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The Key to Everything
(Well, not everything, but everything of relevance to this website.)
I am pleased to announce the publication of a new monograph, probably one of the most important things that I have ever written. It is a comprehensive study of a very short section of Gemara, just five lines in Pesachim 94b, a passage which is so obscure that most people just skim through it with little comprehension. Yet when the terms used in the Gemara are clarified, and the views of Rishonim and Acharonim over the centuries are surveyed, the results powerfully illustrate the radical transformation that has taken place with regard to how Jews view the Sages of the Talmud. Furthermore, the positions of Chazal about cosmology which emerge from this discussion prove critical to certain other topics that I shall be raising in the future, as well as to my review of Kolmus.
Extensive efforts went into the research and writing of this monograph, and as a result, I am not making it available for free; I ask that all those who download it make a donation via PayPal at this link:
The recommended donation is $5, but if you would like to take this opportunity to support this website and my writing in general, that would be appropriate and appreciated.
You can download the essay at this link:
With my monograph on Shiluach HaKein, I only made the download link accessible to those that made a contribution (which resulted in a far higher number of contributions than I received for my Kezayis essay). The reason why I am not doing that in this case is that I do not want anyone to avoid downloading it because they don't wish to make a contribution, for whatever reason (such as that they do not want to reveal that they read my material). It is important to me that this essay is read as widely as possible; the sources that I have accumulated powerfully show how the views of legitimate approaches to Chazal and mesorah that are held by the Charedi Gedolim who banned my works are completely at odds with the facts of Jewish history. Furthermore, this monograph shows how the Charedi misunderstanding of the "mesorah" evolved. If you ever find yourself confronting someone who insists that there was never a traditional view that Chazal's statements about the natural world were human and fallible, then this brief section of the Gemara, with all the sources in this monograph, is all that you need to demonstrate their error. One of my greatest regrets is that I had not adequately researched this section of Gemara at the time of the controversy over my books; had I done so, I would have been able to present a much more powerful case!