May I Disagree With the Chofetz Chaim?

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  • #619357
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    May a person like me, of below average intelligence and learning, disagree with something the Chofetz Chaim has written in a sefer?

    Or do I just not have the standing to do so and I have to accept his word as the complete and unadulterated truth?

    The Wolf

    The chofetz Chaim said you cannot speak l”h about yourself

    #1219439

    Why do you disagree with whatever it is you disagree with?

    #1219440

    I think that if you’re having trouble understanding something the Chofetz Chaim said you should first think long and hard about it and ask a rov about it before dismissing it as wrong (sometimes you might find that there is an explanation of something that is very different than you thought) After taking these steps you might find that you actually agree with him, or you may find that there are other gedolim who argue, however if you cant find any other explanation/opinion then you probably should accept it as true even if you dont understand it.

    #1219441
    Joseph
    Participant

    You may not disagree with him on your own accord.

    #1219442
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I think that if you’re having trouble understanding something the Chofetz Chaim said

    I am not having trouble understanding what he said. He was very clear and straightforward in what he said. There is really little, if any, room for ambiguity.

    The Wolf

    #1219443
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    The chofetz Chaim said you cannot speak l”h about yourself

    I guess further proving the point of what he said.

    The Wolf

    #1219444
    bmyer
    Participant

    NO

    #1219445
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I don’t know if you are of below average intelligence and learning or not (I tend to think not), but even if you are way above average, you are still nowhere near the Chofetz Chaim and can not disagree with the Chofetz Chaim. I do not think there is anyone in this generation who can disagree with the Chofetz Chaim. I don’t think the Gedolei Hador would disagree with him.

    If you are finding something he wrote hard to accept, I would take Lakewood Maidel’s advice and discuss it with a Rav, since as she wrote so wisely, it might not mean what it sounds like, or he may be able to explain it in a way that is easier to accept.

    If you are still having trouble accepting it, then:

    Realize that the Chofetz Chaim is way greater than you are and the fact that you can’t understand something does not take away from its truth. If we were capable of judging and determining which teachings of the Chofetz Chaim are true, then we wouldn’t need the Chofetz Chaim. What makes the Chofetz Chaim the Chofetz Chaim is the fact that he is way above us.

    When I find that there is some idea that I have a hard time accepting, I just tell myself that it must be emes because it is from _____, but maybe it is something that I can’t really relate to at this stage in my life, so I try not to think about it too much (assuming it’s not something that I have an obligation to put into practice). If it’s not something that you have to deal with, why think about it when there are so many other aspects of Torah?

    Accept your limitations and move on.

    #1219446
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    You may not disagree with him

    NO

    I understand. I have to take what he says about me as 100% truth. Thank you for the confirmation.

    The Wolf

    You seem to be picking and choosing responses. There were others too.

    #1219447
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    You seem to be picking and choosing responses. There were others too.

    No. The only ones I did not respond to are Randomex (because I don’t care to go into the particular of what he said and, besides, I wasn’t allowed to post it yesterday anyway) and Lilmod, who basically said the same thing that lakewoodmaidel did (to whom I did respond).

    The Wolf

    #1219448
    Logician
    Participant

    Although you obviously do not want to elaborate on the specifics, I think it very much depends on what is being discussed.

    If he states something as fact, presumably based on a source, and I’m not sure what you mean that you ‘disagree’.

    On the other hand, if its a logical point, and you disagree with his reasoning, then it’s no different than any other sefer. One can disagree with something written by an earlier authority (to a point), but must be of a certain caliber for this to have any standing.

    And of course, everyone here made the valid point that it would be very wise to think long and hard before concluding that, in your opinion, he is mistaken and you are correct.

    #1219449
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Wolf, it really sounds like this is something that you should discuss with a Rav. It is true that you can’t disagree with the Chofetz Chaim, but it is also true that if something the Chofetz Chaim says makes you feel bad about yourself, you must be understanding it or applying it incorrectly.

    The Chofetz Chaim was the Gaon of Shmiras Halashon and Ahavas Yisrael, and he would never have said anything that was meant to make Wolf feel bad about himself.

    #1219450
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Accept your limitations and move on.

    Apparently, that seems to be what I must do. Accept the limitations the Chofetz Chaim puts on me (from which there is no moving forward).

    The Wolf

    #1219451
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    but it is also true that if something the Chofetz Chaim says makes you feel bad about yourself, you must be understanding it or applying it incorrectly.

    Not likely. He is very clear and straightforward in what he says.

    The Wolf

    #1219452
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    If he states something as fact, presumably based on a source, and I’m not sure what you mean that you ‘disagree’.

    I didn’t say that I disagreed. I asked if one is allowed to disagree. The two are not the same.

    Bottom line: He said that in circumstance X, the result will certainly (he uses the word “b’vadai”) be Y. Since X happened, Y must be true.

    The Wolf

    #1219453

    I have to take what he says about me as 100% truth.

