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  • #2073392
    square root of 2
    Participant

    It stands to reason that in order to be an ikar hadas that disbelieving it is tantamount to heresy, there must be an overwhelming significance to the principle.
    Indeed, most of Rambam’s 13 ikkarim are understandably of overwhelming significance. However, some seem perplexing that it’s considered so significant. For example, the arrival of Moshiach: R’ Hillel said ein Moshiach LiYisroel. That R’ Hillel disagreed with a fundament is NOT the question here–kevar doshu bo rabbim–the question is that it’s obvious that something that R’ Hillel disagreed on can’t possibly be something vital to the beliefs of Judaism, nor something that must be apparent enough through learning the Torah. In which case, what makes it an iikar? Something that R’ Hillel disagreed with it, but lehalacha is a fundament, is hard to understand.

    2. Nowadays emunah through derisha vachakira is discouraged. (So I’ve heard from my rebeim, I don’t know the source for it.) Apparently our low level is cause for concern that such a query will result in, ch”v…..
    The question is, though, if our intellects are so feeble that too much pondering might make us think something false, then of what significance is our pseudo emunah? If the emuna is not based on a firm, definite intellectual achievement, then our “belief” is really a childish belief, postulates that we think, maybe even know, yet never proved for ourselves.

    #2073632
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Abarbanel explains that ch’v to say Hilel denies the coming of Meshiach but the argument is if 40 years will be between his coming and techiyas hamesim or they will happen one after another. If the Lubatvicher still believe that their rebbi is Meshiach who is not alive any more, they must follow the view of Hilel that first will be techiyas hamesim and then the coming of Meshiach.

    #2073899
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Square root,

    Hashem really wanted this thread to be posted (והראיה it was posted) and I wasn’t zoche to post it (I have wanted to but anyways you probably posted it more eloquently)

    יישר כח

    #2073916
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Baal Haikarim combines the 13 ikarim to 3. One, believing in Hashem, two, reward and punishment and three, Torah was given from Hashem. Some convert it to, belief in Hashem, Hashgacha and Uniqueness, Hashem being One, which encompass the first three brachas of shmonei esrei.

    #2073966
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Square; you bring up several points that are important to discuss.

    1. You’re mechaven almost verbatim to the position of Rav Yosef Albo in ikkarim who disagrees with the rambam regarding bias hamoshiach’s ikkar status based on your logic. He says that something that is a machlokes(even one against hundreds) cannot be considered an ikkar of our emunah. The fact that the gemara itself not only is docheh rav hilel, but says uncharacteristically “shara lei marei”, that his (rav hillel’s) master should forgive him for saying such a thing. So maskanas hagemara is that rav hilel isn’t just a minority view, it’s an intrinsically wrong position. That being said, how can we call it an ikkar if an amora didn’t hold of it?

    Achronim give answers to this kasha of Rav Albo. One answer I saw years ago is that an undisputed ikkar is that nevuas moshe rabbeinu was bigger than any other navi before or after him. Rav Albo would seem to agree with this (he doesn’t question it, as far as I remember). Wheb Miriam took issue with Moshe distancing himself from Yocheved, her cheshbon was that other neviim had not been commanded to do so, and that she felt this was an error. Miriam it seems, did not at that point accept that Moshe was greater than all the other neviim (including herself), and that she can disagree with him. When she was shown that she was mistaken, that ikkar was established. Torah doesn’t exist in a vacuum; halacha expands and takes the form of the decisions of those imbued with such authority; tanaim, amoraim, rishonim and achronim. What was a possibility in the time of Miriam was not possible in the times of rav hillel, and what was possible in the times of rav hillel is not possible in the times of the rambam. Rav elyashiv’s statement regarding rabbeinu avrohom ben horambam’s opinions of chazal/science applies here as well “he was able to say it, we cannot”.

    2. There isn’t just one source for what your rebbeim told you. It’s all over rishonim like the kuzari, rabbeinu yona, and tons of achronim, ranging from rav hirsch, the gr”a, chazon ish, ramchal…you can find a long list in the perush on the chovos halevavos called “lev tov”, printed in many standard editions of that sefer. In the hakdama to shaar hayichud he goes through it.

