Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Who is Safeguarding Traditional Judaism?

I'll admit that it's partly my own fault. I wrote a post about the halachic license for my daughter to sing, and then I followed it with a post about the problem of not changing with the times. It was only to be expected that some people would assume that I was saying that an ancient tradition against women singing should be overturned in order to change with the times. Which in turn led some people to claim that I was rejecting Orthodox Judaism and even becoming a kofer. As one person said, the Gedolim were right to warn about me!

(Incidentally, I always find it funny when people make that claim. First of all, they are ignoring the role that the ban on my books had on my development - Rav Chaim Shmulevitz writes that Amalek only became who he was because he was rejected. Second, if I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)

Anyway, I do need to make some clarifications. So here goes.

First of all, as I wrote explicitly, I am not comfortable with my daughter singing. I merely pointed out that there is sufficient halachic basis for stating that there is no prohibition of a woman singing. 

Second, as I thought I made clear (but apparently did not), this is not argued to be an innovative overturning of tradition as a concession to the times. Rather, the argument that Rav Lichtenstein and others make is that it is something that was never originally forbidden. The Gemara did not address singing, but rather speaking (in inappropriate situations). The primary Rishonim likewise did not make a rule about singing. It was only with the Acharonim that this rule developed. And even then there were Acharonim who were willing to maintain the approach of the Rishonim. 

In general, my approach to halacha is very conservative (with a small "c"), much more so than many Poskim. (And probably this is precisely because I'm very aware of the scale of the dangers involved, as well as the fact that I am very British and thus very traditional.) As made clear in my book Sacred Monsters, I strongly endorse the approach of Rav Herzog and others that halachos based on mistaken science are not to be changed. And I don't wear techeles, even though I am convinced that the chilazon is the Murex trunculus. As we see from the Gemara about the oven of Achnai, stability in Judaism is even more important than objective truth, and such stability requires loyalty to tradition.

It's ironic that my charedi critics were accusing me of wanting to forsake tradition. What I've been arguing for in endless posts is to preserve ancient tradition against charedi innovations. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again. In charedi society, "tradition" means what is done today. But for the rest of us, tradition means the traditions of Torah and Jews over millennia.

Torah tradition was to acknowledge that Chazal were not omniscient about scientific matters. Torah tradition was that the more a rabbi knows about the world, the more qualified he is to give guidance, not the reverse. Torah tradition was that a man should work for a living. Torah tradition was that a man has an obligation to raise his children with the ability to be economically self-sufficient. Torah tradition was that when you have a country, you need to rise to the occasion and develop it and protect it. And so on, and so on.

Torah tradition was also that when there are changing circumstances and new challenges, Judaism rises to the occasion. Now, in the modern world, this is a very dangerous thing. It certainly can and has been abused, leading to people abandoning halachic observance. And we must be extremely wary of exercising this power, which can have all kinds of unforeseen consequences. But, at the same time, we must recognize that saying that "we don't have the power to make any changes - even undoing the changes made a generation ago" is a very problematic position which likewise goes against tradition. 


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152 comments:

  1. So what does this mean:

    "In the comments to the previous post, someone expressed an idea that is commonly heard: Only the great figures of antiquity such as Chazal had the more to enact change in accordance with the changing circumstances of history. We do not have such power.

    The problem with this is as follows. The world doesn't stop changing just because we don't have Chazal. It keeps on changing, in ever more radical ways. If you posit that we can no longer make the kind of adjustments that Chazal could and would have done, then what you are saying is that Torah and Judaism are crippled and incapable of meeting the requirements of living in the modern world."

    ??!!

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    1. Just want to clarify, this was on your last post, in case anyone doesn't know!

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    2. I SAY, I SAY, DOC!! Can you clear this up for us?! Because we are all VERY CONFUSED how this fits with what you just wrote!

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    3. The problem is innovations that go in a direction opposite to the worldview of Chazal. Of course no one can know what their position would be today, but everyone thinks that their own position is the one closest to the truth.

      Charedim think that Hazal today would be haredim. Datim leumim think Chazal would be datim leumim. They are all committed to halacha and following the sages (and think the others aren't), but the sages aren't here to lay a path. So everyone has to guess, and of course they will put their own sentiments, interests, and prejudices into the mix.

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    4. OK, but we can all at least agree that a good starting point would be to follow the words of Chazal in their truest form possible and not say that and not say that since "the world doesn't stop changing just because we don't have Chazal" and "it keeps on changing, in ever more radical ways," we therefore have "have the power to enact change in accordance with the changing circumstances of history," can we?!

      Because such an attitude has been completely alien to Orthodox Judaism until now.

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    5. Sometimes Chazal seem to disagree with one another, but the reason to that seems to be that they're actually discussing two different situations. They adapted their ruling to the situation in a very fine-tuned way.

      Chazal didn't leave us with crystal clear rulings on everything that could occur under the sun. Our Guedolim have to issue rulings and absolutely cannot just defer to the status quo, which would still be a choice and not always the right one.

      Saying we don't have that power would be like saying our poskim can't decide matters of halacha. They don't just learn it and apply it to predefined circumstances, they actively make it. They follow a tradition, yes, but they also make a tradition for us to follow. Orthodox Judaism would be very different today if it wasn't for that power we give our Gedolim.

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    6. Yes, Chazal didn't leave us with crystal clear rulings about every circumstance possible, because in Chazal's time, things were very different than they are now. But for the last two millennia, our Poskim and Talmidei Chachomim and those trained in the methods of psak were able to extrapolate from the teachings of Chazal to the new technological and circumstantial changes on the ground. That is not called a change. That is called working with the teachings of Chazal. A change is like saying for example that although Chazal taught us that Kol Isha is prohibited, however 'given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society', we must permit it!

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    7. "The problem is innovations that go in a direction opposite to the worldview of Chazal."

      But how can we know the world view of Chazal.

      Let me pose a question: Back in the day, marriage was as much a economic arrangement as it is a family arrangement. As these rules evolved, they did so on the assumption that women had three options ; (1) live in their father's house, (2) live in their husband's house or (3) become a prostitute. To the rabbis of the era could not conceive a women being financially independent or wanting to live on her own. Hence our marriage laws a built on those assumptions.

      Ok, fast forward to today - where women are financially independent, the assumptions of chazzal are no longer true. If their mindset was ecconomic security for women, then it is very likely their rulings would be different.

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    8. Yossie, you left out (4) live alone, (5) live with family and/or friends (6) be a live in maid.

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  2. I would place tekheiles in a different category. There it's not a matter of change, as no one holds that wearing only lavan is an ideal. It isn't like there is a pesaq process behind the status quo that one should be loathe to change it.

    The other changes you mention are more in line with your tanur achnai example -- we have a process of pesaq, and if we second-guess it, the whole system unravels. And besides, Hashem told us to follow the law as decided by its legal process. Halakhah isn't a truth system, but a legal one.

    (Or maybe more like rules of grammar. If you're curious what I mean by that, look up "Halakhah as a First Language" by Dr Moshe Koppel https://azure.org.il/include/print.php?id=588 , the 2nd chapter of his book Metahalakhah, or a number of his other presentations of the idea. But it's too big to just put in a tangent here.)

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    1. Agreed re techelet
      and also re grammar, good analogy

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    2. Truth should matter in religionAugust 25, 2022 at 3:32 PM

      The tanur shel achnai example doesn't tell us Judaism prefers stability of law over truth at all. It simply tells us we can't use supernatural means to discover the truth. That is exactly what the phrase "lo bashomayim hi" means. (And one rishon says it was all a test from G-d and wasn't truly a mistake in halacha after all.)

      If you wanted to bring a better example of stability of law over truth, you should use the mishna in Rosh Hashono 2:8-9 where Rabban Gamliel forces Rebbi Yehoshua to accept his calendar date for Yom Kippur with Rebbi Akivah's argument to persuade Rebbi Yehoshua.

      But the rishonim explain that Raban Gamliel only accepted the false testimony because he possessed the accurate calendar calculation which required this false testimony to rubber stamp his calendar. So there is no example. of stability in halacha trumping the truth.

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    3. First, I think people go too far with the Tanur Achnai story. After all, we DO follow the bas qol that said "אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים; והלכה כבית הלל" -- we do rule like Beis Hillel. There are a number of opinions about how the cases differ listed in Encyclopedia Talmudit, and I summed them up in English at my blog post https://aspaqlaria.aishdas.org/2005/01/08/legislative-authority-of-bas-qol/ . (And it isn't just "one rishon". R Nissim Gaon, one opinion in Tosafos. Even so, I have a question about that opinion and a proposed answer that denudes its significance... see there.) But certainly the idea that the tanur achanai case is the norm, and there were other reasons to follow the bas qol and Beis Hillel captured public opinion.

      I would say the two together tell us that pesaq is only partly a truth-finding system. Which is what I said in my earlier comment. A truth-finding system will find both eilu va'eilu, but it cannot tell you which to rule. In the world of the heavenly voice, both sides are right! It is the legal system that decides which we follow. And following precedent -- both textual and in-practice -- are major parts of that process of pesaq.

      As for the calendar... Rabbi Aqiva makes a statement specifically about the calendar. Rabbi Gamliel cannot be wrong because the calendar was given over to the Sanhedrin based on the pasuq "אֵ֚לֶּה מוֹעֲדֵ֣י ה֔' מִקְרָאֵ֖י קֹ֑דֶשׁ". In fact, one could choose to draw the opposite conclusion. By saying that the reason is because of something specific to the calendar, is Rabbi Aqiva implying that in other areas of halakhah, the Sanhedrin could be wrong? I wouldn't conclude that, but it is a viable approach. (As per those who say the case of following the bas qol that endorses Beis Hillel is the norm.)

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    4. truth should matter in religionAugust 25, 2022 at 10:40 PM

      To Micha:
      You first agreed wholeheartedly with Rabbi Slifkin and said: "halacha isn't a truth system but a legal one."
      Are you walking that back now by saying "psaq is only partially a truth finding system'?
      And please be succinct and clear--it what way precisely do you think halacha is NOT completely a truth finding system but only "partially"?

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    5. Pesaq is the art of finding which of the Torah answers is appropriate to implement. As a precondition, the poseiq has to know what is within the Torah and what isn't. But pesaq itself, in the technical sense of the word, is finding the right way to map a multifaceted "eilu va'eilu" / "shiv'im panim" Truth to a given person in a given situation.

      That's your succinct answer. When I wrote the first comment I was thinking of "pesaq" in a more technical sense than when I wrote the second.

      About that technical sense:
      If the Sanhedrin makes an incorrect pesaq, the Sanhedrin brings a qorban. If the Sanhedrin makes a ruling that isn't even one of the eilu va'eilu, someone who who thereby sins is the one who brings the qorban. What the Sanhedrin said isn't even a pesaq.

      The same is true of today's posqim.

      And of our original topic... accepted practice It's not we accepted the one true "eilu". and the other is false. But by following it for generations, that eilu became halakhah and the other now.

      Law isn't a set of facts. It's a different kind of statement. Truth does matter in religion, but the poseiq isn't making a truth claim.


      I don't understand the source of difficulty with my original comment. Do you have a problem believing (eg) that Ashkenazim and Sepharadim have different pesaqim on numerous issues and neither is more "True"?

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    6. Thank you for acknowledging that there is such a thing as an incorrect pesaq which must be corrected when discovered--even if the pesaq was issued by the highest possible authority like the Sanhedrin.
      This is a concept which Rabbi Slifkin inexplicably refuses to acknowledge.

      Pesaq is certainly making a truth claim when it is issued with a reasonable level of certainty. It is claiming that this is ratzon Hashem and not the alternative. This is clearly the language of definitive pesak in many places-- starting with the tanoim and continuing till today's poskim. Do you want examples?

      There is the interesting question of someone who is following the ruling of another poseq which we believe (again--with reasonable certainty--) to be incorrect. What do we think he is doing? Is he committing a sin?
      I think we can say that although he is not sinning for following a competent poseq, he is not fulfilling the rotzon Hashem properly in this area as far as we are concerned. He is mistaken, and we should try to persuade him to accept the more correct ruling.
      The truth in halacha--when it can be determined with reasonable certainty--always matters.

