Hashkofos & Apikorsos
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September 26, 2010 7:48 pm at 7:48 pm #592452so rightMember
After explaining that he cannot rule on a specific incident without hearing both sides of the story, he writes that theoretically, if someone says such a thing, since it is clear that Chazal disagree, he would be guilty of Apikursus.
Since it says in Chazal that the Gedolim of every generation have Ruach HaKodesh therefore someone who (a) admits that the Ohr HaChaim was a Godol B’Yisroel, and (b) denies that the Ohr HaChaim had Ruach HaKodesh, would be going against Chazal, which would make him an Apikores. The Rebbi in question did not deny that the Ohr HaChaim was a Godol Hador (if he would that would just make him a fool) but rather said that despite that status he did not write with Ruach HaKodesh.
(Ruach HaKodesh does not mean that everything someone says is right. Even Chazal were disproven, which is why we have “hava amina”s in the gemora. It means that they get a certain level of siyata d’shmaya.)
If someone accepts ideas that are not in accordance with the Torah, in other words, Hashkofos, they violate this issur.
There are different levels of Apikursos. Worst-case scenario, someone can become a full-fledged Apikores, which Halachicly is considered worse than in idol worshipper. Such a person is treated Halachicly like a non-Jew, yet retains the halachic obligations of all Jews. A full-fledged Apikores is the absolute bottom on the spiritual food chain.
The classic Apikores is someone who denies the concept of prophecy in general, or the prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu specifically, or who claims that Hashem does not know everything that happens on earth (Rambam Teshuva 3:8). Other various types of heretics are included in Apikores according to other Rishonim. Examples include someone who denies the coming of Moshiach, someone who purposely twists the meaning of the Torah, someone who interprets the mitzvos figuratively, someone who blatantly violates the Torah, someone who does not respect the Yomim Tovim, and other assorted types of anti-Torah behaviors. See the meforshim on the Mishna Sanhedrim 90a for details.
Apikorsim are considered worse than idol worshippers, and although they are still obligated in all Mitzvos, they lose all privileges and qualifications that Jews have, and are considered Halachicly like non-Jews regarding all Halachos, such as shchitah, returning lost items, etc. They have no share in Olam Habah (Mishna Sanhedrim 90a) and when they die their relatives do not mourn for them (Rambam Laws of Mourning 1:10). We are actually allowed to indirectly cause their death (Avodah Zarah 26a).
According to the Chazon Ish, the level of Apikores in the Gemora, where the Halachah allows us to cause his death, does not apply nowadays, since today we do not see open miracles on the same level that we used to, a denier of the Torah is not guilty to the extent that one may kill him. On the contrary, we should try to be mekarev them and cause them to do teshuva (YD 13).
So the status of Apikores depends on: (a) what you deny and (b) why you deny it.
There were rabbis who, because of their Hashkafos, were not accepted in various circles, as their beliefs were considered by others to be full fledged Apikorsus.
Re: Doing a Mitzvah for the wrong reasons:
While it is true that you get credit for a Mitzvah regardless of the motive for performing it, that is only if you believe it is a Mitzvah that you are doing.
As far as whether if you believe Apikorsus that automatically makes you an Apikores, the answer is not always. Here are the rules:
2) Not everybody who says Apikorsus is himself an Apikores. As the Chazon Ish writes about a piece of Apikorsus he saw in a certain sefer: “Even though the author was a Yorei Hashem, he worshipped Apikorsus unwittingly.” A similar sentiment was expressed by Rav Yosef Yedid ZTL regarding Rav Kook: “Even though there is a way to judge him a little favorably, that he himself is not a Min and Apikores … but regardless of whether we are going to judge him to be an Apikores, for sure these words that come from his mouth are Minus and Apikorsus.”
4) Even if you do not actually deny one of the 13 Principles, but merely are unsure about it, you are still a full fledged Apikores. You must be convinced of the absolute truth of these 13 Principles in order to get your share in Olam Habah and be considered part of Klall Yisroel, as per #3 above.
5) There is a disagreement between the Rambam and the Raavad regarding someone who, in the course of his Torah learning, makes an honest mistake, misunderstands something he sees in the Torah, and erroneously derives from the Torah a belief that is actually Apikorsus. The Rambam holds this person is an Apikores and the Raavad holds that he is not.
5a) Even the Ravad, however, agrees that even though the person himself is not considered an Apikores, his mistaken belief is indeed considered Apikorsus.
9) Even though usually we have a rule that we try to be melamed zechus (judge favorably) on Jews, where an Apikores is concerned, the contrary is true. We are not melamed zechus at all. On the contrary, someone who refuses to curse the Apikorsim, is halachicly suspect to be an Apikores himself.
A godol is someone whose Torah scholarship and righteousness is exceptional among the generation. Of course, he has to follow the derech of our previous Gedolim, the Mesorah of Klall Yisroel as well. That is pretty much unanimously the derech of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Chaim Brisker, and their great contemporaries.
It does not include the following criteria:
(a) Who the Yated decides is a godol.
(b) Who the people who make “gedolim cards” decide who is a godol.
(c) Who has a lot of followers.
(d) Who is a popular and talented speaker.
(e) Who preaches policies that you agree with.
If you want to know if someone is a godol, think:
Is his scholarship level exceptional in the generation? Does his knowledge span all areas of Torah – shas poskim, halachah and hashkafa. And is his knowledge deep and sharp. Can he answer the difficult questions in Torah better than his contemporaries? Are his chidushim exceptionally sharp and sure? Can he decipher Torah diffiulties in an exceptional manner?
