Thursday, July 02, 2009

the difference between Yeshiva University and the chareidi world is...

I was tempted to just leave the body of this post blank to make the point.

A question was raised about whether I would stick to the views of "chareidi gedolim" if there was compelling evidence before my eyes that they were wrong. The problem with these type questions is that they can be asked without the word "chareidi" and the same answer would apply. In this case, let me cite the words of the great "chareidi" gadol Dr. Moshe Bernstein, a professor of Bible at that "chareidi" institution known as Yeshiva University -

"When we confront the problems raised by modern scholarship (and I do not deny that such problems ought to be confronted), we answer those that we can, and allow the rest to remain with tzarikh iyyun gadol, hoping that in the long run, with continued study, investigation and analysis, more and more answers, solutions and resolutions will be found."

There is no substantive difference between YU's approach and that of the "chareidi" world or yeshiva world. Both accept as a matter of course that no matter how compelling the evidence lined up against fundamental beliefs, our commitment to those beliefs remains intact and unwavering. Emunah trumps evidence. The only difference between the YU and chareidi world may be which beliefs are labelled fundamental and which allow for more "wiggle" room -- an important point, but nonetheless a detail against the broader background.

A similar hypothetical -- "If the "Divine truth" is in the pocket of the Charedi, why are they so afraid to teach their students Biblical criticism, the results of archaeological research, and to teach them whether their faith passes the test of reasonable critique?"

Once again, the word "chareidi" is a red herring. R' Aharon Soloveitchik spoke to a packed audience in Lamport auditorium (I was there) on the application of Torah u'Mada (the address is reprinted in "Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind") and categorically prohibited studying Biblical criticism. Is YU afraid that the faith of its secularly educated and intellectually sophisticated students will not stand the test of reasonable critique? Apparently intellectual freedom has its limits even in the ivory tower of Yeshiva University, as well it should, given the prohibition to study minus.

Why is there such a penchant to label ideas and opinions "chareidi" as a means to marginalize their significance? "Chareidi" has come to mean something like country-bumpkin, as opposed to we "serious" intellectuals who have the "advantage" of having been exposed to more of the "modern" secular world. The Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, R' Ahron Kotler -- are these role models, poskim, gedolim only for the "chareidi" community, or do their words deserve attention by all of klal yisrael, whether you agree with them or not, whether you pasken like them or have your own rav to heed? Of course, other communities who marginalize people like R' Soloveitchik, R' Kook, etc. deserve to be criticized for their small-minded attitude as well, but dwelling on other's wrongs is not an excuse for our own.


  1. The Rav in The Lonely Man Of Faith, demonstrated how his thesis comports with Bible criticism. Yet, he also wrote, that the questions of Bible critics and other academics don't bother- or if I remember correctly- 'interest' him.

  2. "A question was raised about whether I would stick to the views of "chareidi gedolim" if there was compelling evidence before my eyes that they were wrong."
    no, that was not the question that was raised. see my clarification in the comment thread on that post.

    the question that was raised is whether you would maintain that someone is permitted to think something that in actual fact TRUE, when (in the hypothetical case) the chareidi consensus was the opposite, or whether one was forbidden from doing so. can truth be forbidden heresy?

    you are transforming my question into something else entirely.

    and i had Dr. Moshe Bernstein for Intro to Bible many years ago, and i feel that you are misapplying that statement. much of that course is him introducing rabbinic positions of medieval Jewish commentator outside the chareidi comfort zone, many of which he undoubtedly holds to be true regardless of modern rabbinic consensus. he is a maamin, and believes certain things to be true even though at present the evidence is not sufficient; but still, he maintains these beliefs because he believes they are true, NOT because he really thinks they are false but that one is obligated to maintain false beliefs in Judaism. if it were TRUE, it could not be heresy. and this is the point i think you are missing.

    i would similarly counsel against learning Biblical criticism. but not because it is true but we are forbidden to believe it. rather, because i believe most people are idiots. i know how i can learn, but i also see on a weekly basis how people THINK they know how to learn simple sources but cannot. no, i do not necessarily thing the "secularly educated and intellectually sophisticated students" of YU are for the most part capable of coming to the truth in this matter. Rav Aharon Soloveitchik also presumably assured studying Biblical criticism because it was *false* first, and then because people would be nichshal in the false and heretical belief.

