Wednesday, January 13, 2021

When You Don't Need To Listen To The Rabbis

In yesterday's post, I explained why we should follow the Sanhedrin even if they are wrong. A number of people (who didn't realize the underlying message of the post) understood me to be saying that we must follow the Gedolim of today even if they are wrong. Some people even challenged me that I should therefore have obeyed the Gedolim who banned my books. 

In response to this, I present below the page from my website dealing with the controversy over my books, in which I explained all the reasons why I did not need to obey the charedi Gedolim. I've added a very important paragraph which specifically deals with the points raised in yesterday's post - it's highlight in bold and dark blue.

Why I am not following the ban

Some people have raised the question that, regardless of who is right or wrong in the central issues of Torah and science, the books must be withdrawn. The reason is that since leading rabbinical figures have banned the books, they must be obeyed even if one believes them to be mistaken. A verse cited as a basis for this is, "Do not stray right or left from all that they tell you" (Deut. 17:11) upon which Rashi cites the Midrash, "Even if they tell you that right is left and left is right, you must listen." I would like to explain why I am not doing so.

First of all, contrary to popular belief, there is no halachic obligation whatsoever for me to obey the distinguished rabbis that banned my works. The above mentioned verse is referring to the Beis Din HaGadol, a body of rabbinic authority that is no longer in existence. Nowadays, Judaism only obligates a person to follow his own rabbinic authority (in a case where he cannot determine the correct course of action himself). Furthermore, one is not obligated to follow other rabbis even if they are in the majority. The Chazon Ish points out that one need not follow the majority of rabbinic opinion, past or present, in determining a ruling. Only with the Sanhedrin was the ruling determined by majority vote. My own rabbinic authorities, who are certainly of adequate stature to render their own decisions in these matters, have ruled that my books are perfectly acceptable.

(It is sometimes pointed out that the Sefer HaChinnuch extends the above verse to include not just the Sanhedrin, but also the leading rabbinic authorities of every generation. In response to this, it should first be noted that the Sefer HaChinnuch is a minority view in this regard and is not binding. Second, even within the Sefer HaChinnuch's view, there are various criteria required that are not fulfilled in this case.) 

Now, while there may not be a halachic obligation to listen to any particular group of rabbis, there is certainly a very strong Torah principle that one must uphold rabbinic authority and not undermine it, even if it is mistaken. Nevertheless, this is not applicable here, for several reasons. The primary reason is that the rabbinic authority being challenged here is not the broad base of Orthodox rabbinic authority; rather, it is specifically the rabbinic authority of the charedi community - a community of which I am not (any longer) a member. Second is that, for reasons discussed below, the very nature of this rabbinic pronouncement is deeply problematic on a number of counts. Third is that the benefit of upholding the rabbinic authority of the charedi community is outweighed by the benefit of upholding the traditional rationalist approach to Torah and science issues (as well as the benefit of exposing the flaws in the contemporary model of rabbinic authority in the charedi community).

Still, even though I am not obligated to follow any rabbinic authorities other than my own, it nevertheless is appropriate to take the opinions of others very seriously. In light of the extremely great stature of the Talmudists and Halachists opposing my works, one may wonder why I am not playing it safe and withdrawing my books. The answer is that I believe that in this particular case, my own rabbinic mentors have several significant qualitative advantages.

One: My own rabbinic authorities possess greater expertise in science.
It is easy to dismiss views as heretical if one does not appreciate the reasons why they are being presented. History has proven that unfortunately sometimes even great rabbinic authorities have rejected views that turned out to be scientifically proven. For example, Rabbi Yaakov Rischer (1670-1733), author of the Shevus Yaakov and one of the greatest halachic authorities of his era, rejected science due to its position that the world is round, which, he claimed, ran contrary to the Talmud's position that the world is flat. This clearly demonstrates that knowledge of science is important in determining which beliefs are acceptable.

Two: My own rabbinic authorities possess particular expertise in Torah scholarship on these issues.
The field of Torah and science is relatively obscure. The teachings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, and even Rambam, are not widely known, even by great Talmudists and halachists. For example, few people are aware that Rambam held the view that the six days of creation were not actually time-periods (see, for example, Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller's article on this topic in the Jewish Observer). Another example is that it is widely believed that the position that the Sages were not infallible in science was the solitary view of Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam. I know for a fact that some of the signatories to the ban were under the impression that there is not even a single authentic source to this effect. My own rabbinic mentors have a particular interest in these topics and therefore possess particular expertise in this esoteric area. They are, for example, aware of numerous Torah authorities of previous eras who subscribed to these views.

