Ethics and Entenmann’s

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    Last week, I was in a store that sold hundreds of different items.

    One specific food item caught my attention,
    because it has a highly-respected hashgachah
    and because I used to eat it often, many years ago.

    That food item was “Entenmann’s Classic Rich Frosted Donuts”.

    This is partial nutritional information for that item:

    23% of daily recommendation TOTAL FAT
    65% of daily recommendation SATURATED FAT
    34% of daily recommendation TOTAL SUGARS

    If you know even a little about nutrition, then you must certainly understand that these ingredients are very likely to cause terrible health problems, including: obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Cancer.

    If you doubt this is true, then go to WikiPedia and type in: “SATURATED FAT”.

    Additionally, the nutritional information for that item includes a very long list of unhealthy chemicals, including artificial flavorings and preservatives, etc, etc.

    These are my two questions:

    Given that this product is filled with unhealthy ingredients that are known to cause severe health problems, is it ethically acceptable to give them a hashgachah?

    Given that this product is filled with unhealthy ingredients that are known to cause severe health problems, is it ethically acceptable to sell this item in stores?


    The easy solution to this dilemma, if you’re in an established Torah community with easy access to such products, is to be mekabel on yourself the standard of cholov yisroel. Honey buns and other gas station food, including entemans, are almost always cholov stam.

    There’s definitely unhealthy food that’s pareve or cholov yisroel, but the really egregious stuff usually isn’t.

    That being said, hashgachos are not there to impose their will – even if it’s morally correct – on others.

    If they were, they wouldn’t give a hecsher on cholov stam, because none of the rabbonim directly involved in the OU or chaf k eat cholov stam, and would tell you it’s better not to eat it.

    But they certify it because it’s kosher, and because there are places where cholov yisroel is not readily available; in such places, i too would eat cholov stam.

    Any food can be eaten once here and there, and it won’t be necessarily unhealthy. Any food can also be eaten to an excess, whereby it is unhealthy. Some foods are only acceptable to eat on special occasions; if someone ate such a cake or other food with similar ingredients only once a month, they wouldn’t gain any weight from it. It’s only from repeated intake, or as part of a generally unhealthy diet. That sort of thing is not even a question of ethics in terms of the hashgacha’s perspective.

    So to summarize:

    Be mekabel cholov yisroel; it’ll help with temptation.

    Hashgochas are not in the business of telling people what to do and what to eat, and even if they were, occasionally eating egregiously unhealthy food will not harm a person.

    Given the choice between something of questio


    SR (OP): Should every ice cream store lose their hashgacha?


    this is a very slippy slope, PETA says eating meat is unhealthy so stop give a hechsher on meats? it never ending.

    ☕️coffee addict

    Welcome to the CR Michael Bloomberg!

    If we would have that eventually nothing would be kosher because one can find something “ethically” wrong with anything


    When the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch were written,
    people did not know the dangers of eating foods
    that contain large amounts of:
    sugar, salt, cholesterol, mercury, fat, and saturated fat.

    Now we know the dangers of eating those things,
    but our hashgachah system does not reflect that
    new knowledge.

    Torah requires all Jews to avoid needless dangers,
    and eating foods with unhealthy ingredients
    is probably a needless danger.


    Square: You didn’t answer whether all ice cream stores should be banned, have their hechsher revoked and forced to close down.


    Square, don’t project the world’s ignorance on to chazal and rishonim. Your statements are categorically heretical according to the vast majority of rishonim, who say that chazal were fully versed in all fields of science, informed from fhe Torah. The aruch hashulchan takes it as a given thar such statements are heretical.

    Another reason to drop cholov stam; seforim say that cholov yisroel is a segulah for emunah.

    The rambam, as it happens, does mention not to eat fatty or sugary foods. Did you ever learn yesodei hatorah before making your sweeping statements?


    > , don’t project the world’s ignorance on to chazal and rishonim.

    So, you are saying Shmuel knew how to run a steam engine, but chose to watch yidden working with donkeys instead? I think it is total apikoirosus to claim that chazal were so insensitive to human condition.

    > The rambam, as it happens, does mention not to eat fatty or sugary foods
    That said, fat is only bad because we learned how to get too much of it. Most people in old times would benefit from extra fat. What would Rambam do in our days? I think he would be in medical school, after learning nuclear physics.


    You know what else is bad for you? Pizza and French Fries. Should the OU or the Vaad take away the hechsherim from every pizza store in Boro Park? Red meat is also bad. So is bread – no more challah? So is sugar – no more Coke?

    The point is you have to learn to control yourself. Like you, I ate a lot of Entenmann’s when I was in high school. But now I’m pushing 60 so I have to watch what I eat. No donuts, no pizza, no ice cream, very little challah. Donuts are for children and young people. If you must have, break off a piece and shoin.


    @5t, Self control what a novel concept, does it exist in 2024?

