Sunday, November 20, 2022

New Ban: Pshat

There's a Hebrew five-volume work titled Peshuto Shel Mikra which is joining the ranks of books that have been banned (and I'm running out of space on my banned books shelf). The zealots behind the ban are taking things to a new level. It's not just pashkevilim; they are mass-calling people in Israel with a recorded message, and there's even a website detailing the condemnations! The website declares that "We have received a clear Psak that it is a mitzva to burn the book called Pshuto Shel Mikra" (emphasis added).

I haven't yet managed to fully investigate the situation, but here are some preliminary thoughts on this new ban, which shares some significant similarities with the ban on my own books.

The signatories to the ban are various Israeli charedi rabbonim along with many members of the American charedi rabbinic leadership - Rav Malkiel Kotler and others from Lakewood, Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel from South Fallsburg, Rav Aharon Feldman from Ner Israel, and others. The publishers of the book have posted a defense, but have also essentially backed down and have agreed not to reprint the book until various "clarifications" have been made. (They should not be criticized for weakness. This kind of pressure is very difficult to stand up against. I was only able to hold my ground because I was young and it was easy for me to simply leave the charedi world.)

When something like this happens, the knee-jerk reaction of everyone outside the charedi world (and many people within the charedi world) is to assume that the ban is utter nonsense and the book must be very valuable. But I didn't like it when people reacted that way to my own book ban, and I don't like it here either. In the same way as a negative opinion of a book by someone who hasn't read it isn't worth very much, a positive opinion of a book by someone who hasn't read it also isn't worth very much.

It's true that such a hysterical reaction is usually indicative of a problem with the person engaging in hysteria rather than the person being banned. But on the other hand, there is usually a genuine cause for concern, even if the zealots are failing to acknowledge its legitimacy and/or blowing things out of proportion. That was certainly the case with my own books, where I wrote a two-part defense of the ban on my books as a social policy (even though my books were not actually heretical). And it's also the case here.

As I gather (I have only just acquired my own copy, and have not studied it yet), the book gives a peshat explanation of the Torah. And it's the actual peshat - not the "peshat" of Rashi, which actually incorporates a substantial amount of Midrashic exegesis. Those banning the book raise several objections. First is that The Gedolim condemned a similar such work in the past (Chumash HaMevo'ar). Second is that it is unthinkable to replace Rashi as the primary commentary. Third is that Rashi's commentary is the only legitimate peshat. And fourth is that the type of peshat that is detached from Chazal's exegeses is itself a dangerous corruption of Torah which leads to heresy.

With regard to the Gedolim having condemned a similar such work in the past, my friend DH pointed out that while it's true that Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv issued such a condemnation against Chumash HaMevo'ar, others, such as Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Wosner and Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg subsequently disagreed and endorsed the work.

What about replacing Rashi as the primary commentary? There were indeed those who were opposed to such things. But that's exactly what ArtScroll does, along with numerous others. 

As for the claim that Rashi is the only authorized peshat, that's just plain wrong. Eric Lawee, in two excellent articles, points out that not only Rashi's grandson Rashbam but also many Sephardic scholars disapproved of Rashi incorporating Midrash into peshat.

And what of the fourth objection, that giving straightforward reasonable explanations of pesukim leads to heresy? Well, they might have a point there.

Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism is built around a very particular approach to Scripture. Learning pesukim according to their straightforward, most rational meaning, without these layers of interpretation, is indeed potentially threatening. People who say otherwise just aren't aware of what a straightforward interpretation of various passages in the Torah would actually look like (and they are probably better off not knowing). This is why bible scholars such as James Kugel point out that academic Bible study is not only very different from traditional Torah study, it is downright incompatible with its religious goals. But at the same time, it is undeniable that there have been many great Torah scholars over history who have taken approaches to at least parts of Torah which are closer to this form of study than to the conventional contemporary charedi approach.

The situation is thus very similar to the controversy around my own books, which was at root about rationalism. Yes, the rationalist approach is indeed potentially dangerous. However, it has nevertheless been legitimized by many great Torah scholars, from the Geonim through Rambam through Rav Hirsch through my own mentors. Likewise, many of the statements in Peshuto Shel Mikra which the zealots declare to be "heretical" are also, apparently unbeknownst to them, found in the writings of universally accepted great Torah scholars. Furthermore, banning such an approach involves its own problems - not to mention that it is guaranteed to instantly give enormous publicity and appeal to that which they are trying to ban!

I hope in future posts to address this topic in more detail. Meanwhile, my sympathies go out to the many fine Torah scholars involved in producing Peshuto Shel Mikra, who clearly worked very hard with the best of intentions, and are now being branded as having "wicked designs to tear down the emunah of Klal Yisroel." As I know from my own experiences, it's a horrible thing to go through, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Well, almost anyone.

 

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168 comments:

  1. "And what of the fourth objection, that giving straightforward reasonable explanations of pesukim leads to heresy? WELL, THEY MAY HAVE A POINT HERE."

    RNS, I know I may be surprising you here, but even about this, I strongly disagree with you!! I have gone through the numerous examples of "kefira" detailed in the pashkevillin, and they are all legitimate pshatim mentioned by the Rishonim and Achronim. The entire pirush was never meant to supplant Midrashei Chazal, which are very important and the intended message that we are supposed to take away from the Torah, rather as a running commentary alongside Rashi to complement their previous pirush, Rashi K'pshuto. Understanding exactly what the Torah is saying is also important, and has been the style of many Rishonim and Achronim (including the Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, Radak, Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam, the Netziv, Rav Hirsch, amongst many others). From my understanding, in Eretz Yisroel this is a political fight, with the עץ faction strongly opposed to it and the ג faction perplexed על מה חרי אף הגדול הזה. Once most of the examples of "kefira" were shown to be bogus, the focus of the hate campaign shifted and claimed that the chief editors of the project are affiliated with בית מדרש הגר"א, which seems to be some sort of movement that some associate with Haskalah. Once that was shown to be false, the claim became that one of the proofreaders was associated with them (their claim was that this individual in fact wrote the entire pirush, a claim disputed by the 30+ other editors involved in the project).

    In America, certain elements close with the עץ faction have worked very hard in putting together a kol koreh signed by Rabbanim across the board. Fortunately, the rabbanim here are not used to the same degree of fighting that you have in Eretz Yisroel and rabbanim signed it innocently, not knowing about the background involved. Someone even ran an ad in one of the American yeshivishe papers claiming that some unknown rabbanim ruled it should be burned! There is no heter for that and even the zealots in Eretz Yisroel are at least putting them in geniza.

    Incidentally, in the 1700's someone by the name of R' Shlomo Dubna had an idea to publish a Chumash with exactly the goal - to provide a pirush which explains things k'pshuto, based on the Rishonim Pashtanim. Mendelsshohn originally coopted Dubna's pirush and used it as the basis for his Biur for some parshiyos, however eventually Dubna moved on from Mendelssohn and decided to republish on his own in Hebrew independent from Mendelssoshn's Biur. R' Dubna printed a sample on two parshiyos and received haskamos from the Noda B'Yehuda and R' Chaim Volozhiner, and thousands of people signed up to buy his chumash, including R' Zelmele Volozhiner, R' Dovid Tevel, and many of the other Gedolei Hador. The full sefer never ended up making it to print but you can see that they had a quite different attitude than the rabbanim signing on this kol koreh!

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS CHUMASH, AND THIS IS A POLITICAL SMEAR CAMPAIGN!!

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    1. "THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS CHUMASH"

      Clarification:

      I will admit that I can understand why the title of the series comes across as pretentious and distasteful, but I still think that the reaction is completely overblown. Incidentally, the creators of the pirush claim (https://tora-forum.co.il/viewtopic.php?p=384141&sid=1d1094469d4a4122cffb51aced110def) that the commentary was originally supposed to be titled 'ביאורי מקראות והשלמות', to be printed alongside their previously published רש"י כפשוטו commentary, however the publisher decided to change the name last minute to פשוטו של מקרא, much to their consternation. This seems like nothing more than a crass marketing decision. After all, Israelis are not exactly known for their finesse. When I first saw the series released around seven years ago, I was actually turned off by the title, but when I heard about the impending storm brewing last week, I ran to my local seforim store and bought one of the last copies!

