Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 084

Thursday, January 3 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 16:42:48 EST
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Daas Torah

> ) existence of Da'at Torah
> What is the earliest usage of the concept? We all (most) are familiar
> with REED who holds that belief in DT is sine qua non in Judaism...

There's a difference between general Talmudic concepts related to one's
obedience to one's rav on issues of pesak, on the one hand, and the
specific notion of "Daas Torah" as a term of art used by REED, the CI,
and their followers, on the other.

According to some historians, Daas Torah was originally developed by
disciples of R'Yisrael Salanter and the Chofetz Chaim in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries as a theory under which Jews must defer to an
elite of Torah scholars who are totally immersed in Torah and are wholly
removed from all outside influences, Judaic as well as secular. Only
these scholars possessed the monkish "purity" to apply Jewish law to
rapidly changing community situations. Other historians link the specific
use of the term "Daas Torah" to the institution of the Moetzes Gedolei
ha-Torah and the rise of the Agudah as a collective voice of non-Chasidic,
non-"modern" Orthodox Jewry.

Most of the commentators I've read, however, trace Daas Torah directly
to REED and the CI. Specifically, they compare CI to the Vilna Gaon,
more or less as follows: The Vilna Gaon and the CI both derived their
authority solely from their extraordinary intellectual prowess and
personal reputation. Neither held office as a rosh yeshiva or the "head
rabbi" of any geographical or religious subsect. While the Vilna Gaon
spoke only for hiimself, however, the CI recognized that his scholarship,
responsa, opinions, and pronouncements would be treated as focal points
on the divide between observant and non-observant Jews in EY. Instead
of personalizing this power or disclaiming it altogether, the CI
institutionalized it. Obedience to this power became a matter of one's
personal identity with the growing Orthodox political movement in EY,
in America, and elsewhere in galus. What the CI started REED perfected.

IOW, there is a primal link between the theory or philosophy of Daas Torah
and the development of Orthodoxy as a political as opposed to a purely
religious institution. In that sense, adherence to Daas Torah is perhaps
the most reliable indication of whether one sees oneself as a "black-hat"
or a MO Jew. Daas Torah requires -- and uses for political purposes --
a type of religious unity that was unknown outside of Chasidism before
World War II.

Among the arguments made against Daas Torah is that it is inherently
intolerant of the type of wide-ranging Talmudic debate and legalistic
pluralism that was accepted even among the exacting Torah scholars in
pre-war Europe. Within this argument is the notion that Daas Torah
is uncomfortable with the intellectual freedom that comes with true
Ashkenazic Talmudic debate. Instead, Daas Torah places a premium on
solidarity of practice and opinion among Orthodox Jews who otherwise would
be subject (especially in EY) to divide-and-conquer tactics directed by
their political opponents.

I am personally uncomfortable with Daas Torah, and have said so on Avodah.
This is not a matter of DT-bashing as much as it is (i) my sentimental
preference for older, more freestyle attitudes toward the resolution
of issues open to Talmudic debate, and (ii) my deep distrust of the
intersection between religion and state politics, which, I believe,
ultimately pollutes both.

David Finch

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 15:26:35 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: Seli'hot

RCS wrote:
> On 31 Dec 2001 at 19:38, Arie Folger wrote:
> > I often heard about RYBS's insistence on reestablishing seli'hit Only
> > problem is that I pray according to nussa'h Sefard, and have only
> > known davening including seli'hot, or so I think. Does anybody care
> > to elaborate on what seli'hot where were missing and what RYBS urged
> > talmidim to reintroduce?
> Most Ashkenaz Nuschaos for Shachris and Mincha on Yom Kippur
> go straight from Yaaleh v'Yavo to Zchor Rachamecha. At Musaf, after
> the several pages of piyutim at the end of the Avodah, they go
> straight to Zchor Rachamecha. What RYBS re-established was
> saying Slichos before Zchor Rachamecha and after Yaaleh v'Yavo
> and the Avodah.