      Also, you need to differentiate between different realms of halacha. In areas of issur and hetter or chayav and potur, (i.e. Shabbos and Yom Tov melachos and most of Yorah Deah and Choshen Mishpot) there is no real distinction between Ashkenazim and Sefardim -- in areas where the sugya is clearly going in a particular direction. The poseq needs to look at the sugya and the rishonim and pasken according to the conclusion he considers most in line with rotzon Hashem. I don't see how halacha is in any way not completely a "truth-finding system" to arrive at the true will of Hashem in every instance.

      In matters of minhag which is what dominates much of Orach Chaim (regarding teffilah and how to perform mitzvos), this is where Ashkenazim and Sephardim have legitimate differences where neither is more "true" than the other.

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    7. Also, I do not find it tenable to claim that both that pesaq is a fact finding mission and that we would ignore incontrovertible evidence of the facts just because they're from heaven. The whole claim only makes any sense if we take it as a legal process that Hashem handed over to us humans. And therefore, it's not about being right. After all, it's not like HQBH is ever wrong...

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    8. @truth, Micha,
      1. Ramban on לא תסור Devarim 17:11 and IIRC also in השגות לסה"מ שורש ב extrapolates from Kidush Hachodesh to all הוראות in general.
      2. Sefer Hachinuch #78 says that the minority of judges must follow the majority *whether *it's *true *or *not, and he offers this rationale:
      משרשי מצוה זו, שנצטוינו בזה לחזק קיום דתנו, שאלו נצטוינו קימו התורה כאשר תוכלו להשיג כונת אמתתה, כל אחד ואחד מישראל יאמר דעתי נותנת שאמתת ענין פלוני כן הוא, ואפילו כל העולם יאמרו בהפכו לא יהיה לו רשות לעשות הענין בהפך האמת לפי דעתו, ויצא מזה חרבן שתעשה התורה בכמה תורות, כי כל אחד ידין כפי עניות דעתו. אבל עכשיו שבפרוש נצטוינו לקבל בה דעת רב החכמים יש תורה אחת לכלנו והוא קיומנו גדול בה ואין לנו לזוז מדעתם ויהי מה. ובכן בעשותנו מצותם, אנו משלימין מצות האל, ואפילו אם לא יכונו (יבואו) לפעמים החכמים אל האמת חלילה, עליהם יהיה החטאת ולא עלינו. וזהו הענין שאמרו זכרונם לברכה בהוריות (ב א) שבית דין שטעו בהוראה ועשה היחיד על פיהם, שהם בחיוב הקרבן לא היחיד כלל, זולתי בצדדים מפרשים שם.
      I.e., on behalf of stability. And the Chinuch is saying that the Torah itself sets up the LAW this way.

      3. Why indeed can't we use supernatural means to discover the truth? 'Ran' Drasha 7 is clear that supernatural means do indeed inform us what the truth is, yet the Chachamim of תנור עכנאי did not want to Pasken like the truth, they were FORBIDDEN to Pasken like the truth.
      וזהו ענין רבי אליעזר הגדול ומחלוקתו, כדאמרינן שם במציעא (דף נט:) עמד ר' יהושע על רגליו ואמר "לא בשמים היא" (דברים ל, יב) כבר ניתנה למשה על הר סיני וכתוב בה "אחרי רבים להטות" . הנה ראו כולם שר' אליעזר מסכים אל האמת יותר מהם, וכי אותותיו כולם אמיתיים צודקים, והכריעו מן השמים כדבריו, ואף על פי כן עשו מעשה כהסכמתם. שאחר ששכלם נוטה לטמא, אף על פי שהיו יודעים שהיו מסכימים הפך מן האמת, לא רצו לטהר. והיו עוברים על דברי תורה אם היו מטהרים, כיון ששכלם נוטה לטמא. שההכרעה נמסרה לחכמי הדורות, ואשר יסכימו הם הוא אשר צוהו ה'.
      We don't Pasken like the objective truth *even *when *we *know *what *it *is. Rather we Pasken like the subjective 'truth'. Why?

      4. From the above it should be clear that "that there is such a thing as an incorrect pesaq which must be corrected when discovered" is not always true. The bas kol made them discover what the truth is yet they didn't follow it.

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    9. truth should matter in religionAugust 29, 2022 at 3:09 PM

      To Anon #2 @5:53 am:
      (I was the first anon @12:05 am but I forgot to put in my pseudonym)

      Thank you so much for posting these sources!
      3. The Drashos HaRan you cite says EXACTLY what I started off with in my first response. And I quote myself:
      The tanur shel achnai example doesn't tell us Judaism prefers stability of law over truth at all. It simply tells us we can't use supernatural means to discover the truth. That is exactly what the phrase "lo bashomayim hi" means.

      So Rabbi Slifkin has no source for his idea about stability of law over truth in this tanur shel achnai story.
      Why Hashem forbade us from using supernatural sources to ascertain halachic truth and is forcing us to always use our own human resources is a fascinating theological question.
      I have many suggestions in my head, but none of them imply that Hashem doesn't want us to discover the truth or that the truth doesn't matter in halacha as much as "stability of law".

      As for the Ramban in Devarim 17:11 and the Sefer Hachinuch in Mitzvah #78--
      I must say, Anon #2 you are quite a master of quote mining and taking sources out of context.
      See later in that very section of the Ramban:
      כי על הדעת שלהם הוא נותן (ס"א לנו) להם התורה אפילו יהיה בעיניך כמחליף הימין בשמאל וכל שכן שיש לך לחשוב שהם אומרים על ימין שהוא ימין כי רוח השם על משרתי מקדשו ולא יעזוב את חסידיו לעולם נשמרו מן הטעות ומן המכשול
      We obey the ruling of Sanhedrin because Hashem Himself will insure that they will NOT err. He cited the story of Rebbi Yehoshuah submitting to Rabban Gamliel to illustrate obligation to submit to Sanhedrin even when you truly believe they are mistaken. He never suggests that Rabban Gamliel was actually mistaken. The Ramban is describing the subjective mindset of the person who needs to submit to Sanhedrin's authority.

      And earlier in that mitzvah #78 the Chinuch says quite clearly why we follow the majority:
      אבל בהשוית החכמה בקרוב, הודיעתנו התורה שרבוי הדעות יסכימו לעולם אל האמת יותר מן המעוט. ובין שיסכימו לאמת או לא יסכימו לפי דעת השומע, הדין נותן שלא נסור מדרך הרב.
      The Torah is telling us that within a set of equally intelligent scholars, the TRUTH is more likely to be found by the majority than by the minority.
      The Chinuch goes on to say that while this doesn't guarantee the majority will always be correct, it still makes more sense for the sake of stability in law to always follow them regardless and not just follow what you personally believe to be correct..

      So anon #2 shows 1) Rabbi Slifkin's idea that stability is more important than truth has no basis in the sources and 2) he shows himself to be quite a deceptive individual.

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    10. The fact that you have a found a source that says a different approach does not mean that the approach that I mentioned "has no basis in the sources." See Drashos Beis Yishai and other sources quoted in my book.

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    11. Drashos Beis Yishai says nothing about stability being more important than truth. The entire collection of Jewish literature, from Shas to Rishonim to Acharonim, is an exercise in finding the truth of the Torah, even at the expense of stability. Instability is a problem when it takes us away from the truth of the Torah, not when it brings us closer.

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    12. “As for the Ramban in Devarim 17:11 … --
      I must say, Anon #2 you are quite a master of quote mining and taking sources out of context.”

      @truth, our discussion is besides the point because Rabbi S already has sources, the question is only if I can name-drop more.

      Let me admit that the Ramban & Chinuch aren't easy reads, I did them poor justice in my presentation of them, and you have the company of the way the zealous חיים באמונתם (mis)reads them. But he, as you, don't realize that the חתם סופר in his Tshuva against “Acher”, Hashmatos CM 191, points out that the Ramban is saying 2 independent reasons, the one I'm working with (ימין שהוא שמאל) and the one you're working with (ימין שהוא ימין), (which is obvious without the ח"ס), meaning that the one I'm working with is independently legitimate. Further, that the one I'm working with is the main reason, while the one you're working with, even though the Ramban says it, is the weaker reason. In his words, ע"כ עיקור הסמיכה הוא על סברא ראשונה שאפ׳ טעו ח"ו ויתר הקב"ה טעותם


      How do we parse these words of the Chinuch that you highlighted, “שרבוי הדעות יסכימו לעולם אל האמת יותר מן המעוט”?

      -That the majority will always arrive at the truth; the minority never will.
      or
      -That the majority will at the truth more than the minority will.

      But now try to read either one into the Chinuch and there's a Gimgum. So let's leave that as inconclusive.

      Later the Chinuch says, “ואפילו אם לא יכונו (יבואו) לפעמים החכמים אל האמת חלילה”. I understand that he means it—sometimes the Chachomim don't get to the truth.

      Now to the Chinuch's rationale, that if not for this Mitzvaויצא מזה חרבן שתעשה התורה ככמה תורות. Why such an involved reason? It's elementary that you need to follow the truth. Assume that Rov gets the truth always and the Miut gets it never and presto, the Mitzva is self-explanatory. Who needs a whole fancy reason of a few dozen words, of which I quote now only a small fraction, when it's just a bit of common sense together with a bit of morals?

      Rather it appears that the Chinuch is covering for the instances where the pusuit of truth does not mandate us to follow the Rov, that we follow the Rov for a new reason, lest ויצא מזה חרבן שתעשה התורה ככמה תורות.

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    13. Upon reviewing what I wrote, I see that I made some errors.

      1. Chinuch # 496 is quite clear like how I understood him in # 78. So it wasn't so necessary to parse his every word there.

      2. In #496 he treats Tanur Achnai like I said. See there at length. Just a small quote:
      שרבי אליעזר הוא היה מכוין בזה את האמת
      … אם כן על כל פנים יש להודות להם בפעם הזאת כדבריהם שתהיה האמת נעדרת, והרי זה כאלו בעל האמת נצוח.

      3. I brought proofs to my understanding before showing that they shouldn't grate anyone's religious sensitivities (whether being confrontional to the religious with irreligion or to the irreligious with religion). But first you're supposed to calm people, only then prove yourself.

      What I'm saying can be taken as an attack on the Torah's value for truth, and the more I allegedly prove it the more I'd be agitating some people. So let me say that truth has supreme value, not different than say, the supremely fundamental Mitzva of Shabbos, or the supremely severe sin of Arayos—which as we know is יהרג ואל יעבור. Yet the Torah legislates their being set aside for Korbanos and Yibum, respectively. ולכמה אחרונים היינו דחוי ולא הותרה. The Torah LEGISLATES IN CERTAIN CASES for truth to be set aside in the interest of peace- משנים מפני השלום. Do any of these compromise the value of the thing being set aside? Certainly not. So don't point at my understanding of Chinuch as compromising the value of anything either.

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    14. @Truth, “Why Hashem forbade us from using supernatural sources to ascertain halachic truth and is forcing us to always use our own human resources is a fascinating theological question.
      I have many suggestions in my head, but none of them imply that Hashem doesn't want us to discover the truth or that the truth doesn't matter in halacha as much as "stability of law". ”


      The Chinuch 496 writes, “ועל דרך האמת והשבח הגדול בזאת המצוה אמרו זכרונם לברכה (ספרי כאן) לא תסור ממנו ימין ושמאל אפילו יאמרו לך על ימין שהוא שמאל לא תסור ממצותם, כלומר, שאפילו יהיו הם טועים בדבר אחד מן הדברים אין ראוי לנו לחלק עליהם, אבל נעשה כטעותם, וטוב לסבל טעות אחת ויהיו הכל מסורים תחת דעתם הטוב [ה] תמיד, ולא שיעשה כל אחד ואחד כפי דעתו, שבזה יהיה חרבן הדת, וחלוק לב העם, והפסד האמה לגמרי. ומפני ענינים אלה, נמסרה כונת התורה אל חכמי ישראל, ונצטוו גם כן שיהיו לעולם הכת [ה] מועטת מן החכמים כפופה לכת המרבים מן השרש הזה, וכמו שכתבתי שם במצות להטות אחרי רבים.”
      Is this not explicit, that concerns for חרבן הדת etc. (call it “stability of law” or I'm open for another phrase that could capture this idea even better, if there is one) trump the truth?