    Gedol Hador

    Avira, I agree with AAQ. It is perfectly acceptable to say that Chazal’s knowledge of the sciences was restricted to what was then known by non-Jewish scientists. Not only is it acceptable, it also happens to be true, as can be proven from numerous places in Shas and Midroshim.


    Aaq, the medrash says that shlomo hamelech created essentially a car, but hid it when he saw that the reshoim would use it for evil. He also had a sefer of refuos, chazal sau, with the cure for every disease, but it was hidden awa, so that people need to daven.

    Chazal knew the interworkings of creation not only on a physical level, but on a deeper one as well.

    Your question can be asked of lots of other things chazal were capable of – the arizal says that the smallest of the amoraim was capable of techias hamaysim, so why didn’t the chachamim just revive everyone who died everyday? The answer is they knew not to disrupt Hashem’s plans. The chovos halevavos writes that every invention and discovery in the non jewish world has its time and place. For chazal to interfere with that would have been catastrophic.

    And yes, making a statement that chazal were missing in their knowledge of the physical world is heresy according to the vast majority of rishonim and achronim.



    “Donuts are for children and young people. If you must have, break off a piece and shoin.”

    I haven’t met a person that “must have” a piece of donut.


    A truly kosher store would have these products in a separate aisle, protected by a narrow hallway with a weight trap – you can only get in if you fit into the hallway and not fall in the trap. Will be good for business also as the customers will live and shop longer.


    Gedol, the fact that you think it’s acceptable does not negate the psak din of the rishonim and achronim who rule clearly that it is forbidden to think such a thing. It is apikorsus. Take a look at rabbi moshe meiselman’s “torah, chazal and science” for an exhaustive list of sources. This is why rav elyashiv put nathan slifkins dribble in cherem.

    “Numerous places” – have you looked at how meforshim reconcile chazald statements with science? They’re everywhere! The maharal wrote an entire sefer on the matter; beer hagolah. Ever heard of it?


    AAQ: Is your day job doing stand up comedy?


    I personally would not eat something so unhealthy but for those who do they can probably rely on Shomer Pesaim Hashem to eat it.

    Speeding when driving and breaking other traffic laws would probably be a much more serious concern when it comes to halacha and health


    you guessed my day job correctly. In fact, I rely heavily on CR for the material. Midwestern goyim love this stuff.


    I agree on midrashim about melech Shlomo and about positions on such fundamental questions as Creation – scientific positions from Greeks to early 20th century Big Bang was that world was not created.

    Still, if you go thru Gemora’s discussions of various issues, you can clearly see that – amoraim at least – mostly operate from physical facts and logic, and literary arguments about text of Chumash and Mishnayos and Baraisos. Their analysis is often very intricate as they paid more attention to how crops grow and animals behave than we do. To say that amoraim did not operate from the facts known to them essentially means to reject more than half of the Gemora arguments.


    Looking at discussions of R Messelman, I see this: an explicit statement that chazal relied on science of their time is attributed to Avrhaham b’ Rambam – and many disagreed. R Ovadia Yosef disagrees but does not allow calling those who in our time agree w R Avraham heretics.

    To clarify my view, I don’t think that Chazal “relied” on science of their time in a simplistic way – we do halakha and ask scientists for quotes in science. Some Chazal relied sometimes on their own expertise and filtered science of the time through both tradition and their own high standards of proofs. Furthermore, most Amoraim did not live in places/times of high science, so they mostly react to generic knowledge of the society.


    Aaq, this is why i said the vast majority of rishonim and achronim. The maskilim pick up on one rishon, rabbeinu Avrohom ben harambam, – from who we received basically no halachos or hashkofos in the mesoros of ashkenazim, sefardim, etc.. – and made it into a valid shitah after it was rejected by the halachik process. In shabbos, you can’t dig up a rishon and follow it for halacha lemaysoh; heresy is a halacha too. Just as there are shitos in the ralbag which we pasken are apikorsus, there is a shitah of rabbeinu Avrohom – rishon and tzadik as he was – that we paskened against hundreds of years ago.

    Halacha and hashkofa have a process and a mesorah. You can’t make up stuff on your own or think you know what chazal meant when the halacha is that we are obligated to believe that they did not err in scientific issues.

    The fact that you supposedly read rav meiselman’s sefer and your takeaway was “well, rabbeinu Avrohom!” Means either you didn’t read it snd see the long, long list of those who disagreed, or you’re intentionally ignoring his message.


    One needs to take a certain degree of responsibility for one’s own physical well being, including nutrition and exercise. The inyan of “ushamartem es nafshosechem” is not some abstract prescription to make personal health decisions based on the state of scientific knowledge regarding nutritional links to disease a thousand years ago.


