Cherem on sefer “Pshuto Shel Mikra”

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    Avira > if chazal were around today, they would institute a bracha “shelo asani moderni”

    So, do you think Rambam would change some of his scientific and medical writing based on current information? Would he update, say, his recommendations on how long to sleep with an iPhone app recommendations? And if yes, what sources will he use? Would he go to yeshiva students who learned his old seforim (and then sometimes overrule him with later sources), or will he go to the physicists, psychologists, economists who else know what the halakha requires (say Dr Schroeder, R Twersky, R Aumann) …

    Do you think amoraim who discuss all kind of medical and nutrition recommendations will look at what modern dietologists are saying? I am not saying that they’ll go to college to get degrees. Maybe they’ll simply learn English, public health, statistics. Maybe they will ask someone in Lakewood to translate “Nature” into Aramaic …


    thanks for the reference! Note that the author is niftar 6 years ago. The English sefer is a translation by a student of the original 2009 sefer. So, unless there are fault by the translators, someone is now attacking a Talmid Chacham who is not able to answer ..

    I can only add here a minor personal edut. I know some members of the extended family and they are big baalei chesed and ehriche people, making a difference in lives of many people, some of whom I know personally.

    Reb Eliezer

    When was this sefer published? There might me multiple seforim with the same name.


    It seems that Hebrew in 2009 and English vol. 2 in 2019. OU review actually calls R Bernstein “the author” while giving due to R Copperman. Are the letters about English or Hebrew, or both?

    In the story with the other book (in English), the author was later saying that some of the Israeli gedolim, who did not know English, relied on others for information.


    It is perfectly all right if you were not aware of it, but these are the facts. Many people have been learning this pirush and getting by without Rashi, have not been comparing and contrasting to see the differences. Many Rebbeim have been using it to prepare for class – yes, they obviously have learned Rashi before, but they are using this pirush as their primary source to build a good picture of the storyline in their mind. They therefore do not have the vantage point of seeing what Chumash/Rashi says vs. what is added or left out.
    That is also my guess as to why Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim are particularly worked up.
    I have no idea what the intention of the authors was, and I am not commenting on any specific content. I am merely pointing out that this is why it has merited a greater outcry than other pirushim, which are not used in this way.


    Are the letters about English or Hebrew, or both?

    Neither of those as has been mentioned before

    Sholom D

    Logician: Interesting speculation about how the ban came about and why it was instituted, but there’s no need to speculate: I wrote several posts above that have the factual background — and it has nothing to do with what you surmise.

    I suggest you read the hebrew language discussion boards and you will find out more about the political connection between the “Eitz” activists and the Lakewood Rabbonim who also advocated for this ban, getting other Rabbonim to then sign.

    I suggest you compare the false claims made in the two kuntreissim that were shown around in Lakewood with the same claims made by the Eitz people — and which the Eretz Yisroel Battei Din said were not true. (For instance that the people producing this work were not ehrliche yidden. The Battei Din declared this a lie, so the Eitz people turned to Lakewood to advance the libel that they could not advance in EY, where the editors are well-known and where the battei din investigated them thoroughly.)


    Ubi, I know nothing about the letters or the book. I got involved when I heard the author’s name here.

    Logician – a good speculation. Maybe, a sefer that was intended for certain audience got misused; maybe even the translation and marketers directed it to a different form.


    following up on logician’s speculation: maybe the issue is sharper in golus. In Israel, you can presume better mastery of sources by rabbeim and students, so they do not worry that Rashi will be ignored.


    There is more here than speculation, but I cannot say more, so I will leave it at that.

    I don’t know why the fact that not everyone is on board makes you so uneasy. Must everything be black and white? I know other Roshei Yeshiva who also did not feel the ban was warranted. And yes, certain signatories advocated for others to sign (as happens, quite logically, with every public proclamation. We do not need every authorative individual to investigate every issue.) But they also made clear the issues they have. So who cares that others have read it (sorry, ALL of it), and are ok with it? Some feel its a big deal, others less so, and others are fine. So what?