      Another interpretation that agrees with your understanding, (but which we need not Pasken like), is that the miracles and Bas Kol supporting RE's view on Tanur Achnai WERE A TEST similar to the support for the false prophet:

      כִּי יָקוּם בְּקִרְבְּךָ נָבִיא אוֹ חֹלֵם חֲלוֹם וְנָתַן אֵלֶיךָ אוֹת אוֹ מוֹפֵת: {ג} וּבָא הָאוֹת וְהַמּוֹפֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדַעְתָּם וְנָעָבְדֵם: {ד} לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֶל דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ אֶל חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם

      “If there shall rise among you a prophet or dreamer of dreams; and presents you a sign or miracle. Then the sign or miracle INDEED OCCURS …. Do not listen to that prophet or dreamer of dreams [DESPITE THE MIRACULOUS CONFIRMATION] for [it is no confirmation but rather that] the L-rd your A-mighty IS TESTING YOU.”

      And the Chachomim were right about Tanur Achnai and the miracles were merely a test to see if they would be swayed.

      Another insight into the Chinuch's view (which he shares with Ramban and 'Ran') is the supremacy of יגיעה. The Gra wouldn't learn from Malachim as that lacked יגיעה. The definition of our Chochma, says CI, is that עברה דרך חכם חי, perhaps for this reason. Turnus Rufus asked RA what's greater, what Hashem makes or what man makes? What man makes, answered RA, and that's the reason for Mila. R Hirsch treats Kidush Hachodesh similarly but specific to it, commentary to Shmos 12. (Ramban intertwines KiHa"Cho to our general topic.) Ameilim umekablim Sechar even if arriving at the wrong Pshat כידוע, and even to Pasken that way in these limited circumstances.

      Delete
    15. TSMIR:

      You wrote, "You first agreed wholeheartedly with Rabbi Slifkin and said: 'halacha isn't a truth system but a legal one.'" This isn't accurate, and I think that your missing the difference is the basis of much the following discussion.

      RNS said, "stability in Judaism is even more important than objective truth".

      I am saying that "objective truth" isn't what pesaq is about as much as figuring out what position within the range of objective truth is law. Precedent is part of the legal system, because stability is necessary for law. Not because it is more important than truth, but because truth is a different topic than law.

      And even though the Chinukh, as a fan of the Rambam, does talk about pesaq as truth, he is only able to do so by distinguising between the abstract objective Truth and the truth we are going to enshrine as permanent law. Something much like what I am saying, even if he uses the word "emes" for both.

      A problem with mystics is that they think everything has to have some underlying metaphysical reality. And therefore a halachic decision has to be based on identifying some truth about that reality.

      A problem with today's rationalists is that they think everything is science, and therefore try to map every discussion to some kind of scientific or mathematical search for truth.

      If halakhah is related to science, it would be most connected to psychology. After all, it is a discipline for walking ("halakhah" in the very literal sense) from who I am to who I could be. Self change doesn't rely on the objective world but on how I experience the world. And so, if you insist on saying halakhah is related to science, it would still be related to a rather soft one.

      Delete
    16. (THIS HAPPENS TO BE IN THIS WEEK'S PARSHA--A NICE SUBJECT FOR THE INTERESTED.)

      Delete
  3. And this comment from R. Mosheh Lichtenstein:

    "given the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society ", he sees fit to permit kol isha based on an excises he would like to make from a Rashba. The Rashba does not say so openly and there are many other possible ways of explaining the Rashba. None of the Rishonim mention this very important exemption, which can presumably help out in many situations (in fact many of the instances seem to reffer to men overhearing women singing unintentionally, see the Mordechai brought down in the Bais Yosef s. 75). This is NOT an opinion mentioned openly in the Rishonim, rather a 'diyuk', and 2,000 years of history of people living with the exact same factors as us (sans "the cultural changes that have taken place regarding the status of women and their place in society") and NOT MENTIONING THIS HETER, should speak volumes.

    Now do you see the common thread here?

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  4. "Second, as I thought I made clear (but apparently did not), this is not argued to be an innovative overturning of tradition as a concession to the times. Rather, the argument that Rav Lichtenstein and others make is that it is something that was never originally forbidden. The Gemara did not address singing, but rather speaking (in inappropriate situations). The primary Rishonim likewise did not make a rule about singing."

    So please point us in the right direction of the Rishonim who say openly that singing is permitted for non-intimate settings. Because Lichtenstein did not have any in his essay.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "(Incidentally, I always find it funny when people make that claim. First of all, they are ignoring the role that the ban on my books had on my development - Rav Chaim Shmulevitz writes that Amalek only became who he was because he was rejected. Second, if I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)"

    I totally agree with you and never meant it against you personally. You meant well and went through a very traumatic experience and it has no doubt affected you. Just if someone has a blog committed to besmirching and contempt of my community, why shouldn't I respond? Some of your arguments I somewhat agree with you (especially those against anti-vaxxers!!). I just come because I enjoy a good argument and like to show some of your readers the other side of the equation (or I should say THE ONLY SIDE OF THE EQUATION!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @מכרכר @11:04

      Well that’s a neat trick since the assertions of both sides are unfalsifiable.
      If you want to be guided by equations you really should understand what an equation is. One side of the equation is identical to the other although the terms may look different. They’re equal. That’s why = is placed between the sides. So if you want to show the other side, perhaps you also should also educate yourself on the meaning of “side” as well as the meaning of “equation”

      Delete
    2. Why not educate yourself how to sense oxymoronic wording?

      Delete
  6. But bear in mind, as the "Rav's" grandfather said "Nebach a Apikores is oich a apikores." So be careful!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I recall R' Slifkin's take on that. It was that nebach, an apikoras may just be ignorant, bur nebach, apikorsus was still apikorsus..

      Delete
    2. However, lehalakhah we hold like the Ridvaz -- someone who became convinced of apiqursus because they were misled by honestly learning the sources is not an apiqories as a halachic state of the person. (A Brisker might sum it up: The "cheftza" is apiqursus but the gavra is not an apiqoreis.) An apiqoreis involves a rebellion against mesorah, and believing apiqursus alone is only one part of the definition. (And similarly for a min or kofer.)

      Today, most of the people one might call "nebich an apiqoreis" are generally considered tinoqos shenishb'u.

      Delete
    3. I DON'T think that that's what R' Chaim meant, but it's irrelevant because I don't think Slifkin can be accused of ignorance.

      Delete
    4. He can't be accused of ignorance, but you say he was affected by trauma. Do you think a fartraumatteh apikorus is also an apikorus acc. to Rambam and not Raavad?

      Delete
  7. " Second, if I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)" More nuance. It's הוכיח סופו על תחילתו.

    "Torah tradition was to acknowledge that Chazal were not omniscient about scientific matters." Torah tradition was to assume that despite not being omniscient about ANYTHING, we should nevertheless assume Chazal were correct from the get-go, and to try to be מקיים דברי חכמים, even בדוחק, even when their words are very difficult. I have proved this ad nauseum and can do so again.

    "Torah tradition was that the more a rabbi knows about the world, the more qualified he is to give guidance, not the reverse. " No, not in terms of what you guys call knowing about the world, which includes reading lots and lots of kefirah and watching generous amounts of TV.

    "Torah tradition was that a man should work for a living." Torah tradition was definitely not like the Rambam on this.

    "Torah tradition was that a man has an obligation to raise his children with the ability to be economically self-sufficient." "Self-sufficiency" is a foreign secular value that you lifted straight from American libertarians, and which 99% of even secular society does not believe in the slightest, and which you yourself do not live by in the slightest. The difference is that for the Torah Jew, Hashem is the provider, whereas for secular society, they think it is society that is the provider.

    "Torah tradition was that when you have a country, you need to rise to the occasion and develop it and protect it. " Torah tradition is that you stay far, far away from enemies of the Torah, which many if not most secularists are. We get a small taste of them on this blog. You don't let your kids play with them, and you certainly don't let your kids fall under their influence in the army.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sources please.

      Delete
    2. @Happy, @ מכרכר, @Jeffrey,
      please, on behalf of us less endowed, can you make new paragraphs between your citations from other commenters and your own comments?
      Thx Lds!

      Delete
    3. "No, not in terms of what you guys call knowing about the world"
      You don't actually believe that, and you're just being contentious. Because you're not stupid, just argumentative. You know damn well that RNS is talking about general knowledge and not more toublesome areas such as philosophy, archeology etc.. He's talking about something like this quote from RCK's son about his father's ontological approach:
      "What's written in the Torah is reality, if it's not written in the Torah, it doesn't exist"

      Delete
    4. "Sources please."

      With pleasure. But for which point specifically?

      Delete
    5. "The difference is that for the Torah Jew, Hashem is the provider, whereas for secular society, they think it is society that is the provider."

      zero practical difference, and Haredim chase after money just like everyone else

      "stay far, far away from enemies of the Torah, which many if not most secularists are"

      ya but medieval Jews didn't live off of handouts from converts to Christianity. If only that tradition you kept...




      Delete
    6. "You know damn well that RNS is talking about general knowledge"

      Actually, he is not. He is definitely talking about "troublesome" areas, because that is his entire raison d'etre.

      "What's written in the Torah is reality, if it's not written in the Torah, it doesn't exist"

      I don't think anybody who learned שקל הקדש could think RCK believed this literally.

      "zero practical difference, and Haredim chase after money just like everyone else"

      Huh? One of the main criticisms of this blog and secularists in general is that Chareidim choose to live in poverty, and purposely limit their own earning opportunities. This is not "chasing after money".

      " medieval Jews didn't live off of handouts from converts to Christianity."

      You want to make a socialist state where EVERYBODY is dependent upon handouts in varying quantities, this is what you get. You made the rules, live with them.

      Delete
    7. "It's הוכיח סופו על תחילתו."

      My dear happy, I have a better Pshat. The Rambam says that a person is influenced by his surroundings. More than one child/student has been suffered at home/school lest they be end up in the wrong surroundings. What's with your Chareidim ; making it intolerable for him to stay among them, effectively sending him to your secularists. And once your Chareidim sent him, there the rest is history, (as of this writing).

      A group came to a Chareidi Gadol roughly the same age as RJBS with the suggestion that they take RJBS to a new place and make him their RY. We know that nothing came out of that, but I want to share the Gadol's answer: זייער גוט! איר'ט עהם קעננענן ראטעווען פון דארט! So everything is location, location, location.

      Earlier, מכרכר said, "Uh (sorry Nachum, couldn’t resist😊), well, if you send them to co-ed schools and do not educate them that they are supposed to maintain a separation amongst the sexes, then yes, they will do exactly as their biology urges them to and ‘act like ... teenagers (shocker!!)’! ומה יעשה הנער ולא יחטא! If I were raised in a co-ed environment, I don’t think I would have remained pure either!"

      I interpret your silence as agreement. It boils down to location, location, location. To paraphrase for back to what I'm trying to say, "Uh (sorry happy, Nachum, the whole Kaboodle, couldn’t resist😊), well, if you send, I mean drag tarred and feathered, him out of Chareidi society drowning out all cries for “Wilma!” and he ends up with the “bad friends” you've always been begging/threatening him to avoid, then yes, he will do exactly as his דרך ברייתו של אדם urges him to and ‘act like ... them (shocker!!)’! ומה יעשה הנער ולא יחטא! If I were raised in a “bad friends” environment, I don’t think I would have remained pure either!"