Three: My own rabbinic authorities are much more familiar with my books.
In evaluating a book, it is important to be familiar with it in its entirety, not just with a few extracts. For example, many people are under the impression that my book Mysterious Creatures sets out to show that Chazal were mistaken about science, whereas in fact the majority of the book explains why in many cases there is no conflict. The introductions place the books in context, explaining what they are for and why they were written. The impression gotten from seeing the most extreme extracts of the books cannot be compared to that received from reading the books in their entirety. (Of course, those who believe that is is genuinely heretical to state that the Sages erred in science would not have this opinion changed even if they read the entire book. However, many of those who opposed my works did not subscribe to this extreme view.)

Four: My own rabbinic authorities are more familiar with my target audience
My rabbinic authorities, rather than being from the insular sections of the yeshivah world, have dealt for many years with people who have been grappling with these issues. (Rabbi Moshe Shapiro was quoted as saying that in his experience, these questions rarely arise; the experience of my rabbinic mentors is vastly different.) They are more aware of which sort of people are reading my books, of the neccessity of my books for these sorts of people, and of how the style of my books and their tone is uniquely suited to this audience.

Five: My own rabbinic authorities know me as a person
Knowing the people involved in engineering the ban and approaching the signatories, there is little doubt that they did not describe me in glowing or even objective terms. The signatories probably saw me as someone out to destroy Torah under the guise of explaining it. Had they met me, I believe that they would not have been so quick to condemn me. No doubt this is one of the reasons why the zealots who engineered the ban were so determined to prevent me from meeting with any of the signatories.

Six: My own rabbinic authorities discussed the issues with me
My rabbis discussed whatever reservations they had with me, until everything was ironed out. The signatories of the ban did not meet with either me or my rabbinic mentors and were not able to discuss their concerns, which, in some cases, I may have been able to allay. The Minchas Chinnuch, commenting on the Sefer HaChinnuch's unusual view that the consensus of rabbinic authorities of each generation must be followed whether right or wrong, notes that this is only the case if the rabbinic authorities actually discussed the issue with each other; failing that, one can never know if the minority might have actually been able to convince the others of the correctness of their position.

Seven: My own rabbinic authorities follow a different school of thought
There have long been two distinct streams of thought within Jewish philosophy, commonly termed the rationalistic and the mystic. The rabbis who condemned my works are aligned with the latter, whereas my rabbinic mentors are aligned with the former.
For example, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch wrote that those who seek to explain phenomena in terms of mechanical natural processes and to minimize the miraculous do so in order to minimize the greatness of God. Rambam, on the other hand, wrote that "we shall endeavor to integrate the Torah with rational thought, leading events according to the natural order wherever possible." Rabbi Sternbuch apparently follows those who criticized Rambam's approach, whereas my rabbinic mentors follow Rambam. 

The banned books are available online at this link.

(If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you.) 

 

54 comments:

  1. For example, Rabbi Yaakov Rischer (1670-1733), author of the Shevus Yaakov and one of the greatest halachic authorities of his era, rejected science due to its position that the world is round, which, he claimed, ran contrary to the Talmud's position that the world is flat.
    Nathan could you please give the source of this quote, I'm strongly interested.

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    1. http://parsha.blogspot.com/2009/06/was-shevus-yaakov-flat-earther-it-would.html

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    2. Similarly, the Lubavitcher Rebbe felt that when the Jews were good the sun revolves around the earth and not the other way around. We only see the sun as stationary "because of our sins" and for no other reason.

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    3. It follows therefore that General Relativity, in which all freely falling objects can be considered stationary, is filled with sin.

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  2. Wow! Just so no one forgets what happened to you and your books 16 years ago...undoubtedly the most significant event in recent Jewish history.. you really should write a book outlining the unfolding of this, and why Haredi Gedolim are so stupid and irrational,and distribute it to the zoo donors.

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    Replies
    1. Not a bad idea. Although I don't describe them as stupid or irrational, I actually have a lengthy essay explaining how the ban can be justified as a social policy.

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    2. Rabbi Slifkin, the preceding comment was obviously sarcastic.

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    3. A frummie: what happened to you and your books ...undoubtedly the most significant event in recent Jewish history..

      ash: the preceding comment was obviously sarcastic.