    You also seem to have missed my general point. I have read the kol korei, and I understand what they have a problem with. As has been pointed out already here, there is obviously nothing wrong with saying other peshatim besides Rashi, and so the issues are about what we learn, how we learn it, and what to incorporate in this type of pirush. I therefore added that these same issues become sharper in this sefer, in this format, more than other seforim on Chumash, hence the strong reaction.


    Reb Eliezer, we are not discussing the two volume set from Rav Kuperman. Kol.Tuv

    Avi K

    The author was a prominent talmid chacham who founded the Michlalah in Jerusalem. I someone disagrees, so he can also write a sefer. Notthat I am comparing, c”v, but Moreh Nevuchim was burned and all of Ramchal’s books were banned.

    As for haskamot, please cite where Ramban says this. It would apply to all sefarim today as no one gives a real haskama. They give berachot. BTW, the mekubbalim starting with the Zohar say that Hashem runs the world through intermediaries. The Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael are an exception. The Rivash objected to the idea of sefirot (Responsa 157) but there are other legitimate opinions.


    Logician, I can understand the uneasiness. However, that can warrant a fiery speech to those within your sphere of influence. This is much further than that.

    What you say about Rabbonim getting other Rabbonim to sib, is unfortunately true. But it shouldn’t be that way. To the reader, a signature on a notice means that the signatory was motivated enough to write this notice, not that that he mely agrees with the message

    Sholom D

    Let’s break down just one part of the Kol Koreh; we’ll use the English translation posted above. I will limit myself to just one section:
    (I remind you again that the Lakewood letter reflects the political attack by the Eitz people, which has been thoroughly investigated in EY — and rejected by two Battei Din. I remind you again that the Rabbinnic organizers of the ban are also Eitz people.)

    “The aforementioned book also has strange and fake interpretations in the name of the Meforshim, and there is a spirit of Haskala in it. And it is not correctable at all.”

    And what might these “strange and fake interpretations in the name of Meforshim” be? The examples cited in the pamphlet shown in Lakewood are demonstrably false. In fact, they do have sources in meforshim (Rishonim). You need not take my word for it, nor Rav Shternbuch’s Beis Din’s word for it, who declared the peirsh “kulo kodesh.”.
    Go to an online Mikraos Gedolos that has peirush haRadak, peirush Rav Avraham ben HaRambam, Ibn Ezra’s two peirushim, Rav Sa’adia Gaon, Ralbag, etc and compare for yourself, to see if the peirushim are fake.
    As for being “in the spirit of haskala,” again that’s what the Eitz people said, that the editors are affiliated with a Beit Midrash that they are at war with (Beit Midrash HaGra).
    Not that Beit Midrash haGra is so terrible, but the two Battei Din, who investigated each and every editor and writer, said that in fact the editors and writers have no affiliation whatsoever with Beit Midrash haGra.
    In other words, absolute lies on all counts.
    As for the peirush being “not correctable at all,” one of the Battei Din said it needs no correction and is “kulo kodesh” and the other said that the publishers could sell the existing copies, but should also make certain corrections and once done, that Beis Din will also give it their haskoma.
    But Lakewood says “no correction is possible,”
    On what basis?
    Because the editors are affiliated with Beit Midrash haGra — and therefore not kosher?
    But two Battei Din have declared this a lie.
    Lakewood Rabbonim have better information than the Ertetz Yisroel ones?

    “And the great Torah scholars in the Land of Israel have already published their opposition in writing and by letter.”

    Like whom?
    Aside from the fact that Great Torah Scholars (Rav Shternbuch and the Eida Beis DIn) call it “kulo kodesh,” are we going with letters that were written BEFORE the Beis Din did their investigation — and which the Beis Din declared to be false?
    So, we’re saying that despite this, we”ll proceed as if that fact-finding Din Torah never happened?


    We live in a time when it has become the norm to “ban” writings containing offensive ideas, disruptive methods of learning and analysis and cultural taboos, whether they be secular, religious or combinations of both. The notion is that exposure to this offensive material will cause irrevocable harm to the reader w/o any offsetting benefits. Often, the same materials have been reviewed and endorsed by other so called elites coming from a different world view. Seems that we have less and less confidence in the ability of individuals to make critical distinctions and form their own opinions and instead must rely upon some elite group of critics to filter what they are allowed to read and absorb.