      Also, I did not go over the entire sefer with a fine-tooth comb and cannot vouch for every word there, but from what I've seen so far, all the examples shown are completely ridiculous!

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    2. Mekarker, since you are a "chareidi" or a "chareidi apologist", the rule on this site is that you are not allowed to dispute anything in pashlevils signed by "Gedolim". They just don't know what to do with you if you do that. You ought to be banned, or at the very least, heavily censored.

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    3. Aw, Happy, you have a sense of humor!
      (actually, I seem to recall you having made a joke before)

      But joking aside, it is nice when people do try to see the other side.

      I agree the title of the work does seem rather pompous - it can be construed as claiming that it is the sole bearer of Pshat, negating Rashi's and that of others.

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    4. " the title of the work does seem rather pompous "
      The last sefer written with a non-pompous self-effacing title was המפה. And if you wrote a sefer today with such a self-effacing title, you yourself would be construed as pompous.

      " it can be construed as claiming that it is the sole bearer of Pshat, negating Rashi's and that of others."

      The only people who are construing are the torch wielding fanatics.

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    6. I think I understand the opposition. A sefer with the name פשוטו של מקרא definitely sounds explicitly like an alternative to Rashi. Meaning, Rashi is one derech, not the פשוטו של מקרא, and this is the alternative, the other derech, the פשוטו של מקרא. And the reason why it sounds that way is because it really is so close to the truth. We all know that Rashi is not the Rashbam, the Ibn Ezra, Ramban, or Bechor Shor. We know Rashi is distinctly not the same type of "pshat" as them. But if so, you ask, if it is true, then what is the problem?

      And the answer is, that they are not just bringing the Rashbam, or Ibn Ezra, or Ramban. They are applying their own judgement, paskening which one is the most pashut pshat. Now, that by itself is not a problem, countless other seforim do that, the Mesivta gemara does that, Artscroll does that, etc. But it is a problem here, when the name of the sefer explicitly advertises itself as an alternative to Rashi. So basically, your alternative to Rashi is the judgement of some unknown avreich who decides which pshat is the best. Imagine if somebody wrote something called גמרא בלי פלפולים, which would be a peirush on the Gemara that explained things according to the "Rambam-Rif-Geonim" derech, as opposed to the "Tosafos" derech. I think that would engender the same opposition.

      I believe that if they would have called the sefer ליקוטים מרבותינו על דרך הפשט, there wouldn't be opposition. And the mechaber himself basically admitted this was a problem the linked post.

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    7. That's a valid complaint, but to say that because of that it is 'אינו בר תיקון כלל' and 'על כן פשוט וברור שספר הזה אסור לבוא בקהל', seems overblown. Also, it smells like politics when people are raising a thousand and one complaints and hoping one of them sticks. And calling for it to be burned is a travesty!

      Incidentally, I heard today that someone asked Rabbi Forcheimer what he should do with his copy of פשוטו של מקרא and he told him that he can keep it and learn from the other pirushim on the page but should avoiding using the Pshuto Shel Mikra pirush. That's a little bit different than what the hot heads are saying!!

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    8. " the name of the sefer explicitly advertises itself as an alternative to Rashi. "

      You're reading too much into the title. What if you were to employ your title divination methods to other seforim? Does it make שפת אמת imply that everyone else is a liar? Does it make קיצור שלחן ערוך imply that there's no other way to abridge the classic halachic code? Does מקראי גדולות imply that there are no other גדולים? (Okay, those examples are exaggerations. But I would like you to take three random seforim from your bookshelf and divine the intention of the author only by reading the title. I want to see your methodology at work.) You inference that the authors intended their ספר to be an "alternative" (whatever that means) is totally unwarranted and is fanciful speculation.

      "So basically, your alternative to Rashi is the judgement of some unknown avreich who decides which pshat is the best."
      This is not clear. First of all, it's not clear what you mean by the word "alternative". It is an addition? Is it complementary? Is it a replacement? Or is it something which leads into Rashi, and that Rashi is meant to complete the content of this sefer?

      What you've done here is making a sweeping conclusion regarding the authors' intent, based on the title alone. It's completely unjustified.

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    9. My point was NOT about the author's intentions. Farkert, from Rabbi Anshen's comments, it sounds like this was definitely not their intention. My point was about the way the title itself sounds, especially in the context of what we know about the difference between Rashi and other Meforshim. FWIW, I think if the באר היטב on Shulchan Aruch were written today, it would also come under attack.

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  2. I've been using this excellent Chumash since it came out. What are some specific problematic examples? Anyone knows?

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  3. It's painful that the strongest point the Charedim make is just covered in loads off nonsense.

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  4. מה לתבן את הבר?????

    What comparison is there from this mechaber, who is clearly a ת"ח and ירא שמים, and who admitted the problems with his sefer and committed to fix them, to the, uh..."other story"?! And he would probably vomit at being compared to kofrim like Kugel and other "bible scholars", or being endorsed by this blog or compared to the author.

    A side point: there is of course no correlation between פשוטו של מקרא and rationalism. The "rationalist" authorities like Rambam and Ralbag are more than happy to explain verses and entire parshiyos שלא כפשוטו to fit their pre-conceived notions. On the other hand, Rashi has no problem explaining many things כפשוטו.

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  5. Rashbam, Rashis grandson, bereishis 37:2

    אלה תולדות יעקב – ישכילו ויבינו אוהבי שכל מה שלימדונו רבותינו כי אין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו, אף כי עיקרה של תורה באת ללמדנו ולהודיענו ברמיזת הפשט וההגדותא וההלכות והדינין על ידי אריכות הלשון ועל ידי שלשים ושתים מידות של ר׳ אליעזר בנו של ר׳ יוסי הגלילי ועל ידי שלש עשרה מידות של ר׳ ישמעאל. והראשונים מתוך חסידותם נתעסקו לנטות אחרי הדרשות שהן עיקר, ומתוך כך לא הורגלו בעומק פשוטו של מקרא, ולפי שאמרו חכמים אל תרבו בניכם בהגיון (השוו בבלי ברכות כ״ח:), וגם אמרו העוסק במקרא מדה ואינה מדה, העוסק בתלמוד אין לך מדה גדולה מזו (השוו בבלי בבא מציעא ל״ג.), ומתוך כך לא הורגלו כל כך בפשוטוב של מקראות. וכדאמרינן במסכת שבת: הוינא בר תמני סרי שנין וגרסינן כולה תלמודא, ולא הוה ידענא דאין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו (בבלי שבת ס״ג.). וגם רבנו שלמה אבי אמי מאיר עיני גולה שפירש תורה נביאים וכתובים נתן לב לפרש פשוטו של מקרא. ואף אני שמואל ב״ר מאיר חתנו זצ״ל נתווכחתי עמו ולפניו, והודה לי שאילו היה לו פנאי היה צריך לעשות פרושים אחרים לפי הפשטות המתחדשים בכל יום.

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  6. I find myself using this set of Chumash practically every week. It's purpose is more the subtitle רש"י כפשוטו that it's title חומש כפשוטו.

    A Chabad Rabbi that I know wrote a pamphlet, "What's Bothering Rashi?", which I just glanced at, but which I understood was meant to answer: What question is Rashi addressing in his comment here, that isn't clear about the text?

    The purpose of this set of chumashim is much the same, fleshing out Rashi's sources and other Scriptural references, until it's clear what Rashi is trying to convey. I think that's valuable. Especially on Rashi's grammatical notes.

    As for interweaving Midrash into pshat, the Lubavitcher Rebbe has numerous sichos on Rashi, where he addresses Rashi's statement in Parshas Bereshis that his major purpose was to arrive at an understanding of פשוטו של מקרא--so the Midrash quoted must be needed to properly understand the pshat! (That's probably not going to fly over very well with the readers here.)

    One major בר פלוגתא here is The Hat, who (besides his views on the Palestine-Israel conflict) was bringing up there the comments of the Ibn Ezra, where he hints that perhaps the entire Torah wasn't written by Moshe Rabbenu. The Hat got it over the head, being called an אפיקורוס. If they would write a similar set of books, אבן עזרא כפשוטו, do people have any doubt that it would be banned by the same people?

