Monarchy vs. Democracy

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  • #617853

    square root of 2
    Participant

    Which form of government is in line with the Torah’s view?

    #1158040

    Joseph
    Participant

    Judaism has a Monarchy. Democracy isn’t a Jewish thing.

    #1158041

    Sam2
    Participant

    Most would assume like Joseph. The Abarbanel prefers democracy, though.

    #1158042

    theprof1
    Participant

    You can’t make halachic decisions concerning social tenets from the Torah or Gemora. Slavery is sanctioned by the Torah yet nobody in their right mind would say that today slavery is OK. There was no concelt of democracy in those days anywhere in the world. And there is no way of knowing that when moshiach comes, what type of government we will have. Of course it will be in strict adherence to halacha and Torah philosophy. But until moshiach does come, democracy is the way to go.

    #1158043

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutly. Unfortunatly this is generally proven in the Navi. Many if not most of the Kings were corrupt

    #1158044

    akuperma
    Participant

    Define monarchy. Does it mean a strictly hereditary system, or perhaps one in which the leader is chosen from within a narrowly defined group. For example, the Brits has a strictly hereditary system meaning, other systems are more flexible (e.g. the Saudi monarchy, the Catholic Church, and the way the frum community chooses its leaders with gedolim emerging from a narrow somewhat hereditary class of persons).

    The opposite of a monarchy is a republic. Republics, and Monarchies, can be based on democratic or non-democratic principles. Many Republics are dictatorships, and many monarchies are friendly and democratic.

    From a Torah perspective what matters is what they do. We have had friends (and enemies) who were presidents, and others who were kings. Similarly we have had democratic friends (and enemies), as well as un-democratic ones.

    #1158045

    Avi K
    Participant

    Ideally it should be Anarch-Capitalism. Each person under his own vine and fig tree keeping mitzvot because Hashem said to keep them. Practically, it is whatever the people want (He’emek Devar Devarim 17,14).

    #1158046

    charliehall
    Participant

    The Gemara in Avodah Zara has a Baraita on daf 10 amud a that clearly states that it is best that sons succeed fathers as rulers. Later on in that sugya Antoninus, who is known to secular historians as Marcus Aurelius, wanted to have his son succeed him as Emperor. That son, known to secular historians as Commodus, did succeed Marcus Aurelius, which was almost unheard of in Rome. Commodus was an absolute disaster as Emperor and most secular historians date the beginning of the fall of Rome to Commodus’ reign.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who has read Sefer Melachim. Abarbanel saw this and it is surprising that so many others have not.

    #1158047

    charliehall
    Participant

    “Ideally it should be Anarch-Capitalism.”

    Not according to the Torah and Chazal. Among the many mandates for communal authorities are to collect taxes for maintenance of the Temple, public works, education, and support for the poor. Those tax payments are mandatory, not optional. We are part of a community, not mere individuals.

    #1158048

    Avi K
    Participant

    Charlie,

    1. That is only if the people want such a system. However, if the people do not positions to be held for life and passed on by inheritance they can set up a system where there are no sarrarot, only public servants (Rav Shaul Yisraeli, Havat Binyamin 1,12 p. 92).

    2. Abarbanel’s problem with monarchy is that he saw it as always degenerating into tyranny.

    3. In the ideal system, which Rambam says will be in place in Mashiach’s time, all these taxes will be paid voluntarily. No need for audits, fines or imprisonment.

    #1158049

    mdd
    Member

    Ii is an openly stated mitsvah in the Torah for us to have a monarchy (albeit a somewhat limited one). See the gemorah Sanhedrin, Rambam, Hilchos melochim. And Ha’SHem chose Dovid and his descendants. Stop bringing far-off da’as yehids.

    #1158050

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    One doesnt have to discuss Rome to discuss people who inherited the throne and were not as competent as their fathers

    Rehoboam inherited the throne of Solomon and the kingdom split never to reunite.

    The best king of Judea was Hezekiah whose son was Manasseh, the worst

    #1158051

    Geordie613
    Participant

    I don’t understand the question. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance, and considered to be a leading democracy. Why is the assumption that these don’t go together?