    3. Emunah based on mesorah isn’t childish; it’s the acknowledgment of jewish history being filled with divinity and awareness of Hashem. It’s the understanding that our nation stood by har sinai, and that its authenticity shouldn’t be any more suspect than the American revolution. Havchana, seeing Hashem in creation and history, isn’t derishah vechakirah; it’s advocated by basically everyone.

    #2074005

    Maybe I misunderstand – Kuzari among sources that discourage analysis of emunah? I thought that is what Kuzari does.

    #2074008
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    AviraDeArah: In what sense are your proofs anything more than appeals to authority?

    #2074031
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ, the kuzari is uniquely passionate against the study of philosophy, which is the foundation of the derisha vechakira approach that some take. He says to have emunah based on mesorah, as I described above.

    The rambam, who championed philosophy, also writes clearly that one may not undertake such an approach to emunah before learning shas and poskim. I don’t believe anyone among us is on such a level in our time.

    Shlomo, I don’t think you understand my post. I’m not trying to prove the truth of our emunah. I’m supplying an answer to the OP’s first question, which is identical to the kashya rav yosef albo asked on the rambam’s inclusion of bias hamoshiach in the 13 ikkarim. Part of the answer to that question is that we have a chain of succession in authority as to what the ikkarim are – the same way we have a chain of command in deciding any other halacha question. Amoraim accept the tanaim, rishonim accept the amoraim, achronim accept the rishonim, and we grope in the dark to understand any of them.

    #2074128
    Marxist
    Participant

    I highly recommend this old Coffee Room thread for a back and forth of learned posters over the issue of paskening ikkarim:

    Shmuly Yanklowitz, Novominsker and OO theology


    (To see the Hebrew characters that have been reduced to ???, use the Wayback Machine.) It’s really good.

    #2074172
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    AviraDeArah: I thought you were replying to #2 as well (Nowadays emunah through derisha vachakira is discouraged).

    Perhaps I should rephrase:
    AviraDeArah: In what sense are your answers anything more than appeals to authority?

    Appeals to authority are certainly legitimate within a religious framework, but less so for those asking about arguments from logic or from evidence.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Y.W. Editor.
    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Shlomo 2.
    #2074217
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shlomo, I still don’t understand your question. When did i say that we should have emunah because the rishonim say so? The status of the ikkarim is a halacha issue that is decided by the same poskim who decide what you can and can’t do on shabbos. Whether or not we understand their reasoning doesn’t change the halacha, and OP wasn’t asking for an explanation of the ikkar itselt, but rather how it can be an ikkar when there’s a machlokes regarding it. That question isn’t about understanding bias hamoshiach itself, but rather its ikkar status – to that i answered that it can still be an ikkar and we see that ikkarim aren’t static.

    I didn’t say that emunah based on mesorah, withoit drisha vechakira isn’t childish because the kuzari says so, i gave a logical argument by comparing it to other historical occurrences on which no one disagrees or even questions it, because something that happens to an entire nation whose progeny are still around should be regarded as true. That’s not an argument from authority.

    #2074271
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    AviraDeArah: Thanks for the reply.

    Your first paragraph, saying that it’s a halachic matter that has been finalized by halachic authorities, is inherently an appeal to authority. I thought the questioner acknowledged that it was a halacha, but was saying it’s hard to understand. By answering that it’s a halacha, you have not addressed his question, but only said it must make sense because authorities say it does.
    (I don’t doubt this is true, but it nevertheless doesn’t answer the question, as it asks the questioner to trust the authorities.)

    As for your second paragraph, yes you did cite the so-called Kuzari Argument and have characterized it as a logical proof.

    However, how is it a logical proof of the reasonableness of the Ikkarim or even of their traceability back to Sinai?

    Even if the Kuzari Argument is logically sound, are there no limits as to what it logically proves?

    There was an intact messora for each of the ikkarim (from Sinai), but the Rishonim who rejected many of the Rambam’s Ikkarim hadn’t heard about that messora from Sinai?
    And the Acharonim who accepted all the Ikkarim had a better messora than those Rishonim (who preceded the Acharonim and rejected many of the Ikkarim) did?

    How is that logical?

    I am not disputing whether we have a halachic obligation to follow the Ikkarim.
    We do.

