before Ramban because Ramban quotes him and comments on him.

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  72. Doesn't work, Yoseph EliyaHU is Yehu and not Yahu. You cannot change your name. It's al pi sod. Did the chaburah learn it?

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  73. Oy! Mekubal! My old friend from Mi Yodeya! You too have joined the ranks of those who refuse to be real and hide behind the evil cloak of the klipa of web anonymity! Aich naflu hagiborim! And by the way, what kind of parent would give his child a name like "Mekubal"? The chaburah did learn not to waste time with clowns and I am thinking about starting to practice that right about now! R' Nosson wants this to be rational discussion and it has degenerated to idiotic dust slinging, myself included. Goodbye! Have a Hag Kasher VeSameah!

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  74. Carol,

    As far as the insulting goes, "Tell someone to remove a splinter from his forehead and he will tell you to remove the beam embedded in yours"

    Do you think I was not insulted by the overt patronizing attitude in what you first wrote:

    "Or was it the usual selective 'feel good' type of learning without pain and conflict?
    Oh, it's a rishon! Oh, it's so gevaldik! We don't understand anything but he is so deep! It's 'Baal Akeda'!"

    Do you think that you are the only person insulted by assumptions made based on no real inside experience? Please don't act so high and mighty and play the hurt game in order to make me look bad and confirm your motzi shem ra of the Yeshivishe world! You started with the insults and I just took up the banter from your tone. If you are ready to drop your tone of superiority I will be happy to tone down my responses.

    As far as your points:
    1. Yes you clearly imply that Ramchal supported the mass rape of Jewish women to bring the Geulah. This is as good as saying it straight out:

    "According to this kabbalistic idea we are praying for our women to be speedily mass raped."

    2.The analogy to the holocaust or any other death al kiddush Hashem is simple. If you have a problem with a tikun accomplished through the tragedy of rape then you should have a problem with any tikun happening through tragedy performed by evil people to any good people.

    3. I never assumed you hate men. Those are your words. I assumed that you have a view of men of previous generations as being primitive misogynists. Except for ignorance (which based on your words I did not feel fair to assume) that was the only explanation I could come up with as to why you would assume the Ramchal supported the mass rape of Jewish women. I do not believe you hate men. I do not believe you hate the Ramchal. I do believe that you are misinterpreting him for some mysterious reason and I would love to get to the bottom of it.

    "I discuss text" What text have you quoted? Please give me at least one citation. My memory is not photographic so to discuss this withyou it would only be fair for me to have some context.

    I also wonder if you do not quite get what the sitra aharah is. Perhaps you are referring to klipos residing in the Jewish woman? That is a common Kabbalistic idea. Klippos from the sitra aharah (other side) are attracted to reshimu (the mark left from where kedusha once resided). The idea of klipos being more prevalent in women would be due to the potential for developing life that exists within her (similar idea to why there is tumas niddah and why tumeas niddah takes longer to get rid of than tumas keri). The idea that when this tragedy happens, a woman does have a spiritual benefit of tikun in that the unhealthy klipos transfer to the Rasha and she gains his nitzotzos is not much different than the idea that one who says Lashon Hara receives the chovos of the victim and the victim receives the baal lashon hara's zechuyos. I am not saying I truly understand this concept, but I do not see anything overly objectionable here.

    Of course, a mark of wisdom is knowing with whom something can be shared. I do not recommend learning these Ramchal's with a victim of rape nor any close relative of such. The emotional trauma is so severe that it ischemical and pathological. Therefore they cannot and should not be made to deal with a metaphysical discussion of what transpired in olamos haruchani.

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  75. Something distressed me about Carol's flat out rejection of the Ramchal's words (which I admit I have never seen or heard of). It is a theme I have heard many times in many forms, where we seek to make sense out of suffering.

    The Ramchal in our case uses the Kabbalah worldview to help us understand why Hashem allows such tragedies to occur to those people he loves so much. It helps people to come to terms with the continuing tragedy of the galus. The Arizal explained the galus as a venue to allow the Jewish people to collect the good from the nations, and in turn to inspire them. Does this mean that the Arizal didn't want mashiach to come because he was too busy thinking about how to collect the nitzotzos from around the globe? Hardly! But after 1500 years of exile, it's hard to justify galus by just saying it's a kapporah for the sins of our fathers. So there must be something else, metaphysical going on.

    The navi Zechariah chapter 14 tells of the time preceding the final redemption. All the nations will surround Yerushalayim to attack it, and they will occupy it and rape the women. The navi is not just telling stories for the sake of information. If Zechariah finds it appropriate to foretell this horrible event, singling it out from amongst an endless list of horrors which normally accompany the capture and ruination of a city, then it must be that there lies a deeper signifigance to it. It may well be the Ramchal's explaination or it may be some other explanation, but it must be explained in terms of and in the context of "Hashem's Grand Plan", which may not always seem comforting at first glance, and it is definitely not a relief nor therapy for a victim r"l to be told as much. It doesn't however detract from the value or truth of this approach.

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  76. Ad Kan,

    Thank you for your validation! That was very sensitively put!

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  77. What I don't understand is why would you react to someone claiming to be Moshe Rabbeinu any different than to someone claiming to be Jesus or Elvis?

    'The Ramchal in our case uses the Kabbalah worldview to help us understand why Hashem allows such tragedies to occur to those people he loves so much.' The 'kabbalists' were 'mechadesh' this explanation. In other words they simply made it up. I have no reason to beleive that it's true and every reason to beleive that it's false.

    1. Hashem loves all people and so should we. Until we understand this we are going to remain in at lest a spiritual golus. The mekubolim don't understand this.