Then, what about his Tzidkus? Is he an exceptional Tzadik? If so, in what measurable way?
If he wouldn’t be a rosh yeshiva or a rav, but rather a yeshiva guy learning in the Lakewood Kollel, would people still look at him as such a great Tzadik and Talmid Chacham as they do now? Or is it merely because of his position that people inflate his status?
Does he violate the Torah? Does he follow a Rebbi of his? Does he have a “mesorah” going back to the previous generations whose derech he is following? Do other people of the above caliber hold he is a godol?
All of us, whether we admit it or not, all decide on our own who is a godol, of what criteria we are going to use to determine that. We ALL have our criteria that we decided on our own to use (even if we decide that we cant know who is a godol, we decide who we will believe when they say it). The trick is to use proper criteria.
It is also important for the person to be wise and sharp. It is definitely possible for a Godol to be uninformed, misinformed, or under-informed. The Satmar Rebbe ZT”L used to say that a Godol BaTorah can be naive as well.
The most we can do is to try our best. More than that, Hashem does not require from us. The above criteria are the ones to use. The trick is not to have Hashem tell us we should have put more effort into the decision.September 26, 2010 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #699610charliehallParticipant
A few comments:
1) Current practice *is* “an improvement in the treatment of women over what we have been accustomed to in the past generations”. Rav Soloveitchik z’tz’l went even further and was correct to do so.
2) Rav Yedid may have been of the stature to criticize Rav Kook. Nobody who comments here is! Rav Kook was one of the two most brilliant Jewish thinkers of the 20th century. (The other was Rav Soloveitchik.)September 26, 2010 9:34 pm at 9:34 pm #699614HelpfulMember
1) by the goyim (who used to treat them as property.) by Klal Yisroel, we always got it right.
2) we can follow what the gedolim say about him (as quoted above.)September 27, 2010 2:06 am at 2:06 am #699618
Hmmm, so Rabbanim have the right to call other Rabbanim apikursim. Who decides who has the last word? Many thought the Rambam himself was an apikorus. They organized massive book-burnings of his works. I guess we should not learn Rambam any more.
Somebody disagrees with Rav Kook, so that makes Rav Kook an apikorus? Let me guess the rule, when one on the right calls one on the left an apikorus, it is true, but when one on the left calls someone on the right an apikorus, it is not.
Note that Reb Aryeh Levine himself was once pushed down into the mud by some kannai, because he associated with Rav Kook.
The Netziv writes that the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed because people went around calling each other an apikorus.
There have always been machloksin about crucial points in the Torah, and Eilu vEilu.
Maybe one day we’ll wake up and realize that the whole purpose of the Torah is menschlachkeit, and nothing more, and that day Moshiach will come.September 27, 2010 2:13 am at 2:13 am #699619
so Rabbanim have the right to call other Rabbanim apikursim.
The Rambam says someone who, in the course of his Torah learning, makes an honest mistake, misunderstands something he sees in the Torah, and erroneously derives from the Torah a belief that is actually Apikorsus – the Rambam holds this person is an Apikores. (The Raavad holds that he is not, however, he agrees that even though the person himself is not considered an Apikores, his mistaken belief is indeed considered Apikorsus.)September 27, 2010 2:22 am at 2:22 am #699620popa_bar_abbaParticipant
seriously, there is no way I am reading that whole post.
I’m sure it’s all good.
But since you brought up vegetarianism, I’ll throw in my thoughts on that.
Let’s say you watch a shechita and then you don’t want to eat meat that night, are you an apikores?
Let’s say you don’t want to shecht cows because it bothers you, are you an apikores?
Let’s say you don’t want to stone the mekoshesh eitzim because it bothers you, are you an apikores?
Let’s say you don’t want to eat meat because it bothers you, are you an apikores?
I’d say that as long as you don’t make it into a “value”, meaning you aren’t judging on it’s being wrong, you’re ok.September 27, 2010 2:30 am at 2:30 am #699621
BTW, if one is an apikorus for not believing that a certain perush was written bRuach Hakodesh, it would certainly help to have a definition of Ruach Hakodesh.
But I will give you some proofs that even the Avos did not have knowledge of everything, only what the RBSH wanted them to know.
1) By the Akeidah, if Avraham knew the outcome that he would not have to sacrifice his son, then what was the nisayon?
2) The pasuk says vYaakov lo yada ki Rochel genavasam. Yaakov who cursed the one who stole Lavan’s terafim, did not know it was Rachel, and that she would die young as a result.
Furthermore, the Rambam writes certain scientific facts that we now know are not correct, such as the existence of hard spheres in which the planets are embedded, the sizes of the Sun and Moon, etc. Does this lessen the Rambam in my eyes? Not at all, because he would be the first to say go with the science of your times, not of mine. (Remember that he writes in Kiddush Hachodesh 17:24 that any scientific or mathematical fact which has been proven even by a non-Jew, carries the status of Divrei Neviim.) The intellectual honesty of the Rambam is overwhelming.
So please define exactly what you mean by Ruach Hakodesh.
One further thing, if you mean to equate Ruach Hakodesh to Nevuah, then we are allowed to test a Navi by making him predict the future multiple times. (This is a halacha in the Rambam). Do you know of any gedolim today who would want to undergo such a test?September 27, 2010 3:26 am at 3:26 am #699622
Why do we seem to know more what exactly constitutes Apikorsos than earlier generations knew?
Areas of Hashkafah that were in dispute in the time of the Rishonim (Rambam era) have been decided by some with certainty.
As I understand,even full prophecy can not resolve a Halachic uncertainty.