    #2074294
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shlomo, I didn’t see in his first question a doubt or inquiry regarding the nature of bias hamoshiach; rather, he asked how it can be considered an ikkar if it’s a “machlokes”. I answered that we see this by Miriam, so there’s precedent for ikkarim to be subject to halachik jurisprudence. That’s not saying “it’s a halacha”, it’s saying that it’s not static and that can be evidenced by its halachik development.

    Re, kuzari; I don’t see how your points on the kuzari and the issue of how there can be machlokes regarding ikkarim are related to the OP’s original assertion that believing without derisha vechakira is “childish” and my response to him, which was demonstrating the soundness of mesorah based emunah without drishah vechakira.

    But to answer the issues raised:

    We don’t find a machlokes in the rishonim regarding the veracity of the ikkarim. Contrary to what some sensationalist bloggers and zoologists claim, we don’t have any rishonim on record who believe in corporealism. Nor do we have any who say that Hashem isn’t omniscient, omnipotent, above time/space, or finite. The rest of the ikkarim are the same. The only machlokes is about the need for ikkarim (just believe in the Torah!), The definition of an ikkar, and so on.

    In terms of the mesorah, this can be analogous to how most halachos that are based on drashos are universally accepted, while the pasuk or s’vara that they are derived from are debated (this is how the ohr somayach explains most machlok’sim). There can also arise questions as to which halachos are deoraysoh and which are derabonon, asmachtos, etc..

    Sevara is deoraysoh. The rishonim who held of deriving hashkofos from philosophy believed this to be Torah in itself (when Torah logic and exegesis are used, which is part of why the rambam says to first learn torah and then go into philosophy. The same way the conclusions we derive from our own lomdus are true and misinai(kol ma shetalmid vasik asid lechadesh….), Hashkofos are as well. M’idach gisa, the bartenura on moshe kibel torah misinai aays that pirkei avos begins with the shalsheles of mesorah in order to stress that hashkofos and mussar aren’t something chazal determined on their own, the way chachmei umos haolam do, but rather is part of moshe kibel torah misinai. Based on this, the rishonim definitely had a mesorah for hashkofa (which would explain that they agree to all the ikkarim), while machlokes can arise in areas that may have not been as vital, like whether hashgocha protis applies to animals, and other very abstract concepts.

    #2074298
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Animals have no bechira, so Yosef was happy that he was placed in the pit where scorpions were and controlled by Hashem than human beings who have a bechira as we say at tachnun Vayomer David el Gad.

    #2074314
    square root of 2
    Participant

    @R Eliezer it’s not how rashi learns.

    @avira
    it’s not a good comparison to Miryam. IIRC, what the acharonim say is the when Miryam judged Moshe, it had still not been established that his nevuah was unparalleled. It was afterward that it became established. Maybe that can be extended to explaining R’ Hillel’s position as well {though a tad far fetched, IMHO). The “why is nevuas moshe an ikar” is not explained by the above, nor will it explain why Bias Moshiach is an ikar. The reason I didn’t ask about Necuas Moshe is because I think it can be answered with the meshech chochma–maybe he himself answers this question with it–that Nevuas Moshe’s superiority is a prerequisite for emunah b’Torah min Hashamayim. [I might be somewhat misquoting the meshech chochma, I can look it up later, but that is his general yesod.]

    What I was really wondering, using the first question as a prelude, was why are we expected to believe the ikarim? Are they mesoratic based? Intellectual based? The answer is, I think, some and some.
    For instance, someone who doesn’t believe in Techias Hameisim MIN HATORAH is a kofeir. (Parenthetically, this is befeirush a Mishnah, so why does Sefer Haikarim not include it?) Said belief is at least partially a result of belief in the Torah.
    Sachar Vaonesh, some (I think the chinuch) say is rooted in svara (though of course belief in the torah will automatically result in said belief).

    Now, what about that Hashem is eino guf….? Is that something that’s a component of Metzius Hashem? That is, someone who believes in a corporeal god is essentially believing an impossibility? If so, the source for this ikar will be the same source–sevara–as Metzius Hashem.
    Or maybe it’s not one and the same. (According to the raavad, it’s not an ikar; clearly he understands belief in a corporeal guf does not negate the belief in a god.)

    I have to respond to your second point but later.