      --

      Others made this comment years ago in all sincerity. It remains (along with, on a smaller scale, the events surrounding the LR's passing) the greatest reversal of public theological policy in recent Jewish history. The core of RNS's positions were well known kosher part & parcel of the Kiruv movement, legitimized even by its frummiest, and they were suddenly banned, to the abject shock of hundreds or thousands. So many among RNS's opponents are clueless of this.

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    4. A sample reaction to the ban, stolen & edited from MBZ@ZT/C:

      "One website referred to the ban on Rabbi Slifkin’s books as “the pesak of the century.” I think that this was an understatement. It is the pesak of the millennium.

      "Consider the following extraordinary aspects of it:

      "The definition of heresy has been expanded beyond what it was for thousands of years;

      "It has been redefined to include an approach utilized by several of the most prominent Rishonim and Acharonim;
      This includes indicting the very Rishon who defined the categories of heresy in the first place as taking an approach that is (now?!) heretical;

      "It has been done for reasons that nobody can comprehend – even Rav Feldman had to meet Rav Elyashiv to ask what the basis for it was;

      "It is claimed to have been expanded in this way by consensus ever since the Arizal’s time, yet most of Orthodox Jewry (including Rav Feldman himself for the first six months following the ban) were completely unaware of this;

      "It means that tens of thousands of Jews, fully halachically observant, and including many Roshei Yeshivah and other rabbonim that are fully part of the community, subscribe to views that are heretical.

      "It was carried out without any of the usual methods involved in producing a pesak, and certainly without the care that a pesak of this magnitude and of such ramifications should surely require; without reading the books, researching the situation, or consultation with the author or the Gedolim who endorsed this approach."

      By the way, the point of this citation is not necessarily the accuracy of the Rishonim and Acharonim referred to, but its observation that tens of thousands of Jews, fully halachically observant, and including many Roshei Yeshivah and other rabbonim that are fully part of the community, had subscribed to views were henceforth to be considered heretical.

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  3. My my, what tangled webs we weave. First you write a whole shtikel Torah about how we must not undermine the authority of the Rabbis even when they are wrong, then you write that it is ok to undermine the authority when in YOUR evaluation, said authority is "deeply problematic" or when in YOUR evaluation, the benefit of upholding the rabbinic authority is outweighed by the benefit of something else.

    Maybe in deer costume guy's evaluation, the election was "deeply problematic" and the benefit of contesting the election outweighed the benefit of adhering to authority.

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    Replies
    1. Apparently you missed the key point. Some systems, like the Sanhedrin, are crucially important. Others, like the rabbinic authority of *the charedi Gedolim*, are not important - at least, as far as I am concerned. I'm pretty sure that having the US as a democracy (in which the results of the election are respected even by those who don't like them and therefore contest them) is really important to everyone.

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    2. Actually, if it wasn't important to you, you would have stopped writing about this 15 years ago and moved on with your life. What is important to you apparently is that the rest of the world doesn't share your views, and hasn't jumped on your bandwagon after the initial surge of popularity. Please forget about it already. Take care of your children, or your animals, or plan your next vacation, or whatever it is most modern orthodox people do. We will all be better off. No one imagines that you mean L'Shem Shamayim, even your dwindling fan club.

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    3. Self-described frummies don't take care of their children? That would explain a lot.

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    4. "what modern orthodox people do"??

      I'm pretty sure it's the same thing that everybody does. Get up, daven, go to school, earn a living, teach and raise our children, learn some Torah, and go to bed. Oh, right, some people don't believe in earning a living. So MO people believe in doing more. Got it.

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    5. A frumie, "No one imagines..."

      Another clueless projection. (Some come from the left, this one comes from the right.)


      A frumie, "dwindling fan club"

      Another clueless projection. (Some come from the left, this one comes from the right.)

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    6. On a gentler note, frumie, why don't you move on, once you're asking RNS to do so. Others indeed moved on, but not you. There's so much that's waiting to be accomplished. Oh, it's worth it for you to continue cause you're standing up for the truth while RNS is standing for falsehood...? But he doesn't agree. Why shouldn't he learn from the example you're providing?

      (And I'll concede that maybe I too should move on. Fair enough. But then when you complain to him for not moving on, admit that you might as well do so yourself, whether or not he takes the, according to your thinking, opportunity.)

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  4. "Others, like the rabbinic authority of *the charedi Gedolim*, are not important - at least, as far as I am concerned."

    That's crazy. You don't think their halachic authority is important to chareidim? You don't think it's important that chareidim respect their rabbis and follow their halachic decisions?! Because you certainly have tried your hardest over the years to undermine, besmirch, and destroy their reputations in the eyes of everybody, *including chareidim*. It's not just a matter of "as far as I am concerned". There are other people here!