    2. People's free choice is the source of eveil not a Divine decree. G-d is perfect and as such cannot possibly be the source of evil. The mekubolim don't understand this.


    3. Rape is the most humiliating crime and the prophet uses its threat to motivate the people to repentance. In no way do his words indicate any 'tikkun' is to be accomplished. The profecy was given prior to the universal declaration of human rights, the Geneva convention and the advent of feminism. It reflects the reality of those days. Today by spreading the values of human rights, women's equality and the unconditional love of G-d and humanity it is in our hands to advance our civilization to a higher level of culture where war rape will become extinct. It is already universaly considered a war crime but the idea still has to penetrate the hearts of all men.

    'But after 1500 years of exile, it's hard to justify galus by just saying it's a kapporah for the sins of our fathers. So there must be something else, metaphysical going on.'

    Why? We are in Golus for our own sins. Nothing metaphysical. Do you think we are deserving or ready for redemption?

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  78. Yahu, let me answer you:

    1. 'I assumed that you have a view of men of previous generations as being primitive misogynists.'

    Why? From the ancient times there were men who beleived in the equality of women. Please read up on the subject. For starters take a look at 'Declamation on the Preeminence and Nobility of the Female Sex' by by Henricus Cornelius Agrippa originaly published in 1529.

    2. I quoted from the commentary on the kesuba and the diary. Both are short and can be read in one sitting. they are shocking and should be read in their entirety.

    3. There is no kabbalistic tikkun in the holocust. The only thing to do was to live and die as a human being. Loving, carring and kind to the end with the heart filled with love for G-d and Humanity.

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  79. Carol,

    You seem to have all the answers!
    Where are your sources for your views?

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  80. What views specifically?

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  81. Carol,
    Your views as to what must be done to usher the utopian era that you speak of. Your views about Kabbalah. You seem to think that you know better than Ramchal and many other great scholars as to what will end this exile. Do you have sources? Or are you guilty of what you accuse them of: Contriving ideas based on your own biases?

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  82. In general, my views are based on what I learn from the Avos, Moshe Rabbeinu, Chumash, Middrash, Rambam, Rav Saadia, Chovos Halevovos, Ralbag etc... In this order.

    I will let you be the judge of who knows better or makes more sense.

    1. The Middrash tells us that Moshe Rabbenu was tested by the Almighty three times before being found suitable to lead the Jews out of Egypt and receive the Torah: he killed an Egyptian to protect a slave, he saved bnos Yisro from the shepherds who intended to rape them, he followed a lost lamb into the hot desert to save it. In other words, while risking his own life he showed compassion and kindness to the weaker creatures while risking his own life: slaves, women and helpless animals.

    2. Gittin 58a at the bottom recounts the sin that had caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. It's a well known story of a carpenter's apprentice who coveted his master's wife. He convinced the master that she was gang raped and advised him to divorce her, which is what the master did. The apprentice married her afterwards. I am amazed that not a single commentator understood this Gemorah! According to Chazal the sin of the master was in treating his wife as a sex object and being willing to divorce her after she had allegedly become a victim of a crime. This was a well publicized incident but no one protested the master's outrageous behavior! Where was their concept of love? Humanity? Kindness? Compassion? This is what caused the destruction!

    In the light of these two sources I find that the kabbalistic 'tikkun' is against Torah and human values and is the exactly the kind of behavior that caused our exile. So how can it bring redemption? It's wicked and absurd.

    Well, the way you build a better world is through unconditional love of G-d and Humanity and being kind to all G-d's creatures including animals as told to us by Chazal in the above Middroshim and hundreds of other sources.


    Who is the guy in the picture and why is he there?

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  83. 'Your views about Kabbalah.'

    Look, nobody has been able to reasonably connect the Zohar from R. Shimon to a can in which it was allegedly found in Spain by Moshe de Leon one tghousand years later. Baal HaSulam admits as much in his Hakdoma Letalmud Eser Sfiros. He concludes that the content of the Zohar speaks for itself and is the best proof of its authenticity. I, yes you hear it correctly, I, conclude that it's the best proof of its forgery. Zohar, Kabbolah and Hassidus are the reason that we are in exile because they suppress and obscure the true teaching of Toras Hashem with wicked idolatrous ideas.

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  84. Carol
    The picture is one of the supposedly authentic paintings of the GR"A. I chose it for fun and the fact that I share a name with him. Nothing more. Where do you see unconditional love in Moshe Rabbeinu killing the Egyptian? He should have had a dialogue with him and worked it out with his love for him!

    Your views on the Zohar reflect the reading of one sided views of the issue. There are many academics who have shown, if not the Zohar itself, at least a parallel tradition of mysticism that existed all along. Rabbeinu Yehudah HaChasid (died 1217 - Way before Zohar was published!)writes many passages that seem haphazard, but when found in the Zohar, the Zohar seems likely to be the source. RY"H is purported to have sent Kabbalistic documents away to be hidden for safekeeping. You never know where they ended up. Perhaps Spain? The bottom line is that you have read and possibly heard many experts against the Zohar's authenticity. Have you ever read the work of the Radal, Kadmus HaZohar or other such defenses?

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  85. Carol,

    "The Guy" in the picture is the GR"A. He is there simply because we share a name and because I like the picture.

    No offense meant, but much smarter and more learned people than me or you have addressed the Zohar authenticity issue and none of them mentioned your "proof" of it being a forgery based on your (mis)understanding of the Kabbalistic Tikkun concept. Gee! I wonder why?!

    I am not going to waste my time engaging in a debate with you over the Zohar's nature nor the true meaning of the Kabbalistic concept of tikkun.

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