      Delete
    8. @Happygo…@7:36PM


      “…Actually, he is not. He is definitely talking about "troublesome" areas, because that is his entire raison d'etre...”
      Actually Rav Slifkin isn’t talking about troublesome areas and that is not entirely his entire raison d’etre.

      “… I don’t think anybody who learned שקל הקדש could think RCK believed this literally…”
      Those who earnestly learned שקל הקדש wouldn’t believe otherwise.


      Delete
    9. "Huh? One of the main criticisms of this blog and secularists in general is that Chareidim choose to live in poverty, and purposely limit their own earning opportunities. This is not "chasing after money"."
      happygoluckypersonageAugust 24, 2022 at 7:36 PM

      No you have the criticism wrong. Chareidim do two things:
      (1) They choose to live in ignorance (and lack of employment training) and (2) they expect welfare and charity to support their lifestyle.
      Choosing to be ignorant is what leads to poverty.

      Delete
    10. "Huh? One of the main criticisms of this blog and secularists in general is that Chareidim choose to live in poverty, and purposely limit their own earning opportunities. This is not "chasing after money"."

      They put in the work to get by, be it by their own work or taking from others. There is no practical difference who you think the "provider" is, whatever that means.

      "You want to make a socialist state where EVERYBODY is dependent upon handouts in varying quantities, this is what you get. You made the rules, live with them."

      Not everyone today is dependent on handouts. And religious communities until 5 seconds ago were never dependent on handouts. But continue convincing yourself you live exactly like them.

      Delete
    11. "They choose to live in ignorance (and lack of employment training) and (2) they expect welfare and charity to support their lifestyle."

      Wrong, as I said, secularists choose to live in ignorance of the Torah, like yourself. (1) Many of them are atheists and homosexuals. (2) Most of them are Mechallel Shabbos. (3) Congratulations. (4) Chareidim don't "expect" anything, they take advantage of the system the same way you do. Don't tell me you don't use accountants to minimize your taxes. And the wealthier you are, the MORE you do this. (5) Chareidim choose a life of תורה and קדושה, which usually means making less money. (6) You guys choose a life of טומאה and ignorance of the Torah, and the only thing you care about is money and your תאוות.

      "They put in the work to get by, be it by their own work or taking from others. "

      Those in learning put in less work. Chassidim put in less education, and tend to make less money. To whatever extent they "chase after money", it is much less than you and your ilk, for which it is all you care about.

      "Not everyone today is dependent on handouts. "

      In most advanced countries, everybody is. Every single public service is a handout. Certainly healthcare. Certainly any industry that is government subsidized. Even in the US most households get more from the government than they pay in. And certainly in socialist Israel. Don't fool yourself with your stupid delusions about "self-sufficiency".

      Delete
    12. It's not handouts, working people pay taxes. Everything the government "gives" is from funds collected from working people. But I'm hardly shocked you don't understand that.

      Delete
    13. Lol, I love your excuses when you take handouts. Anything for a little more money! 🤣🤣 The cold, hard facts are that most working people get handouts greater than the taxes they put in. In most advanced countries.

      Delete
    14. Isaac
      In Israel, I would guess that far more tax is collected on goods and services (17%) than income tax, which about half don't pay in any case. Also, there are very high taxes when buying cars or apartments. These are paid by Chareidim just like everyone else. Maybe more, since the more upwardly mobile vacation outside the country and buy appliances etc. from outside the country. Besides, wives of learners most often work.

      Delete
    15. The facts show that charedim pay far far less in taxes and receive far far more in welfare benefits than other sectors. http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2021/02/do-charedim-live-off-state-really-really.html

      Delete
    16. 9/10 Haredi families receive more from the government than they put in. Far less for the rest of the Jewish population. I know it's comforting to think everyone else is as useless as you are, but the "cold, hard facts" state otherwise.

      Delete
    17. The facts are that ALL poor people people pay far far less in taxes and receive far far more in welfare benefits than richer wealthier sectors. And the facts are that EVERYBODY gets handouts from the government, and the majority of the population gets more than they contribute. Don't sit there and complain about the dumb rules your dumb socialist founders made when they made this state. You dug your own grave, now lie in it.

      Delete
    18. "ALL poor people people pay far far less in taxes and receive far far more in welfare benefits than richer wealthier sectors." Yeah... but in every other country, those who are poor are victims of circumstance and would like to not be poor... only the charedim are deliberately poor as a society because education and work are stigmatized...

      Delete
    19. "Yeah... but in every other country, those who are poor are victims of circumstance and would like to not be poor'

      This is a false generalization. People are poor for all sorts of reasons, some are victims of circumstance, some as a result of bad decisions. The Chareidi type is the rare type that is the result of good decisions. But thanks for supporting my point that Chareidim do not "chase after money like everybody else".

      Delete
    20. Oh "misnomer" (happygolucky), if you only had the self awareness to understand your own words;

      "(4) Chareidim don't "expect" anything, they take advantage of the system the same way you do."

      "TAKE ADVANTAGE"

      You see the people you are critcising do not take advantage of the welfare system as a primary and means of support. Most, sensible people, actually do not want to be on welfare and want to go out to work, support their families, and (surprise) pay taxes for those less well off.

      The expectation that an entire community live of welfare - "taking advantage" of the largess of people that obviously despise and look down on - well as you admit it is a lifestyle choice.


      Delete
    21. Dear misnomer,

      (5) Chareidim choose a life of תורה and קדושה, which usually means making less money.

      I was recently in Jerusalem on a Friday night - a chasidic guy was waling along King George Street asking people for money so he could pay for his family's shabbat meal.

      So not - I do not think the Charadim are swapping a life of "wealth" for a life of תורה and קדושה. Indeed, theologically, I find it very problematic that charedim seek to isolate themselves from the real world rather than engage with the real world. It is, in my mind, an admission of defeat that their ideas really cannot compete if people are exposed to outside ideas. Judaism, in my mind, has always been about "living" torah and not hiding behind torah. As we approach Tishrei, it is worth remembering that each of the Shalosh regalim where harvest festivals.

      It saddens me that you consider anyone who does not believe the things you "know" to be true are automatically "secularist: and "atheist". By characterizing people who are do not believe the things you do in this way - and with such hostility - you are saying that their ideas are not worthy. In fact what you are doing is admitting just how scared you are of the strength of your own position.

      So no "happy" I do not believe that you are living a life of תורה and קדושה, or that charedim are somehow holier than me. Indeed I very much think the opposit - in seperating themselves from the chol, they understand torah a whole lot less than those of us that actually have to live it in the real world.

      Delete
    22. "And the facts are that EVERYBODY gets handouts from the government, and the majority of the population gets more than they contribute. "

      Oh poor Misnomer, you really don't understand do you: I definitely pay more taxes than I receive in support from the government. Simple maths tells you this must be the case.

      But what you really do is show why yeshivot are really not places of higher learning. Yeshvot demand that you do not think independently, and only regurgitate what you have been taught. Some might call that brainwashing - and the fact that you keep spouting the dogma of the community to the point of being non-sensical sort of confirms that approach.

      To put this in perspective, I am never more thrilled then when my students reach the stage of being able to have opinion and hypothesizes that are different from my own. Then I know that they are true experts in their fields.

      Delete
    23. "In most advanced countries, everybody is. Every single public service is a handout. Certainly healthcare. Certainly any industry that is government subsidized. "

      Oh dear misnomer, you really do not get it.

      In every instance you lay out where people who work get government support - the government support is offered in order to facilitate people actually going to work. Child care subsidies are offered so that mothers can return to work. The net impact on society is an overall multiplier of wealth, not a welfare payment. Same for government subsidy of business - in supporting industry, the jobs created benefit both the individual and the community at large. At the end of the day, in both examples (I bring) there is a net increase in wealth.

      However, when you choose to live off welfare (or to use your words "take advantage" of the welfare safety net) as a lifestyle choice - well then you are a drag on society. The only people I know who make that choice (and I mean choice - not those who by circumstance lack choice) are sociopaths - and charedim.

      Delete
    24. Isaac, Anonymous
      The statistics presented to portray Chareidim as a drain on the economy don't take into account all the money brought into the country by the learning community through willing contributors from abroad. Do you really think people are able to live normally and buy apartments for their ten kids with government welfare benefits? Additionally, there is much secondary money brought in through frum tourism and foreign apartment purchases.
      Isaac, I know that it is comforting to claim the moral high ground vis-a-vis Chareidim to justify your own weaknesses in Torah observance, but we'd all be better off working on ourselves instead of bashing others.

      Delete
    25. My very, very dear Yossi.

      "You see the people you are critcising do not take advantage of the welfare system as a primary and means of support."

      You are just making excuses for the ways in which YOU take advantage. Your way is ok, chareidim's way is not. Nope, not buying your BS.

      "I was recently in Jerusalem on a Friday night - a chasidic guy was waling along King George Street asking people for money so he could pay for his family's shabbat meal."

      I was once walking on the street on Shabbos day and I saw a secularist driving on Shabbos.

      " I find it very problematic that charedim seek to isolate themselves from the real world rather than engage with the real world."

      Wrong, it is us who engages with the real world. Yours is the world of שקר, where all you care about is money and תאוות.

      "Oh poor Misnomer, you really don't understand do you: I definitely pay more taxes than I receive in support from the government."

      So do I. But most working people don't. You never looked at the figures, did you?

      "But what you really do is show why yeshivot are really not places of higher learning."

      What you really do is show that colleges are not places of higher learning.

      "In every instance you lay out where people who work get government support - the government support is offered in order to facilitate people actually going to work. "

      The stories you tell yourself to justify your handouts are really funny. The people going to work could not actually afford the childcare with the income they make from their job! That's why they need a subsidy, genius! They would cost society less money just staying home and watching their own kids! It is a welfare program! Or a gender equality program! They are net takers!

      "However, when you choose to live off welfare (or to use your words "take advantage" of the welfare safety net) as a lifestyle choice - well then you are a drag on society. "

      If you teach in a taxpayer-funded school, you are almost certainly a much bigger drag on society. In fact, your dumb comments on this site are a bigger drag on society.

      Delete
    26. Yossi,
      If you think that yeshivos DON'T train their students to think on their own then apparently you've never attended a high level yeshivah.
      Besides the critical thinking necessary for high-level Gemara learning, rejecting the prevailing secular values and assumptions (which at least most Chareidim are quite aware of, and encounter on a regular basis) forces one to genuinely consider other perspectives far more than most people ever will.

      Delete
    27. Hi.
      Here's a quote that responds to your assertion, quite well, I think, despite my abhorrence of many of the views of the person who said it.

      Rabbi Slifkin might consider as a topic for a future post.

      The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.“ — Noam Chomsky

      Delete
    28. "Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend..." - Chairman Mao Zedong

      Delete
    29. David
      That quote does provide some serious food for thought. I would argue, however, that such a spectrum exists just as much in secular society as in the Yeshiva world. And more insidiously in secular society, since the range of debate is not openly acknowledged; nor it is not ever seriously challenged, since it is the prevailing view in larger society. Every ben Torah knows very well that most of the world deeply disagrees with his worldview.

      Delete
    30. Shai:
      Yes, it does exist in the secular world. It's called bias and is a natural part of the human condition.
      Secular academia, however, recognizes this and a fundamental part of academic training is to learn how to correct for it, sometimes unsuccessfully. (Lately, "PC Politics" and "Cancel Culture" are a threat to that academic ideal, at where there's overlap with PC Doctrine.)

      Yeshiva learning and yeshiva culture, however, DO NOT see bias as inevitable, but rather only applying to secularists, reformers, etc. ie. THEY have bias (gayva and tayva), but WE are free from it (see Rav Elchonen in Kovetz Ma'amarim).

      Meanwhile, Orthodoxy (and I'm not saying that's wrong) has its bias built-in. We are not allowed to read or even think about ideas that are contrary to to our Emunah and Messora.

      The intellectual system of yeshivos and yeshiva culture is EXACTLY as Chomsky described, I think.