    #2074317
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    AviraDeArah: Thanks for the reply.
    I’m sorry, but I do not see the logic behind the points you made regarding Miriam and regarding Kuzari, but given that I’ve made my argument and you have made yours, we can leave this to other readers to compare what each of us said and judge for themselves.

    As for your definitive and unqualified statement “We don’t find a machlokes in the rishonim regarding the veracity of the ikkarim,” this is an argument from authority — we must accept this as true because YOU are the one saying it.

    As to the vast amount of scholarship that documents otherwise, your answer is that the writers are “Zoologists and Sensationalists.” In other words, we should not examine their citations, nor consider those citations on their merits.
    And this is because the ones who compiled them are “Zoologists and Sensationalists.”
    OK.
    (That’s how appeals to authority work — and why they’re so attractive to many of us. Makes life a lot easier.)

    When you say that once we concede that there has never been a mahlokess about HASHEM’s having a guf (let’s say that’s true, that there’s no mahlokess), then it follows that similarly there was no mahlokess about ANY of the other Ikkarim, this is simply not logical.

    And it’s contrary to available evidence, well-documented in a book by one of the “sensationalists,” among other places.

    However, I realize it’s a good debating point: Attack on one issue (Guf) and then through association, think you’ve thereby knocked down everything else the author wrote.

    Anyway, Chag kasher v’Same’ach to everyone and should any readers wish to examine these issues further, Google is your friend.
    This is my last post on this issue, as the back-and-forth could go on forever. I’ve made my points and AviraDeArah has made his.

    Kol Tuv.

    #2074401
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    What is the big deal with someone in the past having made a mistake in what came to be known and accepted as an Ikkar?

    What if a certain Rishon thought that matter existed forever? Does that call into question the Ikkar of Ein Od Milvado? For us, this would be deviating from what we know to be true. But he honestly thought this way, and obviously thought that it doesn’t up against the basics, Achdus Hashem, Yecholess Hashem.

    #2074570
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Hi, Square.
    I believe that Ra’avad’s issue with Rambam’s ain lo guf was not whether HASHEM had a Guf, but whether someone who mistakenly thinks so would necessarily lose his olam haba.

    The issue seems to be loss of olam haba for a belief that was mistaken but apparently prevalent.
    This is what he objected to.

    As for the need for Ikkarim and Rambam’s rationale for advocating them, this is a complex matter, way beyond the limits of this forum. I would recommend Moshe Halbertal’s “Maimonides Life and Thought” as well as Orthodox academicians Kreisel, Hyman, Seeskin, and Manekin.

    #2074716
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Suggesting exclusively academic authors, whether they wear fabric on their head or otherwise, is to imply that the hundreds of mainstream seforim on the rambam – the meforshim on him, and myriad others, like the ohr somayach, are all not as important or informative….

    Iif the only view of “Maimonides” you have is from maskilim, when talmidei chachamim have “learned up” rambams for centuries… it’s very telling of where your emunah lies. When you learn gemara, you go to (I hope) rashi and tosfos – when there’s a “shverer”, difficult rambam, you go to the meforshim – take a look st the frankel rambams with the massive, exhaustive index of seforim…..not a single academic/maskil/heretic on there.

    #2074803
    Marxist
    Participant

    @AvirahDeArah

    Maskil ≠ Heretic ≠ Academic

    #2074818
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    I didn’t claim that they’re the same, i grouped them together because they all share one thing in common – they learn rambam and everything else in a way that’s not in keeping with the mesorah and the way seforim kedoshim learn and analyze. They’re all treif in varying degrees.

    #2075176
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Avira:
    I partially agree with you.
    The sources I recommended are for people interested in arguments from evidence.

    Those who find your answers satisfying need look no further.

    It did not appear to me that Square was in that category.

    #2075171

    re: who can comment on Rambam:
    Not being learned up to bring proofs, but I have a general feeling from limited cases: many, not all, traditional commentaries if not argue but at least try to fit Rambam into other shitot and often smooth opinions that are uncomfortable for them. While this is a respectable derech (as long as no book burning occurs), it is distinct of trying to follow in Rambam’s derech as it is. The latter obviously has it’s own dangers as evident in simplistic maskilim and Reformim, etc, but maskilim do not discredit rational and science-aware approach more than astrologists discredit mazalot mentioned in the Gemora. At the end, Rambam gave us valuable tools to address modernity and, while we need to be careful how we employ them, we should not discard them also.