    The word chareidi is not a red herring. What you are proposing (yet not proposing) is something very different. You are apparently willing to reject the clearest reality because of chareidi consensus, and discard even the (present-day, though not necessarily) "daat yachid" even where the positions being presented are stupid. it is a trumping of faith over the slightest semblance of intelligence. if they told you that Jesus was God, you would believe them. if they told you that gentiles have one more tooth than Jews, you would believe them. if you thought aggadot were intended literally, you would feel a religious obligation to take literally all the aggadot in perek Chelek, such that the Moon speaks, something that would cause the Rambam to label you a fool. only because you feel the religious obligation to follow the Rambam will you agree with him. if so, the Rambam would still label you a fool.

    This is unfortunately a "chareidi" opinion and trend, among the hamon am at least, to think that you cannot think, and to engage in unconvincing apologetics. *you* are making chareidi mean something like country-bumpkin. and chareidi gedolim marginalize themselves when unlike the Chazon Ish, they refuse to learn the metzius yet make psak on metzius. For example, Rav Kanievsky first holding Jews are physically different from gentiles, based on the number of teeth, and elsewhere apparently paskening that smoking is not forbidden for Jews because all the studies on smoking were done on gentiles, who are physically different from Jews.

    i'm sorry if this comes off as mean. but i am trying to speak plainly.

    kol tuv,

  3. "A similar hypothetical -- "If the "Divine truth" is in the pocket of the Charedi, why are they so afraid to teach their students Biblical criticism, the results of archaeological research, and to teach them whether their faith passes the test of reasonable critique?"

    "Once again, the word "chareidi" is a red herring. "

    I fully agree!

    The group I quoted is, in general, virulently anti-Orthodox, and is likely what R. Salomon referred to at the Siyum Hashas as "asking mocking and arrogant questions". They focus on "Charedim", however, and I quoted it as such.

    [This is how Rabbi Y. Adlerstein put it, mentioning the term "Charedim" as well(" Exclusivity, Russian Antisemitism, and the New Hatred To Come, Cross Currents June 29, 05; note that he seems to be focusing on Science/ Torah issues):

    "I’m acquainted with someone who unfortunately seems to contribute to an Israeli organization intent on winning people away from religious commitment by bombarding them with literature raising intellectual issues that Israeli *haredim* cannot easily answer. (American *haredim*, used to the challenges and the approaches that have been offered to meet them, generally find the material laughable.)" ]

    Another "charedi gadol", in support of your point is R. Shalom Carmy.

    While he notes a lenient Maaseh Rav of the Rav zt'l in TUM Journal 3 on pg 48(which R. Parnes responds to in TUM Journal 3 pg 96), in a recent Tradition article titled "Homer and the Bible", he takes a very "charedi" position:

    "Lately we are informed that jazzing up the Modern Orthodox study of Bible requires a stronger brew. Minds unmoved by the intellectual encounter with the word of God, dulled by the study of Ramban and Abarbanel, even apathetic towards the minutia of philological cruxes, can only be brought to life, as if by magic, through exposure to the
    heresies of Biblical criticism. We are told that the very mention of the theories and terminology of the Documentary Hypothesis, for example, is enough to make jaded students prick up their ears, stop surfing the Internet, and hang on every word coming from their instructor’s lips. Advocates of this new pedagogy are unclear as to whether heresy attracts merely because of the novelty factor, because public notoriety sets our agenda, or more ominously, due to the frisson of “drinking stolen waters” that enlivens dabbling in what is forbidden.

    This is not the place to debate how much attention should be paid to Biblical criticism in the Orthodox study of Tanakh. My own position is not secret: Though the crucial insights of the great aharonim in the last two centuries—Malbim, R. David Zvi Hoffmann, R. Mordekhai Breuer inter alia ***can usually be communicated reasonably well without referring to presuppositions of the critics***, that creative work will not be transparent to those unaware of that background. In learning together with, and writing for, university students, many of whom will become rabbis and educators and active participants in our creative discussion, I do not avoid these matters when they come up and when doing so can enhance understanding. "

    "...An educational mission dependent on the fleeting morbid pleasures of debunking, relying on the desperate stimulation of reflexive skepticism cannot stand. It cannot “endear the Torah and those who study it.”