      Delete
    31. I think the typical chareidi yeshiva teaches students to think for themselves on any theoretical matter. But the second it becomes a pragmatic decision, one has to defer to Torah authorities. Even their rabbanim field all but the obvious questions by being a conduit to their rosh yeshiva.

      The same guy who gets complimented for his beautiful chiddush is expected to vote for whomever the gedolim say.

      Delete
    32. David
      Well, I think the intellectual system of Western colleges and general Western culture is exactly as Chomsky described. (And, apparently he thought so, too - he wasn't writing about yeshivos).
      The lack of genuine thinking in colleges did not begin with the PC absurdities of the past few years. The Closing of the American Mind was published 35 years ago.
      (Yes, academic training encourages correcting bias - as long as one's conclusions fall within the unacknowledged "spectrum")

      Delete
    33. "Even their rabbanim field all but the obvious questions by being a conduit to their rosh yeshiva."

      In my experience that's not true.

      Delete
  8. I fail to see how wearing techeiles is not in line with Torah tradition as you defined it in this post. True, techeiles wasn't worn for a very long time but if you trace the "tradition" far back enough they clearly wore it and if you are convinced that we know the identity of the chilazon which we do then how could you possibly choose to go against "Torah tradition" and not wear techeiles?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, would Tevye have worn techeiles?! So there you have it!! "Mimetic tradition" at it's best!

      Delete
  9. @Rav Slifkin

    “…stability in Judaism is even more important than objective truth, and such stability requires loyalty to tradition…”

    So stability trumps objective truth? I hope that curious maxim applies only to Orthodox Judaism and not to history or the sciences. I’m sure Galileo wouldn’t have been so sanguine with your your broken logic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how the divine system was set up, for the sake of peace. Cf. Sanhedrin 88b. I'm sure that you like any normal person runs their family/business/other affairs the same way.

      Delete
    2. Uriah's Wife, I know I said I would not engage with you, but seriously go jump in a lake and drown. If religion is so abhorrent to you, why do you frequent this site in the first place? Go to Vegas! Did you finish your reading assignment that I gave you??

      Delete
    3. A business that does not modify itself continuously with a changing market, clientele and technology fails. A family with strict rules that does not respond to inevitable changes within it including age and maturity of children and facing its surrounding realities likewise doesn’t do too well.

      Delete
    4. @Smash, that's exactly what we're trying to pinpoint. Where does your recommendation hit a red line? Where does it distinguishes itself from reform? What is non-negotiable?

      Delete
    5. You want me to drown in a lake? That’s some nice religion you practice. I wouldn’t want you to drown in a lake, you might contaminate the lake.
      And I don’t find all religions abhorrent. Catholicism isn’t so bad, their virgin birth and and contraceptive no-no’s notwithstanding. Their scared doctrinal meshugaas is a lot less whacko than yours.

      Delete
  10. Jeffery:

    “No. the point is you cannot judge a society by their teens, period. Teens are at developmentally at a stage where they have much less control and consider consequences much less than they will when they become adults. which is why I originally said "oh no, teenagers act like ... teenagers (shocker!!)" It had nothing to do with saying their actions of texting on shabbat or whatever was "okay", just a realization that teens often act in ways they shouldn't. You seem to accept it in your community, but deny it in others”
    Uh (sorry Nachum, couldn’t resist😊), well, if you send them to co-ed schools and do not educate them that they are supposed to maintain a separation amongst the sexes, then yes, they will do exactly as their biology urges them to and ‘act like ... teenagers (shocker!!)’! ומה יעשה הנער ולא יחטא! If I were raised in a co-ed environment, I don’t think I would have remained pure either! And preaching to them about “shomer negia” aint gonna help! The charge is against their parents and the society that rears them. If you really cared at all about Torah and Mitzvos as you profess, you would not be making such a grossly obvious and negligent mistake!! And it may be a factor in why some people have such a hard time with Hilchos Tahara. Old habits die hard.

    “Actually, yidposhut said he first hand made phone calls to "rabbanim and askanim" (who would be in a position to know and would have no reason to embellish or lie) (statement against interest). You on the other hand said "I never saw or heard of ANYONE using them on Shabbos" which if honest merely establishes what you heard or saw, not what actually happens. I never heard or saw you, but your silly arguments make it clear to me that you exist (AS OPPOSED TO WHAT? THAT I’M A BOT? JUST ASKING, NO INSULT INTENDED THIS TIME!). and that's only if you can be trusted; You have "skin in the game" you're trying to convince people the the "MODOX" are so bad, so it's in your interest to paint a picture that holds out your own teens differently; moreover, the way you conduct yourself - insult after insult, leads me question your integrity and honesty.”
    Fair enough. I wouldn’t believe some online raving radical lunatic either. But just so you know, YidPoshut and I had some offline correspondence. It just so turns out that he researched four Yeshivos. Yeshiva A and B I will openly admit are mainstream Yeshivos, and about them he wrote “these two sounded more like isolated incidents.” Yehshiva C happens to be a MODOX yeshiva! It is located in a large tristate community where the MODOX and mainstream live somewhat harmoniously, but it is MODOX. It may be borderline (I believe the boys wear hats and jackets), but MODOX nonetheless. I actually grew up in the community where it is located, and never encountered any of its students in any of my social circles (besides for one flip-out). Now Yeshiva D is by all definitions “Chareidi”. However, it is seriously on the weakest end of the spectrum and well-known as such (just so happens to be that I’ve come across virtually none of its alumni in my circles). It’s unfortunate and sad, but is so far the only Chareidi Yeshiva that I’ve heard such a problem exists (again, as I mentioned earlier, I am not referring to at-risk or almost-at-risk Yeshivos). I rest my case…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mekharker

      Your definition of modox and at risk yeshivos is so broad that you put "baalebatish /leaning american" yeshivos into the same box as actual modox and actual at risk .
      If your yeshiva has you wear a black hat by davening. Doesn't hire anyone from yu .doesn't quote anyone from the yu world ever. Teaches charedi hashkafa. Keeps boys and girls seperate.
      Isn't zionist .who's gedolim are rav aharon k and rav chaim k and Rav gershon e...and you still consider it modox or at risk then this has become a problem of definitions . my experience has been that once definitions have to be debated times awasting.
      Every yeshiva that isnt top notch(sug alef) is called modox and at risk? Leaving only a tiny amount of schools that are teaching TorahTrue tm . whereas all the schools that are teaching the similar hashkafa with similar methods but dont have the best boys....they dont count because they're modox /at risk.

      YidPoshut

      P.s. to jeffery
      My impression is that you are understanding my experience to be a validation of your position that the same problems in similar degree exist by chareidim as by modox.

      Not close.


      My point was only that the problems exist in real amounts. Not just isolated incidents. But my experience has been much much closer to mekharkers position than yours . parents do not send their kids to yeshiva expecting some kids in their sons shiur/class to be texting on shabbos.

      YidPoshut

      Delete
    2. Yid Poshut -

      "My impression is that you are understanding my experience to be a validation of your position that the same problems in similar degree exist by chareidim as by modox. Not close."

      Actually, that wasn't my understanding, nor was it my position. My position is and always has been that you cannot judge a society by its teenagers. Teenagers do stupid stuff that they shouldn't do. I fully believe that teenagers in different communities do different stupid stuff. Whether it's MODOX kids texting on shabbos or Charedi kids wiping boogers on siddurim at the Kotel or whatever. What you wrote was simply one other example of kids, teenagers, doing stupid stuff that they shouldn't do, and it was only relevant to the extent that Mekharker brought up that particular example of texting on shabbos. That you said "problems exist in real amounts. Not just isolated incidents" is perhaps a "validation" of something I never intended to validate - that there may be some overlap of the types of similar stupid stuff despite the teens being from different communities.

      Delete
    3. Jeffery
      Ok i was wrong

      YidPoshut

      Delete
    4. Jeffry
      Would you respond to mekharker in regards to the difference in common teenage misbehaviors while leaving out isolated uncommon incidents?
      If your response will be"you cannot judge a society by its teenagers" i ask can you not -compare- societies by their education systems(both outcomes and behaviors in the system)?
      Or do " all " the texters leave modern orthodoxy and then they don't count anymore?
      Or is the behaviour totally stopped after high school and they become full shomrei torah umitzvos?

      YidPoshut

      Delete
    5. Yid Poshut,

      I promised myself and Mekharker that I would not continue my conversation with him as its been going on too long (my comment below at 8/24/22 7:35pm) (and really just going around in circles).

      But I will respond to you simply by saying - Yes I continue to maintain that you cannot judge a society by its teenagers and I hope made that abundantly clear in my responses to Mekharker. Further, I do NOT believe that " 'all' the texters leave modern orthodoxy and then they don't count anymore." that's sounds a little "No True Scotsman" like.

      However, Modern Orthodoxy DOES have a system/tradition and as I've been saying, I believe it is the same system/tradition that Judaism has had forever. And so far as I know, I have not heard anyone of significant (or even moderate) substance within the Modern Orthodox world say that a Modern Orthodox position is that Texting on Shabbos is just fine. I've just never heard it. could i have I missed it? potentially, I suppose; but as yet, I am unaware.

      I do believe a great majority return to a stronger kesher to Torah u'Mitzvos as they grow beyond adolescence. That being said, are there people - adults - who call themselves "Modern Orthodox" who do text on shabbos? I have no doubt that there are. Do they say "it's okay/acceptable within Modern Orthodox view of halakha"? I sincerely doubt that. Rather, I think these people (who are only a small minority within the community anyway) are doing what they know they shouldn't be doing; and these people exist in, and this is the case in, the Chareidi world as well (and likely every single community on earth).




      Delete
    6. Jeffery

      Thank you for responding.
      As an outsider looking in its hard to get a clear picture. Im reminded of nearly every time some non jewish publication (or even secular jewish) writes or shows nearly anything jewish. There's basically always something or another that's totally off.
      So i appreciate getting an inside view.
      Have a good elul and as the zman is starting... A k'siva v'chasima tova.


      YidPoshut

      Delete
    7. "However, Modern Orthodoxy DOES have a system/tradition and as I've been saying, I believe it is the same system/tradition that Judaism has had forever"

      Instead of ignorantly and arrogantly repeating this over and over again, how about ask the MODOX Jewish history professor of your choice; be it Shnayer Leiman, Marc Shapiro, Pini Dunner or Berel Wein if the tradition that Judaism had forever was to modify and adapt clear teachings of Chazal and the Torah to conform with current society?

      I know, I know, you said you wont answer. But you don't need to. Just ask them.

      Delete
    8. Yid Poshut

      I completely agree that it's extremely beneficial to get an insider's view - essentially what I was getting at when I referenced Justice Sotomayor's and Rabbi Steinsaltz's statements (my comment 8/24/22 7:35pm).

      Shabbat Shalom, Good Chodesh, Ketiva v'Chatima Tova.

      Delete
  11. (cont) “Wrong on almost all counts. Hillel, RYBZ, and MANY MANY other great Jews throughout history HAVE been modifying JUDAISM as the world changes (more recently - BSH'T, any posek of the last 250 years since the start of the industrial revolution). It has not ceased. Yes, I agree it has been to strengthen Judaism and Not to undo it, but again you're just describing what Modern Orthodoxy is doing as well. Modern Orthodoxy is utilizing this true Mesora to Strengthen Judaism.”
    Until you show me evidence of someone implementing the types of changes that I mentioned to you being promoted by Tendler, Kraus, Mirvis, Lichtenstein etc., I don’t care how many times you say the word MANY, but you are just wrong. I know they taught you in Kushner High or wherever you went that Torah Sh’ba’al Peh is always ‘living and breathing’ and all the other beautiful adjectives that you used to describe it, and it’s true, but it seems like they forgot to add some context to that. The framework of Torah Shba’al Peh that Chazal passed down is immutable. No one within Orthodoxy in the last 2,000 years has attempted to change it, (besides for one isolated example that the Chassidim implemented, and I think they are flat out wrong about that too!). Even Slifkin seemed to acknowledge this when I presented him with the same challenge that I am challenging you (however he clearly seems to be contradicting himself). What he claims he is proposing is to undo all the chumros that have been implemented over the years and take practice back to it was in the times of Chazal. This too is extremely problematic, because while Judaism may technically be adapted within the right framework, if done with the intention of making it more compatible with secular society, is forbidden even if just to change a minor mode of dress! He has also not provided precedent of a movement that intended to modernize or secularize halacha in history.



