Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Orthopraxy - there they go again!

What I hate even more than being quoted out of context is being quoted as saying things I never said. As far as I can recall, we never addressed on this blog the issue of rationalism vs.mysticism with respect to ta'amei hamitvot. Instead of dealing with the mekoros in our previous fisking, as predicated, the Skeptic is attempting another "snow" job. The issue that was being discussed was whether kelapei shemaya the belief in Orthopraxy, defined by Skeptic as "Orthopraxy is someone who keeps Halachot, but doesn’t necessarily believe in Torah Min Hashamayim or even the existence of God" is consistant with Orthodox belief. The mekoros we went through established that one who denies belief in G-d is a min, even a goy who morally observes 7 mitzvos but does not believe they came from G-d does not go to olam haba, and that these beliefs have practical halachic import. I never suggested (as some commentators wrote) that one needs to ask someone if they are a min to drink their wine - the entire discussion was simply klapei shemaya. Just another red herring I want to dispel. I awaited the big response that would deal with the mekoros, but instead all I found was the usual tired rant about doing mitzvos for rational reasons. But that's not what we were discussing! So I ventured into the danger zone to point out that the issue of rationalism was irrelevant, and to whit, not a single makor was offered that would suggest belief in G-d is optional. Skeptic did not marshal a single rishon. Not a single gemara. Not a single quote from a respected Rav who would go on record as being an agnostic or weak atheist.
So what are we to do with the Chazal's that tell us who merits olam haba, the Rishonim who pasken on the issue and define min and apikores, the halachos that devolve from these issues. The response:
>>>Oh ok, well that makes it a lot easier then. I would assume the answer is no, one doesn't have to believe in anything to get to olam habah, you just have to be a good person. Or do you think God is so vindictive as to penalize an honest agnostic with eternal hell (or Karet) ? Or perhaps you are confusing Judaism with Christianity?Of course since every single person that ever lived, including all Acharonim, all Rishonim and all Chazal HAVE NO FREAKIN IDEA WHATSOEVER about what Olam Habah really is nor what it takes to get there (or not), my answer is pure conjecture. But it is as good as anyone elses guess, plus it makes a heck of a lot more sense than your idiot philosophy.<<<
Oh well. Open a gemara and Rambam and check the mekoros - unlike my opponent, I actually gave some last post (start with perek cheilek and ch 3 of hilcos tshuvah). Decide for yourself if Chazal had an idea and addressed the issue of who goes to olam haba. I rest my case. Nothing more needs to be said.

15 comments:

  1. > The issue that was being discussed was whether kelapei shemaya the belief in Orthopraxy, defined by Skeptic as "Orthopraxy is someone who keeps Halachot, but doesn’t necessarily believe in Torah Min Hashamayim or even the existence of God" is consistant with Orthodox belief.

    NO! The issue is whether it is consistent with Orthodox HALACHAH. Not Belief. Can't you get it straight???

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  2. > The mekoros we went through established that one who denies belief in G-d is a min, even a goy who morally observes 7 mitzvos but does not believe they came from G-d does not go to olam haba, and that these beliefs have practical halachic import.

    One who 'DENIES'. DENIES DENIES DENIES. Lack of Belief is NOT THE SAME as DENY. Don't you get it? Why can't you grasp this very simple point? Lack of belief is lack of belief. DENY is DENY. These are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Its really not that complicated.

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  3. > Decide for yourself if Chazal had an idea and addressed the issue of who goes to olam haba. I rest my case. Nothing more needs to be said.

    Silly. Of course they said plenty of things about Olam Habah. They also said plenty of things about shedim, medicine, science and all manner of stuff. Their Halachah is binding (le'halachah), because klal yisrael accepted it as binding. The rest isn't, especially where it conflicts with common sense. Do you really think Chazal knew anything about Olam Habah? Do you really think Chazal can pasken who gets olam habah or not? Don't be silly. Your position is simply blind faith, not in any way rational, and quite off putting too.

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  4. Anonymous10:46 PM

    "One who 'DENIES'. DENIES DENIES DENIES. Lack of Belief is NOT THE SAME as DENY. Don't you get it? Why can't you grasp this very simple point? Lack of belief is lack of belief. DENY is DENY. These are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Its really not that complicated."

    It's very complicated. Both in the sources and in the metzius. The reality is that some people who define themselves as weak atheists and you are claiming are agnostic argue strongly for the opposite case - no personal god, and no TMS. If someone is arguing against something, they are doing more than claiming "I don't know."

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  5. jeffrey smith10:56 PM

    Common sense says that Chazal are right in this case. If you don't believe in the existence of the Deity, then a fortiori you don't believe in the World to come, and why should you be allowed to share in something you did not believe in? Nor is there any injustice--since you didn't believe in the World to come, you had no expectations of sharing in it, and therefore will have no disappointment in not sharing in it.

    But over and above that, the mandate to believe in the Deity is explicitly mandated in the Torah: "...who brought you out of the land of Egypt, etc.", "hear O Israel, etc." "Know in your heart and understand....there is none else." And every reference to the matter I can recall in any rabbinic text (although the first book of the Mishneh Torah come to mind very prominently).