I just checked both Hama'hzor hamefurash and Artscroll, both nussa'h Sfard, 
and saw no selo'hot between ya'ale veyavo and zekhor ra'hamekha. OTOH, at 
mussaf there are seli'hot, and there are a few (very few) piyutim of seli'hot 
after zekhor ra'hamekha but before sha' kolenu. Is that possibly what you are 
refering to? What seli'hot did RYBS reintroduce - give me some opening words 
so that I can see if they are or are not in the nussa'h sfard ma'hzorim. 

BTW, I dare say that the Ma'hzor hamefurash is complete, because when 
Idavened in Bobov, I could follow pretty much everything, and the Bobov 
minhag is to recite EVERY piyut ever printed in the ma'hzor. They'll even 
catch up on what couldn't be said because of time constraint: they sing the 
ones left out at the tishen until Shemini Atzeret.

Arie Folger

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:08:25 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Halachic Methodology

On Wed, Dec 26, 2001 at 08:58:45PM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: Quick points. I BEH will start an artilce on how varous "isms" influenced
: poskim

I am curious to hear RYGB's take. This would seem to be related to the
subject of his recent shiur at LSS.

: Maharil and REma: Minhag
: Rambam: Philosophy - espeically Aristotle
: Other Sephardim and Gra: Kabbalah 

Note that the latter two are idealistic mixtures -- trying to choose a
pesaq that fits one's hashkafah. The Gra and the Chassidim both played
that game. It was the only way the post-enlightenment frum movements --
from yeshiva to mussar to TIDE could define themselves.

Which is also the problem I have with the minhag based approached. It
distances ma'aseh from leiv by not using aggadita at all -- even when the
(textual) halachic process alone yields ambivalence.

:> We find the same thing earlier in the Gra, where he recommends abandoning
:> various nuscha'os that are not found in Shas. Because to the Gra, Shas
:> has that higher threashold, but rishonim do not.

: Yep that is a Sephardic model that has support from the Rambam, Rif,
: Ri Migash, and BY to name a few.

I'm arguing that it's the textual model. Which was necessary for the
Bavliim who had that geographic break from the tannaim. And therefore
picked up to a greater extent by Sepharadim than by Ashkenazim.

The Bavli is an easier tool for the textualist because it's sevara
based. The Y'mi too is textual -- it records the mesorah as remembered
from rebbe to talmid, not as experienced in the culture. But without
that sevarah orientation, there is little a textualist can do to extend
it to new situations.

But one the Ashkenazi culture rendered its mimetic tradition less
relevent to its current lifestyle, because of the fall of the ghetto,
we find it became the Ashekazic norm as well.

IOW, I'm arguing that textual reconstruction is the best way to deal with
a rupture. The new world-view created by the new environment calls for a
new expression as well -- as long as that expression is justifiable by
the process. (The difference between an O movement, a derech in Tagach
(*) and a non-O movement.) Clinging to the old pesaq is untenable if
one is unable to be moved to deveiqus and temimus with the old aggadic
orientation -- the maaseh does not harmonize as well with the overall
derech one is trying for.

* About Tagach: I would like to popularize a new acronym. We speak
of advancing one's Avodas Hashem. For example, the name of this
forum. However, as we also need to work on bein adam lachaveiro, and I
personally have a /harder/ time remembering that side, I am not sure
I want to stick to an idiom that only includes this implicitely. I
therefore would love to see people refer directly to all three amudei
olam of Shim'on haTzadiq. Their rashei teivos -- Tagach. (Ta`aga`h,
for our CQ. <grin>) Thoughts?


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:17:54 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rambam and elitism

On Wed, Dec 26, 2001 at 05:16:54PM -0800, Eli Turkel wrote:
: <In yet another post: >Ha'me'ayein yivchar... But I continue to maintain
: that the CI/REED/ >Volozhin model is a natural ramification of the
: Rambam/YS philosophy.

: I see RYGB's point. The Rambam says that the entire world was created
: for the Chacham. Others were created to facilitate the Chacham.

In order for this to be true, one still has to show that the chacham is
an elite in a full sense of the word.

