A Few Musings from Vacation

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124 Responses

  1. david z says:

    Of course modern orthodoxy shouldn’t differ “significantly” but it is different. Modern kharedi leaders really believe that there is little to no value in what we call secular knowledge. And the rest of us think that is hogwash. A talmid khakham with a dearth of secular knowledge is like an unpolished gem. This was not the way of our rabanim throughout history. Modern orthodoxy is a reaction to kharedut which is on turn a reaction to the enlightenment and reform. The middle is good and where we were in the 17th century (intellectually). All Jews need leaders and they are lacking. Until then we’ll muddle through.

    • Avrohom Gordimer says:

      The late 19th and early 20th century progenitors of what is now known as Modern Orthodoxy were not reacting to Charedism. They were pursuing a path they felt was pragmatically correct, but they themselves were pretty much part of the Charedi system in terms of their own religious and educational backgrounds and orientations. The notable exception was Rav SR Hirsch, but despite his religious endorsement of secular chochmah, his path was far from today’s Modern Orthodoxy.

      • dr. bill says:

        Rabbi, you are correct.  figures like rabbis hildesheimer, berlin and schiff ztl were in the mode of traditional jewish rabbonim that were not the creation of or reaction to the chareidi movement that grew in that era.

        i would suggest you look at two things that are becoming more important.  first, yct is old news; academic study of bible, the second temple period and its literature, talmud,  halakha, etc. is gaining great heft.  i do not want to out anyone, bur shiurim are appearing on YU torah that make my point.  second, the understanding of TuM as described by RAL ztl and Rabbi dr. Lamm continues to be poorly understood. at a minimum, any modern jewish attitude to secular studies has to explain how a jewish observant society is to approach creating its various required professionals and then what more, if anything, ought be pursued.

        • mycroft says:

          I agree with Dr Bill- to some extent YCT is a convenient bogeyman in general they don’t have people who have the knowledge of those who oppose them. However, there are plenty who are not trying to make stands but the mere study of Bayis Sheni and the first centuries after it can raise questions. Thus, for example the two gab aim of a hashkafa minyan in Jerusalem are both Prof at Heb U ones expertise Bayis Sheni, the other Gaonim. Both choose to always say we follow halachas as SA and Nosei Kelim but one can see that seeing what actually done versus current practice can raise questions. We should be honest and don’t. Oversell- we follow Halacha as the Halachik process has come to our generation that does not mean that necessarily all of our practices are the same as we’re done thousands of years ago.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, we agree and i strongly suspect whose shiurim you attended over the last few months.  While many take pot shots at academics, no one ever claimed the BM at YCT is the most advanced in NY, something earnestly believed by some about the HU in Jerusalem.  I am in the middle of a book on R Saadya Gaon by one of the gabboim you mentioned.  the issue of change during Bait Sheni and particularly in the first 3 centuries of the CE, is one where excessive fundamentalism plays into the hands of those often being strenuously opposed.

          • Steve brizel says:

            The question remains unanswered-one wonders what is their intent upon hearing and reciting any  Birkas Hamitzvah and whether they view malciyos shofaros and zicronos and why we recite the verses and sound the Shofar not their mechanical acts of ritual or communal functions as operative

          • Steve Brizel says:

            This sounds very much not like Torah Lishmah as opposed to Torah Lishmah:

            “the mere study of Bayis Sheni and the first centuries after it can raise questions”

            OTOH, the fact that Klal Yisrael long ago accepted the binding nature of SA but not as a weapon to purportedly demonstrate the absence of a TSBP was transmitted from generation to generation from Moshe Rabbeinu, as well as Minhagim and Hanhagos that all have legitimate sources and importance-the following IMO is simply a maskilic argument that in all probability appeals to its proponents but no serious student of TSBP :

            “Both choose to always say we follow halachas as SA and Nosei Kelim but one can see that seeing what actually done versus current practice can raise questions. 

        • Arthur says:

          ” i do not want to out anyone, bur shiurim are appearing on YU torah that make my point.”

          I may be able to guess, but why are you being coy about it if the shiurim have been publicly published?  It’d be helpful to know what you’re referring to so one may listen to them and understand.

          • mycroft says:

            Of interest that the expert on Geonim never went to college. He was admitted to grad school in Harvard in math straight of Yeshiva HS, after Phd in math lost interest and switched to Jewish studies and certainly for non experts wrote on  Geonim for Yale Judaica series similar to the late Prof Twersky on the Rambam for the same series.

        • mycroft says:

          Really tangential to our discussion but RNL and RAL have IM different hashkafot concerning secular studies. Both see positive aspects but different.

          • Lawrence kaplan says:

            Robert Brody. Great scholar and Talmid Hakham. Also see his article in the recent issue of JQR.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Talk is cheap. One can argue that the proof is in the pooding and that many who identify with MO ( as well as many Charedim) simply have a level of commitment that is a mile wide and an inch deep

          • mycroft says:

            “Robert Brody. Great scholar and Talmid Hakham. Also see his article in the recent issue of JQR”

            “Lawrence Kaplan. Great scholar and Talmid Hakham. Also see his article in the recent issue of JQR”

            Lawrence Kaplan also has an article in the JQR. Kaplan unlike Brody went to College before Harvard Grad.  Considering his fame over half a century ago for being on the Yeshiva College Bowl -we all knew Prof Kaplan went to College

        • Steve brizel says:

          One could argue that while TUM As defined buy RD Lamm has much merit as a hashkafa but there is no halachic act generated or consequence of the dropping of a secular book on the floor or worse conducted perpetrated by an opponent of the same

          • lawrence kaplan says:

            Mycroft: While it is true that I wrote a  brief, and, if I must say so myself, rather elegant  article in the recent issue of JQR  discussing Solomon Schechter’s essay about Nahman Krochmal , it cannot compare  in rabbinic  scholarship and learning to Professor Brody’s exceptionally  important   article in that issue.

            As for College Bowl: You  are dating yourself in speaking  of my “fame,” though R. Dr. Zev Eleff  a while back  wrote an interesting  essay  about the sociological significance of the YU college bowl team in terms  of Orthodoxy  coming of age in the 60s.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Hiding behind the veneer of anonymity hardly fosters discussion of the issues.

          • mycroft says:

            It is the issue/analysis that is important not who said it. We should be concerned in analyzing a Tshuva not who said it but what was said and the arguments made for it.

          • mycroft says:

            There are many books that were written anonymously or under false names see eg  19 letters of Ben Uzziel, the Zohar etc

          • Steve brizel says:

            It is well known that arguments are associated with their proponents and that weight is accorded in no small measure to a Chiddush teshuvah or psak etc depending on who is associated with it not merely whether it accords with a more often than not preexisting POV.

      • joel rich says:

        I’m not sure of your point -for example  do you believe current chareidi leadership is not ” pursuing a path they felt was pragmatically correct”? That “secular chochma” (what exactly is that? does it include math? physics? psychology?…) is not religiously endorsed?