    Avira > The maskilim pick up on one rishon, rabbeinu Avrohom ben harambam

    I am sorry, I do not know any maskilim in my neighborhood. I am sure there are some, but we do not intersect. In this case, it is my own conclusion from going thru cases and making a mental estimate of what could explain each particular case. Of course, I am affected by meta-literature I read – from multiple sides of the argument. In this case, I just brought a current traditional Chacham that agrees with your view but does not cinsder the opposite as apikorisus.

    We need to separate the bitter biased arguments in the times of haskala from our current situation where society absorbed already 200 years of industrial life.

    Think: nobody seriously argues that we do not need hishtadlus in watching the fire or crossing the street. Gemora discusses these in detail. Somehow, when the discussion concerns modern artifacts – science, colleges – everyone is up in arms. The reason is obvious – recent history when going to college meant abandoning the shtetl.


    Avira > rav meiselman’s sefer

    I apologize if I created such impression. I did not read this sefer, just read reviews and discussions about it, and also read and met some of the authors he is quoting/discussing.

    As to bans, I hope you had a chance to read another infamously banned sefer about making a Rav Kamenetsky that does not go into hard scientific problems, but simply provided high quality research in the life of the author’s father. If you believe into bans after that … Even if someone thought that publicizing the book in certain circles with have some harmful effect, surely one should contact and appease the author who spent years on this research, and this does not seem to happen.


    I may not fully apprehend what your statement is. It would help to see some examples. When you say ” they did not err in scientific issues.” – this is a somewhat defensible statement. As I see it, Chazal passed science or general chochma of their time/place and often avoid relying on things that are not proven enough. Bavli method of logic is very good at verifying confidence of a statement (al pi Maharal, not a Maskil), so they applied same approach to science they were bringing into their argument. And, again, there are certain positions that Chazal take based on tradition against all odds, such as creation ex nihilo.


    switching to modern situation. A Rav who works for a yeshiva that takes in boys who have problems in “top” yeshivos writes a number of great articles about how to deal with kids as people, nurture them, quoting a lot of roshei Yeshivos, etc. Wonderful approach and writing. I think, he undersells himself, as same approach should also be applied to “top” students.

    So, he spends several articles arguing that yeshivos should not be evaluated (including by parents who decide, or not, to send kids there) by quality of students at the beginning or even at the end – but by improvement they make at the end over the initial condition, and improvement includes middos and learning ability, not just amount of memorized material.

    Wonderful. Now, it happens that there is academic work on measuring school and teacher quality using exactly this method – relative improvement over initial stage. I do not recall details, but there were lots of details learned from this. Of course, secular educators in general do not care for this. Now, does this Rav know about such research? Maybe no, or maybe yes, but he does not see any use in bringing it xto his yeshivish readers.

    So, he goes around using his heimishe version of this scientific approach without any contact with the existing literature. Would he go further if he were to read about existing work? Maybe, he would go further and actually measure that improvement .. I don’t know. But clearly even great Rabonim might be disconnected from the existing chochmah.


    maybe it will be helpful to bring some quotes that can help us clarify positions:
    In my opinion, the first principle that every student of Chazal’s statements must keep before his eyes is the following: Chazal were the sages of God’s law – .. They did not especially master the natural sciences, geometry, astronomy or medicine – except insofar as they needed them for knowing, observing and fulfilling the Torah. We do not find that this knowledge was transmitted to them from Sinai ….. We find that Chazal themselves considered the wisdom of the gentile scholars equal to their own in the natural sciences. To determine who was right … they did not rely on their tradition but on reason. Moreover they even respected the opinion of the gentile scholars, << Rav S.R. Hirsch – Trusting the Torah’s Sages, Chapter 4

    The great excellence of the Sages of the Talmud in the interpretation of the Torah.. does not oblige us to accept all their statements in the spheres of medicine, natural science or astronomy. << Rav Sherira Gaon (or possibly his son, Rav Hai Gaon) Maamar al ha-Derashot, Ein Yaakov,

    Chazal knew the law as a tradition from earlier generations … But with regard to scientific explanations, it is not that the explanation mandates the law, but rather the opposite: that the law mandates an explanation. The reason given in the Talmud is not the sole possible reason. And if, on occasion, they gave an explanation according to the scientific knowledge of their day, we are obligated to search for other explanations which establish the law on
    its basis according to the scientific knowledge or our day. Thus I heard from Rav Dessler zt’l.


    Avirah…, so you are saying that one is obligated to believe that Amoroim knew how to make nuclear bombs, computers etc.?!? I believe it is you who is twisting the sources trying to read things in there which were never meant.


    We can argue till the cows come home about the science of 1000 years ago compered to today and it won’t change a thing, bottom line why should a rav hamacher play big brother? how about personal responsibility?