Whatever Ruach Hakodesh is, it can never be put on the same level as Nevuah (prophecy).September 27, 2010 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #699623gavra_at_workParticipant
All Torah is learned only with Divine Inspiration (what you would call Ruach HaKodesh), as it connects the Yid to his Source.
If it is not learned as a connection to the Source, rather as a subject, then that (seemingly) IS Apikorsus.
I like your “trying to define a gadol” statements: I do have issue with one minor point:
That is pretty much unanimously the derech of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Chaim Brisker, and their great contemporaries.
Chassidim, Sephardim, Yekkies, etc. do not hold of or follow this derech. I would be very wary to exclude most of Klal Yisroel.September 27, 2010 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #699624
Not at all clear that the Torah disagrees. Just because the Torah permitted it, does not mean that one who abstains because of Tzaar Baalei Chaim is not a big Baal Madreiga. There is some halacha regarding the lung of an animal that was collapsed in a certain way, because the animal was in great fear, such as if its fellow animal was shechted in its presence. So clearly animals do not enjoy the shechita process. Why the Torah permitted it may be like the Yefas Toar.
We are also permitted to be gluttons and eat all day. Nevertheless, the higher madreiga is to eat only enough to be healthy.
The Torah also permits a man to withhold a get for huge sums of money.
So just because the Torah permits something does not mean it is giving its endorsement.
Again, the highest madreiga is menschlachkeit.September 27, 2010 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #699625theprof1Participant
popa bar abba you’re right. If a person is a vegetarian because he/she saw shechita and became turned off, if they feel they just can’t eat meat, that’s not an apikores. But if the person says that shechita is just as wrong as other slaughter, that it’s being cruel, then that person is basically saying that the Torah mitzva of shechita is wrong. An apikores is someone who says that a part of the Torah is wrong, Hashem made a “mistake” or Moshe Rabbeinu “decided” on his own and made a “mistake”.September 27, 2010 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #699626
Two more proofs that the Torah’s permitting something does not make it right.
The story with Rebbe Yehudah Hanasi in the gemara where a calf escaped from shechita and ran to him. he told him, go back because this is what you were created for.
The gemara tells us that as a result, Rebbe was punished with 20 years of excruciating yissurin because he did not have rachmanus on the calf. We see that although shechita is permitted, still one is sometimes expected to go to a higher madreiga.
Second, the gemara says Lo necherava yerushalayim ella al sehemidu divreihem al divrei Torah. Yerushalayim was destroyed because people went by the letter of the law in their court cases. The RBSH expects people to go above and beyond the minimum. If a poor person loses a case, and you can well afford it, let him win or at least give him money to live on in some other way.
The entire purpose of the whole Torah is menschlachkeit.
BTW, the entire thread is completely out of place, anyway. It is not our job to judge other people’s religious views. That is the RBSH’s job.
Suppose a holocaust survivor says my entire family was slaughtered right in front of my eyes. I do not believe in G-d, because no benevolent or just G-d could have let this happen. I challenge anybody here to go up to him and call him an apikorus. In addition, the gemara says that when somebody is btzaar and complains about the RBSH, He does not hold it against him.
Why not let us focus on our job which is to be kind to each other and let the RBSH focus on his?September 27, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #699627
“Rav Yedid may have been of the stature to criticize Rav Kook. Nobody who comments here is!”
Nobody has claimed otherwise.
“The Eighth Principle is highly problematic; and Chazal stated that there is a different number of words in the Torah than there actually are, that we have lost the mesorah for the exact number of words and letters in the Torah, and join with a few Rishonim suggest a few post-Mosaic modifications (none of which have any halachic significance).”
I have a vague recollection of this Gemora; however, I seem to remember it saying that we don’t know if certain passukim are one passuk or two, if certain words are one word or two, etc, without really changing the Torah per say. I don’t remember anything about letters. Do you know where this Gemora is so I can check it up?
“The Third Principle is not accepted today by most frum Jews, who recite a prayer to angels every selichot. (I personally skip that prayer.) Prof. Marc Shapiro has more details in his book.”
The Third Ani Maamim is that Hashem has no body: I’m fairly certain that is accepted by most, if not all, jews today. You probably meant to say the Fifth Ani Maamim, that Hashem is the only One who it is fitting to daven to. However, one could argue that “Machnisai Rachamim” is not “davening” to the Maluchim per say, as we are not asking them to help us, only to get Hashem to help us (much as we ask tzaddikim to help us invoke Hashem’s mercy).
“the whole purpose of the Torah is menschlachkeit, and nothing more”
Considering that you claim to know “the purpose of the Torah”, would you care to bring a source?
“Somebody disagrees with Rav Kook, so that makes Rav Kook an apikorus?”
Actually, so right specifically said Rav Kook is not an apikores. I quote: “A similar sentiment was expressed by Rav Yosef Yedid ZTL regarding Rav Kook: “Even though there is a way to judge him a little favorably, that he himself is not a Min and Apikores”
“BTW, if one is an apikorus for not believing that a certain perush was written bRuach Hakodesh, it would certainly help to have a definition of Ruach Hakodesh.”
Once again, I quote: “Ruach HaKodesh does not mean that everything someone says is right. Even Chazal were disproven, which is why we have “hava amina”s in the gemora. It means that they get a certain level of siyata d’shmaya.” Please, take the time to read something before you blast it!
“Why do we seem to know more what exactly constitutes Apikorsos than earlier generations knew?”
Actually, I’m pretty sure most of the sources quoted here are from the earlier generations…
“Whatever Ruach Hakodesh is, it can never be put on the same level as Nevuah (prophecy).”