    Forum doesn’t allow links. But a Google search of “peshuto shel mikra ban” produces a blong from the Rationalist Judaism, which has a link to a response to the ban directly from the authors of the book.


    Gadolhadorah, that’s just silly, and of course very unoriginal. And it can be applied to everything. Let the NY Times publish antisemitic content, the reader will discern. Teach our kids Spinoza, and they’ll automatically reject the non Kosher ideas. Teach them Marx, expose them to drugs and rock n roll, allow some Rumspringa, oh and teach them Torah for sure. They’ll be back. You’ll see.


    And even worse is when the ideas are not clearly out of scope, and would be swallowed up without issue.

    efshar azoi

    where is this Ihr Hacahyim please?

    efshar azoi

    Rashi says he is coming to be miyasheiv phuto shel mikrah. He means to settle the drash and the pshat. Rashi often brings Chazal


    Haleivi – very well said

    Reb Eliezer

    אור החיים בראשית א, א
    דע כי רשות לנו נתונה לפרש משמעות הכתובים בנתיבות העיון ויישוב הדעת הגם שקדמונו ראשונים ויישבו באופן אחר, כי שבעים פנים
    לתורה (במד”ר נשא יג טז), ואין אנו מוזהרים שלא לנטות מדברי הראשונים אלא בפירושים שישתנה הדין לפיהן, ולזה תמצא שהאמוראים אין כח בהם לחלוק על התנאים במשפטי ה’, אבל ביישוב הכתובים ובמשמעות מצינו להם בכמה מקומות שיפרשו באופן

    Reb Eliezer

    Chazal assered to learn Greek culture because of the similarities to our believes as if they would not be similar like having a soul, there would we no problem.


    Reb e, sorry, but that’s totally untrue. Bad influence is bad whether it’s “close ones or far away”

    Reb Eliezer

    I will translate the Ohr Hachaim above as it is necessary for our discussion:

    We are permitted to explain the meaning of the words and reasons of the Torah after scrutiny according to our understanding even though the previous rishonim explained it in another way as there is 70 ways to understand the Torah. We are not allowed to explain it when that causes the halacha to change. The Amoraim did not argue on the Tenaim on halacha. However, the pesukim they did explain differently than the Tenaim, so similarly we can do the same.


    HaLevi: Its happening, whether you consider it “silly” or not. The political and religious culture wars have intensified efforts to ban or marginalize published materials that might not have been controversial several years ago but now are deemed offensive or even dangerous. I would agree that the media have been overly sensitive to the snowflakes whose “sensibilities” are offended by “trigger words” but censorship at both ends of the political and religious spectrum is clearly on the rise.

    Reb Eliezer

    Avira, I am not saying it is good but they will not get influenced as much.

    Sholom D

    HaLevi, truly frightening that you equate being exposed to derech haPeshat of Rishonim (not like Rashi) to being exposed to antisemitism and Marx.

    If you are right, that being allowed to know of how Radak, Ibn Ezra, Ralbag, Rav Saadia Gaon, Rav Avraham ben haRambam, Bechor Shor, and Rashbam interpreted pasukim (by and large NOT like Rashi) will topple the yeshiva system, as the Lakewood Rabbonim seem to believe, than this is truly frightening.

    (The so-called “strange” and “fake” peirushim referred to in the Lakewood letter DO appear in one to more of the above Rishonim.)


    Sholom D, less frightening, but still disturbing is that you address my position without reading it.


    Shalom, Maskilim always tried to find a basis for their breaking mesorah in the rishonim. Hand picking one pshat here and there while avoiding the consensus and even the majority of other perushim from the same author.

    It’s not as if the list of rishonim you mentioned (which excludes almost everyone in the mikros gedolos chumash) consistently say things that are in line with your desired approach. Also, the ibn ezra and ralbag were very much opposed for this very reason, and were accused of being influenced by the outside world by many achronim, the ralbag especially, with his shitos about kadmus and bechira being very, very controversial.