    Aaq, the quote from rav hirsch is from a manuscript not written in his handwriting, discovered by a grandson and put into “collected writings.” Not only is it incongruous with rav hirsch in general(it’s the only place such an idea is expressed) but it’s also demonstrably false. Chazal darshened pesukim to identify the geographic location of bavel. They had a mesorah for the synodical month (necessary for halacha) and the gestation period of a snake(not necessary for halacha) – in both of these areas, pesukim and kabalos are recorded in shas numerous times.

    See rabbeinu tam and the Gaon on the famous gemara in pesachim about the machlokes between the chachmei umos haolam and the chachmei yisroel; while they give a reason-based answer, the meforshim explain that they were communicating with goyim and could not teach them Torah, but they knew the truth from mesorah.

    The rambam writes that klal yisroel had a mesorah for all forms of astronomy from Sinai (direct refutation of whatever maskil wrote that thing attributed to rav hirsch) but it was lost, so now(only now) we have to use the goyishe chachamim.

    Regarding bavel on the map, see chasam sofer who writes that knowledge derived from the Torah is more true and real than that which is observed by the senses and scientific inquiry, this is why a pasuk was preferred.

    The maharsha on the beginning of mi she’achzu writes that the gemara quotes refuos(which were relevent in their time) in order to show that chazal knew all the chochmos of the world and were not missing anything.

    Mdd… Hashem created the world from the Torah. Everything that we see physically, is found in the Torah, and since chazal were its masters, they perforce knew everything about the physical world.

    For example, chazal state that there are almost as many stars as what scientists today theorize, though in the sky you can only see a few thousand.

    Chazal also identified the pituitary gland as the source for זרע, saying that a drop comes from the brain and causes it to form.

    There are many, many observations chazal make which show an awareness of the world that can only be explained through their Torah knowledge.

    Now, the apikorsim will bring many examples of things chazal say which don’t fit modern science – they ignore the fact that baalei machshava have used sifrei kabalah to explain these anomaliea for hundreds of years. There is not one mesorah in klal yisroel that didn’t do that until nathan slifkin decided he knew better. My rebbe rav Belsky would often give amazing answers to such questions, which are valid questions, but are not to be used as a means of justifying apikorsus.

    Gedol Hador

    Avira, how can you say that Chazal had a mesorah for the gestation period of a snake if what they say conflicts with what we know? And Rav Natrunai Gaon says we shouldn’t rely on Chazalks refuos because they were not doctors, and so their refuos might not work and might even be dangerous (directly refuting the Maharsha you quote.) Regarding Bavel, of course they needed a passuk, because if you look at a map you will see Bavel is EAST of Eretz Yisroel (which is why it’s called מערבא) and so you need the passuk to show that it’s also (slightly) north.


    Firstly, the rishonim don’t go with that explanation for refuos – the maharsha was fully aware of such shitos, as were ALL of the rishonim and achronim who followed, and they did not follow that shitah, to the point where they called it apikorsus. Just like the ralbags brias haolam shitah, or the shitos against gilgulim. One who accepts it may not have olam haba.

    Tosfos says that the refuos don’t work because nishtana hateviim. That expression is used across the board in rishonim and achronim.

    Do you think you can “refute” the maharsha – one of the gedolei achronim? Shame on you.

    Learn the maharals beer hagolah. Get something into your head besides nathan slifkin and blogs.

    And where did you get that the snake issue was wrong? Again, it’s a pasuk. It’s on US to understand it, just as any other drasha of chazal. It’s the height of arrogance for us to think we can approach them.

    Re, bavel; you just need a map. It’s very, very clear.

    Moreover, the physical world is not only known to chazal, but thsy controlled it with their understanding of Torah. If a besulah was born in an iber yahr, her beuslim are chozrim eveb though she’s physically 3 years old.

    Some say that there were shitos (minority) in the geonim and rabbeinu Avrohom, because it was before hisgalus hakabalah, whereas afterwards, those statements of chazal were revealed to have been referring to levels of creation that are beneath the physical.


    AVirah, it is all in principle in the Torah, it does not not mean every Talmid Chocham ,even in times of Chazal, knew it. And why in the world does thinking that Chazal did not know all the science there is to know make one into an apikores?!?! Is it one of the Yesodos Ha’Emunah? Buddy, there is a Gemora in Nidah that when Chachomim needed to know a certain biological/medical fact they had to rely on what the doctors of their time said!!!


    Avira, are other quotes from my post also questionable? But it seems we are moving towards throwing at each other quotes form authors who argue with each other and accuse each other from not quoting enough. For example, R Tam above is not an only one commenting on Pesachim. I can’t commit time required to verify all these claims right now. My opinion was not based on specific claims, but on overall scene of Talmudic discussions. Just for fun, though, while we are on Pesachim 94, how about a much simpler question: what is the length of parsah that corresponds to the size of Mitzraim?


    I agree, btw, that Chazal appear to have a strong tradition re: creation of the world even in the overwhelming face of the contemporary scientific evidence.