    By monarchy, do you mean an Absolute Monarchy like Swaziland?

    #1158052

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd, it is a conditional mitzva. Here is the language of the Netziv (He’emek Devar Devarim 17,14):

    ???, ??? ???? ?? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ????, ??? ‘????? ????? ???’; ???? ???? ????? ??”? ?????? ????? ???! ??? ??, ??? ???? ‘?????’?

    ?????, ????? ?????? ?????? ?????, ?? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ????????, ??? ????? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?????, ??? ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ??????, ???? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ????? ???, ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ????? ???, ???? ??? ?? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???, ?? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ???, ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ???? ????, ?? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ???.

    As for David and his descendants, statistically all of us are probably his descendants. Only cohanim and levi’im are definitely not through a continuous line of males. Moreover, Rambam says that a son only inherits his father’s position if he is like him in yirat Shemayim (Hilchot Melachim 1,7).

    #1158055

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Avi K

    “Ideally it should be Anarch-Capitalism”

    Are the following anti-caplitalist ideas optional?

    1) money cant be lent with interest

    2) Those non-interest loans are automatically forgiven after a max of 7 years

    3) Land cant be sold permamnetly

    4) competition is assur (hasagas gevul)

    5) there is a limit to how much profit a person can make on something – onaah’s maamon

    I’m sure there are more but that is just a start

    #1158056

    mdd
    Member

    AviK, Netziv is a chiddush. Pashtus it is not like that. Again, it is a befeirushe Gemorah and a Rambam and so on.

    #1158057

    mdd
    Member

    Georgdie, it is supposed to be quite close to an absolute one. Look in the Rambam, Laws of Kings.

    #1158058

    mdd
    Member

    AviK, only direct male descendants qualify.

    #1158059

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd,

    1. Not at all. Any leader must be acceptable to the public

    (Berachot 55a). If it is an obligatory mitzva why did they wait 355 years? Why did Gideon refuse to be king? Why was Shmuel unhappy with their request? For that matter, Abarbanel prefers a republican form of government and effusively praises the systems in Florence and Venice in his time. According to Rav Kook (Mishpat Cohen 144?14) that any leader accepted by the people has considered a king for his functions it is not a problem. The mitzva is to appoint a national leader. If he is a king he has certain dinim that a judge or nasi does not have.

    2. True. However the number of qualified people today is certainly very large.

    #1158060

    mdd
    Member

    AviK, if it is a disagreement between Rambam and Abarbanel, we will always go with the former. I did not see the Abarbanel inside, but if he indeed says what you say he does, it is very,very shvere as it contradicts open Chazals. We have a mitsva to appoint a king “whose fear will be upon you”, violating whose orders is a capital offence. Shmuel was unhappy with how the people asked for it and for what reasons, but there is a mitsva to appoint a Jewish king — “the Jewish people were given 3 commandments when they entered Eretz Yisroel: to appoint a king…”.

    #1158061

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd, see http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14388&hilite=e7539dd1-d1d6-46fd-8b6d-66a2c821025c&st=%D7%A7%D7%91%D7%95%D7%A5&pgnum=329. Why should there not be l’chatchila and b’diavad in this mitzva? Really, there should be no need for any type of government. Hashem should be King. That is to say, people should keep mitzvot without compulsion. Forming a government is a tacit admission that the people are not capable of that (Shmuel Alef 18,7). If there is to be a government it depends on how far the people have descended. If the situation is not too bad a republican form of government is appropriate – and this was the case in the autonomous medieval kehillot. If it is worse a constitutional monarchy (the king is subject to the limitations of the Torah as expounded by the Sanhedrin and the nevi’im) is needed. However, this is only if there is a someone worthy of the tremendous powers which a king has (Rambam Hilchot Melachim ch. 3, 8-9). As Abarbanel points out, we see what happened immediately after the death of Shlomo. The bad kings brought Am Yisrael down to the three cardinal sins by example.

    #1158062

    akuperma
    Participant

    Define monarchy.