        KVCT

        • Avrohom Gordimer says:

          Yes, Charedi leadership is of course pursuing a path that it feels is pragmatically correct. My point was that the impetus behind the pursuit of secular education and social exposure on the part of many of the progenitors of what is now Modern Orthodoxy was pragmatic and not ideological: the need to make a living, to build a sustainable Orthodoxy in the West, to disseminate Torah knowledge to a generation that is exposed to broader society, etc.

          RSRH was different in this regard, as per his writings, education in the various chochmos was part of the mitzvah of knowing God. This was a different emphasis than most who endorsed secular education, even if they happened to include Hirschian concepts in their communications in favor of secular education and exposure.

          • lacosta says:

            i doubt one can prove a classic position to secular knowledge, given that it much of the 1000 year european experience , the jew was locked out of access to much of secular knowledge  by crushing poverty and anti-semitism….

        • mycroft says:

          “It is well known that arguments are associated with their proponents and that weight is accorded in no small measure to a Chiddush teshuvah or psak etc depending on who is associated”

          Which you consider good and I consider bad. Failure to treat a psak by anyone no matter how great on its own terms causes psakim to be accepted by reputation rather than accuracy of the psak. Thus, if a world class posek misquotes a rishon, or uses a non preferable girsa, other Rabbonim who know about sadly will not critique the psak giving too much credence to the name of the posek rather than emes.

          “with it not merely whether it accords with a more often than not preexisting POV”

          to the estent that preexisting view was the belief of previous poskim you  can be sure that I believe that should be given great deference.

      • mycroft says:

        RSRH was certainly different from the modern sociological group called MO because of at least two issues-his glorification of galus and probably the intellectual founder of modern religious anti zionism and his belief in austritt. Remember Chaim Potoks novel where he refers to Yeshiva College as Hirsch College.

  2. Reader says:

    יישר כחך R. Gordimer, and welcome back, even if just for a brief visit. 😉

    I just want to say that many of the things stated above re the blogosphere apply to the non-virtual Jewish press as well. It is not just the blogosphere that is lacking at times.

  3. mycroft says:

    .Both Chareidi and MO are a reaction to the haskalah. Rabbi Gordimer points out that there some who were progenitors of what we call MO who may have been acting pragmatically- thus in modern terms that would be the approach of a Rabbi Moshe Meiselman in describing Rav Soloveitchik, however using the Rav as an example.  Certainly the majority of those who followed the Ravs hashkafa -which does not necessarily equal majority of musmachim teaching in RIETS who attended the Ravs shiur- do not believe it was solely a pragmatic approach. Certainly RAbbi Gordimer is aware better than I about the attempt to depict RSRH as being solely pragmatic not a theoretical ideal.

  4. mycroft says:

    Not that it proves anything but  re early 20 th century modernity a couple of interesting vignettes. I believe all 5 of Rav Moshe Soloveitchiks children-all born in the first two decades of the twentieth century had law degrees.

    Re modernity my father was born in Germany-his aunt was a doctor in Germany and before WW I his mother went to England for finishing school. I don’t know exactly what the curriculum entailed but my grandmother who would recite tehillim better than many who knew much more was sent to get a broader background to England from Germany. Both of her children lived and died frum. So how much of what we call MO is really different is an open question. Even a lot of the so called uniqueness of modern MO may be different than Lita but the debates we have here are certainly ones that existed in Western Europe 100-200 years ago.

    • Curious Yid says:

      I know Rav Aharon did…but the Rav had a law degree? Reb Shmuel had a law degree? When/from where? Unless this was a typo…

      • mycroft says:

        Thanks for catching my senior moment-R A Soloveichik received a law degree. RYBS was a PHd in Philosophy, Samuel Soloveitchik was a Phd in Chemistry and taught Chemistry in YU and did research for the WWII war effort in Washington.

        SHulam ith Meiselman as a teenager was I believe the only woman on the executive board of Yardenia a national Polish Youth organization.Anne Soloveitchik Gerber was a Professor of Social work at Simmons.

        • mycroft says:

          BTW – my recent mistake/typo illustrates the accuracy of blogs mistakes don’t remain unchallenged for long and thus info tends to be very accurate when discussion takes place.

  5. joel rich says:

    Numerous issues that become of central interest online are of little or no importance to much of the hamon am

    ============================

    Yes, but many are crucial issues that hamon am paskin on by their daily lifestyles and maybe they should be thinking about them (for a non partisan example see the recent CC post on lavish weddings) maybe this ties to your leadership point?

    kvct

     

    • dr. bill says:

      kach hi darkho shel torah, at least traditionally as the late Prof. Katz repeatedly demonstrated. behavior is often set by the community with Rabbis providing halakhic guidelines/limits when required.

      • mycroft says:

        Importance of practice by communities was certainly basic to Baalei Tosafot and certainly the Briskers for starters.

  6. mycroft says:

    “Many issues are not as important as the blogosphere makes them out to be. In the real world of Orthodox Jewry, most people are focused on learning Torah, doing mitzvos, working and taking care of their families. ”

    Thus, most people don’t care one way or the other about OO. Most people if they have a good relationship with their Rav and Rebbe will tend to follow them. Thus, a person who has a good relationship with Rabbis Schachter andWillig will follow them and those who have a good relationship with Rabbi Weiss will tend to follow him.

    “Numerous issues that become of central interest online are of little or no importance to much of the hamon am, and these issues do not affect it in any substantial way.”

    Agreed Primum panem, deinde philosophari-first bread then philosophy-im ein kemech ein Torah

     

    “Furthermore, the bulk of the novel and attention-grabbing Torah notions floated in the blogosphere don’t make it to the beis medrash or to the discourse of serious talmidei chachamim – and, when they do on occasion make it to the shaarei ha-Torah and are given consideration, they are quite often dismissed by the Torah masters as unfounded or as of amateur quality”

    A disagreement-in a blog that permits pretty much open comments if there is a problem with a statement contrary comments show up almost immediately. A disagreement-a Torah master who dismisses an argument because the other party doesn’t know what he believes he knows is making a big mistake-if am haaratzut it can be shown very quickly to be so.

    • dave says:

      You are probably correct that most people don’t care about OO. But those like me who attend “centrist” or “modern” Orthodox shuls should start to care more. Even if we have good relationships with our Rabbanim, many congregants don’t, or don’t think that the Rav’s job is to tell one how to lead their life.

      This is leading to a situation where tznius issues are slowly being ground down, quarter inch by quarter inch. Where women are clamoring for more inclusiveness in the ritual services and pushing their Rabbinic leadership with relentless squeaky wheeling until a dash of oil is applied, after which they take it up again. Rinse, repeat. Where Torah learning is being replaced with lectures on Jewish culture. Where shuls are becoming social and cultural centers with davening available instead of the other way around.

      OO is not just a movement fomented by over-intellectualized newby’s who wish to give a novel and unwelcome version of practicing Judaism. It is also the new lair of those who are unenthused by Torah Judaism and gleeful to remain ignorant of it, lest they chas v’sholom have to take something to heart and make an honest change in the way they live their lives.