    That does not mean that Hashem shared with us all volumes of Feynman’s physics textbook. For example, glancing at same Pesachim 94 – discussion about star looking the same from any angle is the same classical argument that I tihnk Greeks had – some of whom computed distances to Moon and Sun, but were not able to observe parallax to the stars and thus developed theories that stars belong to stationary spheres. Now, if you read passages like that not being familiar with basics of ancient science, then you would not see these correlations.

    Gedol Hador

    Avira, my saying that Rav Natrunai Gaon refutes the Maharsha is no worse than you saying that the Rambam refutes Rav Hirsch (which by the way I don’t think he does).

    I have plenty in my head besides Nathan Slifkin and blogs. I probably know more than you. (Haven’t you seen my screen name? 😉

    The fact the snake issue is a drosho doesn’t change anything. We are not obligated to accept Chazal’s non-Halachic droshos. As Rav Shmuel bar Chofni Gaon says (quoted in Radak, Shmuel Alef 28 ): “Even though it would appear from the words of Chazal that…these words cannot be accepted when contradicted by שכל,” and there, too, the reference is to a non-Halachic drosho.

    Now, it is true that on today’s maps Bovel is very slightly north of Eretz Yisroel (under one degree of latitude), but in Chazal’s times they did not have modern maps. I’m not even sure Chazal had access to any maps at all. And every map that did exist then contradicted every other map. Moreover, most reconstructions of Greek and Roman maps have Babylon SOUTH of Eretz Yisroel, so of course Chazal had to bring a posuk. The fact you can show me that on a modern map Bovel is very slightly north is entirely irrelevant.


    Are we Jews required to believe that Chazal [ancient Rabbis and Torah Scholars] possessed complete knowledge of: radio waves and radio technology, television technology, telephone technology, digital cameras, tape recorders, email technology, nuclear energy, solar energy, Quantum Physics, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, x-rays, the Periodic Table of Elements, the ring structure of benzene molecules, BC Calculus & Calculus of Complex Variables & multi-variable Calculus, Differential Equations, Analysis of Variance, Matrix Algebra, Neutron Stars and Black Holes, Microwave Oven technology and modern anesthesia?

    Most Charedim believe that all Secular Education is FORBIDDEN.
    How could Chazal have complete knowledge of all
    modern science and technology, if Secular Education is FORBIDDEN?

    If Chazal had complete knowledge of all modern science and technology, then they must have spent MANY years studying those things.
    If Chazal spent many years studying modern science and technology, then how did they have enough time to master all of Torah? How could they justify taking time away from Torah study to master all of those sciences and technologies?

    And from where did they learn all of science and technology? Who taught them?

    I have been in Orthodox Judaism for 40 years, and many people who know Torah have praised my Torah knowledge. But during those 40 years, NOBODY ever told me that we Jews are required to believe that Chazal possessed complete knowledge of all modern science and all modern technology – until I met Mr. AviraDeArah, in this Coffee Room.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan [ZTL ZYA] was a genius in both Torah and secular sciences.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s book about Rambam’s 13 principles of Emunah NEVER MENTIONS that we Jews are required to believe that Chazal possessed ANY knowledge of modern science or technology.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan also wrote another, much-longer book about what Jews should believe: THE HANDBOOK OF JEWISH THOUGHT.
    Again, that book NEVER MENTIONS that we Jews are required to believe that Chazal possessed ANY knowledge of modern science or technology.
    I read both of those books many times, I know what I am talking about.

    I started this discussion LeShem Shamayim, to help my fellow Jews.
    I do not receive any personal benefit from this discussion; I did it as a chesed.

    When I was attacked by AviraDeArah, I felt as if I had been punched in the face, as part of a totally unexpected surprise attack. My feelings of shock were so great that I was unable to respond, because I stunned into silence.


    Square, I apologize for hurting your feelings.

    Life is about learning.

    It hit me hard to learn that zionism was a sham when i was 16, too; a large part of my Jewish identity was based on nationalism, and when i saw rav avigdor miller trash it it was very, very difficult.

    Rabbi aryeh kaplan is not getting into the minutiae of every category of emunah in his well written and important books, but this is included in the belief in Torah shebaal peh, in the truth of all that chazal passed down, and in the understandings of what Torah is and how its masters were endowed in its infinite knowledge. He also was writing for people who are not frum and had no education – he had a lot bigger issues to teach than these finer points of the parameters of torah shebaal peh.

    As it happens, he was not some sort of gadol hador or posek either, and he made some mistakes of his own, including accepting evolution on some level, when chazal clearly say that every part of creation was made as is, and did not develop. But he was a very holy person and had a tremendous amount of positive influence and Yiras Shomayim, so this is a side issue.

    I don’t know where you came from, or who your teachers were, and i too would praise someone for amassing Torah knowledge – this is a finer point, which is, however, important, and discussed in poskim.