Did anybody say it is?September 28, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am #699628
Regarding Rav Kook specifically, I have heard that the Chazon Ish ZT”L used to censor his Seforim by taping or marking over the anti-Torah writings in them. Of course, the Chazon Ish was more able to know what is undesirable and what is not, than the average student.
If someone was the biggest Apikores and enemy of Hashem, as long as he would “work the land” of Israel, Rav Kook considered him holy. The soccer players, mechalelei shabbos b’farhesia, were to Rav Kook, “holy”. He did not mean “Tzelem Elokim” holy, but rather, because they assisted the Zionist cause they were “holy”, regardless of their status according to the Torah.
Rav Berel Soloveichik ZT”L, son of the Brisker Rav ZT”L, used to relate to his students the Chofetz Chaim’s response when he heard of Rav Kook’s position on the Cholni soccer players.
“Kook shmook!”, the Chofetz Chaim said, dismissing both the man and the position.
The story about the Chofetz Chaim – the paragon of Shemiras Halashon himself – is easily confirmed. The person who it happened with was named Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Gorelick, father of Rav Yeruchem Gorelick ZTL, who was a talmid of the Chofetz Chaim and a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University. Rav Gorelick said the story over numerous times, as did Rav Berel Soloveichik ZTL, Rosh Yeshiva of Brisk.
Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld ZTL said that he was like a person who is drunk – saying irrational, nonsensical things – and in his case, he is drunk on Ahavas Yisroel. Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld’s description of him as a “Purim Rav the whole year”. Rav Kook was considered a lone, sad case of greatness gone irrational.
A more hard-line position is found in the Teshuvos Divrei Yoel by the Satmar Rav ZT”L (CM 131), where he rules outright that it is forbidden according to Halachah to follow any Halachic rulings of Rav Kook, in any area of Torah. His reasoning is based mainly on the following sources:
1) Birkei Yosef 243:3 – It is forbidden to learn Torah or listen to psakim of any Talmid Chacham that causes a Chilul Hashem.
2) Responsa Bais Shlomo YD II:101 – Any rabbi who misleads the public into sinning is forbidden to be a rabbi, and if he is a rabbi must be removed.
3) Chasam Sofer CM 163 – Any Min (i.e. Apikores), it is forbidden to hear any Torah from him.
4) The Gemora (Shabbos 116a) says that a Sefer Torah that is written by a Min must be burnt, even if the Sefer Torah is 100% proper with nothing changed in it. The reason, says the Rambam, is because we do not want and remnants of the acts of Apikorsim.
So since the Satmar Rav held that Rav Kook was an Apikores, and certainly that he mislead the masses with his Zionist teachings, he is in the category of all of the above.September 28, 2010 2:21 am at 2:21 am #699630lesschumrasParticipant
So, an Apikores is someone who disagrees with the satmar Rav?
on Zionism?September 28, 2010 3:15 am at 3:15 am #699631
No one said that. See the 4 enumerated reasons from Teshuvos Divrei Yoel for the reasons of that determination.
Also note what the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yedid ZT”L, Rav Berel Soloveichik ZT”L, the Chazon Ish, and Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld ZT”L (all quoted earlier in the thread) amongst others said. There were those who held that his beliefs made Rav Kook a plain Apikores and it is forbidden to listen to his Torahs altogether; others held that his non-Hashkafic Torahs are OK to use but his Hashkafic opinions are rejected; the Mizrachi held from him completely.September 28, 2010 5:20 am at 5:20 am #699632
“Considering that you claim to know “the purpose of the Torah”, would you care to bring a source?”
MW13, I’ll bring more than one. Hillel: Mai dsani lach lchavrech lo saavid, zehu kol hatorah kula.
Also Rebbe Akiva: Vahavta lreacha komocha zeh klal gadol batorah.
In addition other chazals like: Mutav lhaamid tzelem bheichal v’al yarbeh machlokes byisroel. (Quoted in the Rabbi Scherer book).September 28, 2010 5:30 am at 5:30 am #699633
“Once again, I quote: “Ruach HaKodesh does not mean that everything someone says is right. Even Chazal were disproven, which is why we have “hava amina”s in the gemora. It means that they get a certain level of siyata d’shmaya.” Please, take the time to read something before you blast it!”
1) You have not given an operative definition of the word Ruach Hakodesh. Please tell us exactly how to tell the difference between a sefer that was written bRuach Hakodesh, and one that wasn’t.
2) Your statement “they get a certain level of siyata dishmaya” does not help very much. How can we tell what level they received?
2A) Did Isaac Newton get Siyata Dishmaya when he wrote down the 3 laws of motion, or was it a case of kochi v’otzem yadi. Assuming it was the former, are you saying he had Ruach Hakodesh? I hate to hock, but there is a reason one needs to carefully define terms in any argument. Certainly, in a case one is using the term to label somebody an apikorus, it is all the more necessary.
3) I assume from your other statements that writing Bruach Hakodesh does not literally mean G-d told him every word, as you say it can even be wrong but still be Ruach Hakodesh.September 28, 2010 5:40 am at 5:40 am #699634
LessChumras writes: So, an Apikores is someone who disagrees with the Satmar Rav on Zionism?
Myfriend responds: “No one said that. See the 4 enumerated reasons from Teshuvos Divrei Yoel for the reasons of that determination.”