    (Mossad HaRav Kook has put out an edition of Ibn Ezra's commentary, much like Rav Chavel's Ramban on the Torah.)

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    1. Probably not, because contrary to some portrayals, Ibn Ezra was always recognized as being on "our side" when it came to biblical interpretation. See his comments on Bereishis 36:31, for instance. How do you ban a work the Ramban quotes extensively?

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    2. I suppose we experience pshat/drush/remez on a continuum, and the lines separating them can be blurred- and it's entirety is synthesized into a unified whole.
      What I've inferred from the Rebbe's writings on Rashi is a dialectic. At times, the pshat presents itself as insufficient due to some particular with the words of the פסוק. In such a case Rashi will introduce a מדרש to reconcile the problematic פשט. What emerges from the Rebbe's reading is a synthesis of פשט and דרוש. What therefore emerges, is an implicit defense of מדרש- to understand פשט one is compelled to cite the מדרש.

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    3. The reason why Hat is a kofer is because he denies that God wrote the Torah. Nothing to do with the Ibn Ezra.

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    4. @Shlomo: Also, I believe the Rambam wrote to his son to learn Chumash davka with the commentary of the Ibn Ezra. (Did the Rambam ever get to see Rashi on the Torah, or on the Gemara?)

      Many years ago on this blog, there was a Yemenite person who said what his early studies were like. He said that he learned Chumash with Onkelos, Ibn Ezra, and Sa'adia Gaon's commentary. Rashi wasn't first on his list.

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    5. That letter of the Rambam is a known forgery.

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    6. What emerges from writings such as the Rebbe and others before him is that Rashi actually had a methodology and wasn't just bringing midrashim to spice up the peirush (which is what it seems like when we first learn him in grade school).

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    7. Most of the Rebbe's works are frankly convoluted shoehorning of his own words into Rashi with indifference to any objective sense of peshuto shel mikra even while he invokes that doctrine.

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    8. @The Hat: Perhaps the Rebbe's conclusions seem forced at times, but, as usual in most commentaries on Rashi, the questions are more interesting than the answers given. (A rabbi of mine said that about the Gur Aryeh by the Maharal.)

      For example, the Rebbe will point out that Rashi is bringing a Midrash, but the language isn't quoted exactly the same, or the Midrash will bring 4 possibilities, while Rashi only brought 3, etc. Things we'd otherwise miss if we didn't look back at the source material.

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    9. Here's a good example of a Rashi sicha that is actually quite accessible, with not such a "forced" explanation:

      This week's parshah (Toldos), the Lubavitcher Rebbe has an interesting discussion (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 15, Toldos Sichah #3), on Rashi bringing three reasons why Yitzchak became blind: From Esav's wives burning incense, as an outcome of the Akeidah, or so that Ya'akov can receive the blessings.

      The Rebbe asks right off the bat: Why should Rashi bring any explanations? The Torah itself says: "And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see". It's quite natural that a person loses his eyesight as he gets older!

      The problem with just relying on that as an explanation for Yitzchak's blindness is that Yitzchak was around 123 years old at the time. Not young, but consider that he lived to 180! Also, if Hashem gave Yitzchak a blessing after Avraham's passing, it's not much of a blessing to spend the last third of your lifetime blind!

      Thus, Rashi was compelled to resort to the Midrash, to bring other reasons for Yitzchak's blindness.

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  7. See here for full treatment:
    https://hefkervelt.blogspot.com/2022/11/more-on.html?m=1

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    1. Thanks, that's whatbwe were looking for.

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    2. To get the FULL background:

      https://forum.otzar.org/viewtopic.php?t=20852

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    3. Thanks for posting the link to "Hefkervelt" (which i had never heard of before.

      He makes a pretty strong case why anyone who cares about the text of the Torah should buy this Chumash, even though he thinks he is making a case against the Chumash.

      If you think that the Kedusha of Rashi is higher than the Kedusha of the actual words in the Torah (as he seems to believe), you should not buy this Chumash.

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    4. "If you think that the Kedusha of Rashi is higher than the Kedusha of the actual words in the Torah (as he seems to believe),"

      That's not the point. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has an often quoted formulation to the effect that the Written Torah is incomprehensible without the Oral Torah. Hence, if anything, the Oral Torah is more important. This isn't about inherent Kedusha but about which is most gainful for us.

      Chazal say, "חביבים דברי סופרים יותר מיינה של תורה"
      ; "אמר רבא כמה טפשאי שאר אינשי דקיימי מקמי ספר תורה ולא קיימי מקמי גברא רבה דאילו בס"ת כתיב ארבעים ואתו רבנן בצרו חדא"; "איידי דאתא מדרשה חביבה"

      I.e., the Oral Torah takes precedence. Now we can choose, does that mean essentially -and you'll disagree, or pragmatically.

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    5. Or that the Oral Torah allows us to see the Written Torah correctly.

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  8. This whole thing is just an over zealousness orchestrated by some hot heads and the many people studying the book for a number of years are confused by the noise and don't quite get get what the big deal is about.
    Some of the signatories no doubt never saw the pirush themselves. They were easy prey and signed without realizing the Israeli politics involved.
    It is far from a representation of the whole of the "Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism". There are some noted senior Rabbis notably missing. They may not be fully comfortable with the overall style, and would agree that it shouldn't be an educational tool for children, but this ban is to them way over the top.

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    1. There seem to be remarkably many gedolim who sign anything put in front of them without quite understanding what is going on...

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  9. The Chumash had haskomos from many leading rabbies. I don't remember ever seeing anything improper in commentary. Could it be that someone has organized this campaign to eliminate the competition?

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    1. Leading rabbies? I hope they get their rabies shot!

      The haskamos were actually on their first pirush, רש"י כפשוטו. For פשוטו של מקרא, they did not solicit a single haskama.

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    2. Umm . . . you might be partially correct, at least in terms of complicating aspects of the controversy, which have nothing to do with peshuto shel mikra and nothing to do with Lakewood or the Litvishe world: I understand that the publisher was coming out with a Chok l'Yisroel that used the same approach (explain things briefly and clearly) and that perhaps a competitor is trying to play up the peshuto shel mikra issue as a wedge against Chok l'Yisroel competition. Perhaps.

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  10. (even though my books were actually heretical)

    Freudian slip?

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  11. "even though my books were actually heretical" Freudian slip?

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  12. I found some material by Rabbi E. Bernstein and it does not appear to me to be kefirah or unorthodox in anyway. I should know. Decades ago his books would be a welcome addition to Orthodox Judaism. The Author(s) are probably heartbroken. ACJA



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    1. The book being banned is not the book by Rabbi Bernstein.

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  13. Comment 1 explains a lot. Presumably, the Lakewood denunciation from R' Malkiel and R' Feldman endorsement are due not to their naiveté, but to their being aligned with עץ.
    In Rav Feldmans case, it's also consistent with his support for Rav Shach and his affinity for denigrating all kinds of things that fall outside of his rigid perspective: Steinsaltz, Rav Aryeh Kaplan, etc etc etc.

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  14. "This is why bible scholars such as James Kugel point out that academic Bible study is not only very different from traditional Torah study..."

    Pshat study is also very different from academic Bible study. Pshat study, as done by numerous mefarshim such as the ones in this banned series, assumes that the Torah text is true, and assumes the truth of a traditional religious belief system (not necessarily exactly Rambam's 13 - but pretty close). In contrast, academic study assumes that the Torah text contains lots of falsehood (for starters - all academic study assumes that miracles cannot occur), is not concerned with Jewish belief and occasionally actively seeks to undermine it. These are very different approaches which have very different implications for the person learning them, even if for a majority of verses the conclusions will be the same.

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    1. Yeah, Slifkin's implication that Kugel and Bible scholars simply have the Rashbam's "mehalech halimud" is pretty outrageous!

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  15. But what do the Zealots say about every English/French/whatever published over the centuries? Artscroll itself, for example. Why are Artscroll/Feldheim translations not banned?

