Do MO believe in non-strawman daas Torah?

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  • #615600

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    This a spin off from here. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/halachik-pre-nup/

    Definitions: “Non-strawman Daas Torah” means daas torah other than the strawman position that rabbiofberlin and others use to make fun of us. It means decisions of a rav that are not strictly “halacha,” but address issues where there is a right and wrong (or at least better and worse) way of doing things for somebody who wants to do ratzon Hashem. You might use the term “hashkafa.”

    For example, whether to sign a pre-nup according to those who do not think it is a concern of invalidating the get. My roshei yeshiva told us that we should not sign one–not because it is a ch’shash of a bad get, but because it is wrong hashkafically to plan for divorce before you are married (my interpretation: it weakens your marriage).

    For another example, whether to have mixed boys and girls classes. Nobody thinks there is a halacha that states that you are not allowed to have boys and girls in the same classroom, but yeshivish rabbonim agree that it is a non-ideal situation and must be avoided–in hashkafa.

    By contrast, “Strawman daas torah,” that nobody believes in, means that you should ask, and listen to advice of rabbonim, about matters that there is no ratzon Hashem component. For example, is an iphone better than a Galaxy? Or, should I open a dry cleaners or a laundromat? Although it is quite common for people to ask rabbonim questions like this, we all know that we are asking it in form of advice because we generally respect their opinions, and frequently have close relationships, and not because their opinion is in any way binding or a mitzva or hashkafically correct to follow, and any advice is also given with that understanding.

    We are also not talking about decisions of halacha. For example, can I use the Brooklyn eruv if it is pikuach nefesh but it will be a chillul Hashem because people won’t know it is pikuach nefesh (which is why I was careful to only carry outside the eruv, see http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/brooklyn-eruv#post-539689). I am aware that conservative/YCT think that Judaism is a free for all and everyone gets to decide for themselves whatever they want, but I think that mainstream MO recognizes that rabbinic decisions should generally be followed in cases of actual halacha.

    So, do MO believe in non-Strawman daas torah? I had thought not, but I would be very glad to be disabused of the notion if incorrect.

    #1155771

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Why do you care? What difference does it make? Noone on this blog is authorized to speak on anyone’s behalf other than their own ( even assuming the anonymous writer is MO )

    #1155773

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Why do you care? What difference does it make? Noone on this blog is authorized to speak on anyone’s behalf other than their own ( even assuming the anonymous writer is MO )

    Why do you care why I care?

    It is interesting.

    I’m not asking anyone to be anyone else’s lawyer. Just to give an opinion.

    Why does this yank your chain so bad?

    #1155774

    IvduEsHashemBsimcha
    Participant

    I think depends on what the thing is, and the person involved. For example, many talmidim of R’ Schachter wear what he believes to be techeiles. Many others who are not his talmidim also do so. I feel like it may depend on the individual’s opinion and analysis on the issue, whereas by yeshivish rabbonim people may be more likely to follow no matter what.

    #1155776

    Rebbe Yid
    Participant

    There are (at least) 2 types of MO, and the split may partially be related to what you’re asking. A guy who doesn’t wear a hat, went to college, etc., but is shomer torah umitzvos and has a torah-centric hashkafah, is probably going to go with da’as torah (although, since he’s going to ask different rabbonim, he’s going to get a different da’as torah, but I don’t think that matters for what you’re asking). OTOH, a guy who’s MO meaning follows 85% of shulchan oruch and feels yiddishkeit is a nice thing for Jews to do is not going with da’as torah in any way shape or form. And there’s a lot of that latter type around.

    #1155777

    writersoul
    Member

    Dumb question, PBA, but doesn’t the kesuba itself also look forward toward potential divorce?

