Gadol vs. Gadolei Hador
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- This topic has 38 replies, 13 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 4 months ago by Gadolhadorah.
January 6, 2022 1:14 am at 1:14 am #2048582
Is there only ONE “gadol hador” at any point in time or are Sehphardim and Ashkenazim each entitled to have their own respective gadol hador. I’m not talking about the Rabbanut where the government designates a Chief Rabbi for each. Rather, I’m assuming that currently both Ashkenazim and Sephardim accept Rav Kanievsky as GH and prior to him, both accepted Rav Shteinman, ZTL. But what about several years ago when Rav Ovadia and Rav Elyashiv were alive. Did we then have “Gadolei Hador” for each side or was one accepted by the other as Gadol Hador?January 6, 2022 7:53 am at 7:53 am #2048631
Venerated? Yes. Accepted as halachik authority? That never happened even among ashkenazim, with chasidim having their own poskim (rav vozner, rav chatzkel roth, etc) and litvishe in America having their own (rav dovid feinstein, rav belsky, and dozens more). That aforementioned veneration manifests in their words setting a tone for daas torah, in attitude and hadracha, but not in particular p’sak.January 6, 2022 7:54 am at 7:54 am #2048678Reb EliezerParticipant
GH, the title was רשכבה’ג, Rabon Shel Kol Bnei Hagolah where the Satmar Rav ztz’l had the title but I don’t see it anymore. Rav Mםshe ztz’l had the title רבן של ישראל.January 6, 2022 8:40 am at 8:40 am #2048687
So nobody complain if lubavitchers call their Rebbe the nasi hador. That’s our title.January 6, 2022 8:41 am at 8:41 am #2048690
When he was alive, and also when he is not alive physically.January 6, 2022 8:41 am at 8:41 am #2048692DaMosheParticipant
There is no official title of Gadol haDor, or anything else that gives someone overall authority. Even when we had a Sanhedrin, the Nasi still had one vote.
In Catholicism, they have a concept of one person who is considered infallible (the Pope). We don’t believe in people being infallible, only Hashem doesn’t make mistakes.
This idea of Gadol haDor is a relatively recent one, which didn’t come into use until the 1900s. It doesn’t carry any extra weight or power.January 6, 2022 9:36 am at 9:36 am #2048719
Interesting the YWN and other frum media, have been using the honorific title of “gadol hador” for the past decade or so with respect to several of the rabbonim mentioned above as well as some post-War gadolim such as Rav Moishe, etc. Most appear to be Litvish, but Chassidim would presumably consider their own Rebbe as “their gadol”January 6, 2022 9:37 am at 9:37 am #2048717
Godol is a relative term; it means someone who stands out among his generation in greatness, which is measured in terms of Torah knowledge, and righteousness. There is no measurable threshold beyond which you are categorically a “godol”, like there is when a person gets a medical degree and becomes a “doctor.” Being that the term is relative, different people apply it to different levels for people, and even among those who are commonly referred to as Gedolim, they are not all the same. Rav Shach was a Godol, but he was not the Chazon Ish, for example.
You will not find the phrase “posek hador” used anywhere in any meaningful way. The Tzitz Eliezer uses it all over the place in his titles, and either the Teshuvos Maharshal writes it among the titles to the Ramah, or the Teshuvos Ramah about the Maharshal. I forget. But in any case, the title connotes no halachic status.
Rav Moshe isn’t always the final word in America either. Roshei Yeshiva and Poskim, such as Rav Hutner, Rav Eli Meyer Bloch of Telz, the Debreciner Rav, the Chelkas Yaakov and others, sided with the Satmar Rebbe over Rav Moshe regarding the obligatory size of a mechitzah in a shul, and/or the permissibility of artificial insemination, which were the two big disagreements that those Gedoim had in halacha. It was indeed Rav Hutner who approached the Satmar Rav asking him to write a refutation to Rav Moshe’s psak about the Mechitzos.January 6, 2022 9:49 am at 9:49 am #2048723
I think UJM makes the crucial point that all of these honorific titles are relative. Not l’havdil to compare it to sports, politics or other sectors but absent objective and universally agreed upon metrics, there really is no way to “prove” who was the “greatest” or “most important” anything. That doesn’t preclude frequent media efforts to use such honorifics or even promote readership around readership surveys. Several of the above posts are really informative and educational (at least for me) as to how the concept has evolved in the past several decades.January 6, 2022 9:50 am at 9:50 am #2048726MindfulParticipant
Sorry to burst your bubble, R’ Kanievsly is considered to be Gadol Hador by tiny fraction of Ashkenazim, namely charedim of Lutvish descent. There are so many different Ashkenazim. The idea of Gadol Hador itself is very questionable, and has no source in Jewish tradition.January 6, 2022 10:37 am at 10:37 am #2048741☕️coffee addictParticipant
“When he was alive, and also when he is not alive physically.“
Don’t complain if we say the same about Rav Shach zatzal (interesting how you say he’s not alive physically yet don’t put that title after his name)January 6, 2022 10:37 am at 10:37 am #2048735
“The idea of Gadol Hador itself is very questionable, and has no source in Jewish tradition…”
Tell that to the editors of this site and other frum sites who consistently use the term in what you apparently deem a form of journalistic kefirah.January 6, 2022 11:43 am at 11:43 am #2048751RSoParticipant
“So nobody complain if lubavitchers call their Rebbe the nasi hador. That’s our title.”