    I thought as much… Can you be certain that

    what he said actually applies to you, though?

    #1219454
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Wolf – I think my last post was not yet posted when you wrote yours. Please make sure to read it. It is very important. It is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone here to discuss this with you properly (especially since we don’t know what we’re talking about).

    This is something that is clearly bothering you, and you need to discuss it with a live person who can help you to put things in perspective. But choose that person with care. Make sure he is a wise, sensitive, understanding, intuitive person. There are some learned people who are overly cerebral or not good listeners and don’t have the necessary qualities for these types of discussions.

    #1219455
    Logician
    Participant

    I just want to add that there no need to classify his words as “the complete and unadulterated truth” in order not to argue. It is of course possible for there to be other, valid, differing opinions, and he can also (like every human) make a mistake. He is simply an established authority of great stature, and so one’s own view, when it differs from his, may not have valid Halachic standing, and it is logical to be cautious before ‘arguing’.

    #1219456
    Logician
    Participant

    “The Chofetz Chaim was the Gaon of Shmiras Halashon and Ahavas Yisrael, and he would never have said anything that was meant to make Wolf feel bad about himself.”

    Many words of Torah certainly should cause many of us to “feel bad about ourselves.” Whether this is one of those times, and whether these feelings are justified in this case, is something we don’t know.

    #1219457
    Avi K
    Participant

    Logician, on the contrary, one should not consider oneself to be a rasha (Pirkei Avot 2,13). This can lead to a person giving up on himself c”v (Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about this in “The Bottle Imp” – chochma sheb’goyim). Rtaher you should understand your greatness by virtue of having a tzeleem Elokim and being part of Am Yisrael. This will help to spur you to improve.

    #1219458

    Wolf,

    The thing you are probably referring to (if I’m correct that the subject is one which we have discussed) is a matter in which gedolim (such as R’ Moshe and the Steipler zt”l) have clarified does not apply in every situation across the board. It certainly (as best I can tell) does not apply to you, Wolf.

    #1219459
    simcha613
    Participant

    If it’s a legitimate disagreement, then most likely someone else of higher caliber also disagrees or explains the Chofeitz Chaim differently than you understood it. Of course one can disagree with the Chafeitz Chaim if there is Acharon of comparable caliber that disagrees. If no one disagrees with the Chofeitz Chaim in that regard, then it is more difficult to justify.

    #1219460
    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf’s second post here mentions which CC he’s referring to:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/mods-really

    #1219461

    DY, if it has been discussed before, with solutions offered or at least discussed, then I return to my original question/ponderence over why this was revisited.

    #1219462
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    LU

    ” I don’t think the Gedolei Hador would disagree with him.”

    This simply isnt factual (in a general sense). Gedolim often argue on the Mishna Berurua.

    As for this specific example. There are Respectable ways of arguing with a Gadol of the stature of The CC. R’ Moshe does just that by mitigating the CC stament as alluded too by DY. While not blatantly arguing, he doesnt really add something that the CC didnt know and yet says the CC’ rule “He said that in circumstance X, the result will certainly (he uses the word “b’vadai”) be Y. Since X happened, Y must be true.” Doesnt always apply because Z.

    #1219463

    Moderator :The chofetz Chaim said you cannot speak l”h about yourself

    Wrong.

    My 9th grade rebbi, who was born in 1934 and named after the chofetz Chaim,

    said the chofetz Chaim

    meant that with a touch of humour and as advice

    Dare to find it anywhere in his sefer

    #1219464

    Logician, on the contrary, one should not consider oneself to be a rasha (Pirkei Avot 2,13).”

    In most cases

    For some it will help them to improve

    #1219465
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    Mod 29, why did you respond to me? I didn’t post anything here.

    Thanks, read it wrong.

    #1219466

    I don’t know what works for you in real life, but if you have a halacha or Torah matter to teach me, I am all ears and thrilled to hear it. If you have to end it with a threat, I have to assume you haven’t read the Chofetz Chaim often enough to be relied upon.

    I will look into your tale.

    #1219467
    Avram in MD
    Participant

    WolfishMusings,

    I don’t know why you have such a burning desire to host a pity party for yourself at the expense of the honor of your parents, but please try and be sensitive to the feelings of other posters in the CR. You are not the only BT or child of a BT in the universe, and your publicly aired extrapolations of the words of the Chofetz Chaim to your personal situation can be hurtful to other BTs who have equivalent situations.

    If you are truly worried about your spiritual standing, pour out your feelings and specific case to a trusted rav. Don’t ask him generalized, obfuscated questions and then extrapolate the answers to your specific case. That’s not fair to him, or to you. You wouldn’t handle a medical, plumbing, or electrical question that way, how much more so a spiritual question? Yes, we have the mishna, gemara, rishonim, and achronim, and those words are true, but Torah is best found in the mouth of a living and breathing rav. That is the proper way for the wisdom compiled over generations to be applied to you personally.

    #1219468

    Amen

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