    My reaction to that article was "Wow! YU has become very Frum :) "

    (None of the above contradicts my points mentioned. The issue is not whether *individuals* may study "minus", but how the *community* on a whole deals with it. And if minus is proscribed and not confronted directly, then I reserve the right to judge Kiruv as being closer to "Emunah Peshutah")

  4. parenthetically, if you would reverse EVERY single position you presently fervently believe if told you were religiously obligated to, and hold them with the same absolute conviction you now hold their opposites, then you are not really thinking anything. this is anti-intellectual stupidity, if this is what you seriously would do. (i don't believe for a moment you would do it, just that you are professing this in the hypothetical situation because you think it is frum.)


  5. I once saw a post that cited a Ramban that I think addresses an attitude that lies at the bottom of some of this discussion. See

  6. >>>but still, he maintains these beliefs because he believes they are true,

    As opposed to...? The gedolim also believe everything they write and say is true, otherwise they wouldn't be saying it.

    The Biblical scholars who deny ma'amad Har Sinai have lots of evidence they use to bolster their claims, but nebach an apikores...

    Torah sometimes demands bitul hada'as to greater minds and greater ideas, and where there is a consensus of opinion among gedolim contrary to what a person feels is true then he/she needs to reconsider the accuracy of his/her own thinking.

    You keep grasping at straws like stories about R' Chaim Kanievsky. What does this prove? We can go dig up tshuvos about lots of topics where the metziyus was misunderstood - so what? We are not discussing details in specific tshuvos by specific gedolim that may have the metziyus wrong, but rather we are discussing a shared consensus among chareidi and non-chareidi gedolim alike about certain fundamental beliefs and methodology of approaching Torah that remains immutable no matter what the evidence to the contrary may be. It's one thing to say an isolated tshuvah is difficult, its quite another to say a consensus of many, many gedolim, both chareidi and non-chareidi, about fundamental issues is wrong, even if one thinks the "truth" or "facts" are in one's favor.

  7. "Torah sometimes demands bitul hada'as to greater minds and greater ideas..."

    this is really what it comes down to. it is Daas Torah, which is why chareidi is not a red herring.

    as to the rest, i will try to (patiently) explain the point i am making again, but that will have to wait until after Shabbos.

    but do you agree that if something IN FACT is truth, one is not an apikores for maintaining it? please, yes or no, and no changing the question. this is an important point.

    "You keep grasping at straws like stories about R' Chaim Kanievsky. What does this prove?"
    it is, in part, to the point of "greater minds" that you made. this is not just a fluke, but it is symptomatic (imho) of a flawed methodology and a general ignorance of things pertaining to madda. which speaks to the point of bittul hadaas, and whether it is appropriate.

    shabbat shalom,

  8. Torah sometimes demands bitul hada'as to greater minds and greater ideas,

    Halachah has its various protocols. But when discussing beliefs, other than ikkarei emunah (which have halachic ramifications, and which complicate the issue), where do you see any classical source whatsoever for bittul hada'as?

    and where there is a consensus of opinion among gedolim contrary to what a person feels is true then he/she needs to reconsider the accuracy of his/her own thinking.

    Please define your terms. What does "consensus" mean? 100%? 99%? 90%? There is a world of difference between these things. What do you mean by the term consensus?

    And what do you mean "need to reconsider"? That they are well advised to do so, or that they are obligated to do so?

    If you lived in the era of the Rishonim, would you be obligated to believe that the Chachamei Yisrael in Pesachim 94b were wrong?

  9. Anonymous11:34 PM

    N Slifkin,

    Which sage wrote pesachim 94b.
    Define Chachmei Yisroel and the specific sages you are referring to.
    For the life of me i can never get the concept of "chazal" as in chachamim zachreinú levrocha... down pat.

    There were many sages that we should be remembering and òr blessing thèir memories.

    Was chachmei yisroel like the rosh yeshivas of the talmudic era ? Were the other sages referred to in the Talmud, the academic professors and brilliant scholars nòt located in a yeshiva ?

    Which non sephardic rishonim often suggested that the talmudic sages were small minded cavemen.