As I have written in the past in response to our erstwhile poster chabadshluchah there is a difference. The concept of gadol hador is well-known and has always been well-accepted. The concept of nasi has not been in existence for many many centuries, and has no meaning. It was adopted by lubavich – possibly because no one else uses it – to indicate that their rebbe is the undisputed and unparalelled leader of the generation. Something that many of us totally disagree with.
Also, what do you mean by “when he is not alive physically”. Why can’t you just say “not alive”? That always means physically by Yidden.January 6, 2022 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm #2048782
I just want to say you’re all wrongJanuary 6, 2022 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #2048793
SN: Wrong about WHAT??January 6, 2022 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #2048788
Danoshe – it’s recent if all you read are recent seforim.
The mechaber, for one example, was referred to as “mofes hador” by many contemporaries including the maharal and others .
“Peer hador” is also commonly used in seforim; those terms were given to the rambam, mechaber, rashi, ri migash, rif and others.
Don’t believe the MO writers who stress change and reform, but take the payos out and claim “tradition! Above all, tradition!” When if comes to things they don’t like.January 6, 2022 1:53 pm at 1:53 pm #2048787
Mindful – I have rarely seen a myopia that is so severe, that it sees others as myopic.
There’s virtually no strand of orthodoxy that doesn’t hold of rav chaim as a gadol. That includes satmar who are at odds with many litvishe rabbonim. I once met a farbrenteh satmar bochur who asked me who my rebbeim were, and my 3rd answer, Rav chaim, made him very settled… I have never met Rav chaim, but I knew it would make him happy to say it.
I’ve yet to encounter a single person who didn’t hold of rav chaim. And I have friends who are associated with the “real” neturei karta (as in, not the ones who kiss Arafat).
Modern rabbis have admitted the excellence of rabbonim like rav elyashiv, rav shlomo zalman, and rav chaim, even though they are “charedi”. The reverse is not true though; nobody outside of MO gives a lot of credence to the vast majority of RZ and MO rabbis, let alone hold of them to be gedolim.
The litvishe world is far from “tiny”. It’s one of the two fastest growing communities of orthodox Jews, next to chassidim. It comprises almost a million jews worldwide.January 6, 2022 2:15 pm at 2:15 pm #2048817shlucha22Participant
Also, there is a concept that because there are only a few REAL tzaddikim, (as in never do any aveiros and dont have a yetzer hara) then Hashem had to spread them out through all the generations so there would be people to keep the world in existence for. so when a tzaddik is called a gadol hador, it can be saying that he is a person in the generation that in his zechus, Hashem keeps the world in existence.January 6, 2022 2:52 pm at 2:52 pm #2048828
“I once met a farbrenteh satmar bochur”
What, pray tell, is a FARBRENTEH satmar bochur
I checked my YWN thesaurus and it too, had no clue.January 6, 2022 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #2048838
Hot-headed, “flaming”January 6, 2022 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #2048837
If you truly want to know what is a gadol hador, take lessons from sefer shoftim. It is not an anointed position. It is conferred upon someone through haskama of the klal. There used to be in recent decades a wide selection of agreed upon gedolei Yisrael from many backgrounds. Now, we have very few that are recognized by most. This is what is foretold in parshas haazinu.January 6, 2022 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #2048851
Gadolhadorah: The last time you agreed with my you said that it was “the first time and probably the last time.”
Are we starting to see a pattern?
It looks like my shlichus in the CR is starting to bear fruit.January 6, 2022 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #2048873
>> and my 3rd answer, Rav chaim, made him very settled… I have never met Rav chaim, but I knew it would make him happy to say it.
maybe this was not worded accurately? What is the heter to change words even if you are speaking to a drunk, and even if he is a husid. Or was he physically threatening you?January 6, 2022 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #2048877
There is no doubt that the concept of a gadol/gaon/etc existed in various times, but to what degree it matters might have changed. I am wondering whether litvishe world got influenced by chasidim to some degree – having an identifiable leader seems to be popular.
