Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
Here is a letter that I received today:
While I have not thoroughly read all of your books, as it seems to be harder and harder to acquire, I have read your website, blogs, and various essays. I also read all of the material under the “controversy” link and while I agree with how you go about repudiating your opponents, one element has bothered me, acting as the impetus for my need to pen down my misgivings and forward them to you.
While Gedolim do not hold Papal sway and are prone to error, we (at least in the chareidi community) are directed to take their every move as sacred. We are taught not to question, nor disagree as we are not capable of seeing the “whole picture” as they are.
As I grew older this has bothered me as I consider myself to be “more worldly” than 80% (just a rough estimate) of the Gedolim printed in Yated; yet I have never considered questioning them in line with the teachings of my youth.
After reading your blog and controversy link I feel compelled to change my views and it has become harder and harder for me to swallow what they say at face value. Am I to listen to someone who from a Torah perspective is more knowledgeable than I am, yet in the area under discussion they are my equal?
I have always had trouble understanding the Gemara “hafach bu hafach d’kula bu” as we see that it is not true, as you have shown in your books that Talmudic figures used modern day science.
In light of what I have written I have to tell you that while you may be 100% correct and those who called you heretical are wrong and they will pay for it, I still consider the path you have taken to be equally damaging to a large number of Yeshiva students.
Am I required to understand every statement the Gedolim make? While I don’t understand them am I to ignore my instincts and my knowledge for the “bigger picture?” Or shall I take what they say as sacred and while they are not infallible, to my relatively small brain I should ignore my premonition? In light of your website I now choose the former; so while my decisions may be more informed, nevertheless, life is more difficult viewing the Gedolim as mere mortals and not giving them the Papal clout they have had in my eyes for the past twenty years of my life.
Here is what I wrote back:
First of all, if you have not yet read http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/authority.html, you should do so.
It is certainly challenging to change one's approach to the topic of rabbinic authority. But you should find a Rav whom you personally respect and can forge a connection with.
Incidentally, you can buy expanded editions of the banned books (entitled The Challenge Of Creation and Sacred Monsters) at www.yasharbooks.com