Elitism only works if: 1- we assume there is little to no flow between
the classes; 2- we assume the reality is modeled by classes, not by
a continuum. The Rambam explicitly denies the latter.

As I argued in past, the Moreh III pereq 18 clearly states that some
people are more "benei adam" or less, depending upon their knowledge
of HQBH. In that pereq and in 51 sham, the Rambam describes a
spectrum that people are olim veyoredim bo.

In which case, R' Dessler's approach does /not/ directly flow from
the Rambam.

Say everyone must get as much chachmah as they can, and therefore serve
the point of creation directly. The others serve it indirectly, by
helping the chachamim. In such a worldview, yenem's ability to get
from a to b can not be sacrificed for another's to get from x to y
-- no matter how much greater x is than y.

The other difference between R Dessler and the Rambam is that the
former defines chachmah in terms of Torah learning only. Thus their
split on the issue of kollel.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:29:34 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
The Ramchal on Logic and Theology

On Thu, Dec 27, 2001 at 07:47:47PM -0500, ISCHOCHET@aol.com wrote:
:>:                                      ... the meaning of Divine
:>: omnipotence, i.e., that it does not relate to logical absurdities (see
:>: Emunos Vedeos, Moreh, Ikkorim etc.)

:> OTOH, see Derech Hashem. The Ramchal argues that logic itself is a beryah,
:> so how could HQBH be limited by it?

: and of course Ramchal uses logic to prove the relativity of logic.... Rest 
: my case.

Well, since your kushya is on the Ramchal, not myself, I do not know why you
rest it so rapidly. I would have faster assumed a resolution exists that
we may not be zochim to understand.

In this case, efshar lomar mima nafshach.

If you assume that logic can be used to study theology, we conclude that
most logical arguments do not apply. Since the use of logic leads to a
paradox, our assumption must be false.

If we assume that logic can not, then we are also saying logic can't be
applied. And all sits well.

In either case, the same conclusion.

IOW, since the use of logic does not work, we know we ought not use logic.
There is a difference between proving something is true, and proving it's
not an option.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:33:18 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Moshiach

On a totally different note. The 12th ikkar is the only one in which
the Rambam, followed by the paytan who wrote Ani Ma'amin, includes a
question. Why even mention the navi's "im tismahmeiha, chaqei lo"?

Implied is that the fact that the mashiach is taking a while is part
of the ikkar. We need not only believe that he is coming, but struggle
with why he hasn't come yet. That struggle is itself part of the ikkar.

(With thanks to R' Heshy Grossman for pointing this question out.)


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:40:02 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Rabbi Frand on Chessed shel Emes

Transcribed from RYFrand's tape #311 on parashas Vayechi "Funerals in
Halacha", sent out by Project Genesis (torah.org) last week.

With thanks (and BCC) to my local chessed shel emes expert, left unnamed
so as to enhance my own longevity.


Kindness Towards The Dead: The Kindness of Truth

Yaakov asked his son Yosef to "do for me a kindness and a truth. Do
not bury me in Egypt." [Bereshis 47: 29]. Rash"i on this verse cites
a very famous statement of our Sages: "Kindness that is done with the
deceased is called 'a kindness of truth,' because one clearly does not
look for a return of the favor from the deceased." All other acts of
kindness can always be viewed as somewhat tainted by ulterior motives,
but, apparently, this kindness cannot.

Rav Yaakov Neiman asks a question on this Rash"i (in his work Darkei
Mussar) from the Talmud. The Gemara states "The one who eulogizes, will be
eulogized; the one who buries will be buried" [Kesuvos 72a]. This seems
to indicate that one can expect something back when occupying himself
with the dead. This contradicts the above quoted statement of the Sages.

Therefore, Rav Yaakov Neiman offers a new twist on this concept. When our
Sages say that one does not expect payment for his participation with the
dead, it does not mean that payment will not be forthcoming. It means that
the person does not care if he will be paid back or not. When a person
occupies himself with the dead, he gains a different perspective on life.