    Quibbles I have with your premise- you are assuming that the rabbanim who signed off on it halachically (for example, the YU roshei yeshiva, aren’t also a. making a hashkafic statement and b. followed as mashpiim for hashkafa by their talmidim. You also are not really defining what you mean by a non-straw man. Some people (and, in fact, some rabbonim) may really disagree with you about what constitutes a “straw man type” sheilah. You are starting with the assumption that there is an objectively better or worse way to serve HaShem in all the matters you refer to and that MO people simply aren’t asking (the right) rabbis.

    #1155778

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Now I’m curious. Rebbeyid, what is your source for the 85%? How did you derive your definition of the two types of MO? How many people is “a lot”

    #1155779

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Writersoul: to your first question, of course we asked them that. I believe the answer is that to the contrary, the kesubah makes it harder to divorce and so stregnthens the marriage.

    To your other questions: I don’t think I’m assuming any of those things.

    It doesn’t matter if the YU roshei yeshiva are recommending this specific item on hashkafic grounds also. That doesn’t prove anything about the culture generally, since it is only one example and the students who are following may happen to personally agree.

    I’m not aware of anyone who disagrees with my strawman assertion. I don’t know everything, but I know at least what the majority of the yeshivish community thinks. I don’t think even chassidish hold of the straw man type.

    I don’t know what you mean by objectively. If you mean as opposed to it depending on personal circumstances, that is part of what you would ask the rabbi… If you mean that Hashem in fact does not care, then we aren’t talking about those items.

    Ivdu: techeiles is halacha, and is not part of this discussion.

    #1155780

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    PBA: I’m not entirely clear on your question. Do I ask my Rav questions on hashkafah, which aren’t halachically related? Absolutely. But he himself will tell me it’s not a psak halachah, it’s just advice. He’s told me many times that while he can tell me what is optimal, every person needs to know where they stand, and act accordingly. If it’s something I’m not looking to improve on, I usually won’t even ask him, so I won’t get an opinion either way. If it’s something said in a shiur/drasha, I’ll usually speak with him afterward about how it impact my personal case. I almost always follow his advice.

    #1155781

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Popa

    I know many many people who believe in what you describe as

    “straw man” daas Torah. No they do do not it just as advice. Granted this “straw man” which some do believe in is extended to many such as yourself who do not believe it but, it is a real belief. Especially among Chasidim, but it has spread to non-chasidim as well.

    I also do’nt understand your distinction between KEsuba and prenup regarding the problem to “plan for divorce before you are married” would you be able to elaborate?

    #1155782

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    the students who are following may happen to personally agree.

    This is an important point. According to this qualification, we need to define “following daas Torah” as being “m’vatel daas”, meaning following it even when disagreeing. If a guy follows his rebbeim 90% of the time, but the other 10% not, because he doesn’t agree on those matters, he can’t really be said to be following daas Torah.

    #1155783

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    DaMoshe: it appears your answer for yourself then, is “yes”.

    I don’t find his statement that it isn’t “psak halacha” very different from how I think, since frequently these matters are so given to facts and circumstances that nobody could tell you precisely your answer.

    #1155784

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    First of all, many people do believe in what you call strawman da’as torah. Some of them even have jobs in chinuch, but we aren’t going to talk about them; alas, your community does not have a monopoly on stupid people.

    The way you describe non strawman da’as torah seems to actually be a modern Orthodox value considering that one of the things that generally defines modern Orthodoxy is the belief in ethics beyond Halacha <sup>1</sup>. (This might be truer for some individuals than others. My earlier posts here, both deleted and not contain many rants on the subject.) If you believe that the ratzon hashem is confined to what you can be convinced a particular set of seforim tells you to do, then there is nothing to gain from trying to discover the ratzon Hashem in whatever you’re doing, whether you call that discovery da’as torah or something else.

    <sup>1</sup> A broader — and probably more accurate — definition of ethics would take Bein Adam Lamakom into account as well.

    #1155785

    Sam2
    Participant

    lesschumras: Meh. The numbers don’t matter. The concept is true. That’s the problem with self-identification.