    #2075170
    square root of 2
    Participant

    @Avira before I reply to you I should make sure I understand you.

    Are you saying that seeing Hashem’s role in creation is condoned, and rather it’s yichud hashem (that there is nothing else other than Hashem; that all the Malachim and mazalos and middos are but expressions of the one God) that’s discouraged?

    #2075169
    square root of 2
    Participant

    @shlomo
    this is what I had written:
    “According to the raavad, it’s not an ikar; clearly he understands belief in a corporeal guf does not negate the belief in a god.”

    1. The raavad says it’s NOT AN IKKAR.
    2. A [mistaken] belief in a corporeal [god] (sorry for the typo) doesn’t negate belief in god.

    Ch”V I never wrote nor implied that the raavad was a kofeir.

    #2075168
    square root of 2
    Participant

    @Haleivi
    Let’s say one of the rishonim, an undisputed chain of the menorah of Torah as we have it……didn’t believe in Torah Min Hashamayim. Sure, a great and wise man or group of men wrote it, and every word is truth and should be “horved on”. What’s the big deal?

    If the Rambam is telling us this is something that is an IKAR HADAS, a foundation of our heritage, and an Amora didn’t believe in it, yeah, that’s a huge deal.
    Sure, maybe amoraim made mistakes. Even torah mistakes. But not something heretical.

    #2075081
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Avirah:
    I partially agree with you.
    The academic authors I suggested are only for people who are open to arguments from evidence.

    #2075228
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shlomo, you are incriminating yourself by saying on an Orthodox forum that academics argue from “evidence” while seforim argue from….torah? Lomdud? Mesorah based logic?

    Are you saying that if there’s a halachik Nafka mina between academics and the way the cesef mishnah understood a rambam, we should pasken according to the “evidence based” writers?

    Not to mention that bias is everywhere in academia. Achronim learned torah lishma and their words are holy, not influenced by secular values, culture, and methodology.

    Rav Hirsch wrote extensively on learning Torah “from its own perspective”, not from an outside view or in the context of alien valueals, methods and viewpoints.

    #2075253
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Square – I’ll clarify. The methods of many geonim and rishonim, including rav saadia, rambam, rabbeinu bachya, and several others, included using philosophical arguments to prove the existence of Hashem and vital notions of Him, including oneness, incorporeality, omniscience, shlaimus, that He is a boreh umanhig (this was in sharp contrast to the philosophers of their time and the Greeks), and that Hashem created the world yash may’ayin.
    They held that such study – when undertaken after amassing Torah knowledge and the stripping of bias and bad middos that comes in its wake – is a kiyum of the mitzvah of ve’hashayvosa, that you shall place emunah in your heart. If done without the strong background in shas and poskim, this is extremely dangerous, as one can come to disbelief or doubts. The rambam cautions would-be philosophers that such pretentious prattling “destroys the world” in his words, since sometimes the free thinker (or academic) will accept torah misinai, sometimes he won’t. Sometimes he’ll believe in Hashem, other times the alternative will appear clear to him. These are verbatim translations of the words of the rambam, whose name is dragged in the dirt by people who never excelled in gemara and real learning, and instead chose to become self styled “philosophers” who devote their time and energy to “machshava”. Modern Orthodoxy is full of such mischievous peddlers of false sophistry, who spend time wondering why people are important and if they’re the purpose of creation, while ignoring true learning that is mayviah lidai maysoh, that leads to fulfilling the mitzvos, yiras shomayim, tikun hamidos, and ahavas Hashem.

    Then there’s havchanah. That is recognition of Hashem both in our lives, as well as in the briah. The rambam says that studying nature (not secular biology courses where the intent is to hide the Creator) brings one to ahavas Hashem. The chovos halevavos devotes an entire shaar, called shaar habechina, to this study. Rav avigdor miller, the chazon ish, and virtually every achron writes about this, even the most anti-philosophy shitos. There is no harm in this study, as it does not involve reckoning with the “other side”, as attemps at philosophical proof does.

    #2075411
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Square: Hi.
    Not sure what you were referring to when you thought I’d implied you or anyone else was a kofer.

    As for Ra’avad, as I wrote, his dispute with Rambam was not about what is an ikkar and what is not an ikkar, but whether the mistaken belief that HASHEM has a guf would cause someone to lose their Olam haBa.

