Klal Perspectives – The Technology Issue

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5 Responses

  1. Shades of Gray says:

    As always, a thought-provoking issue.

    R. Adlerstein wrote about “countless comments [consisting of people] privately take many liberties, and digitally [sharing] their skepticism with many, many people”. Since the CC blog is “heavily moderated”, doesn’t this take away from this issue?(see “Wiki-Orthodoxy and the Undervaluing of Torah”(2/07) quoting “major figures within the Torah community” regarding comments, ” Gentler, Kinder, Meaner, Leaner Cross-Current”(11/07), and “Comments and Tips” link). I could see this assessment applying elsewhere, but less strongly when you are publishing the same comments upon rabbinic advice 🙂

    [YA – Not sure I understand. CC moderates heavily, so what I wrote applies less to CC than to others. Should I not describe what generally happens on blogs? Besides, even CC allows far more to get by than print media in the frum community – therefore also making its contribution, for better or worse, to the democratization of the Torah community.]

    • Shades of Gray says:

      I didn’t think of the issue on this website in the terms you used in the article(“sharing skepticism”)–just my perception.

  2. dr. bill says:

    Yasher Koach, Rabbi Adlerstein. First, your call for more attention to counter challenges to traditional ikrai ha’emunah, should be actively pursued. Simpler even than ikkarim, there are 20th century findings about the meaning of a few key words used by chazal that have never, to my knowledge, been addressed. While I have my version of how to reconcile certain newly discovered meanings with halakhic practice, I wonder if that approach would be viewed as an acceptable answer or an unacceptable further challenge. Second, I fully agree with your “bottoms-up” observation. I also agree that “bottoms-up” is not an innovation. In fact, those of us convinced by the work of the late Prof. Katz and his many students see the “top-down” approach as an innovation that emerged in the 19th century. I hope your perspective will influence multiple orthodox streams.

    [YA – I’m not sure how to avoid “top-down” in the innumerable references in the gemara that read, “Beis Din X gazru.” Your point about Prof. Katz is well-taken. But keep in mind that within that rich corpus of teshuvos mined by Prof. Katz is huge evidence of a robust sense of rabbinic authority, both on the local level and even on the regional/semi-national. By that last phrase I mean the many places – in different locales, and different centuries – where ideas were brought to the so-designated “gedolei hador” for approval.]

    • dr .bill says:

      Thanks for your response. I agree with your comment about gezairot. But as you pointed out, the community had to be able to withstand the gezairah. In a yartzeit shiur the Rav ztl talked about BD acting on their authority, horaah and Kiddush hachodesh, and BD as a representative of Kenesset Yisroel. IIRC, he used the notion of BD as a representative of Kenesset Yisroel to explain why wrt gezairot, acceptance is a criterion both in initial acceptance and when/how a gezairah can be annulled (broadly accepted or not). I often wondered how aware he was of Prof. Katz’s work. Prof. Katz rarely discussed the Talmudic period for which he lacked a precise contemporaneous record like a teshuvah. He always talked about Rabbis defining/refining halakhic boundaries for “bottoms-up” activity. That is not to deny “top down” as much as to delimit its use; today the lack of limits is creating its own issues.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Fascinating discussion of one of the issues of our generation-yet, even if one uses the positive aspects of technology, it should be abundantly clear that simply downloading shiurim and printing Divrei Torah so frequently that your sheimos pile looks like the Amazon is no substitute for textual literacy in the classical Torah sources.

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