In other words, a person does not act the same upon returning from a
funeral. Think about it. When a person attends a tragic funeral and
returns home, the person is not the same -- even if only for 15 minutes
or a half an hour or an hour. Attending a funeral causes us to look at
life differently. Often, that which had previously seemed to be very
important, now takes on its true perspective. Honor and recognition
become meaningless.

That is the meaning of the statement of our Sages. Performing kindness
for the dead -- be it doing a 'Taharah' (final preparation of the body
before burial), being a 'Shomer' (watching the body continuously before
burial) or attending a funeral -- puts a person in a totally different
frame of mind than when performing any other type of kindness. Under
such circumstances, a person is not looking for a "return on his
investment". He is not thinking "Will they say such nice eulogies
about me?" Who could think about such a trivial matter? A person
does not look for payment -- because he does not care about payment
anymore. Psychologically, such payment becomes petty and meaningless.

Performing kindness for the dead is called a Kindness of Truth because
it gives a person a true picture of what is important and what is trivial
in life, albeit, perhaps unfortunately, only for a short time.

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Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 17:01:20 EST
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Daas Torah - the Seven proposed points of inquiry

An excellent attempt at demythologizing a aconcept that has been subject
to misundertanding and or deification. Some preliminary comments:

1) there is a an absolute adherence to piskei halacha of poskim. The
Rambam , in at least three separate places in the Peirush HaMishna ,
denies that we are bound to accord aggadic statements with the same level
of loyalty. Other Rishonim maintain that it is prohibited to rely upon the
scientific knowledge of Chazal in the presence of clearly contradictory
evidence, in the areas of biology and physics.

2) Gdolim were and alwys have been recognized by their extraordinary
lomdus and tzidkus .

3) The notion that we all follow all statements of all Gdolim is not
accurate. We follow those statements, psakim and hanhagos of those
Baale hamesorah that have the most impact on each of us. For instance,
those who learned or have been influenced by RYBS follow the psakim of
his Talmidim. Yet, we all looked to RMF and RSZA for psak on critical
issues as well.

4) The notio that Gdolim are infaluable is incorect because we believe
that our Gdolim are tzadikim and talmidei chachamim who have siyata
dshmaya, as opposed to ruach hakodesh or a higher level associated
with Moshe Rabbeinu or the Neviim. The reference to the Belzer Rebbe
is ironic because it is well known that there is another version of his
address to his Chasidim in which he admitted that he just might have been
wrong. Professor Kaplan discusses this speech at length in his essay on
Daas Torah in the book published by Jason Aronson

6) Honest disagreement exists on issues of psak. Our world is no more
polarized than the surrounding world. We would hope that the overarching
need for intellectual honesty would be able to distinguish between such
old issues as Zionism, secular study, Kollel as a luxury or necessity
and issues such as Messianism which either are nonexistent ( R Eliezie)
or a grave threat to Torah ( Dr. Berger ). IMHO,all of the old issues are
somewhat moot. When you think about it, The State has been accepted ,
at least as an entity which helps pay salaries. Secular study, whether
at Touro, YU, Queens or Brooklyn College has been accepted in a de facto
sense. The development of a generation of Jews which demands that it
be as educated in Torah as it is in the secular world has led to the
recognition that men and women should learn without any distractions
in as pristine a state as possible before entering college, careers or
marriage. Therefore, these issues appear to be resolved. WADR, Dr, Berger
has raised a fundamental question of whether one can exude Orthodoxy
in practice without knowing or defying the Second Commandment. This
should be regarded as no small matter by all of us on both sides of this
issue. (Those who have followed Arevim's discussions know my position
and I will not elaborate further herein)

7) I am not sure that Organizations create Gdolim. Who created the Ari
HaKodesh, the Besht and the Gra? Who created R Chaim Volozinher and R
Chaim Brisker? Neither the Agudah nor the OU created gadlus of R Ahron,
R Moshe or RYBS ZTL. As RMF stated so well to the times, when over a
period of time , your opinion and guidance is sought, one becomes viewed
as a Gadol.