    Which Rishon did R Hirsch generally rely on when making decisions.

    The sabbath has long ended, the áwesòme ethereál oh my gd there is nothing more beautiful Macys Fireworks display has also come and gone .... still waiting patiently for your patient explanation of your points, personally promised by you on this thread on Friday.

    jaded topaz

  10. jaded:
    While "Chazal" can be applied to many things, as a technical term it refers to the Rabbis until the closing of the Talmud.

    i can't really explain what i said i'd explain on Friday until we determine certain fundamentals, such as whether one can violate heresy for maintaining a true belief. depending on the answer, i intend to proceed to press my case in different ways.


  11. Anonymous3:02 AM

    How on earth could the truth ever be classified as heretical.
    What on earth is more important than the truth.I cant think of a worse character trait than Deliberate deception.or misleáding someone.

    The truth is the only thing that matters in life no matter how harsh or mean.

    When pressing your case, other than XGH's, the
    godol hador whose blog of truth i spiritually grew up on ) you cannot include the opinions of any current acharonim.

    Either thèir words r transformed in transliteration, thèir understanding is limited and òr thèir deceptive presentations are based on a hidden agenda òr fantastical fantasy.

    I think it makes more sense to stick to French rishonim when trying to understand stuff.

    At the end of the day though,according to the (inflúenced by French scholars) RambaN, óne has to respect everyone.
    (at least thats how i understand that sentence in the iggeres haramban)

    jaded topaz

  12. Anonymous4:57 AM

    Also,obviously, in 2009 science, academia, and or the underpinnings of secular Law, legalism and logic should be ùsed to better understand what the torah might be stating.

    But at the end of the day there is a certain ámount of respect, súbmissiveness and humility needed to learn and understand the truth.

    Its hard differentiating between truth, myth , fantasy when it comes to any religion.

    And when óne finds deception, dúmb concepts and sincere sneakiness in the mix running far away makes the most sense.

    Im nòt sure what the cörrect answer is to sincere sneakiness, deliberate deception, and òr misleáding others with misconceptions but its just so Fundamentally wrong.

    jaded topaz

  13. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Your definition of chazal is way too General. Which specific sages is "chachmei yisroel" referring to in pesachim 94b ? Which specific sages and nationalities is "chachmei umos haòlam " referring to in that passage.
    Who wrote pesachim 94b and what connection does the author have to the parties he is opining about in swine free aramaic.

    Also which of the following 7 scenarios/persons. would be best suited to testify as an expèrt witness on the veracity of the following statement. "The Macys fireworks display is best and most colorful, sparkly, life changing, absolutely intense fireworks display on Earth, and the only way to experience the True Ethereal Beauty of a fireworks display show in the USA."
    Using the text of Fridays WSJ article of said fireworks display.

    1,The viewer watching on the Hudson River.

    2,The viewer watching from the East River.

    3,The viewer watching live on some TV channel but no HD.

    4, The viewer watching live on some channel using HDTV.

    5, The viewer watching clips Today from a crappy camcorder.

    6,The viewer watching clips Today recorded on a new blackberry òr iphone.

    7 the viewer watching from Hoboken.

    Will the viewers love or non love of fireworks have any effect on his òr her fireworks display analysis.

    jaded topaz

  14. jaded:
    "Your definition of chazal is way too General"
    this is all beside the point. there is no *meaning* to be read into my choice of definition of chazal, granting superiority or lack thereof. words develop technical meanings. you can argue whether scalpel should include butterknife or not, but as it has historically been used and as it is used by learned people today, Chazal refers to rabbis up to chasimas hatalmud. this is not a matter for contemplation or rumination. it is a matter for investigation into sources on the ground, to see how the term has been used.

    whether you want to develop it into your thesis of what "chachmei yisroel" means is also beside the point. while it is an interesting point you are trying to develop, this is all a sidetrack from the main discussion of this and other posts, which is whether consensus can and should define heresy.

    as i noted before, i can answer to the points you raised, but i do not want to do so until we get one thing clear. because otherwise there is more chance of going in circles. can maintaining an objectively TRUE belief be heresy? for example, if it is in fact TRUE that Hashem is noncorporeal, and the frum consensus at the time of the Rambam was that Hashem had a body, would the Rambam be a heretic for maintaining otherwise? what about someone relying on the rambam? what about where the Rambam does not exist, and a person says this true thing on his own?

    you might argue that such a situation could never arise, because we believe the rabbinic consensus will always accord with reality. but humor me and give me an answer within this imaginary universe where such a situation exists. (i think it possible; and also think it not possible, and can elaborate in a blog post perhaps.)