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    1. The authority of the Gedolim ia not used for halacha. People have poskim for that.

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    2. The Gedolim are very often poskim, what are you talking about? The first "signator" on that poster is R' Elyashiv. R' Chaim Kanievsky, who you are so fond of attacking, paskens halacha all the time. Rav Shlomo Miller is a prominent posek, as is Rav Shternbuch. And many lesser poskim learn halacha from these Gedolim.

      And do you think it's just psak thats important? It's not important that chareidim respect their roshei yeshivas and mashgichim?! All of these rabbis, great poskim and roshei yeshivos, you attack and besmirch constantly, as easily as if they were flies on the wall. And then you lecture people on the importance of respecting rabbis.

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    3. R Elyashiv ,R Sheinberg and R Dovid Feinstein were certainly poskim and it was halocho that guided them

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    4. Actually, if every chareidi stopped listening to their rabbis tomorrow, they and their local communities would be vastly better off in just about every way. Then they could get a useful education, seek gainful employment, participate in the economy, fulfill their national obligations such as army service or national service, marry people they choose at a more reasonable age, start having a reasonable amount of children that they can actually support, utilize birth control as desired, and stop living on welfare and in dire poverty.

      All this can be theirs, if they just start ignoring some severely misguided old people.

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    5. @Yitz, good job, you have expressed precisely what the author of this website thinks! He definitely thinks, and constantly says, that these rabbis are severely misguided old people. Unfortunately, that position is not quite consistent with "respecting rabbinical authority"...

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    6. Not all rabbinical authority is worth respecting. Do you "respect" convicted sex offender and cult leader Eliezer Berland? Deeply problematic weirdos who say terrible things like Yosef Mizrachi and Yair Reuven? Repeat child molesters Baruch Lanner and Joel Kolko? All of these were rabbis at one point.

      Even if they are not active criminals, if a rabbi is choosing to lead their community on an unsustainable path to poverty and self-destruction, they aren't actually worth respecting. They should be called out at every opportunity.

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    7. @Yitz, translation- "If in MY judgment the rabbis are doing something very wrong, I should disparage them at every opportunity and compare them to sexual predators". Call it what you want, but "respecting rabbinic authority" it is not.

      So please. The one who disparages rabbis at every opportunity and posts every smidgen of lashon hara he can find about them should not be lecturing people about respecting rabbinic authority. To him, the zaken mamre is a hero, a brave and rational soul who speaks the truth to those doddering, ignorant, superstitious rabbis.

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    8. @Yitz I guess the difference is Chareidim care more about Judaism than money

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  5. When does rationalism vs mysticism come out?

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    Replies
    1. Waiting to get it back from the printer!

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    2. @RNS, Could you let us know when the book is published? Thank you.

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  6. I think there's something important to point out here. Nobody would argue that one should always just mindlessly serve the governing body and never try to change it. America was actually founded by people who overthrew the ruling authorities. The point is that if you don't like the system, you can and should do what you can to change it. The issue here is when you do like the overall system, but you challenge a detail of the system so strongly that you end up damaging the whole system. That is the problem with Trump's fight here. He is not against the general democracy, but his actions and challenges were threatening it. So with RNS not listening to the ban, I think his best (and only real legitimate) defense is that he does not care for the chareidi system, and that is why it is ok for him to challenge it and not abide by it's rulings. Perhaps that also sheds some insight on his overwhelming drive to discredit the chareidi system, because that is necessary in order to justify his disobedience.

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    1. Raymond, you may be on to something here. I have never heard anyone say that before. Good point.

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    2. But the Chareidi system itself was hijacked. Previously, and to a degree even subsequently and even today, the Chareidi system and its revered leaders allowed/s those views of RNS.

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    3. @fan, what views do they share with RNS other than the basics?

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    4. @TH, you're unclear what you mean by "basics". Anyway, they agree(d) that when literal Torah conflicts with science, it is legitimate to accept the science as true. Likewise, when Chazal conflict with science, it is legitimate to accept the science as true. But of course creation ex nihilo and various other basic principles must be subscribed to.

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    5. @a fan not sure what you're talking about, I lived in (American) chareidi society well before the Slifkin affair, and saying things like men evolved from apes, or that Bereishis is some sort of dramatic fiction, or that davening doesn't work, or that the heilige Chazal, the heilige Gemara and Medrash were mistaken about all sorts of things was completely unacceptable back then also.