    Until about 8 years ago when zoo boy slifkin dug up a ket’a from rabbeinu avrohom Ben harambam, he wasn’t a rishon whose name you’d have encountered much if you were just learning in yeshivos…. Maybe you would have seen the mussarniks with a copy of hamaspik; but not likely.

    We have a mesorah in how to understand chumash.

    If you want to know why the Lakewood roshei yeshiva are saying this, go look at mishnas reb Aharon, last week’s parsha, on how “echad min hashuk” would read the story of yaakov and rochel and come away with a ridiculous pshat.

    Someone dug up a rishon who seems to say this pshat considered am haaratzus by rav aharon; well, we can’t ask that rishon what he meant, but we have the clear hadracha from rav aharon – this is part of how halacha k’basrai works.


    Avira, you described the situation well – there is a variety of opinions among Rishonim, and you reduce them to those that Brisk and Lakewood approve of. But why specifically them – because, you would say, they are the ones who follow Rishonim … I am not saying that your position is not reasonable and I sympathize with being weary of bad influence, but the proof is chicken & egg or “how do we know that Yaakov Avinu wore bekesha”.

    Reb Eliezer

    Avira, how does this cherem agree with the above words of the holy Ohr Hachaim. Does his pshat affect the halacha?

    Shlomo 2

    Avira –
    How do you explain that the Eida Chareidis Beis Din declared this peirush “kulo kodesh”?
    (After having their shaliach go through every word in all five volumes?)

    red sock

    Rabbeinu bachya writes that the best peirush on megillas Esther is that of ibn ezra. Ibn ezra writes in that commentary that according to pshat mordechai and Esther were not married, because they would not risk sending Esther in as a beula when she was advertised as a besula. This is keneged the gemara and Rashi and therefore all of rabbeinu bachya and ibn Ezra’s writings need to banned immediately. Ramban in last weeks parsha says that according to pshat Rachel’s mother did not die contrary to Rashi and bereishis raba. We can let our children read this kfira so Ramban needs to be banned as well. Seforno says Yaakov was not a poor man when he wanted to marry Rachel. This goes against Rashi who writes that eliphaz robbed yaakov and made him a poor man. Daas zekeinim mebaalei hatosfos write that Rachel was crying that she might end up marrying eisav, not leah. Once again keneged Rashi. Both seforno and daas zekeinim need to be ripped out of the mikraos gedolos ASAP. וכולי וכולי


    red sock

    I don’t understand. why are you repeating the same point over and over.
    It was silly the first time it is still silly.

    NOBODY said all explanations other than Rashi should be “ripped out”
    This is a silly strawman that you made up, as was pointed out to you

    red sock

    “You added “mostly”
    And again yes Rishonim argue on Rashi that is irrelevant .

    Rashi writes in parshas bereishis that he will write his commentary following this principle: וַאֲנִי לֹא בָאתִי אֶלָּא לִפְשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא וּלְאַגָּדָה הַמְיַשֶּׁבֶת דִּבְרֵי הַמִּקְרָא דָבָר דָּבוּר עַל אֳפַנָּיו. At the end of the day, most of the time he followed the second method though anyone familiar with Rashi knows he sometimes does discuss פְשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא. That is why I wrote mostly.

    “The argument goes that we’ve accepted Rashi as pshat”

    So if that is true, then other pashtanim are not allowed to be studied?

    “NOBODY said all explanations other than Rashi should be “ripped out”

    Did you read the kol korei?? the argument that is repeated over is that the commentary constantly brings down peirushim which are against rashi and chazal.


    “So if that is true, then other pashtanim are not allowed to be studied?”

    No. nobody suggested that. Drash is great, so is remez. by all means go for it.

    Just don’t confuse Derash with PEshat.
    The argument is that Rashi IS peshat. Rashbam, Kli Yakar , Seforno, Rabbi Frand on the Parsha all great! but don’t call them Peshat

    “Did you read the kol korei??”
    I did, I don’t think you did.
    do you think the signatories haven’t seen a mikraos gedolos chumash, and aren’t aware that there are other pirushim available? do you think they meant they should all be thrown out.