Steve Brizel

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 00:12:10 +0200
From: "Avi Burstein" <aviburstein@yahoo.com>
re: existence of Da'at Torah

Arie Folger said:
> Existence of Da'at Torah:
> What is the earliest usage of the concept? We all (most) are familiar
> with REED who holds that belief in DT is sine qua non in Judaism; the
> 14th ikkar. what about earlier periods? Does anyone know about Va'ad
> 'Arba Aratzot? Weinreb in his book on Jews of Poland 1100-1800 makes
> a couple of references to kehillot disagreeing with and disobeying
> their rav. There ought to be teshuvot about such conflicts. How about
> documented stories re not following DT or about DT being right/wrong in
> a particular case.

There is a book entitled 'Rabbinic Authority and Personal Autonomy'
published by The Orthodox Forum (not exactly sure what that is, besides
that it seems to be a YU project, but they have great writers. ISBN:
0-87668-581-5), which contains an entire essay dealing with the subject
of Da'at Torah. My copy is currently lent out so I can't make any quotes
from the essay, but I recall it saying that the literal term of DT is
mentioned in the gemara in contrast to 'Da'at Nota' (Chulin 90b), but
it has only taken on it's current meaning in recent generations. If I
get it back soon (not likely being that it's in Queens and I'm in J'lem)
I'll mention more sources.

When I did a search on my Bar-Ilan Responsa 8 CD for DT, it found only
1 source in gemara, a few Rashi's, one mention in the SA, and around
370 in the various Sha'alot U'Teshovot.

Avi Burstein

[You might also want to search the archives. We've discussed this
before. Look somewhere around v4n45-65 for a discussion of Lawrence
Kaplan's article. As noted then, a CD search doesn't help -- the
idiom is older than its current usage. You're not searching by
meaning. -mi]

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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 17:55:37 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Rambam and REED

In a message dated 1/1/02 11:41:43 AM EST, Arie Folger afolger@ymail.yu.edu
> In hakhi nami. REED states explicitly that the Frankfurt model (RSH's
> TiDE school) produced more fone baalei batim who are shomrei Torah,
> but no gedolim. Seen in this context, when he is willing to sacrifice
> 999 for th e one true gadol, he is even willing to put up with some
> shababnikim going off the derekh.

In the Bio of R. Shraga Feivel he mentions that he would rather produce 
soldiers than generals

There is a great story about the White Russian Generals in Paris after the 
Russian Civil War who were generals w/o armies...

It is argualbe that after the Shoah the need for gdolim was accute. It would 
be a big mistake IMHO to make that a chronic long term Model for Yeshivos

It is also Arguable that Lalewood USED to be davka such an institution for 
the elite, circa 1945-1965 and that it is far more inclusive and less elitist 

Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 18:07:56 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Daas Torah

At 04:42 PM 1/2/02 -0500, DFinchPC@aol.com wrote:
>> ) existence of Da'at Torah

>There's a difference between general Talmudic concepts related to one's
>obedience to one's rav on issues of pesak, on the one hand, and the
>specific notion of "Daas Torah" as a term of art used by REED, the CI,
>and their followers, on the other.

WADR to Arie Folger and my good friend Reb David, I find this thread 
noxious. I do not belive it will lead to any understanding and will just 
have people shouting at each other. Since DT is not defined in a universal 
manner, you can define it so everyone is forced to believe it and you can 
define it in a way that it would be ludicrous to accept it, so the target 
moves too much and is impossible to define.

No ahavas or yiras Hashem will be enhanced by this discussion!

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 00:24:10 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Daas Torah

In a message dated 1/2/02 4:49:29pm EST, DFinchPC@aol.com writes:
> Among the arguments made against Daas Torah is that it is inherently
> intolerant of the type of wide-ranging Talmudic debate and legalistic
> pluralism that was accepted even among the exacting Torah scholars in
> pre-war Europe....