Hmmm, I am almost certain that the Teshuvos Divrei Yoel was written by the Satmar Rav…September 28, 2010 5:41 am at 5:41 am #699635
Of course it was. It was for the enumerated reasons, not the author. And, again, note the litany of others who said along the same lines.September 28, 2010 5:43 am at 5:43 am #699636
First of all, I was quoting from the original post by so right, so your questions should be addressed to him. Nonetheless, I will try to answer you as he might:
“1) You have not given an operative definition of the word Ruach Hakodesh. Please tell us exactly how to tell the difference between a sefer that was written bRuach Hakodesh, and one that wasn’t.”
I am not sure that is possible. After all, its not like its going to say it in the inside of the cover.
“2) Your statement “they get a certain level of siyata dishmaya” does not help very much. How can we tell what level they received?”
I believe so right said something to the effect of any Godol has Ruach Hakodesh. So it would appear that one can tell if Ruach Hakodesh is in play or not by looking at the author, but necessarily by looking at the actual text.
“2A) Did Isaac Newton get Siyata Dishmaya when he wrote down the 3 laws of motion, or was it a case of kochi v’otzem yadi. Assuming it was the former, are you saying he had Ruach Hakodesh?”
Well, technically speaking anybody who does anything has Siyata Di’Shimaya, and I’m not sure exactly where one would draw the line… looks like we’ll have to wait till so right wakes up for this one.
“3) I assume from your other statements that writing Bruach Hakodesh does not literally mean G-d told him every word, as you say it can even be wrong but still be Ruach Hakodesh.”
Yes, that would appear to be the case.September 28, 2010 5:46 am at 5:46 am #699637
“LessChumras writes: So, an Apikores is someone who disagrees with the Satmar Rav on Zionism?
Myfriend responds: “No one said that. See the 4 enumerated reasons from Teshuvos Divrei Yoel for the reasons of that determination.”
Hmmm, I am almost certain that the Teshuvos Divrei Yoel was written by the Satmar Rav… “
Yes, it was. The point I believe myfriend was trying to make is that the Satmar Rav had several valid reasons to consider Rav Kook an apikores, and did not just call him an apikores because he disagreed with him.September 28, 2010 6:03 am at 6:03 am #699638
Sorry, I didn’t see your first post till now.
“Mai dsani lach lchavrech lo saavid, zehu kol hatorah kula.”
While the pashtus of this certainly seems to imply like you said, I find it difficult to believe this statement was meant to be taken literally. After all, there are plenty of halachos that have nothing to do with menchlichkeit: avodah zora, emunah, etc. These are obviously fundamentals of Yiddishkeit, and yet they have nothing to do anybody but you and Hashem. Therefore, there must be more to the Torah then just bein adom li’chavaro. Remember, there are two luchos, and they are both equally important.September 28, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am #699640simcha613Participant
Quick question… is there something unique about ??? ????? ????? that it was written with ??? ????? or were all the ??????? (like ??”?, ???”?, ??? ????, etc…) also written with ??? ??????September 28, 2010 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #699641
simcha613: From the OP: “it says in Chazal that the Gedolim of every generation have Ruach HaKodesh”.September 28, 2010 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #699642
Simcha613, One thing that always used to give me chizuk was to see the Steipler’s gematrios on Rashi in his sefer Birchas Peretz.
I believe that if you look at the introduction to sefer Maharsha HaAruch, it quotes a source that all chiburim up until the time of the Maharsha were written Bruach Hakodesh.
However, doesn’t it give a list of qualities of Tannaim at end of one masechta and say Mishemes one of the tannaim, batlah ruach hakodesh?
So while the klal over the generations has accepted and cherished the concept that gedolei Torah have Ruach Hakodesh, what upset me was that to start labeling people apikursim because of it, is going over the line, especially since there is no way to prove it and the concept is not even well-defined. Would we punish somebody for chillul shabbos if we had no way to prove it? The Rambam lists quite a few things that might make a person an apikorus, but saying that a sefer after the time of Tanach is not written bruach hakodesh is not in the list.
As far as definitions go, I just happened to see in a local publication that they will be enforcing an anti-drinking law on Simchas Torah that adults allowing the use of alcohol by minors on their premises will be subject to penalties. The law contains so many definitions as to exactly what circumstances constitute allowing the use of (aware of, or should be aware of, in addition to actually serving), and exactly what their premises are (house, yard). I do not remember the exact terminology or even the name of the law. But it is an example how any law must be crystal clear as to what is meant, and what exactly is a violation.September 28, 2010 3:17 pm at 3:17 pm #699643
MW13 writes: “While the pashtus of this certainly seems to imply like you said, I find it difficult to believe this statement was meant to be taken literally. After all, there are plenty of halachos that have nothing to do with menchlichkeit: avodah zora, emunah, etc. These are obviously fundamentals of Yiddishkeit, and yet they have nothing to do anybody but you and Hashem. Therefore, there must be more to the Torah then just bein adom li’chavaro. Remember, there are two luchos, and they are both equally important.”
Yes, that is a good point, but this is how I understand it. To deny the existence of the RBSH is terrible from the standpoint of menschlachkeit. He created the world, and gives us food and our health and our brains and worked very hard to supply us with our needs, and wants us just to say thank you, and have hakaras hatov. Just like if we turned our backs on our parents after all they did for us, and all their hard work, and staying up late when we were sick, and feeding us and driving us everywhere it would be the most despicable and ungrateful behavior there is.
In other words, the RBSH doesn’t want us to praise him because of his own ego trip, but he wants us to praise him because that is what makes a person a mensch, and the person will then use the same midos to show hakaras hatov to other people, as well, and this will cause ahavas habriyos and shalom in the entire world.