  15. Anonymous6:17 PM


    How can you argue about "chachmei yisroel" without being specific about which specific sage you are referring to ? Same goès for chazal.
    Vague and evasive is never OK òr in vogúe whether óne is mocking chazal, chachmei yisroel,òr Random hareidi sages in 2009.

    Its all in the precise defintions and the details.

    jaded topaz

  16. Anonymous7:55 PM


    Was the Rambam a French Rishon ?

    Can you please provide the thread with cases from the French Rishonim circuit, in which the French òr non sephardic non chassidic non kabbálistic , pure unadulterated halachist French Rishon , rúled that specific Talmudic sages were small minded cavemen.

    Please include the precise rúling,written by the French Rishon nòt a tranformative translation written by some dis interested third party more interested in promoting other spiritual tèrritories. Thanx.

    jaded topaz

  17. jaded:
    nobody was calling anyone a caveman. the question was whether Chazal derived their broad knowledge of science from Divine insight, textual derivation of Torah text, or consultations with or study of the great scientists of their day.


  18. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Why would you think the talmudic sages derived thèir scientific knowledge exclusively from the torah ?Ánd the first Five books ?

    Now youre limiting your "expose" to chazal who you define as sages from talmudic era ?

    Didnt óne of your "expose"conjéctúrings inlclúde a compare and contrast between R yochanan and the Chazon Ish. Is he also part of chazal ?

    Would the torah texts be the same ? Oral and written for both the talmudic sages rishonim
    And acharonim.

    jaded topaz

  19. >>>can maintaining an objectively TRUE belief be heresy?

    What you are saying is like asking can G-d make a rock he cannot lift. It is a logically impossible situation.

    Secondly, taking a minority view is not necessarily technically "kefira" -- it is, however, usually a very poor choice given the principle of "acharei rabim l'hatos.

  20. Anonymous10:33 AM


    If thats currently your only question, youre gonna have to get very specific with definitions for the following words


    Torah Text


    Chachmei Yisroel

    Chachmei Umos Haòlam

    Divine inspiration

    For each of the sages, whose intellectúal IQ youre attèmpting to ascertain posthumously.

    Did R Meir Bal Hanes study the same talmudic texts Rabbi Saúl Lieberman studied ?

    dont forget to incorporate both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud.

    Also according to the Maxwell Haggadah, torah is defined as laws.

    jaded topaz

  21. Anonymous10:54 AM


    I think át the end of the day, everyone has thèir own way of learning. For me, torah as in laws is how I learn about life.

    I love both the US legal system and halacha.

    When you get up to the rishonim and acharonim , for instance the chazon ish and the brain surgery claims,you would need to include all references to the brain from both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud and then provide the thread with conclusions based on your analysis of those references and the actúal claims of what the chazon ish knew.
    That would be the simplest way to understand whats True and whats nòt True.

    jaded topaz

  22. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Óne last thing and im shutting up for now promix.

    If reading between the talmudic lines in a linear and analytical fashion is hard for some in 2009 .....

    Neuroscience in 2009 is a perfect example of knowledge that when ùsed in conjunction with halacha leads to a more in depth understanding of the laws of Human nature and halacha.
    And what the talmudic sages might have really meant.
    Rabbi Avi Weiss had a good article in this weeks jewish press about halacha.

    jaded topaz

  23. jaded:
    sorry, i think you are mixed up as to what people are actually saying here. for example, you write "Why would you think the talmudic sages derived thèir scientific knowledge exclusively from the torah ?Ánd the first Five books ?" but meanwhile, i was actually arguing the opposite position.

    i still am not certain you are answering the question. i think you are saying no (in which case i agree with you), but how are you saying no?

    but what is the "logically impossible situation"? that something is heresy while being true? or that the rabbinic consensus (even unanimous consensus) can maintain something to be heresy? i *think* what you are saying is that (and this is hypothetical, mind you, which is why i take this extreme example) if Hashem actually has a body, one is not actually a heretic and violates nothing by maintaining bizman hazeh that Hashem has a body. do you agree to this?

    i will hope to address issues like acharei rabbim lehatos and poor choices later, hopefully. but i just want to get this basic point down.

    thanks, and kt!