      So if you meant for Rabbi Gordimer to back away from his valiant fight to expose OO for what it truly is, I vigorously disagree. When Rabbi G has had enough of Hawaiian shirts and cool drinks with umbrellas in them, I am hoping that he continues to speak the truth and take the battle for Toras Hashem.

      • lacosta says:

        those whose level of judaism  or the ratio of judaism to culture is different than you will feel differently than you and come to different conclusions. they likely will not hold from the neo-daastorah ideologies and don’t look to the rav to tell them what to do….

        • dave says:

          Exactly – and they are the ones most likely to carry on about all the “changes” that need to be made to their shuls to make them “more meaningful to them”. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who liked things as they were and are less likely to squawk about it. And then one day they wake and realize that their shul isn’t their shul anymore. That’s not a “neo-daastorah” issue. It’s an “I don’t recognize my own shul anymore” issue.

          • lacosta says:

            what i meant is that daas tora is commonly applied to social/hashkafic /5th section of shulchan aruch.  this segment of O is not maskim to rabbinic authority in those areas….

  7. Weaver says:

    “Modern Orthodoxy was originally and has been a somewhat more pragmatic and exposed approach within tradition, rather than a distinct ideology.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “pragmatic”. Modern Orthodoxy quite clearly stresses the value of secular knowledge, as is obvious from writings of RYBS and Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, to say nothing of the concept of Torah UMaddah as propounded by Rabbi Norman Lamm (agree with it or not). It was not just for outreach purposes!

    Unless you mean that they were willing to say publicly what the Yeshiva world was only willing to admit in private (“exposed approach within tradition”)?

     

     

    • Avrohom Gordimer says:

      I mean that it was not a new theology, but a practical solution. Please see my reply to Mycroft for a bit of elaboration.

      • mycroft says:

        Rabbi Gordimer

        I am not sure I understand your reply. I suspect there maybe a problem of different people using same terms to mean different things.

        A practical solution certainly applies to the ideology of most of current RY of RIETS and certainly the vast majority of those attending secular colleges from the Yeshiva world. The solution of torah uparnassah has been widely accepted however that is not the same asTuM and to many outside of Bennett Ave to TIDE. I am not a descendant of SRH but do have close relatives who are and thus am somewhat aware of the machlokes.

        What many of us aging bloggers are writing about is the hashkafa that in many peoples opinion was that of RAL and RYBS that secular studies has a positive aspect to it even wo any Torah uparnassah implications. Certainly before RAL made aliyah I suspect a large proportion of YU talmidim would ave said something like that. Obviously, IMO that secular studies and certainly MO that RAL and RYBS would never have stated the value of secular studies is equal to the study of Torah narrowly construed. I mean Torah not including an expansive view of all knowledge is Torah. I mean Torah,Halacha ,Shas, Poskim, Tanack and perushim, hashkafa .

        Thus, not sure how much I disagree with Rabbi Gordimer but if a practical solution is Torah uparnassah wo the ideal of knowledge being positive wo practical implications I disagree.

        • Avrohom Gordimer says:

          Mycroft,

          I don’t mean Torah U’Parnassah either. We agree on that. What I do mean is that it is meaningful to believe that secular studies are of import for being, in modern society, a maximally impactful and insightful Orthodox Jew and for Torah to flourish, without creating a new theology out of it.

          In other words, by example, RYBS’ attitude toward secular studies was positive, but he did not view those who engaged in secular education as representing a new denomination or as having broken off to start a new Torah path. The pursuit of secular education is merely one facet of one’s life and one’s Yiddishkeit, and does not define it or create a new brand of Orthodoxy. Secular education and exposure is not the defining mark of one’s Judaism – it is a mere facet, decided upon for a variety of reasons. That’s all I meant.

          • mycroft says:

            I essentially agree-if quibbling would quibble with last sentences language “mere facet”

          • dr. bill says:

            Rabbi Gordimer, i agree with mycroft.  to the Rav ztl becoming an Adam I was (much) more than just a facet of life.  A person can become a fulfilled Adam I without much secular education; however, most cannot.

          • Natan Thaler says:

            In my experience in the Chareidi world I find that while people will do what they can to influence someone to stay in learning, once the decision has been made to get a secular education -in a kosher environment- people are very supportive. You have to actually make the transition to see the people with the long beards showing interest in your college studies and asking how they are progressing. And Chareidim are very proud of those who have achieved success in STEM and medicine, especially if they’re frum and more especially if they wear the black hat.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Mycroft wrote in part:

          “secular studies has a positive aspect to it even wo any Torah uparnassah implications.”

          All secular studies-I think that one can need not subject his or her neshama to the excesses of what has been called art ( depictions of Oso HaIsh, people in various states of undress, or worse, and certainly not what passes for “modern art”) and such paragons of culture as Wagner and others whose music accompanied Acheinu Bnei Yisrael to their walks to the gas chamber, or even much of classical English literature, which Anthony Julius in “Trials of the Diaspora” demonstrated was redolent with anti Semitic bias and prejudice from the days of Chaucer.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          I think that one can argue that TIDE prospered in Frankfurt but never was viewed as  a hashkafa in its own right in the US to serve as a counter to either MO or the Charedi world. That may because R Schwalb ZL a wonderful rav, and author of many fine works published by ArtScroll, was far more a product of the pre war Litvishe world than Frankfurt and wrote an essay called Elu v Elu in which he assured the yeshiva world that TIDE was not and should never be confused with TuM. It is no secret that what  the Breuer’s community today has many college educated members with children and grandchildren learning in BMG and elsewhere.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Mycroft wrote in part:

          “A practical solution certainly applies to the ideology of most of current RY of RIETS and certainly the vast majority of those attending secular colleges from the Yeshiva world.”

          The reality is that one cannot assume that what passes for a secular college education today is anything other than an indoctrination in LW values , in and out of the classroom. That is a world that is very different from the pre late 1960s college classroom and social atmosphere. ( In fact, RYBS in one of his teshuvah drashos published in Al HaTeshuvah recalled how he told one prominent Baal HaBayis not to send his daughter to a prominent college, and his advice was ignored with the assurance that there was no problem, and the next RYBS heard, the young woman in question was engaged or going out with a Gentile.)  Aside from the substantial risks to one’s neshama in such an environment, there is much evidence that many faculty members are the tenured radicals of the 1960s, who having failed to change the world, now attempt to impose their POV on the next generation of students. One would could make a strong case that such an environment should be avoided because the academic and social risks to one’s beliefs, even after a year or two in Israel, is simply too overpowering and strong, even on those campuses with a strong component of Orthodox students.

  8. leah yordis says:

    I think all frum people know that what concerns us most as Orthodox Jews is just being able to care for our families (marry off our children, care for elderly parents, pay tuition for our children, keep our kids on the straight path)…

     

    • lacosta says:

      and the topics you mentioned lead to millions of blog pages–why is tuition so high, school competition , discrimination in getting accepted etc   and don’t even start on the shidduchim scene….