    Chief among them in achronim is the aruch hashulchan. Not a chassidishe sefer or an obscure shailos veteshuvos sefer – one of the main sources for halacha in klal yisroel. And he says it outright that it is completely forbidden to believe that chazal erred in science issues.

    This idea is in the gra, rav yonasan eybeshuts, maharal, maharsha…in rishonim it’s in the rashba, and the parts where chazal darshen pesukim – that would certainly be considered disbelief in drashos, “machchish magideah” in the lashon of the rambam, one who disbelieves in drashos chazal.

    Of course, we’re not commander to be fools. We’re supposed to investigate and understand chazal, and we’re not necessarily supposed to ignore empirical scientific fact – the maharal and others routinely reconciled chazal with science…you never see achronim or rishonim just say that they were wrong.

    the rebbe of the sefardi pachad yitzchak reprimanded the author severely for suggesting that chazal had erred in their understanding of lice not reproducing – and he was trying to be more machmir, and say rhat we shouldn’t be allowed to kill them because “now” we know that spontaneous generation – something chazal never even talked about, is not true. His rebbe sternly told him he was wrong, and he accepted.

    Again, I’m sorry for the news coming as such a surprise. Feel free to read “torah, chazal and science” for a very clear, lengthy and well sourced position on the issue in its entirety.


    Also, the entire point here is rhat chazal derived their knowledge of the physical world from the Torah. “Turn it over and over for everything is in it” “Hashem looked into the Torah and made the world,” and so on. This has nothing to do with the discussion of when and how to have secular education, and it has nothing to do with being “charedi” or not.


    “We are not obligated to accept Chazal’s non-Halachic droshos”

    Oh yes we are.

    One who denies techias hamaysim min hatorah is a “kofer bedrashos” in the lashon of rashi, even if he believes it is stam a mesorah and not based on a pasuk.

    The rambam clearly includes those who learn torah but are “machchish magideah,” deny those who passed it down, as apikorsim; he makes no distinction between drashos.

    The ibn ezra, who often sounds like he’s arguing with chazal(and was, for that reason, completely rejected by the maharshal) elsewhere explains that he is trying to explain the pasuk on its pshat level, but “kol divreihem emes” the radak does this sometimes too, and the achronim, including the chasam sofer and many others, explain their kavanah as above.

    See abarbanel in yeshuos meshicho where he defends the ramban who seemingly denied a medrash in his vikuach.

    And of course, the “sechel” of someone from the gaonim is not the same as the muddled heads of online trolls.

    We don’t find any of the later rishonim or achronim taking issue with drashos – quite the opposite. When the haskalah spread among people who wore fabric on their head and kept the sabbath, gedolim such as the malbim, the author of hakaav vehakabalah, rav hirsch, and many others, went to herculean lengths to explain the nom halacha drashos of chazal. That’s the mesorah – you’re on the side of the maskilim, unearthed by ifkin, who proceeded to brand a new yiddishkeit after his neo-haskalah musings.

    I am sure that had you stayed in the koslei beis medrash you never would have heard of the concept of not accepting a word of chazal, or any of the above; chazal were chazal! We take every word of theirs as given. It is only the poison of haskalah that you’ve allowed to enter your bloodstream…perhaps it makes life easier to think that you’re more advanced, perhaps certain issurim which seem ‘archaic’ are more easily transgressed….after all, these are ancient rabbis working with outmoded thoughts…

    Gedol Hador

    Avira, one does not need to accept any droshos in order to be a מאמין בתחיית המתים מן התורה. Techiyas hameisim is מפורש in ספר דניאל; one who believes in that does not need to accept any of the other droshos in that sugya. (Rashi uses the term דרשות for all the Scriptural inferences in that sugya, but the reading of the פסוק in דניאל can hardly be considered a דרשה!) Anyway, belief in תחיית המתים is an exception, because חז”ל have told us it is an article of our faith to believe that תחיית המתים is מן התורה. Chazal said no such thing with regard to all other non-Halachic דרשות.

    It’s very nice you quote the רמב”ם about מכחיש מגידיה; it’s just a shame you didn’t carry on reading a few more words: the רמב”ם continues “כגון צדוק ובייתוס.” Needless to say, צדוק ובייתוס did not just deny Chazal’s non-Halachic דרשות, so that ראיה too goes out the window.

    The Radak is happy to say that a non-Halachic interpretation of חז”ל is דברים של תימה (Shmuel II, 23, 16.) There is a מחלוקת אמוראים in Zevochim 113 about whether the מבול also flooded ארץ ישראל. Here is a quote from Rabbeinu Saadiah Gaon’s פירוש על התורה where he discusses this מחלוקת:
    וממה ששייך עוד לפרשת המבול הוא מה שמצאנו שאחד מאומתנו דימה שארץ ישראל לא נשפטה במבול ולא עלה דבר זה על דעתו אלא מפני שחשב שהפסוק את ארץ לא מטהרה היא לא גשמה ביום זעם מוסב על זמן המבול
    ומן הדין לבאר את טעותו בדבר זה ונאמר etc.