> I am personally uncomfortable with Daas Torah, and have said so on Avodah.
> This is not a matter of DT-bashing as much as it is (i) my sentimental
> preference for older, more freestyle attitudes toward the resolution
> of issues open to Talmudic debate, and (ii) my deep distrust of the
> intersection between religion and state politics, which, I believe,
> ultimately pollutes both.

Is it possible that DT as a way of thinking in uniform fashion about
issues that are not specifically Torah related became prevalent at a
time when mass media, ease of communication, and massive population
shifts upset the communal structure of the Torah observant community
so much that people were willing to forgo the more freewheeling debate
one might have seen as late as the early 20th century for a sense of
security? Jew have suffered persecution at many times in their history,
but the various immigration movements, both to Israel and the US, were
really rather unprecedented in the previous 1500 years. And it would not
have mattered earlier that the CI insisted on this kind of approach,
because it would have taken much longer for anybody to find out what
he was saying! So the rise of DT can be linked to the confluence of
a number of sociological phenomena. And that does not even take into
account the rising political power of various Jewish organizations in
Europe between the wars.

Jordan Hirsch

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 02:31:23 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
gedolim, da'as Torah & etc. - a framework for study

I will not quote R. AF's lengthy fine post in order to save space...

Here are some comments -

I recently listened to an informative address on the topic of
'daas Torah' by Rabbi Dr. David Berger. I found it in the fine
collection of real audio lectures offered at www.judaic.org (go to
http://www.judaic.org/lectures/lectures.htm). I didn't listen to it
all at once, didn't know that I would be writing about it here now in
addition to the fact that I was tired and dozed off a bit during the
listening....so I cannot give over all of it at the moment. However, I
will mention the following points that I recall R. Berger shlit"a making,
and anyone who is interested can listen to it themselves (perhaps someone
will want to transcribe the lecture or summarize it later after listening
to the recording).

In discussing 'lo sosur mikol...yomin usimol', upon which Chaza"l
comment 'afilu im yomru lach al yemin shehu semol vial simol shehu
yemin' - he commented that there are different ways of understanding
this. Some seem to believe that it means there is a sort of 'Rabbinical
infallibility' (btw - [lihavdil!] IIRC the Roman Catholic doctrine of
'papal infallibility' was only accepted around 1870 C.E. - I think
some may have broken with the Catholic church because of it - I wonder
if there might be any connection between the fact that the Catholic
doctrine of papal infallibility is so modern and the somewhat similar
[lihavdil!] doctrine accepted by some Orthodox Jews today is of similar
vintage. Perhaps something in the modern situation brought about the
need for such a doctrine?). Others however see it solely as a practical
necessity in order to keep Klal Yisroel together (IIRC he cited the
sefer haChinuch on the mitzvoh as saying that it was better to have some
central binding authority, even if it might make a mistake once in a
while, rather than have no authority (and hence no unity).

IIRC, he also mentioned something along the following lines....

Some think that 'daas Torah' means that a (unbiased) 'godol' will have the
correct and superior position always, on any issue. He stated though, that
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein had taken a more nuanced position - IIRC along
the following lines - that being that a genuine 'godol' is so immersed in
Torah, chochmah, etc., it is likely that he will have a superior and wiser
position than others.....based on that....so it would be only reasonable
to tap into that wisdom if possible.....However, that is not the same
as saying that such a person is always 100% correct and infallible....

Also, it is worthy to note and repeat something that I heard from Rav
Elozor Meir Teitz shlit"a. I heard it from his mouth (mipihem vilo mipi
kisovom - maybe if that rule re evidence in Jewish courts were applied
to other matters, e.g. learning from gedolim, etc., alot of confusion
would be averted) last year in Queens, NY.

He recalled that years ago, the expression 'daas Torah' was used
differently than it is used by many today. He said that when he was
younger (e.g. in Telshe Yeshiva - esp. in Telshe?) it was used to mean
that a (each presumably) person should work on themselves spiritually
to make their daas into a 'daas Torah' (this seems to be more of a
musar'dik concept - that people should work on themselves to reach such
a level). It was not used in the more recent sense as meaning something
Rabbinic leaders decide upon and which is then passed on to the masses
as a sort of rabbinic decree that must be followed by all.