    • tzippi says:

      Define “straight path.” Is it living as a healthy human being (i.e. self-respect, respect of others, responsibility) or other dimensions such as Torah living? And if you are including the latter, as I suspect, let’s  not define that as, living exactly as I do, which is exactly as my parent lived. What are the acceptable parameters? What are the underlying beliefs and principles that would make you feel successful?

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested in Talmud Torah Lishmah as opposed to what is published by academics, the following is a short list of authors and sefarim that the reader might consider worthwhile:

    1) The Dirshu MB-Mnukad with comments from the CI to the present of the Charedi world

    2) ShuT Minchas Asher ( fascinating discussion of many contemporaneous halachic issues) and any of the Minchas Asher seforim, authored by R Asher Weiss

    3) R Yonasan Sacks-all of his sefarim including Vhagisah Bayim VaLaylah-a three volume exploration of the nature of and the importance of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah in the life of the Jew from a halachic and hashkafic POV, and diagrams on such halachos as Eruvin, Arbah Minim

    4) Mikraei Kodesh -new edition of this series by R TP Frank ZL, with two of three volumes on Shabbos as well

    5) Harei Kedem ( R Shurkin based on RYBS) on Masecta Shabbos-the best of the three series

    6) Az Yashir-an exploration of the Halachos and Minhagim of the Yamim Noraim and Sukkos by R Moishe Schwerd, a wonderful Magid Shiur in my neighborhood based on Chazal Rishonim, Acharonim, Baalei Chasidus and Baalei Musar

    7) Kuntres Etzos -R Chanoch Karlenstein ZL- very unique exploration of themes of Yamim Noraim , Shalosh Regalim Chanukah and Purim based on Chazal, Rishonim Baalei Machshavah, Chasidus and Musar

    8) R Y T Rimon’s sefarim on Shemittah and Pesach

    • mycroft says:

      For an interesting discussion about being discouraged from studying Talmud for a career by a leading Judaic scholar who was a talmid chacham see https://tikvahfund.org/library/christine-hayes-and-yehoshua-pfeffer-what-is-rabbinic-literature/

      Christine Hayes discusses her taking Prof I Twersky’s ZT”L s undergrad course at Harvard and impact on her. Fascinating and one hearing Christine Hayes could make the argument that certainly Rav Twersky might have had viewpoints in some areas similar to those expressed by Steve Brizel.

      • dr. bill says:

        two items christine hayes touched on in that dialogue deserve in depth treatment.  you need much more than that one 2 hour session to fully appreciate her observations.

        one relates to how prof. twersky ztl turned the normal narrative on its head when he taught history from both an academically rigorous and a jewish perspective.  this is a lesson that hayes learned magnificently as she views philosophical and legal trends not just from a christian, greek, or roman perspective but a rabbinic one as well.  most talmudists do not even realize that the tannaim and amoraim were active participants in that dialogue.

        the second point relates specifically to the state of academic study of talmud in the US.  prof. twersky suggested that if one really wanted to pursue talmud in the mid 80’s one had to go study in israel.  in the US, academic study of talmud had only 3-4 competent practitioners who might meet harvard qualifications.  unable to hire anyone of that caliber, harvard did not teach talmud.  hayes followed the advice given, spending a few years in israel before returning to study with one of the few academics of whom prof. twersky would approve.

        today the situation in the US has improved by a factor of 2 or 3.  but IMHO there is still less than a minyan (counting women) of first rate academics whose expertise is talmud.  for a variety of reasons the situation is quite different in israel.

        • mycroft says:

          A few years ago I saw the series that Christine Hayes had on Open Yale. There are quite a few other lectures of her available on You Tube.

          I have thought of part of the success of Prof Twersky is that he entered a field that frum people would be very reluctant to enter. Of course, my guess has always been that Prof Twersky specialized in medieval periods see eg his thesis on the Raavad and his books on the Rambam because one does not get into basic conflicts of emunah and academics that study of Tanach and to some extent Talmud would entail . An interesting vignette there were occasionally others who were frum had been students in other departments of Harvard before Twersky. To my knowledge they kept away from Prof Wolfsons department. Prof Wolfsons would be furious at those considering them to be the worst type of anti Semites.

          Prof Twersky himself spent a year at Hebrew U just after the establishment of the State of Israel. He had a great secular knowledge of Judaica before marrying his wife. It is only after that he systematically studied the more traditional way and became very close to his father-in-law.

          Prof Twersky always was loyal to his background – loyal alumnus of Boston Hebrew College, edited and wrote tributes to Prof Wolfson even when he in later life became a Talner Rebbe.

          Certainly Prf Kaplan could correct my impressions about Prf Twersky.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          The Gemara has many instances of “discussions” between the Tanaim, especially R Akiva and Rabbeinu Hakadosh and Romans such Turnus Rufus HaRasha and Marcus Aurelius as well as a strong, obviously proper, and decidedly negative reaction to both  the hedonistic Greco Roman culture, as well the antinomian culture of early Christianity which viewed itself as supercessionist in nature and viewed the monastic life as optimal. Any Bar  Be Ra De Chad Yoma is well aware of these passages in the Talmud.

    • dr. bill says:

      you remind me of a recent halakha sefer whose major approach i agree with in general.  he wrote that he will only quote poskim of the last 200 years, a rule he follows on over 350 pages with two major exceptions.  on one he interprets a gemara consistent with one of your list of seforim above.  i called him to discuss some details and mentioned that it is a good idea that he did not quote many talmudic sources because on one quoted while many achronim might interpret the sugya that way, no rishon does.  i told him i would give 1K to BMG if he could find ONE rishon who writes or implies the interpretation he gives and if he cannot he would send 1K to Riets.

      there are much better seforim if one goes back just a little further in history.  while i have read a small number of the seforim on your list, your dismissive attitude towards academics and personal choice of seforim excludes the vast majority of what I read.

       

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Feel free to learn what you want-just don’t claim as you do that sefarim that are written with the goal and purpose of Torah Lishmah are inferior to anything and written by an academic-whose works must always be subject to a two fold litmus test:

        1) does the author subscribe to what we recite in Malchiyos Zicronos and Shofaros . and when he or she recites a Birkas HaMitzvah and

        2) is the author a Shomer Torah UMitzvos

        If the author fails both litmus tests, I would have no hesitation in reading their works in a Beis HaKise-because such works are not a Cheftza Shel Torah that would even mandate or raise an issue of reciting Birkas HaTorah prior to reading the same.

        • dr. bill says:

          geonim and rishonim used the work and scholarship of karaites and arabs in their pursuit of truth in halakhic matters.  you can read what you wish in the bathroom, but if you think that all seforim written by who you consider frum are superior to all academic work written by those who fail one or both of your criteria, you have a different and might i say severely distorted value system.