    PBA: DaMoshe basically answered your question. “MO” Rabbis won’t think their “Hashkafic” advice is Halachically binding and will often only give it B’Toras Eitzah Tovah.

    #1155786

    rabbiofberlin
    Participant

    Well, as my name was mentioned as “making fun of…” (not sure about what), I add my puzzled comment to others. Halacha is clearly something we have to accept from Poskim (the recent controversy about KosherSwitch would be an example). Anything else, however, can only be categorized as advise, which is optional. I am confused by the “non straw man daastorah’ name and have don’t know how this translates into reality. There may be gray areas,such as voting for a party , some may say it is halacha and binding ,others will say it is advise but one can make up his own mind.

    #1155787

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Popa, wonderful job. If you recall when there was a conversation here about Daas Torah, those arguing against their stereotyped version were shocked to heat what you are saying. I hear it over and over.

    #1155788

    writersoul
    Member

    PBA, DY- don’t we generally pick a rebbi/posek/mashpia who is on our wavelength? Perhaps they may agree- who’s to say what’s the chicken and what’s the egg in this case? It really seems like you’re being choshed bekesheirim in stam assuming that it’s just because they agree with the idea in theory that they are doing what their rebbeim are so vehement about.

    Can’t it work the other way? How do we know that Rabbi Chareidi from Lakewood or Bnei Brak is sending his kids to single-gender schools because that is the psak of his rebbi? Maybe it’s the way he grew up that convinced him it’s a good idea. Maybe he’s been to so many frum schools his whole life that he doesn’t see why he WOULD go coed. Hey, maybe he read some article in the NYT about how great single-gender education is for girls. (R”L- now I’m the one being choshed… 🙂 )

    I don’t think that anyone is denying that some questions are pretty universally “straw man” (though, from experience, I’d say that many chassidim do in fact ask those sheilos). The question is (and this is what you aren’t really clarifying) is which of those questions fall between obviously-halachic and straw man. One man’s straw man can be another’s “I can’t proceed without hadracha” issue.

    It seems to me like a premise of your OP is that if MO people did ask daas Torah they’d be getting different answers and doing different things. I could easily be misreading but that was my impression. To use it as MY straw man, then, I personally have seen this to be untrue. From the rav’s perspective, I know a prominent rebbi and mashpia in the YU community and I’ve seen how he is inundated with hashkafic sheilos and how people will not embark on something (or quit it mid-go) upon his negative psak. And they’re STILL being told to sign a prenup…

    #1155789

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    PBA: DaMoshe basically answered your question. “MO” Rabbis won’t think their “Hashkafic” advice is Halachically binding and will often only give it B’Toras Eitzah Tovah.

    Sam, that means something else than how I’d assumed DaMoshe meant.

    If they don’t think their hashkafic advice is ever binding and will only ever give it b’torah eitzah tovah, then no, they don’t believe in non-strawman daas torah.

    #1155790

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    PBA: It really depends on the situation, and your definition of hashkafah vs. halachah.

    For example, you might say meshichism (the Lubavitch type) is a hashkafah. My Rav would view his stance on the issue as a binding psak. He views the hashkafah as violating halachah.

    Halachah and hashkafah are not mutually exclusive. There is overlap.

    #1155791

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    I wrote a really long post but then I figured that it would make more sense to simply ask Popa my question before pontificating based on the various possibilities. So here’s the question: When you refer to following Daas Torah, what is the reason for following it? In my unposted post I contrasted four different possibilities and claimed that there were various nafka minas. So what do you say is the reason to follow it?

    #1155793

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    PAA: Same reason there is to follow psak of a rav in actual halacha. v’aasisem k’chol asher yorucha.

    #1155794

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Okay, I may have misunderstood you. I thought you were trying to distinguish between halchic vs. non-halachic issues. Now it seems that you are not. Unless your question actually was whether or not Modern Orthodox people agree with you that there is no difference between halachic and non-halachic issues.