    Any sources you might have as regards to how Ra’avad (specifically Ra’avad) feels about the CONCEPT of Ikkarim would be appreciated.

    (Not only what’s an ikkar and what isn’t, but the IMPLICATIONS of something being an Ikkar — For instance, would philosophical or dogmatic mistakes cause someone to lose their olam haba, as the Rambam maintains?)

    #2075486
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Avira –
    The scholars I suggested (Halbertal, Kreisel, etc) do not tell people how to pasken, nor they tell people what to believe or what to do.
    Rather, they present evidence to help people to better understand things.

    The one academic author who does address halachic aspects and does write about the Ikkarim using both academic and halachic methods is Rabbi Prof Joshua Berman, whose Ani Maamin: Biblical Criticism, Historical Truth, and the Thirteen Principles of Faith is published by Koren and has been widely reviewed and discussed by Orthodox Rabbis and scholars all over the internet.

    #2075493
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shlomo, that’s evasive. You and I both know that the way you interpret a rambam almost always has a halachik nafka mina. I will ask you again; if there’s a halachik nafka mina between the “evidence based” academic interpretation of a rambam, and the shulchan aruch’s interpretation of the same rambam, will you overturn a halacha of shulchan aruch (or any other authoritative sefer) because you have strong evidence that his interpretation is incorrect?

    Calling something ‘evidence based ” is a buzz word used by many on the left today to substantiate reforms and changes in traditional societal norms. Torah has its own system, and using alien methods is fitting a square peg into a round hole.

    Except the hole here is the pischa shel gehinnom

    #2075514
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Nope, I’m not aware of that at all.
    Halachic practice is one thing and conceptual understanding of halachic argumentation (whether it’s called lomdus or it’s called academic scholarship) is something else.

    Let’s take, for instance, the question of what motivated the Rambam to formalize Ikkarei Emunah. Why did he do this at all?
    Why did he pick specifically these 13?
    Why did Ra’avad object so strongly in Hilchos Teshuva, especially if Ra’avad did not personally believe that HASHEM has a guf, c’v?
    Is his strong rejection of the Rambam there tied to his strong rejection of the Rambam in Avodah Zarah 11:4?

    Would we perhaps gain some insight to their mahlokes by better understanding the differences (both practically and philosophically) between the community of Andalusian Spain vs that of Posquiere?

    #2075656
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    The idea that we can understand rishonim by studying the culture that they lived in means that their Torah is not completely Torah, but rather the product of outside influences. Academics who are wholly influenced by everything but torah enjoy validating their interest in the outside world by claiming that chazal, rishonim and achronim were too. They will trample on halacha by saying that things like tav lemaysav were cultural sentiments or even misogyny had they been said today. Are we to take as authoritative, mere reflections of non Jewish societies? Also, how is this approach “evidence based” when it’s simple conjecture and juxtaposition? Let’s say the prevailing philosophy of the hometowns of the rambam and raavad was kach vekach; is that definitive evidence? Can there not be coincidences?

    And yes, there is a nafka mina even in this case. As I said, how can a halachik opinion have weight and authority if it’s not a halachik opinion based on the 48 kinyanei Torah, many of which include the removal of bias?

    #2075680
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Rambam explains that hands and other bodily comparisons of Hashem is lesaber es haozen, for our understanding. The behavior for above is similar to the behavior of comparison.

    #2075847
    Marxist
    Participant

    “The idea that we can understand rishonim by studying the culture that they lived in means that their Torah is not completely Torah, but rather the product of outside influences.”

    We have discussed this before but is it not possible to say that they were influenced to some extent but it is still Torah? Every human is at least to some degree influenced by his environment.

    #2075834
    Shlomo 2
    Participant

    Avira:
    “How can a halachik opinion have weight and authority if it’s not a halachik opinion based on the 48 kinyanei Torah, many of which include the removal of bias?”

    Good question!
    I didn’t realize you were such a radical guy, more radical than the academics whose research I recommended! (They don’t view Rambam’s Ikkarim as no longer binding.)

    You, however, are advocating Conservative Judaism/ Reform/ Haskala ideas with that one!