    Was Israel a monarchy? David was not the son of the previous king. Shlomo was not the oldest living son of David. Does a monarchy include a system where the king appoints an heir? How about system where the President or Imperator picks an heir subject to confirmation? What about an election by the royal family? is it a monarchy when a person is elected for life and acts like a king (is the leader of the Catholic Church a monarchy or a republic? – they crown someone elected for life)? Consider modern Saudi Arabia? Early modern Poland with its elected king. What about the Holy Roman Empire (also “elected”)? Consider the Roman Empire?

    #1158063

    mdd
    Member

    Avi K, you can’t argue with a befeirushe Gemorah. Again, the ta’anah in times of Shmuel was the form and the intention of the request, not the request itself — look in the meforshim.

    #1158064

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd, you can interpret it. This is done all the time. This is part of Torah shebaal peh.

    #1158065

    akuperma
    Participant

    So was ancient Israel a monarchy? None of the leading kings, the ones we name our kids after, was the eldest son of a previous king?

    It seems very clear that David appointed the next king – rather than hereditary sucession.

    #1158066

    mdd
    Member

    Akuperma, it does not seem — it is openly stated so. A new king generally needs to be confirmed by the Sanhedrin (look in the Rambam).

    Avi K, I quoted the Gemorah to you. You can’t just interpret it away. It says what it says.

    #1158067

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd,

    1. Rambam says (Hilchot Melachim 1,7) that only David’s kosher descendants can be king. Does that mean that the kings of Israel were not kings according to Rambam (see Sanhedrin 20b Tosafot d”h melech)? What about Menashe ben Chizkiahu? Rambam also says (ibid, Hlalacha 8) that if a navi appoints someone from a different shevet to be king and he keeps the Torah he is considered the king. Does that mean that the Hashmonaim and the Herodian rulers were not kings? If not, how do you define their government?

    2. Abarbanel, the Netziv, Rav Kook and Rav Chaim David HaLevi (“Shilton al pi HaTorah v’haDemokratia”, “Shana b’Shana”, 5758, p.205-213) apparently interpret it differently. I only suggested that according to them the mitzva to appoint a king means a central government and not necessarily a monarch. If you wnat to disagree you can cite opposing sources. However, let us not be neo-Karaites.

    #1158068

    mdd
    Member

    The Netziv does not really disagree — he just allows a postponement. Other Rabbis on your your list have a Gemorah against them — it is very hard to justify their opinion. Rambam is big enough. Rabbeinu Bechaya and Ramban talk in the same vein. That’s the generally accepted shitah. It is outrageous to present the chiddushim that you brought down as the opinion of the Torah.

    #1158069

    mdd
    Member

    Avi K, on which Rishonim the Rabbis you mentioned relied to say their opinion? They can’t argue with the Rishonim.

    #1158070

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd,

    1. Abarbanel is a Rishon. There is also the statement in the Gemara (Berachot 55a) that a leader must be acceptable to the people. It might even be that they can recall a king (Yerushalmi Horiot 3,2 and Rosh HaShana 1,1 with Korban HaEida and Pnei Moshe there and Responsa Avnei Nezer Yoreh Deah 312,15, Rut Rabba 5,6 but see intro. to “Oneg Yom Tov” )

    2. Who says that one cannot argue with Rishonim if he has solid proofs? See http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/arguing-with-rishonim-and-achronim.

    3. You still have not answered my questions regarding the kings of Israel, bad kings, Hashmonaim and Herodians. For that matter, why was the leader after the Churban always called the Nasi?

    4. How does the Netziv allow a postponement? What if no generation would feel that it needs a king? He does not mention any time limit. In fact, it took 355 years to annoint Shaul.

    5. It is outrageous that you dismiss major poskim with a wave of the hand. You must go to their graves and beg forgiveness with bitter tears.

    #1158071

    gavriel613
    Participant

    “Slavery is sanctioned by the Torah yet nobody in their right mind would say that today slavery is OK” (theprof1)

    I’m not sure any Jew in their right mind would say that something which is sanctioned by the Torah is not OK.

    Perhaps you think the Torah is talking about someone who sails to Africa, forces a load of black people onto a boat, brings them back and sells them. That is geneivas nefesh.

    We don’t really appreciate how hard life could be then. If someone had no money, he and his children would just starve. If you have no way of raising money (and no-ones able to give you tzedoko) then one last way of surviving is to sell yourself.