    #1155795

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Also, I think you first need to ask whether Modern Orthodox people agree with you that the reason to follow the psak of a Rav in actual halacha is “v’asisa…”

    #1155796

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I suppose either one.

    #1155797

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Your last statement is rather cryptic. Can you clarify which aspect of what I wrote you are responding to?

    #1155798

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    not because it is a ch’shash of a bad get, but because it is wrong hashkafically to plan for divorce before you are married

    Nothing against your “Rosh Yeshiva” (who could easily be anyone from YCT to JTS), but that is a huge Cop-out. Chazal were Mesaken so many things that went against their feeling of right (preparing an actual get for someone going to war, WHILE THEY WERE ACTUALLY MARRIED!!, and GIVING IT Al T’nai!!) in order to protect women from becoming Agunos. If his (if it is a “he”) shittah is that it is assur, say so. If it is that the women whose husbands are not giving them Gitten (for whatever reason) are not really Agunos because he wants to blame the victim, say so. What you quote him saying seems to be nothing but cowardice. Rav Henoch would have never gone for it.

    End Rant.

    #1155799

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Gavra

    Well said, my first reaction was like you, though I asked Popa directly to clarify.

    To me it sounded like another facet of daas torah namely accepting anything from a rosh yeshiva wether it makes sense or not.

    The idea that a kesuba which provideds for a woman in the event of divorce stregthens marriage while a prenup which allows a “divorced” (i.e. civilly or practicly) woman to remarry weakens marriage is not something anybody rational would accept. But if the “rosh Yeshiva” said it it becomes Torah misiani.

    again though to be fair, perhaps it makes sense but requires further explanation

    #1155800

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    ubiquitin – A kesubah is also if he dies, so we can just say that she is preparing for her future husband’s death. (as The Gemoras discuss!)

    #1155801

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    ubiquitin and gavra:

    See http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/halachik-pre-nup#post-567344

    I don’t think it’s exactly what Popa’s Rosh Yeshiva is saying, but it’s a similar sevara.

    #1155802

    Joseph
    Participant

    A kesuba protects marriage and the wife by making divorce harder and more costly to divorce her. The prenup does the opposite by making marriage more expendable and easier to dissolve in divorce while making it more costly to stay married.

    #1155803

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    To me it sounded like another facet of daas torah namely accepting anything from a rosh yeshiva wether it makes sense or not.

    If your rav said the KosherSwitch was assur, would say, “but that doesn’t make sense – you’re just moving an isolated piece of plastic!”? Or perhaps you would try to understand, but not say that ” it doesn’t make sense”.

    Yes, that is part of daas Torah, accepting, just as we do in halachic matters, that something may be true despite our not understanding it.

    #1155804

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The idea that a kesuba which provideds for a woman in the event of divorce stregthens marriage while a prenup which allows a “divorced” (i.e. civilly or practicly) woman to remarry weakens marriage is not something anybody rational would accept. But if the “rosh Yeshiva” said it it becomes Torah misiani.

    I’m not following you at all.

    Harder to get divorced = strengthens marriage

    Easier to get divorced = weakens marriage

    This ain’t rocket science, yo.

    #1155805

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    DY I absolutly would try to understand!

    Just as in this case In spite of it sounding foolish, I did not dismiss it I asked Popa to ellaborate see here: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/do-mo-believe-in-non-strawman-daas-torah#post-567740

    “Yes, that is part of daas Torah, accepting, just as we do in halachic matters, that something may be true despite our not understanding it. “

    So we agree! though this is further than the conventional understanding of Daas Torah because I think Popa actually beleives it it isnt merely saying “that doesnt sound accurate but I am mevatel my Daas” this is a step further.

    #1155806

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Popa youv’e been tricked.

