Is it OK to believe in Torah U'Madda?

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  • #600773

    Abelleh
    Participant

    I have some friends who advocate Torah U’Madda, and I was wondering if it is a Halachik issue, what are the problems with it?

    #830506

    real-brisker
    Member

    Last time I started a thread about TU it was closed pretty quickly. Lets see how long this one will last.

    #830507

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    It is more of a hashkafic issue.

    Why don’t you tell us what it means to you, and we can discuss it.

    #830508

    Sam2
    Participant

    It depends on what you mean. If someone is learning science to help their Talmud Torah and to understand Hashem’s world, then it’s Muttar (see Rama YD 245, I believe). If someone’s learning Mada to get a job, that’s also fine. If someone’s learning science to attack Judaism or to try and make Judaism fit in with the scientific world, that’s bad.

    #830509

    sm29
    Participant

    I think it depends on the individual. We’re not all meant to do the same thing. We each have our own purpose. For some it is kollel and for others it is both learning and working. If a person is not cut out to learn all day, they shouldn’t do, it won’t be productive. Like it says in Pirkei Avos perek 2 , that they should do both so they are occupied and don’t sin or be wasteful. If doing both is more productive for them, then they should do that. Plus, if they don’t have the means to do only do kollel, then do both. Being productive in both ways makes one feel good.

    #830510

    Toi
    Participant

    no.

    #830511

    old man
    Participant

    There are no problems with it.

    It is a very acceptable hashkafah.

    #830512

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Can either of you (abelleh or old man) give us a rundown of what you think it means?

    #830513

    yungerman1
    Participant

    I’m with pba on this one. Abelleh- explain what Torah uMada means to you so an “intelligent?!” discussion can ensue.

    #830514

    optimusprime
    Member

    As long as one constantly remembers that Torah > Maada

    #830515

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I only speak for myself

    Mada means Non-Torah studies, Stuff Like Math , Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Liberal Arts (History , Sociology , Psychology) general Art etc

    One can debate certain issues of stuff like Science like Evolution if thats OK, but certain Newtonian Physics (Stuff Like Gravity , etc) are not against Torah IMO

    #830516

    cherrybim
    Participant

    FROM WIKIPEDIA:

    Centrality of Torah – Despite its simultaneous acceptance of both Torah and secular knowledge and culture, Torah Umadda, as a philosophy, prioritises a Torah outlook and knowledge, and in its practice, requires strict adherence to Halakha.

    Thus, as far as a secular knowledge, Torah Umadda demands “unquestioned allegiance to the primacy of Torah, and that the apprehension of all other intellectual disciplines must be rooted and viewed through the prism of Torah.”[4] [5]

    Similarly, as regards observance of Jewish law: “Not a single fundamental of Judaism has been disturbed by us, we adhere to the same ikkarim (principles of faith), we are loyal to the same Torah, we strive for the same study of Torah and observance of mitzvot that our parents and grandparents before us cherished throughout the generations.” (Norman Lamm, Some Comments on Centrist Orthodoxy.)”

    #830517

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    From Wikipedia, quoting Rabbi Dr. Lamm:

    Torah, faith, religious learning on one side and Madda, science, worldly knowledge on the other, together offer us a more over-arching and truer vision than either one set alone. Each set gives one view of the Creator as well as of His creation, and the other a different perspective that may not agree at all with the first … Each alone is true, but only partially true; both together present the possibility of a larger truth. (ibid, p. 236)

    Sounds like something I heard B’shem Rav Moshe Shapiro.

    #830518

    apushatayid
    Participant

    PBA or Yungerman, perhaps you would explain what it means to you so a discussion can ensue? Clearly the troll and his alter ego are gone.

    #830519

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    apushatayid:

    Well, I can tell you what it means to me, but I don’t believe in it, so that seems like a silly thing to discuss. I am currently in the middle of Lamm’s Torah Umadda, so I will soon know what it means to him. Then, I also borrowed Rabbi Lichtenstiens Leaves of Faith, so I will pretty soon know what it means to him.

    But, certainly we need to establish a premise of what we are discussing before we discuss. And there is no reason to imagine that all believers in it understand it the same way.

    #830520

    yungerman1
    Participant

    If Mada means “Stuff Like Math , Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)…Psychology” what is the OP’s question? The Gemara talks about it all the time. As long as one learns it with Hashkafas Hatorah and the mesorah what can be wrong with it?

    “unquestioned allegiance to the primacy of Torah, and that the apprehension of all other intellectual disciplines must be rooted and viewed through the prism of Torah.”

    Can one disagree?

    #830521

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Each alone is true, but only partially true

    Being an academic must be so much fun. You can say stuff like that, which means absolutely nothing, and people just quote you on wikipedia and nod.

    #830522

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Well, since the troll and his alter ego are gone….

    #830523

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think one of the issues is “Bittul Torah” If one studies the American Civil War. I really cant see any Kefirah in that, however I guess some think thats Bittul torah and should not be studied because one should be learning Gemrah instead

    #830524

    The RAMBAM didn’t have a problem with it…

    #830525

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    In any event, you can expect that when I finish both books, I will come back and comment.

    #830526

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The RAMBAM didn’t have a problem with it…

    What is “it”? We need to know what you think “it” means if we will discuss “it”.

    zahavasdad: I think torah umadda theory is usually thought to go beyond the idea that secular knowledge is not always kefira.

    #830527

    Jothar
    Member

    Ask your LOR.

    #830528

    midwesterner
    Participant

    Cut into its simplest terms, Torah Umadda means that knowledge of non Torah subjects is a worthwhile pursuit for its own sake.

