Psak of Rav Kook on Chazal vs Scientists

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    DY – Rambam Shechitah 10:12

    ? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ???, ???: ??? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ????????, ??????? ????? ??? ???? ?????–???? ?????. ?????? ???? ??? ???? ??????, ???? ???? ?????. [??] ??? ??? ???? ????? ??? ?????–?? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???? ??????, ????? ????? ???: ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?????, ????? “?? ?? ????? ??? ?????” (????? ??,??).

    So the actual Meztius is not relevant, rather it is what Chazal decided to be the Halacha that defines the Halachic Metzius.

    So when you say

    “I’m saying we do know how they affect the din – it’s only muttar if and because they are ???? ??? ????. We may not know which physical characteristic is considered ???? ??? ????.”

    I’m understanding the “physical characteristic” as the Halachic difference that gives the item (louse or animal) its Din.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    I don’t believe that your hypothesis could ever happen. And until I find out that according to halacha, I am allowed to entertain such a hypothesis, I can not entertain such a hypothesis.

    Apparently, you are entertaining such a hypothesis. Maybe you should stop and think about why you are entertaining such a hypothesis without knowing if you are allowed to do so according to halacha.



    While DY and I debate about the Rambam , but you should read what the Rambam says about the moon. The Rambam is not Chazal, but read it anyway



    Can you cite the Rambam that you say you are disagreeing with DY about.

    Can you tell us which specific halacha your are referring to?

    Some of us would like to read the Rambam with the nosei keilim.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    ????? ?????, ?, ?

    ?? ?? ???? ???”? ?????? ???? ????? ?????. ??? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ??????? ???????. ???? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ???????? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ???. ??? ??????? ???????? ????. ???? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ?????. ???? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???????. ???????? ???? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ???


    LU: Thank you! ? Yes you were right. I returned yesterday. (thanks for accommodating the odd timing and placement of this post)


    When it comes to Hashkapha ,We have traditonally stayed away from Rambam

    Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik

    is on record for that as well


    “When it comes to Hashkapha ,We have traditonally stayed away from Rambam”

    Umm.. aren’t the Ani maamins and Yigdal based on Ramabam’s 13 Ikarim? I would call that Hashkafa.

    Yes, the Rambam was controversial, especially in his own times, his works were even burned. But I wouldn’t say that we stay away from his Hashkafa altogether.

    Avi K

    Time, where is that record? The Briskers were Rambamists. In any case I will reiterate. Who are “We”? Rav Kapach is certainly not in that group.


    Avi K.,

    For one ,a Talmid from Bet Shemesh in his book on the parshiyot

    His first name is Avishai

    Also to a lesser degree, Old Mr.Homnick [the one who Lawrence Kaplan recently relied on his notes]


    “aren’t the Ani maamins and Yigdal based on Ramabam’s 13 Ikarim? I would call that Hashkafa.”

    Well said !

    For basic bottom line Hashkafa you are certainly right

    And that is about it


    Recall Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik ‘s father

    Rav Moshe was ordered by his father not to even bother reading the Moreh Nevuchim

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    “Avi K.,

    For one ,a Talmid from Bet Shemesh in his book on the parshiyot

    His first name is Avishai”

    Are you talking about Rav Avishai David?


    lilmod ulelamaid,

    Thank you. That’s who it is


    “aren’t the Ani maamins and Yigdal based on Ramabam’s 13 Ikarim? I would call that Hashkafa.”

    Well said !

    For basic bottom line Hashkafa you are certainly right

    Should Have said that with more Emphasis

    A person could spend much of their life

    analyzing every word

    and absorbing

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    “lilmod ulelamaid,

    Thank you. That’s who it is”

    Cool. He’s a very special, sincere Talmid Chacham.


    Where in R’ David’s sefer does he say that?

    Avi K


    1. If you are referring to Rabbi Yaakov Hominick, I happen to know him and bli neder I will ask him.

    2. I find that very difficult to believe unless Rav Moshe was a child at the time (his father also ordered him to teachh is son himself as his Chabad melamed was spending time on Tanya and neglecting Gemara).



    possibly in the introduction


    Nothing about the Rambam in the introduction.

    Avi K

    Time, I asked Rabbi Hominick and he said that he never heard Rav Soloveichik say such a thing. He added that for RS there was no one greater than Rambam.


    You asked who ?

    Mr Homnick’s[the one whose notes they rely upon] son’s name is yaakov

    R’ Yaakov Hominick ,the one you spoke to, to probably is a cousin

    Was he even a talmid?

    ” I find that very difficult to believe unless Rav Moshe was a chil”


    Ari Zivotovsky brought this source material in a recent Jewish Action


    The Geonim have all too famously written not to rely on the Gemarah for its medicine. Now, this is referring to the Sugyos in Shabbos and Gittin where it actually lists remedies for assorted ailments.

    The Gemara mentions how Abaye tried one of them and it didn’t work. Eventually, an Arab merchant directed him to try something entirely different. This shows us a couple of things: That the remedies can change and that they aren’t necessarily from their Rebbeim but can be what they picked up. The Gemara records what Rebbe Yochanan was told by his doctor.

    These were recorded because it was important enough to pass on. These haven’t made it into discussions of Torah/Halachah. In fact, Chazal never quote outside sources when deciding Halachah. You might find how they consulted a doctor at a particular moment to decide what something was, but not in order to establish an Halachah on the word of an outside influence.

    The medicine Gemaros are an exception and don’t pay a role in Halacha. It is for this reason and about these Sugyos of which we are told ‘they were out teachers, not our doctors.’