    “And then, your final comment: you describe your community as: "a stream that is growing by leaps and bounds" it's reminiscent of something you wrote above in a comment on this blog post (8/22/22 6:17pm) "the explosive growth rate and success of chareidi society;" for some reason, you seem to think that women popping out babies somehow means that the Chareidi society is doing something right?!! I don't understand that at all. I've been saying all along that Chareidism is easier - It's Modern Orthodoxy that takes courage. having babies and marching to the beat of your own drum might increase numbers, but it doesn't make it right. sorry.”
    Well, let me let you in a little secret. Why do you think Chareidim have so many babies? Is it because it’s fun? Or because it is ‘cowardly’? And I’m sure, as a self-professed medakdek b’mitzvos, you know that the answer is….
    None of the above! It is actually an obligation mentioned in Chazal and codified in Shulchan Aruch to have as many children as possible, even after fulfilling pru urvu (one son and daughter). They never told you that at Kushner High, did they. There are definitely dispensations, such as for health reasons, mental or physical, and according to some financial reasons. But this entire concept seems to have been skipped over by your community who is “in possession of the mesora.” So I guess it takes great courage not to keep mitzvos? If you say so.


    “ I happen to think your contempt of and refusal to learn from what G-D handed down to us is tragically comical when at the same time you assert that you are the only one (in this conversation) in possession of the Mesora.” Ok, I am literally begging you, as I have been doing from the beginning: PLEASE TELL ME WHERE THIS MESORA COMES FROM?? WHO ELSE DID YOU SEE MODERNIZING JUDAISM TO CONFORM WITH SECULAR SOCIETY?!


    “Best wishes. when you can shake your fear, come and join the Courageous.”
    I actually refer to them as “The ignorant and apathetic by design”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Jeff, the reason why I keep bringing up the Chareidi growth/retention rate vs the MODOX growth/retention rate is not to poke fun at you guys. I am just trying to point out that if you feel that you need to adapt Judaism to survive 'in a brave new world' so 'it shouldn't shrivel up on a shelf somewhere and die," let's take a scientific result-based approach and see if this method you propose is reaching it's achieved goal! Because if it has not, מה הועילו חכמים בתקנתן?! What exactly are you achieving?

      Delete
    2. Yawn, learn some history. Before the welfare state Haredim had the same amount of babies as anyone else (2-3 on average).

      Delete
    3. Mekhaker:

      not sure why my replies didn't get linked here to your comment. but you can look at them below (there are 3 - time stamped 8/24/22 7:35, 36, & 38 pm)

      Delete
    4. I think because you and I are the show right now so RNS wanted to give them more prominence! I hope to respond later tonight IYH.

      Delete
  12. "(Incidentally, I always find it funny when people make that claim. First of all, they are ignoring the role that the ban on my books had on my development - Rav Chaim Shmulevitz writes that Amalek only became who he was because he was rejected. Second, if I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)"

    Some said your views were not kefirah, but would ultimately lead there. I sincerely hope this is not so, but at times you seem to be heading there.
    Could be the banners bear some responsibility for the tragic trajectory you (SEEM) to be on, but obviously you have free choice and the ultimate responsibility is yours. The Gemara mildly criticizes the avos but does not absolve Amalek.

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    1. Leizerson:

      "The Gemara mildly criticizes the avos"

      some people might call you a Kofer for saying such stuff. Rather they would say, the Avos were tzaddikim gimurim who never had even machshavot (let alone maasot) that were not completely and totally tahor. and these same people may likely say the same about Chazal, they couldn't have been wrong about or disparaging of the Avos, because they too are perfectly righteous and pure without any chance of erring ever. You mis-understand the Gemara and are a Kofer for even suggesting that it might mean what it says.

      I would not say that about you. I think you are entirely correct that the Avos erred and both have been and need to be criticized sometimes. (so we can learn from there mistakes).

      Delete
    2. Jeffrey
      Just for the record, it is the GEMARA that implies the criticism (Sanhedrin 99b - see Rashi there) - presumably based on either an Oral Tradition, or exegetic analysis of the Torah text itself. I would never do so myself.
      Anyone who studies Chazal's words and claims the Avos never erred is just plain silly. But they were great human beings, way way beyond beyond our level. The same Chazal who discuss the errors of the Avos also state about the greats of earlier generations that if they were angels, we are people, and if they were people, we are donkeys. Yes, the Avos were human beings who had to work very, very hard on growing and were prone to error, but we must know our place!

      Delete
    3. Leizerson:

      "Just for the record, it is the GEMARA that implies the criticism (Sanhedrin 99b - see Rashi there) ... Anyone who studies Chazal's words and claims the Avos never erred is just plain silly...Yes, the Avos were human beings who had to work very, very hard on growing and were prone to error, but we must know our place!"

      Hey, you'll get no argument from me on this. I was just pointing out that there are others out there who do argue that Chazal never erred, and the Avos, who were greater than Chazal, never erred either. And therefore you and I are misunderstanding the Gemara - potentially to the point of kefira.

      Delete
    4. Jeffrey
      OK, thanks, just wanted to be clear.

      Delete
  13. Heard personally from a Rabbi who spoke to Dr Slifkin before the ban:

    "Slifkin wasn't actually interested in debating or discussing with the Gedolim - Chazal in regards to science. Slifkin thought he would educate the Gedolim! He came prepared to fight and wasn't actually interested in having an honest conversation "

    Still remains relevant, nearly 20 years later!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheker V'chazav what you quote/what he said.

      Delete
  14. I don't really care about the rationalisations of a yet another Anglo Charedi who goes DL and slowly watches as his children turn out Dati Lite - at best - while the looming realisation that he has made a terrible mistake dogs his every silent moment. I sympathise. I couldn't hack it as a Charedi either.

    To be clear, though, while it problematic to insist against all reason that the MT is not the Hilazon, accepting that the MT is the Hilazon and still not wearing techelet is a really reprehensible position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. pot calling the kettle black?August 25, 2022 at 3:36 PM

      Spot on.
      This post shows once again that Rabbi Slifkin is a fraud and a hypocrite-- by posing as a rationalist and tarring his opponents as being anti-reason.

      Delete
  15. Tradition is the connection between us and hundreds and thousands of years ago.
    Someone who ignores that connection and recreates a tradition from thousands of years ago ignoring the intermediate years, is also non-traditional.

    Your comparison of yourself to Amalek could have been written by Mr Kornreich. I wonder how your mind arrived there.

    ReplyDelete
  16. when is the right time to return to the original mesora and reject meat eating, and maintain that it is only permissible to consume vegetation and mammals?

    ReplyDelete
  17. The simplest description of our tradition is to follow gedolim of your generation.

    ReplyDelete
  18. R' Slifkin, I'm not much for banning any viewpoints, but exceptions should be made for civility. This troll has overstayed his welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please don't ban mekharker as long as he is primarily point based.
      Despite the rudeness ,it seems he is pushing discussion
      YidPoshut

      Delete
    2. That's way too slippery a slope, as current events demonstrate nicely. A guy who claims to be conservative ought to know better. The proper response to what one considers bad speech is more speech, not less.

      Delete
    3. I don't believe there is bad speech. There is speech you don't agree with.

      Rudeness is another matter entirely.

      Delete
    4. Nachum: just nitpicking but... Define "lashon hara" while denying there is such a thing as "bad speech".

      Delete
    5. Cancel him. Don't cancel him. Cancel him. Don't cancel him...

      Delete
    6. Micha: Lashon Hara is personal.

      Delete
    7. Nachum: See Rashi (Bamidbar 13:2):
      שלח לך אנשים. לָמָּה נִסְמְכָה פָרָשַׁת מְרַגְּלִים לְפָרָשַׁת מִרְיָם? לְפִי שֶׁלָּקְתָה עַל עִסְקֵי דִבָּה, שֶׁדִּבְּרָה בְאָחִיהָ, וּרְשָׁעִים הַלָּלוּ רָאוּ וְלֹא לָקְחוּ מוּסָר (תנחומא):

      There is LH about *places*...

      Delete
    8. Micha berger
      This could be because it meant that -Hashem- wasnt giving them what was promised ( by bashing the land they were saying lashon hara indirectly on Hashem)?
      YisPoshut

      Delete
    9. The Tanchuma that Rashi is citing https://www.sefaria.org/Midrash_Tanchuma%2C_Sh'lach.5.1 says they are being blamed for speaking ill of the land:

      ... אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיָה צָפוּי לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁיִּהְיוּ בָּאִין וְאוֹמְרִין לָשׁוֹן הָרַע עַל הָאָרֶץ. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, לֹא יִהְיֶה לָהֶם פִּתְחוֹן פֶּה לוֹמַר, לֹא הָיִינוּ יוֹדְעִים עֹנֶשׁ שֶׁל לָשׁוֹן הָרַע מַה הוּא. לְפִיכָךְ סָמַךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הָעִנְיָן הַזֶּה לָזֶה, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ הַכֹּל עָנְשׁוֹ שֶׁל לָשׁוֹן הָרַע. שֶׁאִם בִּקְּשׁוּ לוֹמַר לָשׁוֹן הָרַע, יְהוּ מִסְתַּכְּלִין מַה נַּעֲשָׂה בְּמִרְיָם. אַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא רָצוּ לִלְמֹד. לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ. לְכָךְ כָּתַב הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שִׁלּוּחַ הַמְּרַגְּלִים אַחַר מַעֲשֶׂה מִרְיָם. הֱוֵי, לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ, כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת וְגוֹ'.

      Delete
  19. Mekharker:

    I can't keep going back and forth regarding this. It's been fun. Really, but I do have a day job and have to do it. Looking at blog entries, checking out some of the comments, and even leaving my own once in while is fine, but going back and forth on the same conversation over 3 different blog posts now spanning 6 days (my first comment was time stamped as 8/18/22 at 12:23am); it's just too much. So no offense - this will be my final word on the topic. If it feels like a break up, rest assured: It's not you, it's me.

    "well, if you send them to co-ed schools and do not educate them that they are supposed to maintain a separation amongst the sexes, then yes, they will do exactly as their biology urges them to ... If I were raised in a co-ed environment, I don’t think I would have remained pure either!"

    (paragraph separation - for Anonymous 8/24/227:44am - you're welcome) So now it's about co-educational environments? I thought it was about texting?? I am just so confused. But presuming that you're right that there is some connection that it is the co-educational system which leads to texting on shabbos: I did attend a Co-Educational institution (not Kushner) (anecdotally, having been married for 20 years, I can say that I did remain "pure" throughout, and there is only one woman in my life that I have ever been "intimate" with (my wife)), there are plenty of good reasons to have co-educational institutions. Primarily, I would argue that it is that: males and females have differing perspectives on a range of issues. and view secular studies and Judaic matters differently. US Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor famously said in relevant part (20+ years ago in 2001): "I would hope that a wise [] woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a [] male who hasn't lived that life." Similarly, I personally heard R. Adin Steinsaltz (zt"l)(yes, I know, another Kofer like RNS whose books were (all but) "banned") describe how he so much enjoyed teaching Gemara to women because of their unique perspectives and insights that most men do not have. But then again, I am aware that there are down sides, for example, both genders often feel freer to "fly" when not in the same class room as the opposite gender. Ultimately, there are arguments on both sides of the issue. But the fact is, that the reason that Chareidim keep their girls separate is because they don't want them learning the same stuff as the boys. They want Separate and not equal. They don't want their girls learning Gemara, heck they really don't even want their boys learning tanakh more than absolutely minimally necessary (you stated yourself that you didn't want to learn lessons from it Tzelaphchad, pesach sheni, etc.). That's the real reason that I am (personally) against single-gender learning - which does not apply in those situations where Separate really does mean equal. I want my daughter (and sons) to know that she (and they) can be a true Torah scholar(s) if she (they) chooses, able to impact the Jewish, and greater world for the better. help create the Dira b'Tachtonim for G-D. Nechama Leibowitz (zt"l) could be a great role model for her (if she were to so choose that path in life). Yes there are pros and cons to co-ed institutions, but I am not convinced, that the issues related to your personal inability to "remain pure" is anywhere near the top of either list. Even less so is the issue of texting on shabbos.