BTW, in the haftara of Yom Kippur it emphasizes that the purpose of the fast is to feel what hunger is like, and then understand what the aniyim feel, and to give them tzedaka. Halo paros lraev lachmecha vaniyim merudim tavi bayis….zeh tzom evchareihu. I don’t remember the exact words. (Heard from my Rav).September 28, 2010 5:13 pm at 5:13 pm #699644shlomozalmanMember
For a full treatment of the controversy surrounding the Or Hachaim Hakadosh’s ruach hakodesh, see David Assaf, Ne’echaz Basvach, pages 235-254.September 28, 2010 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #699645
Who is this history professor Assaf or Samet? Anything like the apikorus history professor Gershom Sholem? Lets hear from Talmidei Chachomim, not history professors.September 28, 2010 9:21 pm at 9:21 pm #699646
My friend writes:
“1) Birkei Yosef 243:3 – It is forbidden to learn Torah or listen to psakim of any Talmid Chacham that causes a Chilul Hashem.
“2) Responsa Bais Shlomo YD II:101 – Any rabbi who misleads the public into sinning is forbidden to be a rabbi, and if he is a rabbi must be removed.
“3) Chasam Sofer CM 163 – Any Min (i.e. Apikores), it is forbidden to hear any Torah from him.
“4) The Gemora (Shabbos 116a) says that a Sefer Torah that is written by a Min must be burnt, even if the Sefer Torah is 100% proper with nothing changed in it. The reason, says the Rambam, is because we do not want and remnants of the acts of Apikorsim.
“So since the Satmar Rav held that Rav Kook was an Apikores, and certainly that he mislead the masses with his Zionist teachings, he is in the category of all of the above.”
I just wanted to ask mechila from Rav Kook ZTL for not being mocheh earlier.
These points are so far off the mark.
#1, Rav Kook never caused a chilul hashem, but lived a life of kiddush hashem and bringing back people to Torah. Just remember the beautiful Mercaz boys who were murdered, who were his products. Each was a big masmid and baal midos.
#2, Rav Kook never mislead the public into sinning. In certain of his piskei halacha, he was more machmir than the norm. See a story in Guardian of Jerusalem how he paskened the Rabbanim must daven at home, rather than go to a shul which had the bima in front, on their tour.
#3, Irrelevant, as he was a bigger maamin than any of us here.
#4, Ditto.September 29, 2010 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #699647
Pashuteh Yid: Sorry, I thought when you said menchlichkeit, you were only referring to bein adom li’chavairo. If you want to extend menchlichkeit to bein adom li’Makom (ie, doing all the mitzvos out of hakora hatov to Hashem, etc), then I would have to agree this is definitely one way of looking at the Torah.
However, while doing Avodas HaKodesh out of menchlichkeit is indeed quite commendable, I do not believe it is the highest level of serving Hashem. I was always under the impression that the highest level of service is to the mitzvos for no other reason then because Hashem said we should (although off the top of my head I can’t think of a source for this).September 29, 2010 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #699648
MW13, Time is very short now, more after yontof. Just a brief comment:
Another source of the primacy of bein adam lachaveiro is one I read on one of the frum sites in the name of Rav Shteinman. I looked it up, and it is in the Peirush haRosh on the extreme left of first page of Maseches Peah in the back of the big shas Brochos volume. The last lines read “Ki HKBH chafetz yoser bamitzvos sheyeaseh bahem gam ratzon habriyos mibamitzvos shebein adam lekono.”
This is the anivus of the RBSH. Unfortunately, I believe that many are taught an incorrect hashkafa that the RBSH is an angry ego-maniac.
Part of this incorrect hashkafa is that it is better to do mitzvos only because Hashem said we should, and to get schar. If we do a chesed out of the goodness of our heart, we are doing it shelo lishma or because we are weak people. But that contradicts the maamar chazal Al tehei keved hameshamesh es rabbo al mnas lekabel pras. I think the ultimate purpose of the Torah is to make us into fine and caring people who realize the magnitude of the contribution of the RBSH and everybody else to keep this world functioning. The farmer, the milkman, the truckdriver, the storekeeper, everybody.
Yes, it is menschlach to treat the RBSH with hakaras hatov, but it is the good midos He is trying to teach us which apply both to people and to the RBSH. He wants shalom and ahava to prevail throughout the world.October 3, 2010 2:25 am at 2:25 am #699649
Over yontof, I happened to be in a shul which had a set of Tzitz Eliezer, and pulled out a random volume, since I do not have one. I was pleasantly surprised to find in Chelek 7, Siman 48, p. 222 beautiful quotations from Rav Kook. He refers to him as Hagaon HaRav Avraham Yitzhak Kook, and freely quotes from his article Kedushas Haaaretz in sefer Chazon Hageulah.
In this teshuvah the Tzitz Eliezer says it is absurd to believe that the geulah can’t happen through the Zionists, even though some were not observant. He says it is mefurash a story in Navi Melachim Beis 14:23-27 that King Yeravam ben Yoash was thoroughly wicked, yet the Jews at the time were severely oppressed, and so Hasehm saved them and brought about a geula for them, and expanded their borders through this wicked King.
He also deals with the 3 Shevuos and says they do not apply to the current situation. He says that Me’az pakad Hashem osanu ltova litein lanu shem vshearis b’eretz kodsho lihyos adonim bah, vnasan blev haumos haolam hameuchedes (the UN) kilichoreh bshayto (like in the time of Koresh) lhashiv lanu hagezeilah bchelek martzeinu (to return to the land which they stole from us), and the gates of Israel are wide open to all Jews of any types with no limitations, and everybody is welcome with open arms and simcha nafshis (the deep heartfelt happiness of one Jew welcoming another to Israel)…. and furthermore the nations of the world approve of this, so the Shevuos are rendered null.