           

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Geonim and Rishonim carefully used such works-Academic scholars who aren’t Maamminim in the Mesorah of TSBP do not deserve such credibility and reliability. Any book , regardless of the language, that is written by someone who neither subscribes to what we recite in Malchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros and who does not subscribe to Asher Kidshanu BMitzvosav when he recites a Birkas HaMitzvah cannot and should not be considered a Cheftzah Shel Torah and is inferior to any sefer written by a Talmid Chacham for that reason alone.

    • mycroft says:

      I probably have more sympathy for SRHs hashkafa than most. I wrote his hashkafa not the revisionist philosophy from the center of theological revisionism Bennett Ave. it is not clear that SRHs love of Germany is much different than those who refer to US as medina shel chesed. He was anti Zionist. Certainly, the widespread Orthodx acceptance of a messianic Zionism was not the Ravs or that of the vast majority before 1967.

  10. Steve brizel says:

    We all know who wrote the Nineteen Letters. The authorship of the Zohar has very little relationship with respect to the impact of the Zohar on machshavah halacha and minhag

    • mycroft says:

      I am not discussing the impact of the Zohar or the Nineteen Letters. I simply showed those as examples of works whose authors tried to keep their authorship secret.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The authorship of the Zohar has only been a matter of contention for those who deny its authorship by R Shimon Bar Yachai.

    • mycroft says:

      Ste ve

      Re  Your differing options on history I differ but not crucial. Re SRH it is plain revisionism to pretend he was not anti-Zionist. I am aware he died 9 years before the first Zionist Congress but BILU was already in existence.

      SRH who for many purposes was a classic MO but not in his separation belief and certainly not in his anti-Zionism. BTW it is my contention that Zionism is not a requirement to be MO and certainly does not automatically make one MO. See eg chardal is not MO.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Viewing RSRH devoid of the prevailing cultural milieu in pre Dreyfus Germany is revisionism writ large to mask a lack of comfort with the agenda and writings of RSRH

        • mycroft says:

          We must be approaching Messianic times-Steve quoted a person who went to Harvard and was a professor there for decades-George Santayana. There are very few which have comfort with the complete package to f SRH. Some like his austritt,  others like his extremely positive viewpoint of Germany,_mostwas no different than those who worship the US as a medina shel chesed. Others like SRHs positive aspect  of secular studies

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Compare Santayana with Ramban’s well known comment of Maaseh Avos Siman LaBanim.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            You obviously use RSRH’s views on Zionism to mask your lack of comfort with RSRH’s “complete package.”   That’s what happens when you ignore the historical reality of Germany in the latter 19th Century, when compared to the cultural and political setting of Eastern Europe which was the cradle of the Zionist movement.

  11. Steve brizel says:

    RSRH was pre Hertzl and viewed any such movement as quixotic.One can argue as to whether Austritt was right but both RYBS and R Dessler viewed TIDE as not producing Talmidei Chacamim

    • mycroft says:

      RSRH was not pre R Zvi Hirsch Kalischer. RYBS also expressed ideas that the   Lita Yeshiva model may have been appropriate for Lita and he didn’t answer it one way  or the other but certainly was not appropriate for America.

      Is your goal producing gdolei hador or frum Jews when there is a conflict between the goals.

      • Steve brizel says:

        my point was Talmidei Chachamim not Gdolim or educated laymenYour comment was not responsive to my point

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Yet- RYBS wrote contributions to BMG and urged his talmidim to do so because of the importance of BMG as a Makom Torah.

        • dr. bill says:

          any similarity between BMG in the fifties and today is in name only.  It has transformed from an attempt to recreate a lithuanian yeshivah/kollel  into a finishing school for a significant number of yunger leit where some very capable students are (also) found.

        • mycroft says:

          That the Rav encouraged contributions to BMG as a Makom Torah is not news. There is no dispute when RAK was there as a small place it was a makom Torah and back then he was generous to those who disagreed with him. Query would he have pushed it if he was aware how BMG over the decades would be in the forefront of attacking him and refuse to do basic protocol in passing of a gadol when the Rav was niftar.

          • Steve brizel says:

            The letter and check were written in the early 1980s. The fact that BMG and all yeshivos including RIETS function to quote R Hunter ZL as a taivah and a mishkan illustrates their changed role and importance

          • mycroft says:

            There is no secret that by the early 80s the Rav was already different than he was years before. It was the time when so called loyal helpers of the Rav started collecting material to distort the Rav.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            RYBS was renowned for neither bearing a grudge nor exacting revenge against those who differed with his POV. Why should anyone who claims to be a talmid of RYBS or a talmid of any of RYBS’s talmidim muvhakim should act in a contrary manner?

          • Lawrence M. Reisman says:

            If RYBS wrote a check to BMG in the 1980s, then he knew exactly ” how BMG over the decades would be in the forefront of attacking him.”  At RAK’s levaya in 1962, the Lakewood talmidim refused to let RYBS enter the building where the funeral was being held because seating was limited to “Bnai Torah.”

    • Steve brizel says:

      RSRH lived and died well before the Dreyfus affair and the rise of anti Semitism as a mass political ideology in s country that was very friendly to its Jewish population

      • mycroft says:

        RSRH lived beyond the beginnings of major pogroms in Russia starting in 1881. One had Jewish Prime Ministers later. SRH was a big German nationalist-similar to American nationalists found. He also gave a famous sermon honoring Shiller.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          So what? Conditions in Western Europe especially Germany and France never approached the situation that led to pogroms in Russia until after Dreyfus and the rise of politically based anti Semitism in Germany ( where intermarriage and assimilation were rampant and Jews served proudly with honor for the Kaiser in WW1)  and France,  after Dreyfus and WWI,and who had long intellectual, cultural and academic freedom that cannot be compared with the Jews of Eastern Europe . Most German Jews were nationalist and proud Germans and could not have dreamed that Hitler Ymach shmo VZicro would rise to power and implement the Holocaust. I think that your view of RSRH is retrospective and biased from a POV that accords no validity to non-Zionist means of Jewish identity and critiques of Zionism as solving the Jewish problem, which it most assuredly has not done so,  and fails to understand the social and political realities of Germany in the 19th Century.Political Zionism as a movement developed long after the early proto Zionist writings of R T H Kalischer ZL.

          • mycroft says:

            RHS is a much bigger Zionist nationalist than the Rav. The Ravs Zionism is totally non messianic.

            Whether or not you are correct about lack of anti-semitism is irrelevant. SRH was a believer in the galus. others Yehuda Halevi, Ramban were much greater believers in Israel.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft wrote:

            “Whether or not you are correct about lack of anti-semitism is irrelevant. SRH was a believer in the galus. others Yehuda Halevi, Ramban were much greater believers in Israel.”

            I don’t think that your comparison is accurate.  To use your terms-nuance and context, as opposed to ideological persuasion , should govern the analysis and is hardly irrelevant. Ramban fled Spain after prevailing in a debate with a Galach ( but could not stay as a result) and wrote his commentary on Chumash in EY ( which shows  a first hand knowledge of EY). Ramban also wrote a famous letter describing the level of destruction in Yerushalayim as increasing as one approached the Kosel.