    Its one thing to think they are wrong, it is quite another to think they are stupid.

    They are aware that there are chumashim out there with non-Rashi explanations , they are aware that Rishonim give different explantions than Rashi at times
    The Kol Koreh is against bringing other perushim, keneged Rashi AS PESHAT

    hope that helps


    Dear Ubiquitin,

    I’m not getting your differentiation.

    Rashi’s intention does not seem to have been pshat. At least in contrast to Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Ramban, etc.

    Also, bringing other perushim keneged Rashi is commonplace. Maybe even more so than bringing Rashi as pshat.


    Haskamos as a must? In the times of the Ramban?!? Preposterous!


    “Shelo Assani Moderni”

    I assume they would be referring to yeshivaleit that need to constantly justify their outlook to the world as well.

    Chazal did not see the truth as a threat. They were fine with being made aware of more information.


    Avira, I haven’t seen or heard of anyone describing the Ibn Ezra as being influenced from the outside. He doesn’t really invoke outside ideas. Even his focus on Pshat is not the issue as much as the seemingly direct negation of the Medtash.

    Nevertheless, he was well respected among the Rishonim. And likely, his take on Medrash is a bit misunderstood.


    haleivi – see the introduction to yam shel shlomo; he holds so strongly about it that he questions the rambam….because he told his son to learn ibn ezra!


    that being said, the ibn ezra was much more accepted than the ralbag; mesorah, and hashgocha, determine who we follow. hashkofa is “hilchos deos,” and just as we’re not allowed to cut our payos and save 40 hairs (rambams shitah), we’re not allowed to follow every opinion in every sefer ever written.

    I dont know why when it comes to hashkofa, people tend to think it’s a free-for-all. That might be true in learning the sugya, as it is with every other sugya – we learn everyone, but we pasken like this or that shitah.

    Who paskens? the seforim that deal with hashkofa; mesilas yeshorim, maharal, etc..


    some achronim write that when the rishonim seem to argue with chazal on medrash, what they’re doing is saying that “lulei hakabalh” we could have said this or that, or that there’s a level of pshat, within pardes (pshat remez drush sod) which can fit this meaning, even thouygh it’s not in chazal – evidence of this can be found in, for example, the ibn ezra’s statements that “kol divreiheim emes” when referring to chazal.

    you won’t find achronim arguing with chazal or not accepting midrashim; that needs to be stated.

    That is, until maskilim came and decided that medrash doesnt fit their worldview and that they’d rather think that the avos and shvatim were ordinary people who happened to be aware of Hashem.

    Sholom D

    Given that the discussion has now turned from the propriety of banning a peirush that the Eida Charedis Beis Din has declared “kulo kodesh” (!!) and has veered towards Ibn Ezra, here’s what Ibn Ezra had to say about Rashi’s peirush, in his grammar sefer Safah Berurah:

    אין ספק שהם ידעו הדרך הישרה כאשר היא, על כן אמרו כלל: אין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו, והדרש הוא תוספת טעם. והדורות הבאים שמו כל דרש עיקר ושרש כרב שלמה ז”ל, שפירש התנ”ך על דרך דרש, והוא חושב כי הוא על דרך פשט, ואין בספריו רק פשט אחד מני אלף, וחכמי דורנו יתהללו באלה הספרים.

    (In fairness to Rashi, the question is not whether Rashi’s peirush was valuable and wonderful, but whether it was on the derech of “peshat.” I know of NO Rishon, not even Rashi’s grandson (Rashbam) who considered Rashi’s peirush by and large al derech peshat. Not Ramban, not Radak, not Bechor Shor, No One. Yes, it’s “ikkar”, according to Ramban, but not peshat.)