In general, it is a republican idea: you ask a shaila of you rov, he asks of his rosh yeshiva, and he asks someone higher. This graph generates one or more figures at the top. Some may be specialized in certain areas, others – more general. Say, Rav and Shmuel were both gedolim, but we accept their psak based on the topic. Not sure whether the difference of expertise was apparent at their time or established over time. We see something similar now – there are people for whom Rav Chaim is a posek for learning, but for covid halokhos they don’t hold by him and go to ploni ben shapiro.January 6, 2022 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #2048903
AAQ, I don’t think it’s a sheker because he’s the rebbe of klal yisroel, and i consider him an authority… I’ve also learned from his seforim – if you learn one thing from a person you’re supposed to call them your rebbe, so I don’t see anything wrong with calling him soJanuary 6, 2022 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #2048913crazy horseParticipant
I’m so happy the Coffee room and gedolhadorah has helped me figure out who the gadol hador is.
What would I do with out you?
Great piece of journalism.January 6, 2022 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #2048916
UJM: When you aren’t engaged in your usual misogynistic trolls, you are actually one of the smartest guys in “the room” (Starbucks, not Enron Trading) and inadvertently offer really insightful and informative responses.January 6, 2022 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm #2048963
Avira, ok. There was a Rav, whom I also can call a Rebbe the way you do, who moved to EY and was asked – which party do you support? He answered firmly: party of Moshe Rabbeinu!January 7, 2022 12:53 am at 12:53 am #2048906
Ok, I’ll rephrase it: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, Zecher Tzaddik V’kaddosh L’vrocha Zechuso Yagen Aleinu, was the Nasi Hador when he was alive on earth. Avraham Yitzchok and Yaakov and Moshe and Dovid and Shlomo and Rava and Abbayeh and Rav Hai Gaon and all the tzaddikim are still alive, just not physically.
And if anyone complains that we can’t call the Rebbe the Nasi Hador, since not everyone accepts him, then you can have the same taane by calling someone the Gadol Hador, even though not everybody accepts him.January 7, 2022 2:25 am at 2:25 am #2049015
TS, you’re still not understanding the implications of the term Nasi and why it is that it was not used practically since chasimas hatalmud. A nasi is a position of rulership that is similar to malchus (there’s a reason why it was held by einiklach of dovid hamelech), and it has definitive halachik ramifications that are not applicable nowadays. It would be like calling him an actual melech, embuing him with the halachos of a king, or (if he were a cohen) calling him a kohen gadol or meshuach milchama – there are titles that we don’t just use on gedolim/poskim/manhigim.
I’d say exactly the same thing if someone called rav chaim the nasi hador; this has nothing to do with my personal feelings about the lubavitcher rebbe.January 7, 2022 1:12 pm at 1:12 pm #2049089
Avira, the term “Gadol Hador” wasn’t used ever before the 20th century.January 7, 2022 1:14 pm at 1:14 pm #2049100
Lubavitch is like shevet Binyamin during the crises of pilegesh begivah. We’re not goreis you, so it doesn’t matter who you hold of
Aaq, it’s not a modern trend or a matter of popularity. It’s a pasuk in dvarim. When did people stop learning chumash?January 7, 2022 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #2049160
We’re only like shevet binyamon when they were in a bad position? Is the bais hamikdash in our land?January 8, 2022 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #2049169
So I guess there isn’t any consensus on WHO is the “gadol hador”,”gadolei hador” nor is there even agreement that the terms have any relevance or real world significance. Yet, in some cases, there still seems to be a competition as to how many honorific prefixes we can put before the name of a Chashuvah Rav as if that will somehow endow anything he says/does with greater prescriptive value.
Shabbat Shalom or a gutten Shabbos or whatever….January 8, 2022 9:55 pm at 9:55 pm #2049299
Gadol: If there’s a lack of Gedolim, I’ll reluctantly accept the yoke of that title and responsibility. Just give me a few days to prepare myself…January 8, 2022 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #2049303
Gadol > there still seems to be a competition as to how many honorific prefixes
You are not an only gadol who feels this way! R Kamentsky’s son writes in the introduction to his book that he is just using the letter R in front of each name leaving it up to the reader to read it as Reb, Rav, Rabbi, Rabban, Gadol Hador … (paraphrasing)January 8, 2022 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm #2049314
AAQ: Brilliant protocol in its simplicity and elegance…one could always build on R Kaminetsky’s approach to use a superscript R2, R3, or R4… so as to show how incredibly “chashuvah” you think a particular Rav really is. More importantly, the news page editors could probably save two valuable lines of honorific prefixes when referencing an especially chashuvah and heilege Rav simply as R7 Gavornliker etc.January 9, 2022 12:09 am at 12:09 am #2049331
Gadol > superscript R2, R3, or R4
I think you are going against the author’s intent 🙂
Mathematically, if R is infinite, then R^n is the same. There are of course, different infinities, appropriately called aleph_0,aleph_1 by R(eb) Cantor.January 9, 2022 10:20 am at 10:20 am #2049447
Time to close out before it gets either silly or disrespectful.
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