Another point he makes (quotes a teshuva of another acharon) that if this happened through frum people, one could not say for sure that Hashem was behind it, as maybe the people took it upon themselves to try to do the mitzva of yishuv EY. But since the RBSH mysteriously put it in the hearts of Jews who seemingly were far away from Torah, and so many upon so many of them suddenly got interested in Zionism all at the same time, clearly it is a Ruach Mimarom that entered their hearts from Above.
All this uplifted my heart on yontof, seeing many of the things I had written here on YW over the years are actually the words of a big gadol. The Derech Eretz he has for Rav Kook, as well.
This is the hashkafa of optimism and simcha I have been trying to convey over the years here on YW. Which is more uplifiting, seeing the Yad Hashem in all this, or convincing oneself that Zionism is all an evil plot of the sitra achara (whatever that means)? Take your pick.
BTW, the opening post here cites examples of mitzvos done for the wrong kavana, but doesn’t make any mention of the sugya of mitzvos tzrichos kavana. Note that the Rambam paskens Talyuhu vachal matza yatza. (One who was physcially forced to eat matza does fulfill the mitzva, I believe, so mitzvos einan tzrichos kavana.)October 3, 2010 2:50 am at 2:50 am #699650
Unlike other religions we are much more based upon shared national experiences than on a philosophy.
The Rambam’s formulation of the 13 Principles was in response to those who think in philosophical terms.
More basic for us are the 6 experiences we should remember each day.
We are also obligated to see G-d’s role in our lives and in keeping the Jewish People alive as a nation, and feel ourselves as part of the Jewish Nation and its history. We mourn the tragedies that have occurred to our Nation and we celebrate positive events that have occurred.October 3, 2010 3:53 am at 3:53 am #699652
Josh31, I agree with that, that we are defined primarily through our actions (maasim tovim) not what goes on in our minds.
I have a chiddush in the definition of an apikorus, which I see justification in the language of the Rambam in Hilchos AZ (2:5). He says apikorsim are those who stray after the thoughts of their hearts in the foolish matters we discussed (earier in chapter) until they end up violating actual prohibitions of the Torah lhachis, with a brazen soul, in a strong hand, and they say there is no sin in this. Later he says the machshavah of an apikorus is for avoda zara.
In other words, the Rambam seems to be saying that an apikorus invents his philosophy to be porek ol, and to rationalize his desire to violate the Torah which he then proceeds to do with a strong hand. My understanding of this is that a tnai in being an apikorus is actually carrying out the throwing off the yoke of Torah. The things he says or claims to believe are only to enable his real intentions of becoming hefker with no rules.
However, one who sincerely and fully keeps all the mitzvos, cannot be an apikorus. A yid is judged by his actions. One who acts like an ehrlicher yid is an ehrlicher yid. If one has trouble believing in something, but nevertheless says, although I can’t understand X, Y or Z which we are supposed to believe, but I fully intend to keep all the mitzvos which Chazal have taught us, that is not an apikorus.
Note similarly in the story of the Gerim who came to Hillel one said I believe in Torah Sebichsav, but not in Torah Shebal Peh. Hillel converted him anyway. Rashi says, shelo haya kofer, rak shelo hayah maamin, and Hillel was confident he would convince him of the authenticity of Torah Shebal Peh.
Rashi seems to be saying that not believing is not at all the same as denying something. One can be a Jew with sincere questions, as long as one does not use the questions to throw away the Torah or its Mitzvos.
Therefore, to call a sincere, learned, baal midos and prince of a man like Rav Kook an apikorus is beyond preposterous. He was one who never said a bad word about anybody and always saw the best in everybody, and tried to develop a warm relationship with even the most distant Jew. Reb Aryeh Levine followed in this derech, and was the Baal Tefila on the Yomim Noraim in Rav Kook’s yeshiva Merkaz Harav for many years.
Beautiful words from Rav Kook (lose something in translation):
The pure righteous do not complain about evil, rather they increase tzedek.
The pure righteous do not complain about heresy, rather they increase emuna.
The pure righteous do not complain about ignorance, rather they increase chochma.
Arpilei Tohar p. 39October 3, 2010 3:58 am at 3:58 am #699653
The Rambam clearly states that is one does not believe in any certain principles, he/she does not have a share in gan eden. One could be the biggest mensch in town, but if he doesn’t believe in tichiyas hameisim it’s not getting him anywhere. If the be all and end all of the Torah was just menschlichkeit, one would imagine that anybody and everybody who practiced menschlichkeit would get some gan eden for their efforts.
Not entirely sure what you’re getting at. However, Judaism is based first and foremost on observance of the Torah, and only after that “upon shared national experiences”.October 3, 2010 4:20 am at 4:20 am #699654
We keep the Torah because of two of the shared national experiences; Yetziat Mitzraim (the Exodos) and Matan Torah (the Revelation to all of us).October 3, 2010 4:29 am at 4:29 am #699655
PY: Just looked it up: Hilchos Teshuva, 3:6.
Josh31: What about Geirim?October 3, 2010 4:52 am at 4:52 am #699656
Geirim (converts) are effectively casting their lot and fate with that of the Jewish people. When a convert comes out of the Mikvah he or she is “born” into the Jewish Nation.