    As I understand it (and it is quite possible that I am mistaken) the prenup is designed to help an already “divorced” woman (i.e. divorced in the legal sense or practical sense)get her get and allow her to remarry. It doesnt make it easier for her to get divorced, it makes it easier for her to get a get, (no these are not synonyms)when she is already divorced (in a legal/practical sense).

    Is this not the case?

    #1155807

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The whole discussion of pros and cons of the prenup is kind of off topic. The discussion is following rebbeim/daas Torah even without agreeing. Once it’s come up, though…

    the prenup is designed to help an already “divorced” woman (i.e. divorced in the legal sense or practical sense)get her get and allow her to remarry.

    In other words, it’s not designed to deliniate the marital and post marital obligations as a kesubah is, it’s designed to deal with a scenario in which the marriage ends and the spouses are acting spitefully and maliciously towards each other. Quite a negative thought to start a marriage with.

    This is PAA’s point, I believe, and popa’s rebbeim’s point as well. In fact, it seems very much the issue the BDA itself grapples with when they lay out their arguments why a couple should sign it.

    One can argue that the benefits, preventing the malicious actions, outweigh this negative, but again, this is where daas Torah comes in, where we accept that our rebbeim are more tuned in to the ratzon Hashem then we are in being machria this shikul.

    #1155808

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    DY

    “Quite a negative thought to start a marriage with”

    granted

    Though more negative than the thought of the couple getting divorced and him being so spiteful that he just kicks her out on the street with no food or money? (keep in mind he gets to keep anything she earns during marriage, if not for the kesuba a divorced woman would be penniless. The KEsuba comes along and provides her even if the husband (or his yorshim presumably the children they may have together!) are to cheap to provide for her.

    “In other words, it’s not designed to deliniate the … post marital obligations as a kesubah is”

    It absolutely is! it is designed to get the wife her get once the marriage is over.

    “One can argue that the benefits, preventing the malicious actions, outweigh this negative”

    That isnt realy what we are talking about. I am strictly using this example to point out how based on “Daas Torah” people accept all sorts of (non-halachic, barely even hashkafic) nonsense simply because somebody chashuv said so

    #1155809

    Joseph
    Participant

    It doesnt make it easier for her to get divorced

    It most certainly does make it easier.

    #1155810

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    By cutting out part of my comment, you lost most of my point.

    It’s also inaccurate to discuss what would be if part of the kesubah was not in force without looking at the whole picture.

    #1155811

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    DaasYochid:

    I actually thought that Popa’s sevara was somewhat different than the sevara I was quoting, and then Popa clarified what he meant and I thought it was an a third sevara:

    1) (the sevara I quoted) It is inappropriate to mar the simcha of the wedding with a discussion of such unsavory issues.

    2) (Popa’s first way) Bringing up the prospect of divorce at the wedding, weakens the marriage.

    3) (Popa’s second way) Making it easier for a woman to get divorced weakens the marriage.

    I think the way I quoted it is the best in terms of answering Gavra/ubiquitin’s questions.

    #1155812

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    That isnt realy what we are talking about. I am strictly using this example to point out how based on “Daas Torah” people accept all sorts of (non-halachic, barely even hashkafic) nonsense simply because somebody chashuv said so

    That’s a pretty arrogant statement.

    Maybe you should sometimes consider that something can be true and that you are just too stupid or ignorant to understand it.

    #1155813

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    2) (Popa’s first way) Bringing up the prospect of divorce at the wedding, weakens the marriage.

    3) (Popa’s second way) Making it easier for a woman to get divorced weakens the marriage.

    I think the way I quoted it is the best in terms of answering Gavra/ubiquitin’s questions.

    I don’t recall the rationale very well, and I’m trying to fill it in. I actually think your number 2 (popa’s first way) is the correct one that was meant, now that I am thinking more about it.