    "AS OPPOSED TO WHAT? THAT I’M A BOT? JUST ASKING, NO INSULT INTENDED THIS TIME"

    Was just pointing out that sometimes you need to go beyond what you can see or hear.

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    1. My point is, that a complete carelessness that your educational system engenders the worst of aveiros, chayvei krisus - which means it has the Heavenly death penalty, and yaharog v'al yavor - one must give up his life not to transgress, is endemic of a society that does not seem to attach that much serious of Torah and Mitzvos altogether. The Shu"a E"H s 21 says that one must keep a great distant (מאוד מאוד) from arayos. And this outweighs any perceived benefit of boys and girls studying together (which according to the gemara, and thus codified in halacha, does not exist, as we do not teach women gemara. I know I will sound way too misogynistic to you to even begin trying to explain the Chazal's reasoning, but this does not change the halacha. Until around 50 years ago it was clear as day to mankind that men and women have two different roles in this world. Separate and not equal. It does not mean separate and inferior, just a different role designation. To teach women Gemara is yet another innovation of MODOX, but among the less severe). The results are borne out in your educational products in many different ways. Texting on Shabbos amongst youth, not bentching (my own observation), and many other things. You really do seem to be sincere and I don't think that it is your fault. The fact that you can so confidently claim otherwise shows that you do not really understand the severity of these sins.

      "AS OPPOSED TO WHAT? THAT I’M A BOT? JUST ASKING, NO INSULT INTENDED THIS TIME"

      "Was just pointing out that sometimes you need to go beyond what you can see or hear."

      Ha! So what type of rationalist are you, anyway?!

      Delete
    2. I definitely do think we should learn lessons from Tanach, we just can't start saying that we can start changing the Torah because of what we see in Tanach. I hope you are not "Open Orthodox," but did you know that they permit gay marriage because the Torah says "לא טוב היות האדם לבדו"? The Torah is unequivocally clear that Mishkav Zachar is forbidden, an abomination, and punishable with the death penalty, yet Open Orthodoxy permits it because of their own "drasha." If this is not a corruption of the Torah, I don't know what is. Now I don't think you intend on going that far, but my point is that we gotta take the Torah and Chazal's word for it's Mitzvos and prohibitions and not G-d forbid say that the Torah was trying to drop us a hint that we are allowed to change it as we wish.

      Delete
  20. Mekharker:

    (cont)

    "Yehshiva C happens to be a MODOX yeshiva!...I believe the boys wear hats and jackets"

    Wait, it's MODOX where the boys where hats and jackets, but it's co-ed??? I mean it would have to be, based upon your above statement that it is the co-educational nature of MODOX schools that lead to texting on shabbos. What is the name of this school? I am very interested.

    "Now Yeshiva D is by all definitions “Chareidi”... It’s unfortunate and sad, but is so far the only Chareidi Yeshiva that I’ve heard such a problem exists."

    so this "Chareidi" yeshiva is also co-ed?? again, that's what you posited leads to texting on Shabbos (which is the "problem" that we'd been discussing). I agree it is sad that they are texting, just as it is sad when MODOX kids do it, but I have faith and courage that the kids will grow out of that teenage phase.

    "I don’t care how many times you say the word MANY, but you are just wrong.... No one within Orthodoxy in the last 2,000 years has attempted to change it, (besides for one isolated example that the Chassidim implemented, and I think they are flat out wrong about that too!).... while Judaism may technically be adapted within the right framework, if done with the intention of making it more compatible with secular society, is forbidden... even if just to change a minor mode of dress! He has also not provided precedent of a movement that intended to modernize or secularize halacha in history."

    Oy. so much to say, so little time. So I give an example from the Torah itself, you say, not good enough, or specifically: "I trust you are intelligent enough to appreciate is flat out ridiculous"; then when I give an example from R. Yochanan Ben Zakkai, you agree he made major changes, but you say, sorry not recent enough. Now I reference the BSH"T and you say, you disagree with them too. I think its time you face facts, I can give example after example, and nothing will be good enough for you. You just refuse to accept that Judaism IS a living breathing thing that has changed and continues to change throughout it's history and into today, and that is in itself part of the Mesora. Yes there is a framework, And as I've said repeatedly, Modern Orthodoxy is squarely within it. And more importantly, the ONLY stream that continues to maintain the frame work. The Careidim left the framework behind in the dust due to the fear (Charada). This whole thing you keep saying about fitting in with secular society.... As I see it, this really a concept you made up and is nothing more than a artificial distinction from "the way the the world is" which is really what all the great have been doing for millenia - Allowing Yiddishkeit to thrive in the world as it is. from G-d, to RYBZ, to the BSH"T to R Steinzaltz and so many others.


    to be cont.

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    1. Wait, it's MODOX where the boys where hats and jackets, but it's co-ed??? I mean it would have to be, based upon your above statement that it is the co-educational nature of MODOX schools that lead to texting on shabbos. What is the name of this school? I am very interested.

      No it's not co-ed. I said that it's borderline MODOX. The founding Rosh Yeshiva is a celebrated YU personality and a large percentage of its students come from a co-ed elementary school. And Yeshiva D is definitely not MODOX. But again, I think you are missing the point here. I never said that co-ed leads to texting on Shabbos! Rather texting on Shabbos and co-ed are a result of a massive indifference of MODOX towards Torah and Halacha in general! Yes, I know, you are very sincere so it is difficult for you to swallow this. I don't think it is your fault, rather that of leadership and MODOX’s seminal figures.

      Delete

    2. “then when I give an example from R. Yochanan Ben Zakkai, you agree he made major changes, but you say, sorry not recent enough. Now I reference the BSH"T and you say, you disagree with them too. I think its time you face facts, I can give example after example, and nothing will be good enough for you. You just refuse to accept that Judaism IS a living breathing thing that has changed and continues to change throughout it's history and into today, and that is in itself part of the Mesora. Yes there is a framework, And as I've said repeatedly, Modern Orthodoxy is squarely within it. And more importantly, the ONLY stream that continues to maintain the frame work. The Careidim left the framework behind in the dust due to the fear (Charada). This whole thing you keep saying about fitting in with secular society.... As I see it, this really a concept you made up and is nothing more than a artificial distinction from "the way the the world is" which is really what all the great have been doing for millenia - Allowing Yiddishkeit to thrive in the world as it is. from G-d, to RYBZ, to the BSH"T to R Steinzaltz and so many others.”

      Again, R’ Yochanon Ben Zakai never modified Mitzvos in the Torah, he passed takanos (read: chumros) to strengthen the Torah! But what he did or didn’t do is irrelevant, because for the umpteenth time, he was a tanna! From the Gaonim down, we have been INTERPETING divrei chazal! Not modifying them as we see fit! And I was not talking about the Ba’al Shem Tov modifying halacha. We don’t know too much about the Ba’al Shem Tov at all, and certainly not his Halachic rulings, if he had any. The BSHT’s innovations were NOT to modify the Torah, rather to put more spirituality, heart and soul into the service G-d. So not quite sure what he has to do with anything. I was talking about them not following the Rabbinical enactment of eating in the Succah in Chutz La’aretz on Shemini Atzeres, which developed much later (according to RJBS, this was a result of a mistake they made because the Rebbes would make a tish on Shemini Atzeres in their succas, and the visiting Chassidim were patur because of Mitzta’er because the succa was not big enough. But not done with malicious intent of changing Chazal’s enactments. Nefesh Harav pg 220)

      Delete
  21. Mekharker:

    (cont. 3 of 3)


    To quote myself from 8/18/22 9:46 pm: "Modern Orthodox DOES NOT Compromise Judaism. Embrace, Engage with, confront secular life head on? perhaps. compromise Judaism? No Way!! again this is just false disparagement from the camp that harbors great fear, so great, that they named themselves those who fear (Chareidim)."

    The thing you are seeking, a "precedent for a movement" to modernize or secularize halacha. first of all, you call modern orthodoxy a "movement" but you are wrong, it is really just a continuation of the Mesorah as it always has been. It is Charedism that is a "Movement" or better phrased a "stagnation, afraid to move" as Judaism always has. And Secondly, this is related to what you (and others on this and prior comment boards) failed to understand about Rupture and Reconstruction. The mimetic tradition of the Kedoshim - all of the stepwise miniscule changes over millenia (even ignoring the huge monumental changes of those who carried Yosef HaTazddik's bones, of RYBZ of the BSH"T) of our millions of holy ancestors is not a tradition of "Am HaAratzim" (as I saw someone disparagingly say about our courageous and holy forebears) it's THE tradition of our people. IT IS who we are. It IS our Mesorah.

    "codified in Shulchan Aruch to have as many children as possible, even after fulfilling pru urvu (one son and daughter)"

    I actually did not know that there is a halakha in Sh"A to have as many children as possible after pru urvu. I would appreciate a citation. All I am familiar with is: "Once a man has had a son and a daughter, he has fulfilled the obligation to be fruitful and multiply." (Sh"A E"haE, Siman 1, Sif 5). Regardless, your point was that the high birthrate mean that the chareidim were on to something. Although I would appreciate the citation requested, I still do not see the connection.

    "PLEASE TELL ME WHERE THIS MESORA COMES FROM"

    See above - It has always been the mesora. I fail to see what is so complicated.



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    1. I started writing you a long response, but I am very tired and I anyhow think that Rabbi Keller will do it better justice than I can. It was written in 1970 when the MODOX movement was gaining steam. Take the time to read it. I think it might explain a lot to you:

      https://agudathisrael.org/wp-content/uploads/1970/06/JO1970-V6-N08.pdf

      In terms of the mitzva to have more kids, it is in EH 1:8, and I even found you a MODOX article about it:

      https://download.yutorah.org/1982/1053/735664.pdf

      Sorry I'm not being chatty. Gotta call it quits for the night.

      Delete
  22. The baby cannot be preserved among the bathwater. It simply cannot be done. No, don't say "well, I'm different". All the various shades - from Reform to Haskalah to Neologue to Conservative to OO - have been tried. Within the same generation, and for sure by the second generation, shabbos is already gone in any meaningful sense, and you're well on your way, your children or grandchildren, to becoming a goy.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If their is enough significant precedent and there is a need you don't have to be stuck on this "secular" obsession or is it a modern or chareidi to innovation or tradition. The Torah deals with eternal situations.Yes you innovate if there is room for it and a good reason for it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Can someone please offer commenter מכרכר בכל עוז a job and promise not to give him any more coffee?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Haha well said

      Delete
    2. @Weaver 9:07PM

      מכרכר
      has a job. He washes dead bodies for the טהרה . That’s why he wants folks with whom he disagrees with dead. More work opportunities for him.



      Delete
    3. If מכרכר has a job washing dead bodies for טהרה, I can't imagine he'd last very long there. I'd think that the מתים would roll themselves away in disgust once he laid hands upon them.
      I do see, though, how it might otherwise be a good job for him, as he'd get more opportunities to harangue others and thereby feel better about himself, convinced that since the meisim didn't have a teirutz to his kashias, then he must have really shlugged them up. And for people like him, that's GOLD.

      Delete
    4. I think @מכרכר בכל עוז is just out of a Discovery seminar or something.

      Delete
  25. Regarding מכרכר, I personally appreciate how he demonstrates, with such literacy, right down to his pen name, the self-righteousness, arrogance, self-importance, verbal cruelty,, and sarcasm of some members of the culture he claims to represent.