    Even once he’s had to sell himself, the Yiddishe mehalech is to treat them kindly. As the Rambam writes at the end of Hilchos Avodim, cruelty is not the way, the Chachomim horishonim would give their avodim from everything they themselves ate, and before they ate themselves. He’s referring even to Eved C’naani.

    The point is, if the Torah says something we think is unfair or wrong, we have to try to understand the Torah and accept it as Hashems word. If you can’t understand, say you don’t understand. But don’t turn around and say “its just not OK”.

    #1158072

    Avi K
    Participant

    Actually, slavery in the Torah is demonstrably better than prison. In the former the thief or bankrupt gets to learn how to stand on his own two feet. In the latter he learns how to be a bigger crook. If he is emotionally unable to tolerate freedom he need not commit another crime to go back to servitude. While there was also the eved Kenani, who was not a full Jew, he had many rights, such as Shabbat and Yom Tov. If his master injured him or needed him for a mitzva (e.g. completing a minyan) he went free and became a full Jew.

    #1158073

    mdd
    Member

    1. Avi K, Abarbanel is not a Rishon (heard in a shiyur). Even if he were, he is not of the same standing as Rambam and Ramban. And yes — a Jewish king cannot just do what he wants. He could be tried by the Sanhedrin, and my need their confirmation to start his reign.

    2. It is an accepted rule in the world of Achronim that one can not argue with a Rishon unless one has a different Rishon to back him up. And your statements are outrageous: according to you an Achron is allowed to argue with Rishonim, but a learnt person nowdays can not say that an opinion of a recent or a very recent Achron is shvere.

    3. When Ribono shel olam gave the mitsva to appoint a king, he realized that some of them might be bad, won’t you argee, Avi K?

    #1158074

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd,

    1. You heard (or remember) wrong. Abarbanel lived two generations before the Shulchan Aruch. Thus he is a Rishon. Anyway, Rambam says that it is a mitzva to appoint a king not an obligation. Giving a get is also a mitzva.

    2. The Gra, the Shaagat Aryeh, the Schach, the Peri Chadash and the Chazon Ish did not accept that. See “??? ???”? ??? ?????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????????” )on-line) for a discussion of this issue.

    3. Yes. That is why He gave limitations. He also gave alternatives.

    4. You still have not answered my kushiyot. Why did it take 355 years to appoint a king? How were the leaders in EY after the Churban called nesi’im and not kings?

    5. See “The Source for Elections in the Torah” by Rav Mordechai Greenberg (also on-line).

    #1158075

    mdd
    Member

    Avi K, Not every body who preceded the S. A. is a Rishon!

    It is a mitsva chiyuvis, not kiyumis. Otherewise I have said enough for anybody willing to hear. Enough of your MO ma’ases with pulling out da’as yohids to push you modernishe shittos!

    #1158076

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    How were the leaders in EY after the Churban called nesi’im and not kings?

    that was probably a Roman thing, not a jewish thing. They had to obey the Romans

    #1158077

    Avi K
    Participant

    Mdd, those are your opinions. In any case, even if he was an Acharon later Acharonim can pasken like him if they think that he is correct. I already brought that Acharonim sometimes disagree with Rishonim so you apparently disagree with those poskim as well as those poskim who hold that appointing a king is a mitzva kiumit. I disagree with you and apparently you have no answer as you have resorted to an ad homiem argument.

    Zahavasdad, many peoples in their empire had local kings. The Herodians were called kings even though they were subject to the Romans.

    #1158078

    This is an old ,old discussion

    Lord Sacks,for one ,has some speeches and articles on this

    While there is a broad spectrum ,

    Abarvanel is an outlier

    Also,

    do they have to be in complete contradiction?

    People ought to define what each term means

    p.s.Check out David Holtzer’s Conversations, where the Abarvanel is given short thrift

    #1158079

    It is a mitsva chiyuvis, not kiyumis.

    There are others, who hold the second

    #1158080

    What about Lords and Princes?

    #1158081

    theprof1,

    You can’t make halachic decisions concerning social tenets from the Torah or Gemora. Slavery is sanctioned by the Torah yet nobody in their right mind would say that today slavery is OK.