    This is how Rabbeinu Saadiah Gaon speaks about Rebbi Yochanan!

    Next you quote from the Abarbanel. Is this the same Abarbanel, I wonder, who says in his פירוש to Melochim I 10 22 that Ezra may have made a geographical error when writing a פסוק in נ”ך?

    I proved from the words of Rav Shmuel bar Chofni Gaon that we don’t have to accept Chaza’s non-Halachic דרשות; your rebuttal fails to address this.

    And whatever makes you think I have left the koslei beis hamedrash? (For your information, I haven’t.)


    Avira> it is completely forbidden to believe that chazal erred in science issues.

    Avira is attacked for allegedly claiming that “chazal knew all science”.
    We probably need to separate “knew all science” from “erred in science issues”. Chazal did not have to address all science issues, and it seems to me that they filtered science and general knowledge of their times thru both Torah positions and their expertise in logic, omitting a lot of errors prevalent in their times.

    The question whether ” chazal erred in science issues” is an interesting question by itself, but is different from “chazal knew all science”. And, when discussing this issue, hopefully posters would honestly discuss it rather than simply bringing opinions that support their side, leaving for the opponents to bring other opinions, sometimes from same author. It is bitul zman & Torah to argue like this on a complicated matter, on which there are clear disagreements throughout generations of respectable thinkers on both sides.


    The Bnei Torah know that the vast majority of everybody and anybody agrees with Rabbeinu Avraham. Actually, he is being very traditional. The truth is even more rationalistic than that. The reason why they don’t go around correcting the record, is because it confuses the masses. But the truth is that we can’t study The Torah properly with dogmatic or fundamentalistic views.

    I wouldn’t post this so bluntly, but I was recently reading some blather from that fellow who fancies himself a rationalist. Nobody would be offended by my post. They would think I am from his crowd. But really it is opponents of that “rationalistic fellow” that are cut from the same cloth as him. Him and his opponents can’t think straight. The truth is, that The Torah was meant to be studies diligently. That is it’s only dogma. Pontificating about what Chazal may have known or not known about some scientific fact, is not diligent study. It is pure intellectual laziness. Learn the whole sugya from top to bottom and back, and then try to come up with a nafka mina al pi the scientific metzius. Until then, it really doesn’t matter. Obviously, it is just an out to avoid studying entire sugyos. The diligent students that leave the beis medrash because of some doubts, are only diligent in the non-Torah parts of their learning. Look closely and you will find it to be so.


    Techias hamaysim min hatorah refers to a concept that’s medeoraysoh, which is the drasha of az yashir. I don’t know what makes you think rashi is referring to anything other than that; the mishnah would include one who believes it was taught by neviim to be in that category too, as that is not included in the term “min hatorah.” Rashi is clearly saying that denying that particular drasha makes one a kofer.

    The radak calling something a taimah is no different than when tosfos asks a kasha on a gemara. No idea where you want to go with that.

    Rav saadya gaons perush on chumash was written in Arabic. There are also parts before and after that sniper that are missing from our text.

    And rav saadia was not the only one who criticized the belief that the mabul did not affect eretz yisroel, and he was not the sharpest in his expression; the Ibn ezra says that people who think that are chaseirei daas, they are missing in daas. There is obviously no way the ibn ezra would refer to rebbe yochanan as a chaser daas, chas veshalom. One of the meforshim on ibn ezra, rav shmuel matot, writes that the ibn ezra(and we can say rav saadya, as he does not mention rebbe yochanan by name, and doesn’t even call him a chacham, rather just one of the nation) is referring to people who say that the mabul didn’t affect eretz yisroel at all, whereas rebbe yochanan agreed that there was some effect. Many medrashim also say like rebbe yochanan, so it’s not just “one from our nation.”

    Further proof that rebbe yochanan agreed that the water touched eretz yisroel was from his encounter with a kusi, mentioned in bereshis rabbah, who said that har grizim was not flooded, whereas other mountains, including har habayis, were. Rebbe yochanan could have said that har habayis also wasn’t, if he held totally that eretz yisroel was not touched.

    I haven’t heard of this piece from the abarbanel, but that’s defective at best. He goes to lengths to defend the ramban and say that he was not arguing with chazal. Period.

    Re, the rambam; what other people could he have used as examples? Tzadok and baysus actually did begin with non halacha drashos, as it happens, because their issues started with denying olam haba(al tehiu k’avadim etc…)

    Regarding rav shmuel bar chofni Gaon – not familiar. Maybe he means that you’re allowed to explain the pesukim in ways additionally to the kabalos and drashos of chazal; just speculation. Where does he say that?