    “I’m not getting your differentiation.”

    i’m not sure what you mean by “differentiation”
    all I am saying is before commenting on something (especially before arguing with it “This ban is honestly ridiculous”) it is important to understand it

    jackk quoted from the kol koreh:

    “And their intention is clear with the aim of replacing Rashi’s interpretation – which has always been the foundation of education and Judaism , and especially for the young people of the flock”
    (I believe this is his translation but I read the original, and it is a fair translation.)

    What the Kol Koreh protests is “replacing Rashi’s interpretation” – particularly as peshat. NOT using other interpretations. Of course there are other Rishonim that offer different peshatim not to mention different levels of interpretation. The kol koreh says those haven’t been accepted by “our mesora” as the way to learn chumashi
    Thus it is insulting to say “Rabbeinu bachya writes… Ibn ezra writes… . Ramban in last weeks parsha says …. Seforno says… Daas zekeinim mebaalei hatosfos write…”
    Yes they know* they maintain that Rashi IS PESHAT and no other Rishon/pirush should supersede that as peshat

    Not that it shouldn’t be learnt** rather it shouldn’t be viewed as peshat. thus saying “So if that is true, then other pashtanim are not allowed to be studied?” Shows a progound lack of understanding of the issue at hand.
    OF course they can be learnt but not as peshat .
    Yes one hundred percent if you were to start a cheder and suggest teaching children chumash with Rambn/Ibn Ezra/ Rashbam etc instead of Rashi. Yes absolutly they would oppose that .
    That is not the same as saying “other pashtanim are not allowed to be studied”

    You say “Rashi’s intention does not seem to have been pshat”

    B’seder so you disagree with the kol koreh (I do too) and say Rashi isnt really peshat. don’t worry Rishonim say this too.
    but understand the position before you disagree wit hit

    * I ask you do you really think they don’t know.? They never realized that Rishonim wrote differently than Rashi? That chumashim are available with other Rishonim?

    ** They also mention that there are some misinterpreations of rishonim, but that is debatable, and ok so correct them

    red sock

    “Yes they know* they maintain that Rashi IS PESHAT and no other Rishon/pirush should supersede that as peshat”

    וגם רבינו 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 פירושים אחרים לפי הפשטות המתחדשים בכל יום

    Are you suggesting that Rashbam fabricated this anecdote?

    “Not that it shouldn’t be learnt** rather it shouldn’t be viewed as peshat”

    Any tanach scholar knows that Rashi is mostly midrashic and Rashbam, Ibn Ezra’s style is פשוטו של מקרא. I don’t think this is debatable.

    And finally my examples from Ibn Ezra, Seforno, etc while they were cynical, they are definitely relevant to the ban which declares “many many times this despicable commentary goes against Rashi and Chazal”


    Dear Ubiquitin,

    I was trying to understand your post. The letter seems to be intentionally inexplicable.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Torah is explained on the level of פרדס – פירוש, רמז, דרוש and סוד as the Rabbenu Bachya does. The only pashut pshat is perush.


    “The letter seems to be intentionally inexplicable.”

    If you found it inexplicable, it may not have been meant for you.
    Growing up with a similar mindset, I understood it completely.
    As a kid chumash Rashi were drilled into up. In second grade we learnt Chumash Rashi till Sheini, third grade till Shlishi etc

    To this day I pretty much remember most Rashis at least until Chamihsi having learnt them again year after year (excluding the “summer parshiyos”)

    After getting married I lived in a small out of town community for a few years. This was my first real exposure to, “non-black hat” groups. One fellow gave a Chumash shiur before Shcharis on Shabos, that I sometimes attended. He asked a question “Why does Yaakov seemingly brag to Eisav that he has Oxen, donkeys, sheep slaves, wouldn’t that upset Eisav more (This wasnt actually the question, I’m using an example from this week’s parsha) Different people gave their own answers and interpretations.
    I was a bit puzzled, when he asked me for my thoughts I said, a bit perplexed, “I don’t understand the question, Rashi explains it” he replied, “I know Rashi has a peshat, what do you say” To which I replied “It doesn’t matter what I say, Rashi already commented”

    now, I’m not convinced that his way is wrong per se. but the authors of the kol koreh certainly do, THAT is the community they are coming from

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