      It's possible, even likely, that some chareidi rabbis held some of these "kefirahdige" views privately or with their close talmidim (and I am aware of some that do presently), but speaking in public like that was definitely not OK, as far as I can recall.

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    6. I agree. Although I disagree that ex nihilo must be subscribed. Some think that G-d formed the world out of pre-existing matter. It is even possible that Maimonides subscribed to that view.

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    7. @happygoluckypersonage

      "...saying things like men evolved from apes, ... was completely unacceptable back then also."

      Dear Happy,

      While I will not comment on the remainder of you statement - No-one, and certainly not Rabbi Slifkin, would argue that we (humans) are evolved from apes. I am not sure if it is a deliberate misrepresentation - intended to make evolution seem as fantastic (as in fantasy) as literal reading of bereshit, or if it is a misunderstanding of scientific theory. In any event it is wrong. It simply misconstrues eveolutionary theory.

      On the other hand, the physical evidence that humans and apes have a genetic common ancestor is incontrovertible. How you choose to interpret that fact (and it is a fact not a theory) is dependent on your thought system (and I might also suggest the quality of your education).

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    8. Yossi, you are just being pedantic. But more accuracy doesn't help here. My modified statement: "...saying things like men and monkeys have a common ancestor/men evolved from FISH (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-13278255) .. was completely unacceptable back then also.

      BTW, somebody who thinks that pretty graphs are considered proof might not be in the best position to discuss quality of education, just sayin'. Have you figured out what an allometric yield curve is yet? ;)

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    9. Dear Happygoluckypersonage,

      "somebody who thinks that pretty graphs are considered proof might not be in the best position to discuss quality of education, just sayin'"

      Oh dear! I think that comment says more about your education than mine.

      "Have you figured out what an allometric yield curve is yet?"

      Yes - have you? Here I will help: a linear curve follows the rules Y=mX+c. An allometric curve follows the rule Y=mX^n. Does this help you? Because you don't understand something does not mean a reasonable person doesn't understand it.

      ""...saying things like men and monkeys have a common ancestor/men evolved from FISH (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-13278255) .. was completely unacceptable back then also."

      Yet that is not what I wrote. Try again.

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    10. Yossi, it is good you understand allometric yield curves, as do I. Keep in mind you were saying that even somebody who doesn't understand an allometric yield curve could bring evidence from those graphs of allometric yield curves. Do you retract? You should.

      Also, you did say men and apes have a common ancestor, as does science. This is and was completely unacceptable to chareidim, at least in public.

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    11. Dear Happygoluckypersonage,

      "Keep in mind you were saying that even somebody who doesn't understand an allometric yield curve could bring evidence from those graphs of allometric yield curves. Do you retract?"

      Answer: Nope, they can look at the curves and understand the data without know the equation that models that same data. (any one looking at the data would see that it was an exponential curve. Beside the specific nuance of the exponential curve is counter to the argument you were making. At the end of the day whether it is a linear growth curve or an exponential growth curve, was irrelevant for the discussion - they are both growth curves.)

      "Also, you did say men and apes have a common ancestor, as does science."

      Not what I wrote. Try again.

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    12. Yossi, I think you must be referring to figures 1 and 2 which are referring to the growth rate of the chickens rather than 5, 6, and 7. But even with figures 1 and 2, how does one account for the different feeding and maintenance requirements of the different strains? Without statistical analysis, (which the paper has), there is no proof.

      "Not what I wrote. Try again." Well it doesn't matter what you wrote, that is definitely what science says, that men and apes have a common ancestor.

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    13. Dear Happygoluckypersonage,

      This will be my last post here, and certainly my last post about chickens - well this is not quite about chickens. It is about your attempts to deflect the conversation rather than engage with it substantively. Back on the chicken post you asked about other data to support Rabbi Slifkin's argument - asserting that one paper was not enough. I provided that data - and you ignored the inconvenient information - choosing instead to deflect the discussion onto a technical matter related to the modeling of the data. You tried an argument of authority, suggesting that not understand the term "allometric" might somehow diminish your interlocutor. Indeed, you tried the same tactic here when you condescended to me ("Yossi, it is good you understand allometric yield curves, as do I.") The fact is that "allometric curves" were entirely irrelevant to the point and was merely a deflection to push the discussion off track.