    #2075858
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shlomo, I’m being consistent. I believe that talmidei chachamim learn torah lishma and their torah is pure, guided by not only their pristine, non biased intellect, but also by siyata dishmaya. There is hashgocha in “dor dor vedorshav”. Their decisions are binding.

    I didn’t say that nothing is binding without sanhedrin; that’s putting words in my mouth.

    #2075870
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    You’re also using circular logic; because you believe that the rishonim were biased and influenced by things other than their pure torah/shoresh neshoma, then when i say that “how can torah that’s a result of bias be binding?” your answer is “ain hachi nami, but that’s an extreme view”…. it’s just the logical extent of your perspective. What i clearly said is that they were NOT biased, and that their Torah is pure.

    There is, at the very least, consistency in the reform mindset. They believe that the torah entirely is man made, and therefore don’t keep it. There is less consistency in conservative, which believes that the Torah is “divinely inspired” but also the product of human bias, especially torah she baal peh. They are wishy washy, accepting some teachings as divine and eschewing others, usually based on what’s in vogue at the time.

    Your perspective though, is untenable. The logical extension of a claim that the transmitters of torah, be they chazal, rishonim, or achronim, are transmitting not torah, but an admixture of cultural, sociological and philosophical biases…is that their torah is not binding. The other side, one that is “evidenced” in chazal (kol ma shetalmid vasik…and many other examples), is that the torah that we have, both oral and written, is from Hashem. It is 100% true, emes veyatziv. It has no mixture of non-jewish ideology, or personal bias. It has been preserved through the process of torah lishma, something academics have no grasp of…a language of itself, with siyata dishmaya and kedushah, even ruach hakodesh.

    As a halachik example, the divrei chaim (y.d. 400-something) has a famous teshuva regarding a rebbe in a cheder who taught his students that the ohr hachaim was a great sefer, but was not written with ruach hakodesh. The divrei chaim in this piece discusses what ruach hakodesh is, and concludes that it is the ability to be mechaven to the amitah shel torah, which is something every talmid chacham can do. That is evidenced by the gemara in gittin regarding pilegesh begivah. He further says that to deny this concept, essentially that the torah is hefker subject to human error, that talmidei chachamim are not imbued with siyata dishmaya and the ability to ve mechaven to the amitah shel torah, is apikorsus. One can reach this level of apikorsus by taking some api-courses in a local college on jewish studies, because that’s exactly the problem with the academic method. It strips the Torah of its divine quality, and its divine method of preservation and transmission.

    #2075872
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    There is a place for academia as a “handmaid” to Torah, as rav hirsch puts it. Not to inform our perushim, but to understand the artifacts, measurements, weights, geography, and other practical matters.

    #2075938
    Marxist
    Participant

    @AviraDeArah
    “It is 100% true, emes veyatziv. It has no mixture of non-jewish ideology, or personal bias.”

    But you are ignoring the times that Rishonim/Achronim point out the influence of outside sources on their Torah like the Gra about the Ramabam in some areas as well as personal biases such as the Pri Chadash sometimes arguing that the Shach’s critiques of the Taz sometimes stemmed from “מרוב חפצו להשיג על הט”ז”.

    #2075962
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    On the Pri Chadash above, the Chasam Sofer explains the prayer that I should not falter in my psak making my friends happy. How can they be happy when one stumbles? They are happy that their friend did not make a mistake because they were there to correct them, similarly with the Shach above regarding the Taz where he was willing to argue to correct him. They both happened to have the same rebbi, Rebbe Reb Heshel.

    #2075965
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Marx, it’s exactly those rare exceptions that prove my point – real rabbonin spur all torah that is contaminated by outside influence. If this was par for the course, it wouldn’t be a criticism to say that someone wrote kach vekach just because he was taking advice from Aristotle, or because he lived in a country that favored one philosophical method over another, or because he wanted to disprove a contemporary.

    These attacks are saying not that the recipient erred, but that their statements are not Torah. That is something that only people in their league can accuse, like the example of rav huna and rebbe which we discussed earlier.

    #2075978

    When mentioning “academia”, please differentiate between empirical science and voodoo academics. The first one gives us information. Gemora accept sevorah as a very valid argument by itself, there is nothing “handmaid”-ish in using our collective mind to resolve issues with the minds that Hashem provided us for that reason. In many cases, issues that Chachamim speculated about are now empirical issues that we can see via microscope or telescope. Please tell me how would Rambam treat this evidence were he to live in our times.