    Really?!

    Are we both part of the same religion?

    IT WAS assuredly for all eras and climes or it’s nothing at all !

    However when/if slavery or servitude is practiced poorly overall ,then it is different

    A slave would go free with the displacement of even one of his teeth.

    Sh’mos 21:26

    One could contend that on a continental scale ,slaves as a collective, had their teeth knocked out,

    and therefore were deserving of an abolition of slavery

    #1158082

    Avi K
    Participant

    Time, are you are a prophet that you know Hashem’s reasons? Perhaps a possible reason behind slavery, a dependent personality, has been sufficiently eradicated. However, it has not been completely eradicated. We have people who commit crimes in order to go back to prison as well as those who enslave themselves to phony “mekubalim” and an exaggerated idea of daat Torah that began with the Chassidic relationship to the rebbe.

    #1158083

    Avi K,

    Can anyone be absolutely certain about anything?!

    amazing ,is it,how you people cherrypick who you choose to subscribe to on any given subject ?

    Who wrote ??? ??? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?????

    #1158084

    “Perhaps a possible reason behind slavery, a dependent personality, has been sufficiently eradicated.”

    Keep it going further:

    kosher was for hygiene

    sacrifices were because of primitive practices

    Shabbos was economic progressivism

    etc.,etc.

    #1158086

    How about

    Geniocracy

    Rule by the intelligent; a system of governance where creativity, innovation, intelligence and wisdom are required for those who wish to govern. Comparable to noocracy.

    Timocracy

    Rule by the honourable; a system of governance ruled by honorable citizens and property owners. Socrates defines a timocracy as a government ruled by people who love honour and are selected according to the degree of honour they hold in society. This form of timocracy is very similar to meritocracy, in the sense that individuals of outstanding character or faculty are placed in the seat of power. European feudalism and post-Revolutionary America are historical examples of this type; the city-state of Sparta provided another real-world model for this form of government.

    Plutocracy

    Rule by the “haves”; a system wherein governance is indebted to, dependent upon or heavily influenced by the desires of the rich/ensconced. Plutocratic influence can alter any form government. For instance, in a republic, if a significant number of elected representative positions are dependent upon financial support from wealthy sources, then it is a plutocratic-republic.

    #1158087

    Bankocracy

    Rule by banks; a system of governance with excessive power or influence of banks and other financial authorities on public policy-making. It can also refer to a form of government where financial institutions rule society.

    Electocracy

    An electocracy is a political system where citizens are able to vote for their government but cannot participate directly in governmental decision making and where the government does not share any power.

    Anocracy

    An regime type where power is not vested in public institutions (as in a normal democracy) but spread amongst elite groups who are constantly competing with each other for power. Examples of anocracies in Africa include the warlords of Somalia and the shared governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Anocracies are situated midway between an autocracy and a democracy.

    Nomocracy

    Rule by a government under the sovereignty of rational laws and civic right as opposed to one under theocratic systems of government. In a nomocracy, ultimate and final authority (sovereignty) exists in the law.

    #1158088

    Rambam also says (ibid, Hlalacha 8) that if a navi appoints someone from a different shevet to be king and he keeps the Torah he is considered the king

    But he also says that Only Davidic Monarchs have a right to sit in the Azara,

    or

    read the Hakhel

    #1158089

    Avi K
    Participant

    Truth, no but my guess is as good as yours. Of course, we do the mitzvot because Hashem said so but there is also “nishma”. BTW, Rambam says that sacrifices were because of primitive practices.

    #1158090

    Rambam also says (ibid, Hlalacha 8) that if a navi appoints someone from a different shevet to be king and he keeps the Torah he is considered the king

    But he also says that Only Davidic Monarchs have a right to sit in the Azara,

    or

    read the Hakhel

    P.s Eh.. Everyone is aware what he says in the Moreh,and that everyone else strongly ( and more)disputes it.

    AND that some try to reconcile it with other conflicting ,and arguably more authoritive positions

    #1158091

    Few people ,besides half maskilim or disguised maskilim

    gave the Moreh much weight prior to the Mid 19th century.

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