      Here is what I wrote previously. The physical evidence that apes and humans have common ancestors is
      incontrovertible (or as you rightly express - mammals as phylum). Regardless of your thought system (epistemology) you need to address that fact. Misrepresenting the actual theory of evolution or the quality of the evidence that supports the theory of evolution is a deceit. One that you have engaged in. I make no comment on whether the Theory of Evolution is treif amongst Hareidim, only that disparaging it by misrepresenting it is intellectual dishonesty.

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    14. @HGLP, opposition to all those things was similar to the opposition to college (&/or Chabad? -not sure if that's also a good example). Of course there were and are prominent and relatively super-large pockets of opposition but the leaders of the various factions regularly worked together and sat together peacefully in various venues for common goals in such a way that they wouldn't do with non chareidim. (It is said that under special circumstances the opposition would send a questioner to the lenient faction to get an allowance.) Certainly there was no united campaign against it. (No one would ever think to speak against it (college) even obliquely at the Siyum Hashas, as happened regarding RNS *subsequent* to the Cherem.) Would you have that those who gave Haskamos to the original books, including greater and lesser leaders of the chareidi movement, were less aware than you of what was acceptable within the spectrum of Chareidi Judaism at that time? Have you read "Challenge"? Were books by Goldfinger, Schroeder, and Kelemer beyond the pale? Why did the Chareidi leaders most involved with the greater community hold out against joining the Cherem until some of them caved in to pressure? Are you aware that thousands of Chareidim were shocked out of their minds when the Cherem occurred?

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    15. @Yossi, good, no more chicken talk.

      I am not interested in getting into a discussion whether evolution is true. But the standard Chareidi interpretation of Bereshis certainly doesn't allow men and apes having common ancestry, which was my only point here. No need to accuse me of deceit, I come in good faith. It's an easy mistake to make, the Smithsonian Institution makes the same mistake!- "We do share a common ape ancestor with chimpanzees." Are they being deceitful?

      @a fan I agree that there was never a ban per se on evolution. But certainly the standard chareidi outlook automatically coded evolution = kefirah. Were there exceptions? Of course. I can't comment on those other books (why were they likewise not banned, I don't know).

      I think the main "chiddush" of the Slifkin affair was the banning of the books, rather than the realization that many if not most chareidi rabbis think evolution is against the Torah.

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    16. HGLP, "...but speaking in public like that was definitely not OK, as far as I can recall..."

      True. In that sense there was no hijacking--why bring it up to an audience containing many without any need for or interest in the matter? (Should a Rosh Yeshiva announce to his students I allowed __ to attend college, but I don't want any of you to follow suit?) But books are a completely different medium, read by one interested person at a time. There was a default policy throughout the Chareidi spectrum of non interference; and a policy of actual allowance in small pockets within that spectrum. (I assume that EISH is part of the spectrum; they certainly made allowances in these areas; they showed no support, at least initially, to the Cherem.)

      HGLP, "...the standard chareidi outlook....I can't comment on those other books...."

      I think my previous paragraph addresses this.

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    17. @a fan I agree that books are a different medium. And I am still mystified that only these books were banned and not other similar ones. Do you have an explanation? Maybe it was just a simple roll of the dice, it just happened to be these books that the "askanim" picked up and found objectionable statements, but it could have happened with any other books containing similar objectionable statements? Or maybe something to do with politics?

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    18. Or maybe something to do with ignorance, then horrid cruelty, and later an expectation of brotherly sympathy.

      Delete
  7. What is amazing here is that most of these previous comments totally miss the point of RS blog post above.

    How about somebody tried to silence you and take away your chosen career path and parnasah. Actually, quite the contemporary topic now in the states.

    You too would likely still think and talk about it years later.

    RS does not need to make hareidi leadership look bad, they are doing a perfect job on their own.

    If Torah sharpens the mind, they and their Rabbeim should study harder.

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    1. Revenge, revenge, revenge. "...they are doing a perfect job on their own" = the oldest excuse in the book.

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  8. Rabbi Slifkin generally does not bring the source (sefer, page) so when he says "Rabbi Yaakov Rischer (1670-1733), author of the Shevus Yaakov rejected science due to its position that the world is round, which, he claimed, ran contrary to the Talmud's position that the world is flat." it is very hard to look it up.

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    1. Baruch Shekivanta!! The very first comment here asked politely for that source and got a link. The page there goes into detail discussing the source.

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    2. See here:
      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2021/01/when-you-dont-need-to-listen-to-rabbis.html?showComment=1610538510062#c6907287759886932294

      And that's in chelek gimel.

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  9. Not that the rationalist faithful needed this in general, but thank you for laying it out (again) in light of your previous post.

    ReplyDelete

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