            R Yehudah HaLevi was a great Ohev EY R Yehudah HaLevi’s unique contributions were the Kuzari and its championing of Am Yisrael as the Am Hanivchar and writing Piyut that expressed a great love for EY.

            Ignoring the differences between what motivated Ramban and R Yehudah HaLevi to move to EY and   Western Europe pre Dreyfus and Eastern Europe with a czar bent on either having the Jewish community assimilated or immigrating to the US is an obvious attempt at a revisionist view of history dictated by Zionism that one would apply the same harshly revisionist view of history to much of German and Eastern European Jewry that considered Communism a far more palpable threat to its existence than the rise of Nazism. (Sitting in judgment on RSRH or any of his contemporaries solely based on their degree of affinity or hostility to secular   Zionism and/or Gdolei Zmanenu adds nothing to whether such a person was a Gadol BaTorah ).

            It should also be noted that since you mentioned R TZ Hirsch Kalischer, ZL that none other than the CS and REA debated the feasibility of offering a Karban Pesach Bazman HaZeh-but I don’t recall presently who supported it but viewed it as impractical or who opposed the proposal. IIRC, R Bleich discussed the issue in one of his books.

            Yes-RSRH was a patriotic German, but his commentary on Chumash and Choreb contain much on Karbanos and Mitzvos HaTeleyos BaAretz. Mentioning the different views of RYBS and RHS on Zionism hardly adds anything  to the discussion.

  12. dr. bill says:

    there is a legitimate difference of opinion between the views of proponents of TIDE, TuM – perhaps the approach with the greatest variety of definitions, wissenschaft ala REH, RDTH and RYYW ztl.  What major formulators thought about the approach for the community versus individuals, or the other approaches is to some (limited ) sense debatable.  most opinions expressed on this issue represent that range of views.  what is not legitimate is (re) casting the views of others to match your own or to be easier to oppose.  Two famous incidents of this are how some recast both Rav hirsch ztl and Rabbi Dr. Lamm. Views on the Rav ztl have gone beyond that to the very laughable.

    clearly a recorded dispute of views on this topics goes back at least to the period of rishonim.  it would be useful to read some of those writings for deeper insight.

    • mycroft says:

      I am not aware of how RNL views have been recast. Probably, I left Yeshiva while Dr Belkin was Pres and really have not had much to do with the place since.

      The way both the Rav and RSRH s views have been recast is I MO worse than laughable- it is an attack on mesorah. Our mesorah depends on integrity and reporting what people believed accurately. To the extent that does not happen currently raises the question if current “Baalei mesorah” are not accurately transmitting what we know accurately on what basis do we trust the mesorah of old times. I did not make up this argument I first heard that question concerning SRH  in the early 60s-sadly the question applies just as strongly for the Rav. BTW I really don’t understand concept of person X or Y being a Baal mesorah. What does it mean the person agrees with my viewpoint.

      i don’t know enough about Rav Kook but certainly al regel achat one can make the claim that Rav Kooks message was distorted by a close family member who only popularized part of RavKooks message.

    • Steve brizel says:

      You always fall back on a letter from RYBS to a local C house of worship where RYBS sent personal wishes but declined an invitation to attend because the same would lend legitimacy to mixed seating was a major issue in 1954 when the letter was written. The articles and letters written by RYBS and produced in R Helfgots book at pages 133-154 donot support any basis for the claim that RYBS respected CJ as a legitimate religious movement but rather a deviationist movement that RYBS fought even and especially on such issues as a joint edition of Tanach to be published by JPS and separate seating.those who claim that there is revionism in the depiction of the legacy of RYBS should remind themselves of the adage that those who live in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones at others

      • mycroft says:

        Of course it was a local house of worship. The Rav lived in Boston, he would naturally be most likely to be friendly with Conservative Rabbis from there than from the Rockies, Catskills, etc. The Rav was clearly opposed to mixed seating, he certainly rejected much of R andC  ideology. BUT he did NOT start from the assumption that they were reshayim, rather that they were mistaken. They were still part of Am Israel, even assuming arguendo that they rejected BriT Sinai they could easily have kept BritAvot more than some groups that don’t have a feeling of common fate with most of Klal Israel.

         

        • Steve Brizel says:

          That’s solely because of RYBS’s views re Klapei Chutz and Klapei Pnim. I again invite you to read Pages 133-154 of R Helfgot’s book before asserting a POV other than as follows:

          “The articles and letters written by RYBS and produced in R Helfgots book at pages 133-154 donot support any basis for the claim that RYBS respected CJ as a legitimate religious movement but rather a deviationist movement that RYBS fought even and especially on such issues as a joint edition of Tanach to be published by JPS and separate seating.”

          The issue remains that of legitimacy not cordial personal relations which you continually claim is the key-The fact remains that RYBS refused consistently , albeit cordially, to grant spiritual legitimacy to the deviationist movements.

           

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Mycroft wrote in part:

          “even assuming arguendo that they rejected BriT Sinai they could easily have kept BritAvot more than some groups that don’t have a feeling of common fate with most of Klal Israel.”

          First of all, the deviationsist movements obviously rejected Bris Sinai. Therefore, there is no need for “assuming arguendo” that such a rejection is not a documented matter of fact. Your assumption that “some groups .. don’t have a feeling of common fate with most of Klal Yisrael” would be correct only if one distinguished between a common fate and common destiny-which RYBS emphasized in Kol Dodi Dofek and in which the latter was indeed rooted in Bris Sinai-which as R cahim Volozhin emphasizes either in Ruach Chaim or Nefesh HaChaim,,  spells out how, and when a Jew acts, and even states that which might have been heroic during the period of Bris Avos no longer can be seen in that manner

  13. Steve brizel says:

    Why read books about Torah when there is so much Torah to learn study and master?

    • dr. bill says:

      ANSWER:  to better understand the book’s intent as opposed to imposing your viewpoint on what the author wrote.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

        “Failure to treat a psak by anyone no matter how great on its own terms causes psakim to be accepted by reputation rather than accuracy of the psak”

        Again that was not my point-not all musmachim of any yeshiva are entitled to express their views on Psak and just because one Rishon or Acharon offers a view that is well beyond the consensus of Rov Rishonim or Rov Acharonim renders a Daas Yachid into anything more than a Daas Yachid except and especially when a Posek considers whether the Psak is a matter of a hidur, chumra, lchatchilah bdieved shas hadchak-the  mere existence of  and/or the reiteration of  such a Daas Yachid in the absence of any such consideration or it being viewed consistently as such does not magically render it as a view that must always be considered by a Posek or necessarily viewed as more than  a Daas Yachid.