When the next Passover comes the convert brings the Passover offering!!!October 3, 2010 5:06 am at 5:06 am #699657Midwest2Participant
This entire thread makes me feel rather ill, especially the long posting that heads it off.
Of all the problems that we have, why are we wasting our energy arguing about who is or isn’t an apikoros? Why so much effort to work to posul out another yid? Why tell stories about which Rav thought which Rav was an apikoros? Some of the posts above are breath-taking in their triviality, small-mindedness or just plain nastiness.
We just had Simchas Torah and now we jump right back into machlokus, name-calling and – let’s be honest – some good old-fashioned sinas chinam? Have we forgotten the achdus of the Yomim Tovim already?
Heaven had better help us – we’re doing a rotten job of helping ourselves. HKBH tells us to do justice, love mercy and walk with Him humbly. Presuming to know what exactly is and isn’t apikorsus, ruach hakodesh, etc. and who to condemn for not fitting our definitions doesn’t seem to be quite in the spirit of that pasuk.October 5, 2010 12:38 am at 12:38 am #699658mosheroseMember
Midwest – it is important because we have to know who we can listen to and who not to. If you know that someone is an apikorus (like a certain former member used to proudly proclaim to be) then you cant listen to anything he says and you have to shun him until he does teshuva. You also have to know that hes pasul for eidus or to be counted for a minyan and lots of other things.October 5, 2010 1:18 am at 1:18 am #699659pascha bchochmaParticipant
Mosherose: for your intents and purposes, please consider me an apikores and don’t post on any of my threads. Thank you.October 5, 2010 1:54 am at 1:54 am #699660
pascha, you’re pasul l’eidus even if not an apikores… 😉October 5, 2010 3:42 am at 3:42 am #699661kapustaParticipant
(Sorry if this was already addressed, I didn’t read through the whole thread)
Say a Tinok Shenishba is in a Frum neighborhood and wants some lunch so he goes to a Kosher pizza shop and eats his lunch. His intention was eating lunch, not eating Kosher, would he get schar for eating Kosher food?
Going a step further: Had he walked into a non-Kosher store and had something, he would have gotten an aveira. If he didn’t care about the pizza being Kosher, and there had been a non-Kosher store for him to walk into, he would have eaten something there. So if his eating Kosher pizza was never “recorded” as Kosher, would it be considered Kosher or nothing? (To make it a little clearer, since he didn’t have any machshava to eat Kosher, even though he did, would it still be considered his having eaten non-Kosher food?)
TIAOctober 5, 2010 4:02 am at 4:02 am #699662mddMember
I would venture to say that the Divrei Chaim meant that every word of Ohr HaChaim is emes min HaShamaim. What, that Rebbe from the Cheider meant that O.Ch. did not have s’yatta de’Shemaya? He, probably, meant, that it is not for sure that every pshat there is correct, and D.Chaim thought that everything there is min ha’Shamaim. I don’t think all the other Gedolim would agree with D. ChaimOctober 5, 2010 4:16 am at 4:16 am #699663oomisParticipant
Kapusta, your post puts me in mind of why I am so glad we have an eruv. My feeling is that there are Jews all over who are not shomrei Torah u’mitzvos. Maybe they are mechallelei Shabbos every week. But if there is an eruv in their city, at least they are committing one less aveira, even if it is unwittingly.October 5, 2010 6:21 am at 6:21 am #699664
mdd, the Divrei Chaim didn’t rule on the Rebi specifically. He simply said that to deny that the Ohr HaChaim was written with Ruach Hakodesh, would be apikorsus. (Ruach HaKodesh does not by definition mean that everything someone says is right. It means that they get a certain level of siyata d’shmaya.)
kapusta, in your example, since the metzius is that he did not eat non-kosher, he simply avoided getting an aveira of eating treif. (Same with oomis’ example of the eiruv. He avoided getting the aveira of being mechalel Shabbos.) If he had gone to a treif restaurant, he would have then gotten an aveira of eating treif.October 5, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm #699665mddMember
Knowing the Chassidishe hashkofos, the Divrei Chaim, probably, meant that O.Ch. can not be wrong, and that every word he wrote was put into his mouth min ha’Shamaim.October 5, 2010 2:17 pm at 2:17 pm #699666shlomozalmanMember
A few related comments:
The Tzitz Eliezer zt”l was one of a large group of Eretz Yisroel Jews who were part of the old yishuv in Yerushalayim and were admirers or more of Rav Kook. They knew him personally and he was an integral part of their religious and personal lives. Some of the other notables in this group were Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap,Reb Aryeh Levin,Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach,and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. Quite an impressive group. So it’s almost axiomatic that Rav Waldenberg had nice things to say about Rav Kook, how could he not?
Professor Samet and Professor Assaf are two of many experts in their field of Jewish History, and their observations are based on verifiable facts. Unverifiable anecdotes, exagerrations, and legends are treated as such, and the reader can draw his/her own conclusions. Reading their works can only enhance one’s appreciation of what Jewish life was actually like in the last three hundred years.
The discussion on seyata dishmaya, ruach hakodesh, and other like terms is interesting but pointless. None of these terms can be specifically defined in terms of their depth or applicability. Inevitably, one will say that there are varying degrees of ruach hakodesh without specifying under what circumstances any of these degrees apply, essentially evading the issue and making the discussion worthless.October 5, 2010 2:29 pm at 2:29 pm #699667
Another question: if menschlichkeit was is be all and end all of Yiddishkeit, how do you explain the Akaedah? Why would Hashem tell Avrahom to suspend all menschlichkeit in the face of ratzon Hashem if ratzon Hashem is nothing but menschlichkeit?
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