    To the question of kesubah, perhaps the answer is that it makes divorce harder and thus strengthens the relationship nevertheless. Or perhaps the answer is that divorce is just one of the eventualities it addresses among death. Like the difference between buying whole life and term life. Your wife doesn’t like to talk about that you bought term life, but doesn’t mind discussing whole life.

    #1155814

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    PAA, I wasn’t trying to guess why popa’s sevara was, I was trying to guess what his rebbeim’s sevara is.

    I think it’s more than just bringing up divorce, it’s bringing up the possibility of being treated cruelly.

    Also, what ubiquitin did by removing half of my comment was to negate popa’s point, which I was also trying to make, that the kesubah deals with a lot more than just divorce, whereas the prenup deals just with divorce.

    #1155815

    Matan1
    Participant

    From the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot:

    “Why should I sign a Halachic Prenup? My fiance is a great person and would never want to hurt me?

    As a matter of public policy, signing The Prenup must become the norm so that all members of the Jewish community are protected from the horrors of get-refusal. To prevent an outbreak of disease, the entire population needs to be vaccinated, not just a few people.

    #1155816

    Joseph
    Participant

    And the kesuba puts out road-bumps to make divorce more difficult while this prenup does the opposite by greasing the wheels to facilitate a divorce sailing through more easily.

    #1155817

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    DaasYochid:

    I wasn’t particularly differentiating between Popa and his Rebbe. As we only know of his Rebbe’s sevara through him I referred to it as his sevara.

    Your second paragraph is in accordance with the sevara that I quoted. My point was that I understood Popa’s (Rebbe’s) sevara to be something different, and that the one that I mentioned gets rids of gavra/ubiquitin’s questions the best – it’s specifically talking about during the wedding and it’s specifically talking about discussing the possibility of the husband being exceptionally cruel to the wife, as opposed to stam a discussion of the potential cessation of the marriage.

    Whereas according to #2 (Popa’s first way) the kashya from kesuba is a much better kashya (which is not to say that there is no answer).

    #1155818

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    To get back on topic, I still need a clarification of Popa’s post:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/do-mo-believe-in-non-strawman-daas-torah#post-567781

    in order to proceed with any potential arguments I may have.

    #1155819

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Either of

    Okay, I may have misunderstood you. I thought you were trying to distinguish between halchic vs. non-halachic issues. Now it seems that you are not. Unless your question actually was whether or not Modern Orthodox people agree with you that there is no difference between halachic and non-halachic issues.

    POSTED 12 HOURS AGO #

    Patur Aval Assur

    Bar Meihanei T’las

    Also, I think you first need to ask whether Modern Orthodox people agree with you that the reason to follow the psak of a Rav in actual halacha is “v’asisa…”

    I suppose I’m asking either one. I don’t have a preconceived notion of the way others may disagree with me.

    #1155820

    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Popa:

    I can’t claim to speak for Modern Orthodox people, but leshitascha that R’ Aharon Lichtenstein “is definitely Modern Orthodox”

    ( http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/thoughts-on-the-yeshiva-gush#post-337966) I can tell you that he did differentiate between halachic and non-halachic questions:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/daas-torah-2/page/5#post-525980

    But I think there might be a more fundamental dispute, and that is what I mentioned earlier about using the pasuk of v’asisa as the source to follow a rav in actual halacha. Someone might say that that would be directly against the pasuk. The pasuk is saying that there is a Sanhedrin which everyone is bound by, in order to prevent everyone from having their own Torah. So it might be construed as somewhat ironic to use that as the source that everyone should have their own Torah (i.e. follow a specific rav).

    #1155821

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    keep in mind he gets to keep anything she earns during marriage, if not for the kesuba a divorced woman would be penniless.

    That’s silly. Without the Kesubah her money would remain hers and his would remain his. The Kesubah is the contract of marriage, not divorce.

    #1155822

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Patur, are you serious? You are saying that 10 million people should do ??? ??? ???? rather than to follow, say, 2 thousand Rabbonim? And this is to keep the Torah centralized!?

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