        • mycroft says:

          Everybody has a requirement to do the correct thing. BTW no one follows a mechanical test of Rov Rishonim-we-Rabbonim-pick what they think is the correct psak. Even the mechaber who stated he followed a 2 out of 3 rule didn’t always follow that. Obviously, there are issues which the vast majority of Rabbonim won’t handle eg gittin-but that is a self selecting test. A person might be an expert in most of Torah and know less than some others in other areas. NO ONE is a Baki in kol hatorah-some have different canons than others, some Lita, others Ashkenazic, there is no one familiar with all gitsot, all Rabbinic literature from the world. The velt does not equal only the lita Yeshiva world.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

            “Everybody has a requirement to do the correct thing. BTW no one follows a mechanical test of Rov Rishonim-we-Rabbonim-pick what they think is the correct psak….A person might be an expert in most of Torah and know less than some others in other areas. NO ONE is a Baki in kol hatorah….The velt does not equal only the lita Yeshiva world.”

             

            1) The Torah itself tells us that we follow rov. The notion that Rov Rishonim is just a mechanical test is prima facie wrong

            2) Learning Aliva DHilasa requires a very high degree of ability and Siyata Dshamaya-The key is not whether the Mchaber followed his 2 of 3 rule, but rather understanding, comprehending and applying what the Mchaber, Rema and all the Nosei Keilim as well as the Poskei Zmanenu say-not what some historian who explains culture realia from the days of the Tanaim and Amoraim

            3)Everyone knows that there are different traditions in Psak-Litvishe, Galitzianah, Hungarish, German and Sfardi ( which has its own subdivisions for the many different communities therein). Gdolei HaPoskim certainly are familiar with the same but also have traditions that they received as part of their years of learning as to who and what are the Rov Rishonim and Poskim . You don’t need a computer program or the equivalent to know that-just a lot of learning and Shimush Etzel Gavrah Rabbah in what constitutes that tradition. The art of Psak is by no means defined as picking a relatively unknown shita either in Rishonim and Acharonim , standing on your head, overreading a Gemara and somehow concluding that a Daas Yachid is to be followed when Rov Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim from any tradition viewed the Daas Yachid as such or less.  R Zevin ZL in Ishim v Shittos wrote about the CI that the CI was renowned as a Posek precisely because of his awesome knowledge in “Z Ma N NaKaT-Zmanim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikin Kodshim and Taharos. Great Gdolim are viewed as such because of their amazing level of Torah knowledge which is far greater than any of us who write here. Disparaging the same as not being a Baki BKol HaTorah Kulah is another way Zilzul Horim UMorim and being Mashveh Katan LGadol.

             

          • dr. bill says:

            your understanding of the halakhic process differs from that of many masters of halakha.  see for example RAL ztl shloshim hesped for the Rav ztl.  despite your antipathy to academic methods, the very few poskim who were serious academic scholars as well, openly used their entire base of knowledge.  no one i know of in the academic world, paskens only based on realia or the many other types of incremental insight academic study particularly of talmud and rishonm provides.  the fear the CI expressed has never actualized despite 70 years of intense academic study of halakhic topics.  i am still waiting for anyone to replace bluster with an example of a posek using strictly academic methods to impact psak.  and please don’t waste my time blaming academics for changes in shaveh le’chol nefesh, kavod ha’briot, women in society, etc.  which have all been employed in classic psak.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft wrote in part:

            “Everybody has a requirement to do the correct thing.”

            Actually-everyone has a requirement to do the right thing that is appropriate for their madregah, which is balanced with whether the particular inquiry involves a question of a hiddur, chumra, being yotezei lchol hadeos, meikar hadin, lchatchilah, bdieved, shas hadchak, and who is asking the question at issue.

             

    • mycroft says:

      Why go to shiurim to learn about peoples interpretations ofTorah when one can study Torah directly.

      I agree also with Dr Bills response.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        One cannot learn Torah “”directly” without having a rebbe who can connect you back to prior generations.  Who and where is there any right for any of us to open any sefer and start to offer Chiddushim without having a rebbe who can teach us what is between the lines?

        • mycroft says:

          There are opinions that bizman hazeh our Rebbe is really the sefarim we have. If a book is written well it should be self explanatory. Obviously, for historical reasons Shas and some other sefarim are written in a shortened non explanatory version.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            That’s possibly how the  Minchas Chinuch understands how  Rishonim ( Rash and others) debate the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah after Sof Horaah and Chasimas HaTalmud-yet the transmission of TSBP remains in its most pristine form from a rebbe to a talmid. IIRC, the Gemara in Sanhredin around 6a-b discusses whether anyone can learn with a rebbe ( RHS quoted RYBS once as explaining that Gemara as  saying that someone who learned without a rebbe is “gornisht lernen.”) Only a rebbe can help any of us navigate our way through the vast nature of the Yam HaTalmud. to appreciate the topics that Chazal addressed  and the views of the Gdolei HaRishonim. Learning Halacha is important so that in the event of a safek or real shealah you can approach a rav with some knowledge, but Shas remains a locked book without a rebbe and a willingness to break one’s head over Pshat in any sugya and then looking at the views of Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim.

            Actually, if one learns even on a perfunctory Daf Yomi level-many Masectos especially but not just in Seder Moed begin with highly intellectual and very abstract inquiries as to the nature of one halacha covered in the Masecta (i.e. Hotzaah on Shabbos, the building of a Sukkah,  the means of marriage , the kinds of witnesses required for a get, dual claims to ownership of a garment and returning lost objects, partnership,  the number of Avos and Toldos of Nezikin, and proper motivation for Karbanos and Shechita) but only reach what can be described as sugyos describing the beauty of Shabbos, the definition of a get,   the elements of inheritance, how Shechitah is performed and what is a trefah  , when and where Karbanos were brought very later in the relevant masecta . Perhaps this is an educational lesson-the most irrelevant aspects of TSBP must be covered and mastered before one even has a right to appreciate what we all take for granted.

            One cannot even begin to think “about Torah ” and especially what Chazal said in the Talmud unless you have learned how to crawl and then swim in the Talmud on its terms ( to use R Besdin ZL’s ultimate motto-“it and not about it”)  without bringing anything that you might have read or imported thereto from the secular world-when that happens you will never experience the Simcha Shel Mitzvah of Limud HaTorah. That’s why when you see pictures of Gdolei Talmidei Chachamim sitting over a Gemara with an exhausted face-it shows the emotion of a person being Meimus Atzmo LaTorah-someone who allows no distraction whatsoever from trying to learn the Amitah Shel Torah.

             

             

      • mycroft says:

        Steve

        Acharei Rabim – n Sanhedrin we know that bizman hazel how? You wouldn’t agree that if two local Rabbis say X and RHS says Y we do X.. Beis din ha gadol. People who followed RAK in the 50s followed hi despite vast majority of Rabbonim being opposed to him.  You get around that by inventing a new category who is Raui to PPasken.. It is simply a matter of who gets accepted and that changes over time. It is a matter of who different communities in klal Israel accept.We do not have centralized authority. One of the reason why R Chaim Brisker did not join Agudah is his objection absent Sanhedrim to attempt to have centralized authority. To claim requirement to follow X or y absent Sanhedrn is wrong. To refer to Pushkin referring to central authority in lishkas hagazit to current Rabbinate who are not smuchim is wrong.