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  16. Interestingly, Mossad HaRav Kook's Da'at Mikra has only their perush (perushim, really) for Nakh, but for the Torah (which came out after Nakh) they include Rashi- in Rashi letters, no less.

    The original edition of Mendelssohn's Biur included only the German translation and the perush. Within a few years, though, the newer editions included Onkelos and Rashi as well.

    So the idea that "it has to have Rashi" is clearly not new. But it's also not a solid rule.

    Artscroll originally published a "Family Chumash" which had only a translation. But they only came out with Genesis before switching to the format they publish today, with Rashi and Onkelos. On the other hand, their full Tanakh set, which isn't yet finished, which they started their whole publishing enterprise with, have *only* their perush. (They even did some volumes in Hebrew back in the day.)

    Famously, Artscroll took years to produce an actual literal translation of Shir HaShirim, in their one-volume Tanakh but only in the footnotes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The פשוטו של מקרא chumash also has Rashi!

      Delete
    2. Right, but this ban claims it's not enough. They're building on the supposed "requirement" to make it even tougher.

      Delete
  17. Cherem is usually very good for a sefer's value in the marketplace.

    ReplyDelete
  18. So before Rashi, did Jews not read the Chumash?
    Ramban, Radak, rashbam at times give different interpretations from Rashi.
    What about Rasag, ibn Ezra etc?
    Can't call other rishoinim Chas v shalom derogatory names.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is very disappointing. Our usual charedi apologists here are not defending the Gedolim. In fact I'm the only one who is offering any kind of defense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not an apologist. I don't feel the need to defend any 'movement' because I am not part of a movement. I simply strive (to the best of my ability, I'm not insinuating that I'm perfect. Far from it!) to follow the Torah and Halachah in its truest form possible and in accordance with Mesora, and not try to conform it to modern society. Oh, and I enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy and duplicitousness of movements that do try to modernize the Torah!

      And the term "Chareidi" is a made-up Israeli term used almost exclusively in Israel (I admit that I use it on this forum myself, but just to differentiate from the MODOX). Here in the US, we refer to ourselves simply as frum Jews or Yidden. The real McCoy.

      Delete
    2. Because the 'charedi appoligists' are independent thinkers with a rationalist bend. They have a greater awareness of the problems of their society then you and object to the onesided, mean and irrational obsession of your blog. None have a problem with this Chumash.

      Delete
    3. Look, there is a large number of very prestigious rabbinic authorities who clearly feel very strongly that this sefer is very problematic. I think that somebody ought to be explaining their perspective rather than just dismissing them as crazy or ignorant.

      Delete
    4. Maybe because the "charedi apologists" are actually more interested in defending the truth than defending the Gedolim
      -DD

      Delete
    5. Let them explain themselves.

      https://www.torahmusings.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/%D7%95%D7%99%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%95-%D7%91%D7%9E%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%90-%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%93.pdf?

      Delete
    6. When Steinsaltz gemorah was banned, most in my charedi yeshiva didn't stop consulting it when needed. I have your books, like many other 'appologists'. The problem of unreasonable charomim has been with us since forever. I don't sweat it, but it does hit new lows from time to time, like with this particular cherem.

      Delete
    7. Re: what @Yakov posted from torahmusings, see page 55 (עמוד מג) - that one example of the purported heresy of the authors is about צוהר תעשה לתיבה - where they give various explanations about the צוהר other than a glowing stone. Compare to RDNS's previous post about this.

      Delete
    8. They do not say that צוהר is not a glowing stone. They merely suggest that perhaps the stone needed some external light to reflect.

      Delete
    9. Rns is enjoying defending the gedolim against mekharker...
      Is it purim already or is moshiach coming??!!??!!!!
      Yidposhut

      Delete
    10. By the way, I heard that another great friend of the doc, R' Gershon Ribner, gave a shmuz last night where he questioned the legitimacy of the Kol Koreh! This is very surprising as R' Ribner is usually very conservative about sticking to the official Lakewood establishment narrative. As of this comment, they have not yet posted it on his website https://rebgershonribner.com/ , and I have a feeling that they may not post it at all.

      Delete
    11. Also heard about r gershon ribners shmuz. However i heard he said that at least one of the signatures was real (r forschiemer) and that one has to be cognizant of the signatures that AREN'T on the cherem. (Heard from an attendee )
      Yidposhut

      Delete
  20. The Artscroll single volume shir hashirim has ALWAYS had a literaral translation in the footnotes since it was published decades ago.

    ReplyDelete
  21. RNS. Why is only Rashi acceptable ? Many Commentaries do not accept Rashi's commentary on various topics etc.. Chazal said David Hamelech did not sin and various commentaries say he did including the sin of אשת איש!

    ReplyDelete
  22. The problem with the ban is that it is off statement. Clearly they're afraid of some kind haskalisher approach to Tanakh where the "real meaning" is peshat. Which demotes a more traditional interpretation to a layer atop, basically a reinterpretation of the text.

    Similarly, the ban isn't really about "only Rashi". They would be shocked if someone took their words to mean we should stop making a Miqraos Gedolos. No more Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Seforno... and pare down the Chizquni?

    And while this commentary is not actually of that ilk: (1) We have no idea what the people who presented the rabbanim something they would certainly rubberstamp actually presented to them. And (2) they are probably more concerned with why people are focusing on a peshat-only approach to begin with. More than the content of this particular sefer.

    These bans are aimed at controlling the direction of the community. Like trying to get rid of a Concordist approach to Maaseh Bereishis (finding an understanding of the science and of the Torah which don't conflice), the Mabul, or Migdal Bavel in favor of Maximalism. Talking about the text itself in question isn't speaking the same language as those making the ban. Or what specter they are holding up before the gedolim "doing the banning" (reacting as expected to pre-spun presentations of the facts).

    The crisis for those of us not in that community is more in where to find posqim. If the direction of halakhah is now in the hands of rabbanim who so easily and repeatedly fall for biased presentations of what's going on, how can you follow their pesaqim in less controversial matters? How can they be trusted to be pasqening about reality as it is in anything?

    For that matter, who even wants to follow rabbanim who play with people's lives on someone else's say-so? That's Toras Chessed al leshonah???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is R' Malkiel Kotler your posek? R' Shustal? Do you usually turn to pashkevilim for all your halachic questions? No?! So what is your "posek" problem exactly? I would be much more concerned with secularist MO poskim who are buddy buddy with the Reform movement.

      Delete
    2. Friend of mine who uses this daily and is a very conservative Lakewood-hashkofa person told me he called one of the Lakewood signers, with whom he has a relationship, for more information and for guidance as to what to do know. The Lakewood signer told him he knows nothing about the sefer and has never even looked at it or seen it. He only signed because of the other signers.

      Delete
    3. This Chumash, unlike Slifkin's books, is easily accessibale to the rabonim. If they chose to make their decision without studying the text first, and there is no excuse for doing that, you have your answer. But there are a problems with rabnonim of all persuations. There is nothing that we can do about it. Collectively they are unfit for leadership. Just remind yourself of what they said about recent events like corona and Meron. G-d help us!

      Delete
    4. "he knows nothing about the sefer and has never even looked at it or seen it. He only signed because of the other signers."
      This is one of the most appalling indictments of charedi rabbinic "leadership" that I have ever seen.

      Delete
    5. Looking at the list of signatories I hardly think we need to be concerned about where to find poskim. They're mostly so prominent I've never heard of them, with a couple of exceptions. Nearly half are Lakewood names, and Lakewood is mostly big in Lakewood. The big names in psak internationally are not there. So as much as there is indeed a leadership crisis at the top of the Jewish world, this ban does not reflect that.

      Delete
    6. "Collectively they are unfit for leadership"

      עפ"ל!

      Now you're stam being a mechutzaf. Who are you?? What do you know? Have you dedicated decades to Limud HaTorah and Avodas Hamidos and Avodas Hashem? It is one thing to say that perhaps some people were misled by people they trust (and it happens all the time! From politicians and CEOs to Rabbanim across all categories!) In the US, some of the most prominent Rabbanim are affiliated with עץ, and it's not far-fetched for someone not politically inclined to trust them and sign on. I respectfully think that perhaps they were misled here, but what we need "G-d to help us" is from baalei batim and am haratzim who proclaim that all rabbanim are collectively unfit for leadership!