  24. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Im nòt mixing anything up.i dont understand why you would even need to make that argument ? Have you ever read the talmud. Why would you think the sages árgúing were nòt well vèrsed in different realms of knowledge from different sources.
    Why the need for an argument ? Proving that they did in fact learn from everyone. Just like ethics of the fathers prescribes for wisdom. Isnt it quite clear they had many different sources for thèir wisdom ? And ùsed to to better understand halacha and the Law. The talmudic sages that is.

    Who was right and who was wrong and who decided who was right and wrong on pesachim 94b is also nòt a simple argument òr proof.

    The later rishonim and acháronim and how they got thèir knowledge is a whole different argument.
    And different sages did different things ...

    Contrary to the Point you were attèmpting to make when comparing and contrasting the chazon ish and r yochanan on a post of yours.
    Its nòt comparing pink diamonds to pink diamonds.

    jaded topaz

  25. Anonymous1:40 PM


    How are you defining torah. And torah texts. And are you definitions the same for chazal, rishonim , acháronim, apikorsim and kannoim.

    jaded topaz

  26. "Im nòt mixing anything up.i dont understand why you would even need to make that argument ?"
    one would need to make the argument because others are making the *counterargument*. perhaps you don't encounter people who claim that the Chazon Ish never looked at a medical textbook, and knew all he knew via ruach hakodesh -- and would regard those who would consider otherwise as skeptics. i would guess you are mixing up those other positions the same way.

    asking for definitions for everything is not helpful. please define what you mean by "Im", "nòt", "mixing", "anything", and "up." ;)

    the facts of the matter are that there are common definitions to these terms that people conversing here understand, and it is unhelpful and well beside the point anyone is making.

    all the best,

  27. Anonymous7:17 PM


    Did you read my comment ?

    In order to prove that the chazon ish did get his neuroscientific knowledge from the talmud and òr that he could nòt have possibly derived said knowledge from the talmud óne would have to compile a list of every single brain reference from both the babylonian and Jerusalem talmuds and then analyze the sources and decide whether òr nòt its possible. Keep in mind that the ability may differ from individual to individual.

    As for definitions how can you árgúe about what can òr cannot be derived from the torah without defining what precisely you meán by torah.

    Ten commandments on lapis slabs would nòt be the same as the Amsterdam section of jewish texts át the Valmadonna exhibit.
    If gemara is defined as conclusion then its nòt clear how R Yochanan and the Chazon Ish were both analyzing the same texts. Clearly the chazon ish had more text to analyze being that the talmudic arguments , laws, were conveniently in text format.

    So the chazon ish might have had a little more textual torah to analyze than R yochanan did.

    Define "all the best" the context you are referring and how the conceptúal notion is remòtely in Júly of 2009.

    Whatevèr who cares !

    jaded topaz

  28. "Did you read my comment ?"
    yes i did.
    "In order to prove that the chazon ish did get his neuroscientific knowledge" all one needs to do is ask his talmidim. which people did, and the talmidim testified that he read medical journals. so the question is a non-starter.

    compiling a list of all the references, while it might be a nice feat, is unnecessary here, because we know how he arrived at his knowledge. but even if we did, with all due respect, one would need to be on the level of the Chazon Ish to understand how to understand those medical references. and no one in the present company, imho, has that level of knowledge and aptitude. besides which there are many ways of understanding talmudic texts, and one would need to get into his brain. the people who are saying he got his knowledge from these texts are also asserting that, as a gadol, he was privy to Divine guidance and inspiration in understanding those texts.

    but it is beside the point, because we have testimony that he did study secular medicine.