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  6. The rantings of this guy deserve no response. No, emunah is not a lav, a negetive commandment that would mean denial is a violation, it is a positive commandment, meaning one must actively believe, or as the Rambam so succinctly puts it, ANI MA'AMIN. No rishonim argues with belief in G-d.
    The rishonim did speak of many things like sheidim, medicine, etc., but they did not codify these items l'halacha with such grave consequences as losing olam haba, and when these area which were codified conflict with realia, it is dealt with at length by poskim, which is not my topic. For those reading, keep your eye on the ball and check the sources inside.

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  7. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Its about time a patient sober minded jew spoke up against the unlearned sceptics that love to inundate the internet with thier doubts. Thank you Reb Chaim!

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  8. Before things get out of hand, FAIR NOTICE. Unless you DEAL WITH SOURCE TEXT (see previous post for startes), I will simply delete your comment. As noted once before, this blog assumes that 1) Torah is Divinly given 2) Chazal revealed truisms given at Sinai (historicity of halacha will not be debated) 3) a Rishon or consesnus of ba'alei mesorah is sufficient to settle an argument of creed or deed. Those are the rules. I am interested in what you have to say if you would like to address gemara and rishonim. I am not interested in anyone's speculative theories of Judaism that are not grounded firmly in source material that we can debate.

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  9. >>>Their Halachah is binding (le'halachah), because klal yisrael accepted it as binding.

    This is the kicker! Anyone who has been reading the real meat and potatoes of this blog for the past week knows we have been discussing a chiddush of R' Elchanan Wasserman whether the enactments of Chazal are binding because of lo tasur or because they have the power to reveal the ratzon Hashem in a pure form. Common sense? Afilu omrim lecha al yemin shehu smol - even if they tell you 'right is left' you have to accept when they darshen a pasuk that it becomes halacha. Again, please do not take my word - go back to the sources! Open a Rambam to Hil Mamrim and check for yourself.

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  10. Tal Benschar10:07 AM

    Chaim, I am amazed at the patience you have displayed in dealing with this with such meticulousness.

    And in the spirit of leitzanusa de avoda zara:

    Ploni the Atheist dies and comes before the Supreme Judge to have his life reviewed. The Supreme Judge says: "Ploni? Oh up here We have no record of your life. You must not have existed. Case dismissed." And POOF Ploni disappears.

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  11. Anonymous1:40 PM

    We can be medayek in Tal Benschar's maaseh (shehaya?) that in fact God isn't quite so vindictive as to make Ploni broil in hell. Olam Habah, no. But not hell either.

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  12. Tal Benschar2:07 PM

    "We can be medayek in Tal Benschar's maaseh (shehaya?) that in fact God isn't quite so vindictive as to make Ploni broil in hell. Olam Habah, no. But not hell either."

    Why would you want to be madayek in leitzanus?

    But IIRC there is a Rambam somewhere along the lines you write -- that the person and his memory simply ceases to exist. Can't find it now, but if someone wants to give a makor, fine.

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  13. Anonymous3:57 PM

    I could not resist this post, even though it has no acceptable makors.

    Does no one study Jewish History anymore? I see no difference between what is described today as Orthopraxy and the philosophy of Moses Mendelsohn. He too asserted that Jewish halochos were simply social conventions devoid of any divine source. He advocated following them solely based on their sterling ethical character and due to the historical attachment they shared with the Jewish people.

    This was the founding idea of what we know today as Reform Judaism. How many of these excellent halachos described by Mendelsohn are observed within Reform Judaism today?

    Apply Middah 12 of the Baraisa of R' Yishmael that we say everyday and ask, "Do we really need to have this debate all over again?" Do we really not know where Orthopraxy is going?

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  14. Ploni Almoni12:01 AM

    The Rambam considers one who lacks belief to be a denier,as can be seen from his interchanging of the two terms in this quote.
    א מי שאינו מאמין בתורה שבעל פה,אינו
    זקן ממרא האמור בתורה, אלא הרי הוא בכלל המינים, ומיתתו ביד כל אדם. [ב] מאחר שנתפרסם שהוא כופר בתורה שבעל פה--מורידין ולא מעלין, כשאר המינים והאפיקורוסין והאומרין אין תורה מן השמיים והמוסרים והמשומדים: כל אלו אינן בכלל ישראל, ואינן צריכין לא עדים ולא התראה ולא דיינין; אלא כל ההורג אחד מהן, עשה מצוה גדולה והסיר מכשול.

    ב [ג] במה דברים אמורים, באיש שכפר בתורה שבעל פה ממחשבתו, ובדברים שנראו לו, והלך אחר דעתו הקלה, ואחר שרירות ליבו, וכפר בתורה שבעל פה תחילה; וכן כל הטועים אחריו.
    In addition, in his introduction to Perek Chelek where he introduces the 13 Ikarim,he likewise writes that one must know or believe them.He writes that even one who doubts any of them is beyond the pale and is an Apikorus,whom it is a mitzvah to hate.

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