      בדורו של משיח, חוצפה יתגי!

      Delete
    7. R' Forscheimer is a widely followed posek. His signature alone is enough to pose a major problem.

      Delete
    8. What "major problem"? That some people follow a posek with different opinions than you?

      Delete
    9. Can confirm what Shlomo said. I heard from one of the lakewood Roshei Yeshiva that he only signed due to pressure of one of the other Roshei Yeshiva

      Those who know will know who pressured and who got pressured.

      Delete
    10. Would it be chutzpah to point out your mistake in spelling cutzpa yisgei?

      Delete
    11. To peleg: rabbi forschiemer is a big posek in lakewood only.
      His name carries like zero weight outside of 08701
      Even in lakewood he's known as a kanoi and "everyone " knows to add salt pepper vechulu.
      Im not saying hes not chasuve. Im just saying his influence outside the yeshiva is greatly exaggerated.

      Yidposhut

      Delete
    12. If one thinks that the ban is silly and a travesty (apparently the universal view on this blog, including that of the usual apologists), then obviously it's a major problem for a widely followed posek to be on board with it. Not sure why that had to be explained.

      Delete
    13. Mekarker, check this one out. The rabbonim who had given the haskomos might have not even looked at the sefer and the rabbonim who had banned the sefer might have not looked inside it either. So here we have a sefer not looked at being first highly recommended and then banned. Say, if you ask an am haaretz if a beer is good, think he is gonna tell you if he hadn't had some? It' a bittere gelechter, mekarker.

      Delete
    14. I don't think the ban is "silly" or a "travesty". As I mentioned above, the author himself admitted there are problems with the sefer and committed to fixing them. But even if you do think it is silly or a travesty, it is still possible to be respectful of those that don't. Why is that hard to understand?

      Delete
    15. yidposhut
      I take R' Forscheimer's pesakim seriously when I come across them, and I'm not from Lakewood. You sound like someone who has a bone to pick with him, because your assessment is completely untrue.

      Delete
    16. 'Have you dedicated decades to Limud HaTorah and Avodas Hamidos and Avodas Hashem? It is one thing to say that perhaps some people were misled by people they trust (and it happens all the time!'

      How many decades does one have to devote to study in order to know not to ruin someone's reputation and livelihood by affxing your signature to a cherem based on a hearsay? Politicians are now the standard to measure up to? What happened to Chifetz Chaim?Meckarker, you tell us.

      Delete
    17. @happy

      And why not talk to the author himself and give him the option to withdraw the current version and produce a new one before issuing a ban? Why sign something that you have no idea about? 'I was missled' isn't a convincing answer.

      Delete
    18. Yakov, let me ask you a question. Is Ebola dangerous? What do you know about it? I'm sure that you or anyone you know has never had it. If someone would show up to your shul with Ebola, would you consider them a rodef and act accordingly? I'm sure you would! But why? You are relying on stories that you've heard in the media. In a court of law, that's considered hearsay! 

      Or let's draw on your mashal with beer. I don't know whether or not you're a beer aficionado, but you can be sure as my name is Mecharker that even if you were clueless about it, if someone would offer you either a Budweiser or a cheap off-brand beer, you would take the Budweiser! The fact is, it's the nature of ALL human beings to trust what they see and hear from others and rely on pre-conceived biases and opinions. 

      If let's say Rabbi Forcheimer never saw the Chumash, but R' Malkiel Kotler, whom he trusts, signs a kol koreh against it, and they then go and show him a list of a dozen or so places in the chumash where they offer a pshat contrary to Chazal and Rashi (although based on other Rishonim, but not necessarily sourced), and explain to him that the machon has been 'infiltrated' by 'maskilim' who are trying to insidiously spread kefira, I don't really think he can be faulted for signing on. Yes, he should have done his research. But he is extremely busy and relies on what those he trusts tell him. 

      As Shlomo pointed out earlier, although many, many Gedolim gave haskamos to the Chumash Mevuar in 1987, two of the biggest ones were very against it, and if someone feels that it is not appropriate, he definitely has whom to lean on. Again, our story definitely smells of a smear campaign, and it seems that many of the American rabbanim signed on unwittingly, despite the fact that the Rishonim and Achronim write in countless places that Rashi does not come to explain simple pshat, based on their understanding this chumash was written with ulterior motives and is beyond the pale. But there are those who legitimately and upon informed decision feel (although I do not understand it) that such a pirush is inappropriate. 

      So yes, it's quite chutzpadik and uncalled for to say that all rabbanim are unfit for leadership!

      Delete
    19. @yakov, how do you know that the author wasn't given this chance? And how do you know they had no idea about the sefer? How do you know all this? Based on the hearsay of some anonymous commenter on a website you frequent? Maybe you should follow your own rules.

      Delete
    20. @mekarker

      To clarify: what I'd meant was that the rabbonom collectively are unfit for leadership, not every single one of them, obviously.

      Delete
    21. peleg November 22, 2022 at 4:17 PM
      I have in the past ( multiple times) asked r forschiemer shailos and very likely will in the future continue to ask him . i respect him as a talmud chacham and as an individual.
      His name just doesn't carry the weight of say rav shlomo miller or rav elya ber once you go out of 08701. I dont mean that nobody respects him. by "Like zero weight " i meant extremely low influence . and i stand by that statement.
      Yidposhut

      Delete
    22. "To clarify: what I'd meant was that the rabbonom collectively are unfit for leadership, not every single one of them, obviously."

      I still don't understand how you have the audacity to make such a comment!

      Delete
    23. Mekharker: every bar daas knows 08753 's opinions are hepekh daas torah
      Yidposhut

      Delete
  23. re: chumashim printed without Rashi: one of the weirdest seforim printed by artscroll is a "Baal HaTurim" Chumash translated into English... with no other commentary! Not even Onkelos. What the purpose of such a Chumash is in not clear to me. But the Baal HaTurim never gives pshat, so maybe that's why it was never protested. Credo quia absurdum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What the purpose of such a Chumash is not clear to me."- can't ask such questions on Artscroll. But it's probably more useful than the Artscroll Gemara. Or, get this, the Artscroll Tosafos.

      Delete
  24. The history of Judaism from the day of its foundation can be discribed as a religion in crisis. It's important for a rationalist to wrap his head around it. It is what it is and nothing that we do or say is going to change this reality. This is the reason for the strife, the fear, the chaos and the small number of us, Jews, in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Given that the pamphlet making the case for this ban cites the psak of Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv as "what our Gedolim have said" regarding publishing chumashim that explain Rashi and have a separate peirush that presents selected Rishonim al pi peshat (assur), please see here for the letters from Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv and for the haskomos to that very sefer, most of which were written AFTER the ban and therefore DESPITE the ban. In other words, the Gedolim REJECTED Rav Shach's and Rav Elyashiv's opinions, the very opinions cited by the pamphlet author (and presented to Lakewood Rabbonim as the entirety of "What the Gedolim have said"). To say it another way: In fact, most of the Gedolim REJECTED the Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv letters and Da'as Torah of Rov HaGedolim was that a sefer that presented selected Rishonim al pi peshat was perfectly fine.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/11tbcC-7cleJGm-RiQEf9gtgw-dh4Yxl1/view?usp=sharing
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Hplr5_OzCI37xUNonDxKIcHeNCRoj2M/view?usp=sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shlomo! This sefer sure has a lot of haskamos! It sounds fascinating; however, it is not on Otzar Hachochma or Hebrewbooks. Based on some pictures that I saw of it on the otzar forum https://forum.otzar.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=20852&start=920 , it seems that it does exactly the same thing the פשוטו של מקרא does, and even more overtly. I went and ordered myself a copy!

      Delete
    2. מכרכר
      It's a much more modest endeavor, just by one person, rather than a team. But it set the precedent for all the current works that do similar things -- and the author, alav hasholom, suffered greatly from having been the first and being attacked for it. He passed away after having published vol 1 of bemidbar.