    The rest of academia that is based on their own values is not of much interest to us, of course.

    #2076000
    Marxist
    Participant

    @Always_Ask_Questions

    Historical studies is the field of academia that is being referred to here. Due to its very nature, it cannot really be empirically based.

    #2076032
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    I will note that shlomo has yet to answer my question; if there is a nafka mina between academic approaches to a rambam, or shulchan aruch, and the mesora-based view of those seforim, will you follow the opinions of academics over the poskim?

    If yes, you are advocating a dismissal of halachik process. If no, you’re admitting that there’s little gain or truth to the academic process, because if it’s valid enough to explain rishonim, why not use it to determine halacha?

    Saying it’s not a question because it doesn’t happen is like saying you won’t agree to kill an amaleki, because we don’t have amalekim among us. It’s evasive, and an attempt to straddle two opposing worldviews.

    #2077323
    square root of 2
    Participant

    @Avira so you haven’t answered the question. Of what purpose is an unexplored emunah? An emunah so tenuous that philosophizing about it may shatter it?

    #2077376
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Square, i answered it in my first reply. I said it’s reasonable, and not childish to believe based on mesorah.

    I’ll further add that just as chazal say that divrei Torah are hard to acquire as gold but easy to lose as glass, emunah is a refined trait that is easily damaged by bias, middos, the perverse culture we live in, and other factors. That’s why it’s in the same pasuk as not going after “your eyes after which you stray” in lo sasuru, referring to looking at women. Emunah was designed to be something that one works on consistently, not merely the winning of a philosophical debate

    The chosid yaavetz(who lived during the Spanish inquisition, not to be confused with rac yaakov emden) writes that the Jews of Spain who had not explored philosophy left during the decree, but those who were into it became illicit marranos.

    Enunah is to be guarded as one guards any other valuable, irreplaceable item. The rambam cautions against free thinking speculation by saying that it “destroys the world”, in avodah zara 2:2 ואם ימשך כל אדם אחר מחשבות לבו נמצא מחריב את העולם לפי קוצר דעתו

    Even the rambam who holds of philosophy for those ready for it, understands that emunah is not weak if the person attempting to acquire it is a regular human with frailties and biases.

    #2078009
    square root of 2
    Participant

    What you wrote is:

    “Emunah based on mesorah isn’t childish; it’s the acknowledgment of jewish history being filled with

    *divinity and awareness of Hashem*.

    It’s the *understanding that our nation stood by har sinai*, and that its authenticity shouldn’t be any more suspect than the American revolution. Havchana, seeing Hashem in creation and history, isn’t derishah vechakirah; it’s advocated by basically everyone.”

    I don’t understand how we arrive at said awareness and understanding without probing the options.
    And if its veracity is as strong as the belief in the american revolution, something tells me it’s not worth too much at all. Not that I, or anyone I ever heard of, is skeptical about the revolution. Just that I, and I assume most people, don’t cling to the fact that the revolution happened with unwavering belief. Were someone to shoe me evidence that it never occurred, I’d believe it.

    #2078067
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The first two commandments of the Aseres Hadibros (Emunah) were directly given by Hashem and not through a messenger, Moshe Rabbenu so it should be scratched into our hearts as Torah has the gematria 611. We place our hands on our eyes at krias shema to show that we accept our emunah in darkness as the commandments were given even if we don’t understand it. This is the difference between the chacham, who asks things later (machar) and the rasha in the Haggadah. The Dubner Magid depicts this with a mashel. A person, who only had enough money for his Yom Tov needs, goes out on the street and sees a beautiful suit which he gets so enamored with that he forgets that he has no money and buys it. His wife starts screaming, take it back we have no money. When he takes it back, he says, give me back my money as there is a fault in it. He is given back the money. The bystanders question, we don’t understand you. If there is a fault in it, exchange it and why give the money back. So the storekeeper explains, I happen to realize that he regrets the sale as he has no money and the fault is an excuse to regret the whole sale. The rasha’s question is just a means to find a fault, an excuse to regret the acceptance of mitzvos, the sale, so we nock his teeth out, not be able to eat the Korban Pesach and don’t do the mitzvos.

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