    More conventional yeshivishe Torah hashkafa is that it is permitted to pursue secular knowledge for a specific purpose, as a kardom lachpor bah. But to study the sciences, humanities, philosophy or whatever in chachmas chitzonios, lishmah, as it were, would not be permitted. That would explain why the Rambam was involved in other chachmos, as they related to the various specific positions that he held, whether in Torah, medicine, community leadership, or government.

    #830529

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Cut into its simplest terms, Torah Umadda means that knowledge of non Torah subjects is a worthwhile pursuit for its own sake.

    My quote from above seems to disagree.

    It seems (and I don’t really know) that Rabbi Dr. Lamm understands Torah & Mada as two sides of a coin, with both being necessary ways to get to Hashem’s Emes. As Rav Shapiro explained a concept (not Torah U’Madda), there is the Briah, and then there is what is behind the Briah. One should understand both, and one without the other is lacking.

    #830530

    Toi
    Participant

    what the? please explain how a quote from n lamm saying that Torah needs more to be a more complete truth and that a truer vision is possible with both can be understood without admitting that something is lacking in torah. that is retarded. R shach didnt learn “maada”. the quote alone is diturbing. feh!!

    #830531

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Toi:

    That is why I brought in Rav Moshe Shapiro, whom without the concept sounds strange.

    Think of it as what we see (the path of Avraham Avinu, who saw Torah in the Briah), vs. what we know conceptually (via the Torah). Both are needed to get full perspective of the Emes of the Ribbono Shel Olam.

    I’m still trying to get my mind wrapped around the concept myself. (And I personally don’t hold of it, but it seems to be a valid shitta even by some of the Charaidi sector)

    #830532

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Ask your LMOR.

    ftfy

    (if you don’t know what that stands for, giyf)

    #830534

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I guarantee the Rambam did not learn American history.

    #830535

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    The Rambam held that science is Torah.

    #830536

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The Lubavicher Rebbe had a degree from the Sorbonne

    #830537

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The Lubavicher Rebbe had a degree from the Sorbonne

    heh heh heh. So you are trying to prove that secular education is good or bad?

    #830538

    “I guarantee the Rambam did not learn American history.”

    that would be interesting if he did 🙂

    #830539

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    ha ha good one popa 🙂

    #830540

    yungerman1
    Participant

    yitayningwut- When viewed through the Torah, not the other way around.

    #830541

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    yungerman1 – What does that mean? The view of science is part of Torah according to the Rambam. Ma’aseh Bereishis is the natural sciences in his opinion.

    #830542

    Toi
    Participant

    gaw- im getting modded on this thread, even though im actually keeping my cool. dont know why.

    #830543

    RSRH
    Member

    “I guarantee the Rambam did not learn American history.”

    Nonsense. How could you say such a thing? The holy tzadik, the Rambam, didn’t know American history? The Rambam was a baki in kol haTorah kuloh, he knew all of Torah backwards and forwards. And just as Chazal must have known correct history, medicine, biology, astronomy, physiscs, philosophy, zoology, jurisprudence, and child psychology because they were beki’im in Torah and had a masorah from Sinai, so too the Rambam must have known American history from his intensive study of Torah. After all, EVERYTHING is in the text of the Torah, is it not?

    I’ll stop now. My tongue is virtually bursting through my cheek.

    #830544

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    RSRH –

    You weren’t by any chance being sarcastic there, were you?

    #830545

    RSRH
    Member

    Just a bit.

    But to be serious, I’m not sure what the Rambam’s learning or not learning has anything to do with TuM. If the fact that the Rambam didn’t study American History is meant to imply that neither should we, then we should all study Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, Greek medicine and astronomy, and Roman histories because the Rambam most certainly did study those disciplines.

    (Don’t get me wrong, Greek philosophy, Roman histories, and Islamic jurisprudence are great – but I can’t speak to Greek medicine or astronomy since I’ve never studied those myself).

    #830546

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Toi,

    What if someone called rav Shach ” that shach guy ” ? You’d be upset. So, why is is ok to call Rabbi Lamm n lamm? Because you disagree with him?

    Because in MO literature, they frequently refer to rishonim and acharonim by their last name (ex. Isserlis), so they must think it is ok.

    #830547

    Feif Un
    Participant

    Mods, in many pieces of MO literature, they follow the standards for writing, which means writing the last name of the author, not the name of the book or any title. If a teshuva is written, or a personal letter, they write the correct title.

    #830548

    OneOfMany
    Participant

    RSRH: lol

    #830549

    Toi
    Participant

    no no. i appreciate 80s excuse but i disagree with his appropriation by calling mr. lamm an acharon, and if R Mordche Gifter Ztl called him that i can too. the man insulted gedolei yisroel, bnei torah, and all they stand for. He called them cavemen; i can call him lamm.

    #830551

    Josh31
    Participant

    The only cave Rabbi Lamm was referring to was the cave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (RSBY).

    The cave of RSBY was a major theme with Rabbi Lamm from many decades back. I found a paper by Rabbi Lamm about RSBY and the cave from 40-50 years ago.

    From a more recent writing by Rabbi Lamm, he believes everyone should spend at least one year in the “cave”. I personally disagree on this specific point.

    #830552

    Abelleh
    Participant

    Toi: What?

    #830553

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “and if R Mordche Gifter Ztl called him that i can too.”

    Actually, no you cant. You are not R’ Gifter.

    #830554

    Toi
    Participant

    apushitayid- if R Gifter said it we can, too; he wouldnt have said it in public unless he held it was emes li’amitoh. Mr. lamms torah hashkafos and views cant hold water if he expressly ridicules and berates It’s most dedicated followers. go jump in a lake.

    #830555

    lolkatz
    Member

    Everyone defines Torah Umadda differently. Rabbi Rakefet Shlit”a says it means the same thing as “Torah Vo’daas”- Torah and secular learning.

    #830556

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Rav Gifter went to YU

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