      Delete
    3. Wow, oy! I noticed it stops in the middle of Bamidbar.

      יהיה זכרו ברוך.

      Delete
    4. Shlomo:

      My חומש מבואר arrived over Shabbos. However, for some reason the beginning of the first volume is missing the haskamos of the Roshei Habadatz, R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, the Ger Rebbe, R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, R' Shmuel Wosner, R' Binyomin Zilber, the Erloi Rebbe and R' Moshe Shternbuch, and contains only the haskamos of the Minchas Yitzchok, R' Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg (who does not appear on the list that you posted), R' Moshe Halberstam and R' Meir Bransdorfer.

      Do you know what's going on?

      Delete
    5. Yes I do!
      It's because those haskomos were obtained AFTER the ban, as a rejection of the ban!
      That's what makes them so extraordinary.
      Bereishis aleph and beis were before the ban, from gimmel onward were after the ban.
      Note the dates on the ban and then note the dates on the haskomos from RSZA et al.

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/11tbcC-7cleJGm-RiQEf9gtgw-dh4Yxl1/view?usp=sharing

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Hplr5_OzCI37xUNonDxKIcHeNCRoj2M/view?usp=sharing


      Delete
    6. Got it. I only ordered the first two chalakim. Which volumes contain the other haskamos?

      Delete
    7. Bereishis aleph and beis were before the ban, from gimmel onward were after the ban.
      Therefore, Bereishis Gimmel and onwards have the haskomos, meaning their rejection of that ban.

      As I said before, note what Rav Shach says in his ban about the main thing being that yeshiva learning not be compromised (presumably, even if the sefer makes learning easier for everyone else) versus what Rav Zalman Nechemiah wrote in his haskoma, a clear response (and rejection of) this notion.

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/11tbcC-7cleJGm-RiQEf9gtgw-dh4Yxl1/view?usp=sharing

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Hplr5_OzCI37xUNonDxKIcHeNCRoj2M/view?usp=sharing

      Delete
  26. Who's the publisher of this book and where and how can I get it (here in the U.S.)? Thanks in advance for this information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://judaicaplaza.com/products/6030096?_pos=3&_sid=3c6301c50&_ss=r

      Delete
  27. Happy.....at Nov.21,22 at 5:13 PM."I would be much more concerned with secularist MO poskim who are buddy buddy with the Reform movement." Who are these "MO poskim" and how are they "buddy buddy" with the Reform movement? It seems to me it's a figment of your hysterical imagination!Please explain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moshe, I linked to something in the previous post. Go find it.

      Delete
  28. Whoah huge discovery. The author of the article printed in yated explaining the ban is the same author of the kuntres recently put out in shuls called uru yesheinim it's claim is that a secret cabal is running the world it is so secret they control media to cover up but they gave themselves away by being open about their plan on WHOs website. You can follow the link in sligkins article and read for yourself. Klal yisroel is in a very dire state of yated can't tell the difference between the gedolim and the unhinged. How can one entertain burning the holy chumash an act reserved for Nazis and inquisitionists. Sak vefer yutzu lrabim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely.
      Here is his blog: https://netzachyisrael.substack.com/

      Delete
    2. Such distorted thinking is a hazard of deep diving into the conspiracy rabbit hole. Those who reject conspiracy theory are either blind sheep or themselves part of the cabal. But what of the Torah scholars behind this sefer? They're too smart to be the sheep. They must be part of the cabal!
      The notion that you can disagree with such a sefer while at the same time admit that the authors and editors are לשם שמים, but mistaken, is a concept foreign to conspiracy theorists.

      Delete
    3. That guy is a sad soul who believes in every conspiracy possible. Bill Gates/George Soros/Fauci/autism/concentration camps in the midwest/UFO etc etc.
      Not an authority at all

      Delete
  29. I do not wish to enter a discussion of the merits of the book or its theological arguments. I just wish to say that attempts to ban it are a sign of weakness. You don't ban anything if you feel that your own arguments are strong enough to stand up to scrutiny.

    ReplyDelete
  30. You are correct! See here for a completely unhinged rendition of Jewish history:
    https://netzachyisrael.substack.com/p/the-second-haskala?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2
    And here for a completely unhinged antivaxer conspiracy tying everything from the New York education policy to vaccinations to abortion all together.
    https://netzachyisrael.substack.com/p/pdf?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2

    RDNS lamented the lack of charedi apologists showing up... the truth is that what is more surprising is that the antivaxers haven't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "RDNS lamented the lack of charedi apologists showing up... the truth is that what is more surprising is that the antivaxers haven't."

      Wait...what?! It sounds like when the vaccine was being discussed they did. If there were no posts on what is wrong with and how to fix charedim, the tone of the charedim, who would bother to show up, would be much different.

      As far as this particular incident, I do not know enough to respond. If you want me to say something, I will note that Slifkin did not protest in the past when I pointed out his numerous posts proffering falsehood as authoritative, whether gaslighting or not, could have him accurately considered a pathological liar, whose testimony would lack credibility.

      I simply find his words on these matters untrustworthy, even when 100% factual, as those facts can be used to construct all sorts of narratives, true or false.

      Delete
    2. " gaslighting... pathological liar"

      Wrong on both accounts.

      Delete
  31. I would like to point out this is the second time I recall that the propoganda machines promoted going against the Torah to promote their base. This occurrence is much worse as burning the bible is a cardinal sin. The other occurrence I was present by. They made a Bracha chacham harazim for theatrics because they decided there must be 600000 ppl by the anti gius rally. It was obvious there wasn't even close there is a kuntres about it available on otzer hachachma. They claim to love Rashi look up Rashi about kol hamosef goreah

    ReplyDelete
  32. I find the obsession of having Rashi printed on every single edition of Chumash rather annoying.
    How many Rashis is one supposed to have in his library?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would never occur to the publishers that with all the extra Rashis in the Malbim, Netziv & Torah Temimah chumashim mean that's there less space for other volumes.
      But they're not selling to you. They're selling to everybody else while at the same time hoping the fanatics (who can smell heresy a mile and a century away despite being anosmiacs) will leave them alone.

      Oh, and another thing. Don't write "annoying" in the same breath as Rashi. Do you want to get put into Cherem?

      Delete
    2. Perhaps because most later commentators consistently quote Rashi, and quote him more than anybody else? Is this a new practice? I'm pretty sure the Netziv was originally printed with Rashi.

      Delete
    3. How many Onkeluses?

      Delete
  33. Never thought I would see the day when Slifkin takes the side of the Badatz Eida Hachareidis...

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the Info on Pshuto Shel Mikrah. I rushed to my local sforim store in Brooklyn and was able to secure a copy.
    But I am disappointed. On the pasuk in this week's parshah:
    "ותלך לדרוֹש את ה"

    Rashi says Rifkah went to the bais medrash of Shem & Ayver.
    The Peshuto Shel Mikrah quotes the Yalkut Shmoni as follows:

    וכי בתי כנסיוֹת וּבתי מדרשיוֹת היוּ באוֹתן הימים?

    Accordingly, I expected them to quote Ramban who disagrees with Rashi’s view, saying:

    לא מצאתי דרישה אצל ה' רק להתפלל
    כלשוֹן "דרשתי את השם ועננוּ" ...

    and that the pasuk actually means she prayed to Hashem.
    But they didn’t quote the Ramban and instead stayed with Rashi’s midrashic p’shat.

    So the traditionalists can rest easy.

    But I will continue to study Ramban and other Rishonim and Achronim in an effort to undertsand pshuto shel mikrah. I guess they will now have to ban the use of Mikraos Gedolos Chumashim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ותלך לדרוש את ה׳ – העיקר כפירוש רש״י ורשב״ם — לשאול את הנביא דעת ה׳ ורצונו בזה. ולא כרמב״ן ז״ל שפירש תפילה, דאילו היה תפילה לא היה לה לילך למקום אחר, שהרי נתקבלה תפילת יצחק כאן.
      (נצי"ב)

      Delete
    2. I recommend Machon Yerushalayim's אוצר מפרשי התורה. It does not analyze or explain, but merely catalogs. However it is more comprehensive, more scholarly (that is, by yeshiva standards), and everything they say is well-sourced and footnoted. Their primary focus is peshat from Rishonim and Gaonim, with some RSRH thrown in. Many of the Rishonim and Gaonim they quote do not appear in the Mikraos Gedolos, so you will get to see opinions that you otherwise would likely not have come across.