        • Steve brizel says:

          Irrelevant. Not all musmachim of every yeshivah have the ability and knowledge of how to properly pasken halachic issues .deference to a rebbe who has such abilities is what is recommended by the Mishnah in Avos.

          • mycroft says:

            You are establishing an impossible standard-that one has to determine the knowledge of a musmach. Semicha today means that the giver has determined that the recipient can rule in matters of yore, yoreh-issur vheter or yadin yadin monetary matters. Your test is impossible to live on-most of us have never given a test to ourRabbonim as to their knowledge-we rely on the reshut and the person who gave the reshut. You are making up a standard that has just been probably more recently invented than the modern Daas Torah. Show me anywhere that I don’t have a right to rely on my local Rav for my sheilas.

        • Steve brizel says:

          Who says that rov is a halacha limited solely to the function of a Sanhedrin? There are many halachos and sugyos throughout Shad that revolve around the application of rov

          • mycroft says:

            You are the one trying to limit the authority of most Rabbis. If a Rabbi by fact of being a Rabbi can’t pasken, what is the basis how you determined be who is a bar hachi? I am not aware of an exam that tests from r bar hachi.

        • Steve brizel says:

          This is in response to your comment re an “impossible standard”. You really assume with no factual basis that all musmachim ffrom all yeshivos have the ability to pasken all types of halachic inquiries. That is IMO as mistaken às assuming that all doctors attorneys and other professionals can deal with issues that are beyond their area of practice and specialization.

          • mycroft says:

            A doctor has a right to answer any medical question. I ask my internist many questions sometimes he chooses to have me ask the question to a specialist.

            What specialists are Rabbis Schachter and Willig? What areas do you believe that either are not experts in to answer?

          • Steve brizel says:

            An internist cannot and should not answer a question that is beyond his level of expertise and ability to make a diagnosis

             

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    For those aware of the special attacks on Sefer Vayikra by Bible critics, take a look at the annexed link based on a very contemporaneous reading of one of the Dead Sea scrolls http://www.livescience.com/56196-dead-sea-scroll-virtual-unwrapping.html

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Myroft wrote in part:

    “There is no secret that by the early 80s the Rav was already different than he was years before. It was the time when so called loyal helpers of the Rav started collecting material to distort the Rav.”

    Are you implying that RYBS neither wrote the check nor the letter? Proof please. Show us some earlier proof, as opposed to speculation, to the contrary. I would be quite surprised if other RCA members and RIETS musmachim did not also write checks to BMG at any time between the 1950s and 1980s.

    • dr. bill says:

      the rav ztl was between the ages of RAK ztl and his son RSK ztl.  when the rav paid a shivah call to RSK when he lost a son, any number of witnesses will tell you about RSK’s remarkably respectful  behavior when the Rav arrived.  that was amply repaid by the Rav when RSK was treated in Boston before his death; those encounters in the hospital have generated untold number of stories and urban legends.  but sadly all this was then; now BMG has swung much further right, dancing with satmar felons and admorim.  i would much rather donate to YCT than BMG, neither of which i would support.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Give to whoever you want-just don’t deny or rationalize away the historical evidence because it is uncomfortable with your POV. After all-did RYBS bear a grudge or take revenge and/or urge that his talmidim do so against his critics?

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-actually many like much of RSRH’s writings-the Nineteen Letters, the commentaries on Chumash and Avos, Choreb and the Collected Writings are all worth exploring.

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    “What specialists are Rabbis Schachter and Willig? What areas do you believe that either are not experts in to answer”

    Failing to realize the difference between the expertise of an internist and a specialist in any area of your health strikes me as foolhardy-to say the least. An internist has very little expertise beyond his training and continual medical training in his area of training and practice-if you present with issues that are beyond his scope of expertise, it would border on malpractice if the internist did not refer you to a specialist. Your claim that the average musmach has as much knowledge as someone who lives and breathes Psak Halacha lacks any basis in reality-there are very complicated areas in halacha such as Eruvin, family planning issues and CM where a LOR should realize that he should refer the inquiry to someone with more expertise.

    Ask either RHS or RM Willig a question and they will tell you what they know and what they don’t know in any halachic area  as well as if the issue requires the assistance of additional halachic and/or professional expertise.

    • dr. bill says:

      i have heard that not just rav gedaliah schwartz’s affirmations wrt geirut were rejected, but RMW as well.  should they have used a specialist?:) 🙂

      btw, the analogy is specious.  the greatest poskim were generalists, who rarely deferred  to specialists, except in very esoteric or heavily science/medicine related areas.  even there they made the effort to pasken themselves after consultation.   totally different than my GP, overall neurologists and the 6 specialized neurologists i see.  my general neurologist but never my GP/internist  coordinates, but largely when the experts disagree.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        DR Bill just made my case-Obviously any Posek worthy of the name has a wide breadth in Torah, but knows which issues require the consultation with an expert. The denial that expertise is required in Psak IMO borders  on the ludicrous.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill-please see the annexed link re the CR and R G Schwartz http://www.jta.org/2016/09/26/news-opinion/united-states/israeli-chief-rabbi-endorses-top-us-rabbis-conversions-in-aftermath-of-rejection?utm_content=buffer9f443&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer.  FWIW, R WIllig, who was the author of the RCA PNA,  obtained the haskamos of ROY ZL and Yivadleinu LChaim R Asher Weiss. While many in the Charedi world such as R Sternbuch oppose the RCA PNA , the facts are that the RCA PNA is accepted across the board in the RIETS and MO worlds. RHS has suggested that if a potential SIL refuses to sign a PNA, one should strongly think about not going forward with the shidduch.

    • mycroft says:

      i never stated or implied that the average musmach had as much knowledge in the sources of psak than those who know more sources.There never was a requirement to bring ones Sheila’s to people who may know the most who are not living in your community. It should be remembered that the Rav would at times refuse to pasken for Rabbonim in the field when they asked him for advice. The Rav considered being present where the Sheila was asked to be crucial. A fact finder which to some extent is part of the duties of one who pasken said is crucial. Thus, having ones feet  on the ground is crucial. Thus, it is not all clear one gets a better psak asking a hypothetical human Encyclopedia Talmudit who gives shiur, who has an office that Rabbonim who aren’t as big talmeidei chachamim refer their questions to.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft wrote in part:

        “There never was a requirement to bring ones Sheila’s to people who may know the most who are not living in your community. It should be remembered that the Rav would at times refuse to pasken for Rabbonim in the field when they asked him for advice. The Rav considered being present where the Sheila was asked to be crucial.”

        That’s a nice way of saying that RYBS worked through the ins and outs of the question with whoever asked him a query.

        Mycroft also wrote :

        “Thus, it is not all clear one gets a better psak asking a hypothetical human Encyclopedia Talmudit who gives shiur, who has an office that Rabbonim who aren’t as big talmeidei chachamim refer their questions to”

        I have absolutely no idea who you are referring to in the above quoted passage. However, if you are even remotely referring to RHS, you should ask for mchilah for such a comment when he is next in your home town-and to whom who state that you are moser nefesh to attend his shiurim.

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