    What I don't understand is why others would take the time to engage with him, given that he clearly states that his starting point is the hashkafic illegitimacy of everything non haredi- yeshiva.

    He says himself that he is only here to prove others wrong and to bask in the pleasure he gets from doing so, or more accurately, tge pleasure he gets from convincing himself that he has done so.

    He's not here to consider other arguments, only to act like a venomous snake, looking for an opening as to where he could then strike.

    Seems to me that this blog attracts a handful of people like this. And I wonder why people continue to engage them.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. To david
      If someone makes fun and says something disparaging about you its relatively easy to shrug it off. If however they say you're doing a specific thing wrong even if they at the same time make fun of you, the urge to defend and justify your actions is far greater.
      Also since he poses his attacks as questions he invites answers to a far greater degree than if he said" ahhh! Your all horrible smelly kofrim"!

      YidPoshut

      Delete
    2. Ha! David, look at your glaring self-righteous hypocrisy! Instead of a nasty comment void of any substance attacking others for being nasty, perhaps enlighten us as to why it is OK to modify Chazal. So far Jeffrey has not done so, and even Slifkin seems to disagree with him!

      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/the-times-they-are-changin.html?showComment=1661218203904#c6270592577558610511

      Although, as I keep pointing out, is contradicting himself

      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/the-times-they-are-changin.html?showComment=1661218203904#c6270592577558610511

      Looking forward to something a little more intelligent!

      Delete
    3. And if you are referring to my back-and-forth with Jeff about MODOX, I would recommend you go all the back to Can My Daughter Sing

      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/the-times-they-are-changin.html?showComment=1661218203904#c6270592577558610511

      and

      http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/08/the-times-they-are-changin.html?showComment=1661218203904#c6270592577558610511

      instead of coming in the middle of a conversation.

      Delete
  26. You say you didn't really advocate changing halacha, but rather a) you were misunderstood, and b) in reality kol isha was never forbidden at all, it was only the achronim who came up with it, so actually it is really you who is the traditional one, everyone else being the reformers.

    As to the first, you just keep coming back to the same well. If you keep being "misunderstood", it means you were understood perfectly, you're just changing what you said.
    As to the second, every reformer is history has claimed to represent authentic Judaism. None of them claim to be innovators, they all claim they are simply being מחזיק עטרה ליושנה. It's not a defense to charge of kefirah, its a confirmation of it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Doctor, here's my unsolicited advice to you: It's clear that in your heart of hearts you don't really believe in orthodoxy. You shouldn't try to twist and turn, you're not fooling anyone. Plenty of great orthodox men, including many very pious ones who would surprise you, harbor similar doubts - BUT IN PRIVATE.

    You should do the same. Your mistake is not necessarily in (all) your thinking, but in failing to understand the difference between public and private. A blog is not private. For the reasons stated above, smarter men have already concluded that orthodoxy, warts and all, is the wiser way to go. If you want to grouse, find a good friend or a private diary and let 'er rip. If you write this way publicly you're asking for trouble, and it wont end up well for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It's clear that in your heart of hearts "
      How do you know?

      " Plenty of great orthodox men, including many very pious ones who would surprise you, harbor similar doubts - BUT IN PRIVATE."
      How do you know?

      Delete
  28. In the end of the day we realize, even if we don't all accept, that there are many streams to Judaism and observation of Judaism. All have elements of truth, but none own all the truth for everyone for all time. As individuals we choose what is most truthful to ourselves. Choosing a dogmatic path and surrendering our choices to a multi-generational paternalistic system is also a choice, as is choosing a path of questioning, curiosity and search for personal meaning (even within the dogmatic approach). It might sound wrong to some of us but I can't think of how someone could genuinely argue this is not true. And I imagine it has been true over all time, even before the age of labeling.
    Judaism is as Jews do, on the macro and collective micro levels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about before making such a bold and presumptuous statement, educating yourself a little bit about what Judaism is? I guess if you count "gastronomical" and "cultural" streams as legitimate, then you're right.

      Delete
  29. Hi Rav,

    You really should be more careful about what you write:

    You write:
    " Second, if I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)"

    I quote it as:
    "Second, ... I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)"

    It gets read as
    Second, I've only now become a kofer, then it means that the Gedolim were completely wrong in saying that what I wrote back then was kefirah!)

    QED

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well yeah, if you edit what he wrote you can make him say whatever in the world you want!

      Delete
  30. "Torah tradition was that a man has an obligation to raise his children with the ability to be economically self-sufficient."

    I thought this was a chiuv (obligation) not a "tradition".

    "Torah tradition was that when you have a country, you need to rise to the occasion and develop it and protect it. And so on, and so on."

    Has no one heard of milchemet mitzva? (https://torahmitzion.org/learn/holy-war/)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I thought this was a chiuv (obligation) not a "tradition".
      "Has no one heard of milchemet mitzva? (https://torahmitzion.org/learn/holy-war/)"

      Sure but the subject of this post is tradition, not Halacha.

      Delete
  31. Your essay on " Can my daughter sing" is riddled with errors. I will mention a few although there are more:
    1)" why didn't it just answer simply that whereas Rav Sheshet is referring to a case of looking with impure intentions, Rav Yitzchak is talking about seeing areas that are normally uncovered even without impure intentions" Rav Sheshet is referring to staring at a woman. (even with no unpure intentions) There is no difference in halacha between covered and uncovered areas. This is evident in the sugyeh of
    ''בבא בתרא'' נז: and here
    2)"I have seen various contemporary halachic works state that various authorities "clarify" that the Gemara is referring to a woman singing. However, these are not "clarifications" - they are interpretations" There are many Rishonim who state that chazal were refferring to singing see מרדכי בּרכות אות פּ in name of many Rishonim and r Hai gaon.
    3) The Rambam and Rashba who prohibit talking are being more stringent but they agree that singing is prohibitted seeשו"ת הרמב"ם , (מהד' בלאו, סימן רכ"ד, עמ' 400-398).: "ואם המזמרת אשה, יש שם איסור חמישי, לאומרם ז"ל: 'קול באשה ערווה'

    ReplyDelete
  32. The Oven of Achnai story was a major factor in my leaving observance from a very young age. Learning that no amount of new evidence could change the rulings of rabbis who had already made up their minds, and who were in error as well. This episode demonstrated to me how truly anti-intellectual Orthodoxy was, and how there was no place for people who asked questions or sought the truth.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Renegade:

      The Oven of Achnai story is indeed puzzling and can be seen from many perspectives, and I think I view it very differently that you do and it is a major empowering factor in strengthening my fidelity to Judaism and observance.

      I do not see it as a testament to any "anti-intellectualism" within Judaism and Orthodoxy; and I don't see it as a showing that "no amount of new evidence could change the rulings of rabis who had already made up their minds, and who were in error as well" or that "there was no place for people who asked questions or sought the truth."

      Quite to the contrary, I see the story as exemplifying the humanity of the Jewish pursuit. G-D gave the Torah to us, It belongs to us now, no longer is it G-D's Torah. It does not belong to the angels and it does not belong in any divine realm. It belongs right here with us humans in all our greatness and with all our problems. It is a tool for humanity to partner with G-D to make this earthly physical world a better place.

      The story does not show that "no amount of evidence will change the rulings" but rather that magical / heavenly evidence just doesn't cut it. the Torah belongs to humans and we need humans to make these decisions based on human values, not based on magical wonders.

      R. Eliezer's opinion failed precisely because he couldn't articulate it enough using human values to convince the others. Whether they were right or wrong about the oven is somewhat immaterial; what matters is that they were right from the bigger picture about the place of the role of humanity in determining the course of Judaism and the Torah.

      Questions and seeking truth are noble aspirations - and they must be done from the perspective of human values. There is a huge amount of trust in the human soul and human heart and human mind in this story.

      Delete
    2. That’s my point. Truth isn’t determined by committee, and the fact that you think “Torah” or “Judaism” can bypass or ignore truth just reinforces how truly anti-intellectual the system is. It’s just about the Rabbis automatically being right and reasoning backwards to support whatever conclusion they want, with irrelevant quote mining and known fallacies.

      This is exactly the self-serving and illogical attitude that turns so many off from Judaism. But sure, you can think whatever you want about the story — there’s more ways to read it than just your preferred framing.

      Delete
  33. Renegade:

    "there’s more ways to read it than just your preferred framing."

    completely agree, that's why I wrote "The Oven of Achnai story ... can be seen from many perspectives,"

    "It’s just about the Rabbis automatically being right and reasoning backwards to support whatever conclusion they want, with irrelevant quote mining and known fallacies....This is exactly the self-serving and illogical attitude that turns so many off from Judaism."

    nearly 6 months ago on this blog a made a comment noting similar facts as you, just not reaching the same conclusion. My comment on 3/3/22 at 7pm on RNS post: "The ToMo Derech at its Finest"

    I wrote: "Gemara itself does in many places. thoughout it there are many examples where the gemara just changes the rules of the game, mid-game, on a whim: Sometimes when a particular braita doesn't seem to agree with a mishna, the gemara will claim 'ooops, we mixed up the braita and it should be read the exact opposite.' Other times, the gemara will say 'ooops, there are really words missing from the mishna, and should should be read differently.' Sometimes, the gemara says the the rabbis don't make rulings for rare situations, and other times that's exactly what we see, rulings for extremely rare situations. Sometimes every word in a mishna is precious, other times, 'oh, they just said that in the 'siefa' because they also said it in the 'reisha' 'it's really a meaningless limitation'.' Sometimes that's said with regard to torah as well - 'every word is important and necessary to teach us lessons,' but in other situations the gemara says XYZ is just recorded in the torah, well... just because, not to teach us anything. And then of course there are sages in the gemara who intentionally (fraudulently) misattribute teachings to others with greater authority just so that others will take their words more seriously. Or sages in the gemara who realize they did something wrong and don't admit to it - or better yet, seek to hide it. [I pointed out that these] are just examples in a long chain of Jews who are intellectually dishonest."

    But I am convinced they do that because they feel that their position is correct and want to tie it to something biblical, something divine. yes, they are clearly "reasoning backwards" as you say, but I think it is not material, because ultimately, the majority (usually) rules, and the process is (mostly) democratic (at least to the extent we can expect determinations from 1600 years ago to be).

    I think I also pointed out - though I don't recall in what forum - that it's comparable to the rhetoric of the Democrats and Republicans regarding the recent appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court and the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. Both sides profess fealty to the same Constitution (except the few radicals one each side who think it should be scrapped) but both sides read completely different things into that same document. Does the Constitution protect a woman's right to choose? well, regardless of your position on that topic you can find support in the document and the way it's been interpreted for the last two-and-a-quarter centuries.

    The Jews don't have a monopoly on the tricks and twists they use to make our sources fit our views. But that doesn't mean we're not searching for a deeper more divine truth. I happen to think this is precisely what turns so many on to Judaism as well.

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    Replies
    1. @Renegade, "It’s just about the Rabbis automatically being right and reasoning backwards to support whatever conclusion they want, with irrelevant quote mining and known fallacies."

      Within the context of the Achnai oven, this isn't true. There was a human debate, and R Eliezer, as prominent as he was, was all alone. This part of the story is a good model for any debate, that the majority is likely right. The next part of the story, that there were miracles and a Bas Kol and they were ignored, isn't of any practical matter to us. R Eliezer's job was to convince the other rabbis of his view. That failed, so his ruling was rejected. What's so complicated?

      There are other cases that need a different discussion--us arguing on Chasimas Hashas, laity on rabbis, and heretics on believers--where Halacha assigns victory to Shas, rabbis and believers. Those are explained differently. As you've already left observance, there's likelihood, to use your words, "no amount of new evidence could change [your conduct, now that you've] already made up [you]r mind, and [a]re in error as well." I therefore am not overly interested in pursuing them.

      Delete
    2. Anon, take it from another anon. Don't bend yourself out of shape. Very few people leave religion due to theological reasons. They leave because of their ta'avos and then create theological reasons to justify it.

      Delete

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