    The Chachomim didn’t shy from attributing their knowledge to their proper source. It is them who taught ‘he who says something in the name of its author brings salvation to the world.’ Yet we don’t find them attributing their ideas about the world to any outside thinkers. And quite the opposite, we find them quoting Braysos or deriving from them all matters of Halachic or Torah consequence. There are instances of Rav Popa deriving medical and anatomical information from Mishnayos and Braysos. He completely sidestepped the idea of referring to Galen.

    This is what makes the Gemara timeless. Contrast this with Rishonim who, without that vast treasury of resources of early traditions, had to fall back on outside knowledge. And therefore, when that information of outside origin became obsolete so did the foundation based upon that. This leaves us scrambling to redefine or reapply those words of these Rishonim.

    Just to be clear, this is not a claim that Chazal knew all the secrets of nature. In fact, if is clear from many areas, including those mentioned above, that they didn’t. However, what they learn from Braysos and Mishnayos is Torah and is true. We can actually learn from Chazal themselves how they viewed observed science vs. traditions and extrapolations of Torah.

    Avi K

    Time, yes he is a talmid.

    HaLevi, the question is on what level is it true. The Maharal(Ber Hagolah 6) says that they are referring to the spiritual world and not the physical world. Indeed, it is very difficult to think that Ravina and Rav Ashi put scientific statements into the Gemara, which is a Torah work and not a scientific work. It could very well be that the spiritual counterpart of a physical phenomenon behaves differently. It could also be that a legal definition differs from a scientific definition. Thus putting food into water a keli sheini does not cook it halachically even if it does cook it chemically.


    How would explain what Dr.Rothschild [Founder of Ma’ayenei hayehoshua Hospital]related

    More than once people suffering from very serious illnesses approached the Steipler asking for whether to travel overseas,etc

    The Steipler told them to go to Dr. Rothschild for some penicillin. He gave them as instructed and to his astonishmenttheir illnesses disappeared?

    Ahin Un OHare

    HaRav Moshe Meiselman SHLIT”A — who agrees with HaRav Kook ZT”L — is a leading expert on this subject. His book “Torah, CHAZAL & Science” is an excellent reference.

    In addition to the many hours he spent discussing these matters with his uncle, HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik ZT”L, Rav Meiselman earned a Doctorate of Science degree from MIT. As one who is also privileged to be a Bnam Shel Kdoshim and an MIT alumnus, I highly recommend “Torah, CHAZAL & Science” by Rav Moshe Meiselman.

    Avi K

    Time, I hope that he did not give any to people who are allergic. In nay case, it could be that the Steipler realized from speaking to them that their illnesses were psychosomatic. Once a woman who was suffering from a seriosu illness asked the Noda b’Yehuda for a kameia. He gavce her a rolled-up rag and told her to open it in a week. If it was blank it meant that she was permanently cured. She got better and to her joy when she opened it it was blank – as it always had been (see Meiri regarding the evil eye on Baba Metzia 107b and compare the masakana regarding pairs on Pesachim 110b).


    Avi K

    In one case, according to Dr Rothschild it was yeneh machalah



    שו”ת דכת כהן, סימן פד

    ובכל זאת קשה לי למעשה להתיר בנ”ד עפ”ד הרופאים, מפני שאני מספק הרבה בידיעתם בפריטיות כל כך להחליט, שדוקא אם תתיחד בשבעה ימים אחר תחלת הוסת תתעבר, ואם יעברו איזה ימים יותר לא תתעבר. וביחד מפני שדבריהם סותרים דברי חז”ל, שהרי בין לרבי אמי בין לרבי יוחנן בנדה ל”א ע”ב, אין אשה מתבערת אלא סמוך לוסתה, שהפירוש הוא להיפך בימי טהרה האחרונים הסמוכים להוסת או סמוך לטבילתה, אבל לומר שתתעבר דוקא בשבעת הימים אחר התחלת הוסת זהו

    נגד הידיעה שקבלנו מחז”ל, ודבריהם נאמנים יותר מדברי הרופאים, שידיעותהים הו רק השערות בעלמא.

    וידוע שהרופאים הרעישו לבטל מציצה, ואמרו שיש בזה סכנה, וכל חכמי בטלו דבריהם מפני

    שאינם נאמנים נגד דברי חז”ל, שחעכמתם היא מכח דבר ה’ הנאמן לעד


    *שו”ת דעת כהן

    Avi K

    On the other hand, today we pasken that a deaf-mute is not in the same category as a minor and a mental incompetent. The Chazon Ish says (YD 155:4) that today there is no assumption that a seven month baby will die. See “Halachic Responses To Scientific Developments”.


    Many years ago, I had the privilege to have Rav Avishai David as my magid shiur, Rosh Yeshiva, and for about a year I was honoured to learn with him b’chavrusa. I recall many many distinctive discussions about his experiences with the Rov zt’l, and with his beloved teacher R Aharon Lichtenstein zt’l.

    I would be interested to see the makor for the statement that “when it comes to hashkofoh we stay away from the Rambam”. I never got the impression from him that his experience learning from and with the Rov envisioned shying away from challenging hashkofic texts ESPECIALLY from the Rambam. That being said, I haven’t seen his sefer that was referenced, and he may have come to that conclusion.

    I’d add one thought. Though it has – and has had since the time of the neviim and the anshei kneses hagedolah and earlier – vital importance and power, and for some it is one of the most important elements of their personal observance of mitzvos, Emunas Chachomim is not the end all and be all of Yiddishkeit. Emunoh in HKBH is.

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