    Also, in your mind, what gave chazal the ability to codify “articles of faith”? And where would we even receive the idea of distinguishing between halacha and drashos, if not from chazsl themselves – and if so, where is that stated? The truth is that everything is mesorah.


    Nom, i guess the pachad yitzchaks rebbe, the maharal, who devoted an entire sefer to the subject, the aruch hashulchan, and many others, weren’t “Benei Torah” in your world. Sorry, but grandstanding without making any coherent or sourced claims will only make your position look all the more foolish and arrogant.


    If Chazal knew all the science we know today yet failed to let Jews know about antibiotics and vaccines, then they were murderous monsters.

    Of course they didn’t know, and in fact they were the greatest moral leaders since the Neviim! It is not just apikoros but blasphemous to say otherwise!!! How can any supposedly frum Jew think like that! More people have died from either plague or smallpox than were murdered by Hitler, Stalin, or Mao and you say that Chazal would deny the world treatments and prevention? Chas v’shalom!

    Gedol Hador

    Avira, the amount of amaratzus in your latest (long) post is simply astounding. How are you able to make such ridiculous statements with such confidence?

    In the sugya in Sanhedrin, I counted no fewer than five Tannoim and Amoroim who prove תחית המתים מן התורה from a פסוק in נ”ך. The term תורה in this context refers to the entirety of תנ”ך. Rashi cannot be referring to a particular דרשה, as you mistakenly imagine; he says, “שכופר במדרשים דדרשינן בגמרא לקמן מניין לתחיית המתים מן התורה.” (For your information, the word מדרשים is a plural.)

    When the Radak says a non-Halachic interpretation of חז”ל is דברים של תימה, he is rejecting their פשט. This is entirely unlike תוספות, which asks a קשיא, and then (9 times out of 10) continues to a תירוץ.

    I know Rabbeinu Saadiah Gaon’s פירוש was written in Arabic. Not sure what you want from that. There is no reason to assume it’s unreliable. Regardless, he is certainly referring to Rebbi Yochanan, as he even brings R’ Yochanan’s proof text – the פסוק in יחזקאל. (See the מגיה for further confirmation that this is his meaning.) R’ Shmuel Motot’s פשט doesn’t hold much water (pun intended): he learns that according to R’ Yochanan it did not rain in Eretz Yisroel, but the water which rained on other lands flowed into Eretz Yisroel. If so, the whole Gemoro in Zevochim makes no sense. For example, Rebbi Yochanan understands the word בחרבה as a reference to Eretz Yisroel STAYING DRY during the flood. He also says that the people in Eretz Yisroel died from heat, not the floodwaters.

    You then move on to Rebbi Yochanan’s encounter with the kusi. Now, as far as I know this Medrash appears in four places: Breishis Rabbah, Shir haShirim Rabbah, Devorim Rabbah and Yalkut Shimoni. In all four places the name of the אמורא is רבי יונתן. I know this may come as a surprise, but Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Yonasan were two different people! (Tosafos in Zevochim 113a s.v. lo has the story happening to Rebbi Yishmael beRebbi Yosi, who was also a different person.)

    I’m not sure why the Abarbanel goes to such lengths to explain how the Ramban can fit with Chazal. Maybe he was scared that if people saw the Ramban rejecting one Chazal about Moshiach, they would feel free to reject others. But it is undeniable the the Abarbanel himself often disagrees with Chazal. In that very same chapter (Melochim I 10) he brings the words of Chazal that מלכת שבא wasn’t a queen but a kingdom, and rejects them, saying ואין לנו לזוז מפשט הכתוב.

    The Rambam did not need to bring any examples of מכחיש מגידיה; the fact he does so proves he is only referring to people like צדוק ובייתוס, and not people who only reject Chazal’s non-Halachic droshos. Denying Olam Habo is a serious matter, and falls within Chazal’s remit. I accept Chazal’s religious authority (and so their ability to codify articles of faith), just not their scientific authority, even when based on droshos.

    The quotation from Rav Shmuel bar Chofni Gaon is still in the same place it was on Sunday: in the Radak to Shmuel Alef 28, 24.


    Re, the kusi – that was my mistake. I was going through medrashim quoted in an article and read it too quickly.

    You didn’t address my other points on the ibn ezra/rav saadya. It’s unthinkable that they would refer to an amora as either “one of our nation” or “chasirei daas,” even when arguing. That’s never the case when the rishonim differ from chazal in pshat – they always speak respectfully, as chazal were chachameinu, our sages who gave over the Torah that we have.

    My point about rav saadya being in Arabic is that the expressions used might not be very clear, plus the piece is missing words – maybe there were other errors that fell into its printing too? I also don’t know who the magiah is – do you?

    You also haven’t addressed the clear psak of the aruch hashulchan and what gave you the authority to pasken on a sugya based on your own decisions, when the issue at hand is lf grave concern

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