      Delete
    3. My Dear Reb Yoske,
      We are faced with a problematic text.
      As noted above, there were no batei midrashim at that time.
      To maintain that there were, is an anachronistic position that is difficult to sustain without recourse to midrashim.
      Note also that the pasuk makes no reference to a navi, and the following pasuk says that Hashem spoke to HER, not to a navi.
      Moreover, as the Ramban notes, the word lidrosh always means prayer when applied to Hashem.
      This would certainly seem to support the position of the Ramban that Rifkah went to pray and Hashem answered her, unless we choose to interpose a Midrashic idea.
      The only problem with the Ramban’s pshat is that it says that Rifkah went…. but we don’t know where she went.
      However, it would seem quite reasonable to believe that she went off to pray by herself, even as we are told that Yitzchok had gone off by himself loseach basodeh – to pray in the field, towards evening.
      I do not mean to suggest that the Ramban must be correct. I am only suggesting that this is a reasonable, non-heretical position…and that trying to suppress it is not consistent with the way Torah should be studied.

      Delete
    4. Shirat Rosh, it seems pretty clear the Yalkut is saying that there were no בתי כנסיות ובתע מדרשות in the classical sense, but there was the בית מדרש of שם ועבר. So not anachronistic. How did you understand the Yalkut?

      Delete
    5. @Shirat Rosh 2:17AM

      A glorious representation of conjectural argumentation. Unfalsifiability run amok.

      Delete
    6. How do they know there were no בתי כנסיות at the time?
      Did Avraham Avinu teach a generation how to serve Hashem? Why would they not have a dedicated place to do so? How can they be so sure it is an anachronism?

      Delete
  35. What other banned books do you have?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Happy....at Nov. 21,22 at 9:45 PM."I linked to something in the previous post. Go find it". How about indicating the post, date, and time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, these days nobody wants to work anymore. It's the "I want it and I want it now" generation. Alright.

      https://yhb.org.il/shiurim/revivim898/

      Delete
    2. You forget, R Moshe is a senior member of our group...! A bissel mer d"e!

      Delete
  37. Ban on חומש המבואר:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/11tbcC-7cleJGm-RiQEf9gtgw-dh4Yxl1/view

    Haskamos on חומש המבואר:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Hplr5_OzCI37xUNonDxKIcHeNCRoj2M/view

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And note the dates: While some of the haskomos are from Rabbonim who issued their haskomos before the ban and nevertheless continued their support, many of the haskomos are from AFTER the well-publicized ban and an active rejection of it.

      Delete
    2. Pretty sure the ban was on Rav Steinzalz's seforim, not on Chumash Hamevuar. Rav Steinberg never wrote on personalities of Tanach as mentioned in the ban. The distinction between Chumash Hamevar and Peshuto Shel Mikro seems to be the footnotes and, of course, the conspiracy thing. :)

      Delete
    3. The second letter is about the steinsaltz Gemara. The first is about חומש המבואר.
      Read the full letter in Hebrew.

      Delete
  38. All this book banning (and burning!) reminds me very much of the Catholic church's reaction to anyone who would print the bible in the vernacular language in case people would read it for themselves and discover that the bible promoted very different ideas than the Catholic church

    The truth is that a plain reading of Tanach is enough to discover that Judaism of today bears no resemblance to the culture of Tanach in any form.

    That is why chareidim are hysterical about people reading the book they pretend to venerate.

    Try it for your yourself and find out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Distinguish yourself from Karaites.

      Delete
    2. You can reach the same conclusion by reading Tanach with meforshim. No reason to exclude them

      Delete
  39. 'This is one of the most appalling indictments of charedi rabbinic "leadership" that I have ever seen.'

    Now that you realize it, keep it in mind in the future, and the shock will have worn off. It means that the signatories themselves are composed of leader(s) and follower(s). We could call the second group- leading (i.e., distinguished) followers. It means that the follower trusts the leader (and also has a general idea of what the issue is). Chareidim past a certain age already know this. Now it's your turn.

    You could have realized this when RCK said that he signs what his Rabbeyim sign. You could have realized this when RSK put his incongruous signature under that of RAS, while telling people that he still holds of your books.

    And it works the other way too. A current member of the US Moetzes was presented the Pashkevil against you (with all the Americans) and was asked to sign. He read it slowly and almost signed but then said, R Shmuel didn't sign and I won't sign... good bye. He the follower & RS the leader. Since he's a bit under the radar, he wasn't one of the "four main American Gedolim" who didn't (initially) sign against you, and was never pressured into signing against you later (as far as we know).

    But anyway, now you have a lesson how these things work. There are the movers and shakers, and there are the moved and shaken. Again, the second group is a distinguished one, but on a lower tier than the first.

    BTW, the layout of the Pashkevil as you present it here, only has room for 12 signatures (above the box). There's a 13th signature from a less famous name that's on a different version/layout of the Pashkevil.

    ReplyDelete
  40. For those puzzled over the authorship and gospel truth of the Medrish, here’s a nice discussion of its creation and history .

    https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Midrash

    ReplyDelete
  41. I heard once from a pretty reliable source, that the Rashbam's motivation for his style commentary was not like the other "Pashtanim". Evidence towards that is that his Writings on Shas don't noticeably put him in the category of those Rishonim who thought and learned that way (Meiri, Ritva...)

    The Rashbam lived during the Disputations, and supposedly was motivated to demonstrate the veracity of the Torah without having to utilize Rabbinic interpretations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. I suggest you read Prof Lockshin's introduction to his comprehensive commentary on Rashbam.

      Delete
    2. Id love to. can you please provide a link? Also a hint as to what i may learn with regards to what i wrote above?

      Delete
  42. Here is a link to a few pages from חומש המבואר, the sefer that was banned by Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv. I would say it's more focused on peshat than today's peshuto shel mikra, but more modest in scope, given that it's the work of a single individual and not a team. And it's entirely sourced, with no original or unsourced comments in the Chumash commentary.
    Nevertheless, it was banned.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hU0x66tEUa7--Rz2SgncUrf7d0QCC3qb/view?usp=sharing

    ReplyDelete
  43. The Amrican Torah world fo the most part ,do not focus on torah shebksav ,in the way those in EY do. They have much more difficulty with the language. Their comfort level ,and perceptions in chumash are basically at fourth grade level. Rashi being their primary commentary. A pirush such as this ,will be very unsettling for many , and may well lead to "questions". Ultimately ,many lack the sophistication to be able to absorb a text on several different levels.

    Ironically, the pamphlet ,lambasting the sefer ,quotes the Netziv of Volozin first , to attack the book . It is well known ,that his Heemek Davar was shunned on similar grounds,in the next generation.He also suggests novel approaches,seemingly ignoring chazal. .When i discussed this with a great Rav , he scoffed at the idea , saying that the godol involved ,great as he was ,did not approach the level of the Netziv.

    The comment about Artscroll is certainly on target . From what i see ,outside the yeshivos ,it is a minority who are still looking at Rashi . For this precise reason Rav Shach did not give a haskama. Many who could be exposed to the kedusha of Rashi ,are reading a compendium put together by contemporary scholars whose prime qualification was their ability to write a grammatical english.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This controversy has been brewing in Etz circles in Eretz Yisroel for the last year and a half. The kuntrus was written by an Israeli. It's only now, a year and half later, that some American rabbanim got involved.

      Delete
    2. What kind of nonsense is this that the Amrican Torah world learns it on a fourth grade level? Which vague creature is the Amrican Torah world? People in Kollel who read Hebrew the whole day and little English? Who remember much of the Rashis from last year and the years before and then stimulate themselves with other often quite involved Mefarshim? Is it learned Baalei Battim? Ignorant ones of the Amrican Torah world ... ?