With that I think I will stop for now.


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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 18:20:52 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: halakhah methodology

In a message dated 12/28/01 12:56:16pm EST, afolger@ymail.yu.edu writes:
> Furthermore, and this is telling for the thread on methodology
> of halakhah, a posek cannot be if he has no reverence for his
> predecessors. The job of a posek cannot be properly fulfilled if he does
> not have a certain level of objectivity, of distance between the object
> of debate and himself, because otherwise it may excessively influence
> his psak. Such objectivity must include the notion that his predecessors
> are indispensable links in the Massorah, and their positions must be
> respected and dealt with. a radical change smacks of such possible gaavah
> that only the most respected poskim could contemplate such innovations.

Sorry Arie

You have articuated davka MY school of thought very well

I can show you that RYBS - and others - had little use for precedent
when they were convinced that THEIR psaht was THE pshat.

IOW sheer force of will, charisma, higher IQ, and black-and-white self
confidence ruled the day.

OTOH, poskim such as Rema and even Beis Yoseph were far more concerned
with ther predecessors take on a sugya. Anivus? I think so.

That is why I buy the dichotomy of lamdus/psak

who wants to stilf the minds of a Torah Giant by telling him that he is
"stuck" in the way it has always been?

OTOH, who can repsect a Halachic system that can constantly be revised
by sheer genius w/o regard to Masorah or objectivity in the sources?

My peaceful co-existense is davka in allowing for the Geniuses from the
GRA's school {inlcuding Brisk et. al.) to innovate in the realm of lamdus
but not allow the power to revolutoinize Halachah.

If you want a RAYA I can give you one

R. Gorelick - thoroughly Brisker in lamdus - admantly refused to teach
us masechtos such as Chullin in any Halachic way. It was obvious that
he saw the Brisker methodology as potentially undermining the Shulchan
Aruch's authority in these matters.

And it is a reason that many Briskers stayed with other masechtos
in Kadshim because it had little impact on Halachah -except of course
Techeiles and Tzitzis in which Brisk went out an a typcial and provebial

Unlike RYBS, many Briskers were a bit gun-shy about turning lose this
methodology in areas that would lead to conflict with Halacha lema'aseh...

That is the beauty of the lamdus/psak dicthotomy. Halachah is more than
svara or the original girsa of the text. It is a masoretically-based
system that is based upon precdent - even flawed precdent. The CI IMHO
bought this method too. So do the few frum scholars of textual criticism
wiht whom I am acquainted.
Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 00:26:36 -0500
From: Eric Simon <erics@radix.net>
halachik methodology

I haven't fully understood this entire thread, and I'm sure I've missed
some posts. But I wanted to bring a particular instance on a subject
that I'm currently studying.

The question is benefitting from a malacha done on shabbos. R Meir
(Chullin 15a) says that if b'shogeg, it is muter during shabbos; R Yehuda
says is it ossur until after shabbos. Apparently the Geonim, the Rif,
and Rambam all agree with R Yehuda. (And so does the Rosh, and do the
Mechaber). But Tosafos holds by R Meir. The obvious question: how can
Tosafos do that? Can a Rishon resurrect a tannaic opinion, even tho'
everyone subsequent to the tanna has rejected it? Further, the Mechaber
and Rema hold by R Yehuda, but then the Gra held like R Meir. Again:
how can he do that? If Rosh, and Mechaber and Rema all hold one way,
how does one simply take a Tosafos and overturn all that?

Another question: From Tannaic times thru the S"A, we learn that we
can't read by candle light (on shabbos) because we might tip a candle
for better light. Then the M"B comes along and says, "our candles aren't
like that anymore, so we _can_ read by candle light." I thought gezeiros
like that were binding, even if the underlying reason went away.

If the M"B can do that, then why can't we say, "we don't grind medicines
anymore, so we can consume tablets/capsules of medicine in non-threating
situations on shabbos" ? (FWIW, I _think_ the SA-HaRav _is_ mekil in
this area).

-- Eric

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