      Delete
  44. “He once issued a Haskamah on a work which one of the other gedolei hador considered to be potentially harmful. Reb Yaakov was asked to retract his Haskamah, since his fellow gadol had no desire to issue a condemnation of a work bearing his approval. Reb Yaakov refused. But at the same time, he sent word that his colleague should not withhold his condemnation out of respect for him. He even explained to those close to him that the issue was one which could be viewed in two distinct ways and according to one of these, his opponent was surely right.”

    I.e., not only did he not resist the ban which in a sense was also against * him *, he also nodded for it to be written. On top of that he supported somewhat the ban against the work (and him).

    By my reckoning this is 'Slabodka-think', where you both fight and support your opponent. Thus the Alter was against RYK's involvement in Tanach but didn't stop him. Thus R Ruderman never said a word against how his Mashgiach ran the Yeshiva, while admitting that it wasn't his way. In the next generation, RN Weinberg retained Rabbeyim in his Yeshivah who actively undermined his desire that the Talmidim become involved in Kiruv while young, and it was understood that there's nothing wrong with having a shouting contest with the Rosh Yeshivah. Shouting contests with the Rosh Yeshivah were also de rigueur in another Slabodka branch, CC of Queens. R Adlerstein is an alumnus of CC, and it shows in this way. This also likely lies behind the harmony between the Philadelphia Roshei Yeshivah, RES Ztz”l & Lhbcl”c RSK Shlita.

    Something to think about.

    ReplyDelete
  45. What are the two books in the picture that sandwich Making of a Gadol?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I differ quite strongly with RDNS on many issues. Yet if I were to argue with him I would behave to him with respect and courtesy. Many of the commenters to his blog are vituperative and discourteous. I would like to remind them of the need to conform to derech eretz - common courtesy, a talmudic injunction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nobody here who is more vituperative, and who cares less about courtesy, than Slifkin himself. Save your sanctimonious lecturing for him.

      Delete
    2. and you, HGLP, with a most ironically chosen username

      you are decidedly not a happy person.

      Delete
  47. Someone claimed (IIUC) on one of the Otzar threads that Rabbi Yisroel Reisman has defended the sefer. Can anyone verify that and preferably link to the shiur or article, (and if it's an audio shiur, provide an approximate time stamp)? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  48. Uh oh, in my 'Slabodka-think' comment I forgot to mention some glaring exceptions: RAK & RYH, well known for their *insistence* rather than breadth. But this too appears to have been forseen by the Alter, and he gave them *that* lattitude. In the case of RAK, RNK reports that he said so to RIZM, (a report that RAK's relatives never forgave him for).

    I wonder if by the time I submit this, other commenters will be all over me with those exceptions.

    A final item for now, that in Slabodka itself, many students did not follow his Mussar program, and he did nothing to stop them. And when there was a student revolution against Mussar, he still did nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Mecharker, while not endorsing the ban, offered a limmud zechus, from the Rav Shach and Rav Eliashiv letters.

    However, if one reads those letters, it doesn't seem that they could be used as a limmud zechus, as whoever is relying upon them would also have to ban all of Artscroll, all of oz v'Hadar, Machon Yerushalayim, and a significant number of other seforim as well.

    Those letters say that No One is allowed to present a distillation of mefarshim, neither on Shas, nor Chumash, nor Rashi.
    Read the full letter, not just the part translated by the screed.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I now remember the triumphant headline in the Hebrew Yated from 30+ years ago, when I was in EY: חומש המבואר אסור מן התורה

    Makes the fact that just about every other Godol stood up to that bullying and intimidation truly remarkable.
    Comes to mind when one hears today (as I did just tonight) of one of the Lakewood signers (the person who told it to me also told me his name) as having said, "What could I have done? I was asked to sign it."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So the heavyweights pressure the lightweights to sign, not to investigate and maybe join the ban if they see fit, but sign like blind sheep. This, my friends, is the method used by the organized crime. What happened to הוו מתונים בדין? הזהרו בדיבריהם שמה מתוכם ילמדו לשקר?

      Delete
  51. According to Dr Shaul Shtampfer’s HaYeshiva haLita’it Behit-havatah, pg 213, the Volozhiner Yeshiva in 1858 reported that students learn Chumash and Nevi'im Rishonim first year, and Nevi'im Acharonim and Kesuvim second year..

    ... With Mendelssohn's Biur!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The learned Nevi'im and Kesuvim with Mendelssohn's Biur?! And they were all fluent in German?

      Delete
    2. I am just reporting what Dr Shtampfer found. He shows you his evidence. If you find it surprising, be surprised.

      German and Russian were also on the curriculum. As was math and Hebrew language.

      What Volozhin did was have voluntary sessions of learning. This kept the government off their backs about limudei chol and such, as long as they weren't too clear to the government about the classes not being required, I assume the talmidim who were interested took German and practiced with the Biur. But I am just guessing.

      My point was more that the claim shows they didn't treat the Biur as treif. Despite the way we now talk about the author. And, to get back to our original topic -- despite being peshat, and at times in untraditional ways.

      Delete
    3. The Be'ur באור (unless your mean ביעור Biur as a pun or a Freudian slip) was written in Hebrew and contained grammatical explanations and summary of classical sources (Chazal, Rambam, other Rishonim). It wasn't very controversial per se, unlike the authors (not just MM).

      Delete
    4. I wasn't surprised about the Biur itself, I was more surprised about the Biur on Nevi'im and Kesuvim part. There is a Biur on Nevi'im and Kesuvim?

      The reason why we now talk about the author a certain way is because we have the advantage of over 200 years of historical experience of the rotten fruits of his ideology, and continued by the various modern secularist "Jewish" movements.

      Delete
    5. Micha, you claim in the name of Shtampfer that Volozhin, in 1858, "reported" 1st year students learning Chumash and Navi with Mendelson's Biur, and 2nd years learning it with Neviim Achronim and Kesuvim. For several reasons I find it literally impossible that you have reported Stampfer accurately, of if you did, that Stampfer's report itself is accurate. (No accusations, CV, I just think either you or he inadvertently misreported something.) Please kindly be good enough to share exactly what it says on page 213.

      Delete
    6. Here's a scan of the pages:
      http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/faxes/ShtampferVolozhinCurriculum1858.jpg

      Recall that we are talking about what they reported to the government. Which means that one can argue whether any talmidim actually learned as much. You'll have to see more of Shtampfer's book. But, while one can say they had motive "leshanos es ha'emes" when it came to limudei chol, there is no reason to believe they would bother telling the government talmidim were learning the Biur if they weren't. And that is why I used the word "reported", but since I don't think it's particularly relevant, I didn't dwell on the point.

      Delete
    7. Thank you, Micha, I appreciate your taking the time to do that. You did indeed cite it correctly. And let's assume that Stampfer did as well. Nevertheless, as Stampfer writes and as you allude to above, this was not from Volohzin itself, but from a group of men who claimed to represent the yeshivah. And it was meant as an appeal from a "shut down" order. I dont think anyone can take this seriously. (And that is apart from the fact that no Biur was ever written on Neviim or Kesuvim, or the commenter's note above that bachrum didnt necessarily understand german.)

      Thank you again for pointing this out, Kudos!

      Delete
  52. After reading some of the pro and anti-ban literature linked here, I think its clear that the publishers are well-meaning innocents that got caught as collateral damage in the anti-Slifkin campaign. The pro-banners say that, in their opinion, the author goes out of his way to explain the pshat in a way that is most rational and most acceptable to the modern thinker, without relying on anything supernatural. And that seems to be their main problem.

    So while we can't place the blame on Slifkin, I think it is safe to assume that this controversy would not have happened if not for the Slifkin Affair..

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thank you charedim for drawing the worlds attention to scholarly work. If you are banning it, then it must be good. Would never have read Slifkin's work without your help. Keep up the bigotry! Oh, and don't read the nonsense about how banning hasn't worked since Spinoza, please keep banning.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "I hope in future posts to address this topic in more detail."

    Ok, we're ready for the sequel now!

    ReplyDelete

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The Heresy of Noah's Crystal

Following on from last week's post about the ban on "Peshuto Shel Mikra," let's discuss an example of the purported heres...