    "As for definitions how can you árgúe about what can òr cannot be derived from the torah without defining what precisely you meán by torah."
    it is clear to those having the discussion. but it does not matter what it means, to the discussion, because whether he (or Chazal) derived his knowledge from the Pentateuch, only Tanach, only Mishna, only Gemara, also kabbalah, etc., is beside the point. the question is whether from *internal* religious sources, uninfluenced by outside secular sources, they could, or did, derive this knowledge. and then what to do when this knowledge turns out to be factually incorrect.

    "Define "all the best""
    it is a sign off, the english equivalent of my usual kol tuv (kt). or cheers. best wishes. have a great day!

    all of the above to you!

  29. Anonymous9:28 PM


    What part of "whatevèr who cares" did you nòt understand ?

    I dont actúally care whether the chazon ish learnt about neuroscience from the talmud, Medical school òr the Red Light District.

    If the testimòny from the students was as trustworthy as you present , which moron would árgúe otherwise.
    Was the testimòny á little skètchy. Have you ever heard of the concept of hearsáy ? Is that admissable as evidence according to the Federal rúles of evidence ?

    Has the chazon ish himself made any documented claims on what he learnt and where.

    I dont really care what any student testified posthumously.too much room for agendas.

    Lastly do you have a source for this pûrported testimòny.

    Òr names of the students testifying.
    And the texts he ùsed. Has anyòne compared the texts he supposedly ùsed to the brain references in the talmud.

    Did the texts consist of new findings and facts that were definitely nòt incorporated into the references found in the talmud.

    Shouldnt there be an indepth analysis of the texts he supposedly ùsed according to his students and the brain sources in the talmud.

    Did the texts help him understand a talmudic passage. Òr did he learn new information that had nothing to do with the brain references found in the talmud.

    Also the precise working definition for ruách hakodesh is also important.

    Ánd is Tov generally defined as Best ?
    The term Kol Tuv and All the Best always annoyed me. It doesnt make any sense logically.

    Reminds me of that Sèinfèld episode explaining the term "take care "

    jaded topaz

  30. "If the testimòny from the students was as trustworthy as you present , which moron would árgúe otherwise.
    Was the testimòny á little skètchy."
    no, it was not. those who argue otherwise made up a story based on their worldview, without having heard this testimony. in general, these non-morons, once they hear of the testimony, back down from their claims.

    "Lastly do you have a source for this pûrported testimòny."
    yes, rav gedaliah nadel, who responded directly to a question from rabbi slifkin about the chazon ish's medical knowledge. see my post on this here.

    though there are other sources, such as rav gifter, who said the chazon ish read books. and it is discussed in a dissertation.

    "I dont really care what any student testified posthumously.too much room for agendas."
    you may not care. but it is not my job to convince every person in the world.

    "Also the precise working definition for ruách hakodesh is also important."
    yes, definitions again. but people know what other people mean. and they don't have to stop and explain it to everyone who would like a definition, and thinks that asking for definitions makes for intelligent discourse. and they mean it to the exclusion of medical knowledge from secular sources. see in my post how someone cited from rav wosner that the chazon ish had ruach hakodesh, to explain how the chazon ish knew urology.

    see my post, linked above, for more
    nuance than i am putting forth here.

    take care! ;)

  31. "the chazon ish read books" should be
    the chazon ish read medical books. whoops!

  32. Anonymous11:49 PM


    I dont think randomly asking for definitions makes for intelligent discoúrse. You need to brúsh up on those analytical skills !
    Árgúing Philosophy is bad for the brain.

    My Point was that ruách hakodosh is defined differently in different contexts. Nòt sure why that concept is so difficúlt to understand.
    Your polite and cordial sense of mockery is nòt appreciated.

    Nice cherry picking of different sentences out of context to respond to. You forgot to include an important question of mine, is hearsáy admissable as evidence in a courtroom in 2009, according to the Federal rúles of evidence ?

    Did the chazon ish himself,ever make any claims about his knowledge and where and what he studied.

    That should be the only claims legally allòwed to describe him now that he is no longer alive to defend himself.

    Other than testimòny from students friends òr whatevèr they wêre, is there any personsl documents writings or documentátifrom the chazon ish himself , that would shed light on what
    He learnt and the sources he ùsed to learn.

    Close òr distant
    Students,bosom friends, distant relatives, and long distant òr long forgotten acquaintances are nòt the best testimòny to be using to defend a position taken about a person that has long been no longer with ùs !

    Anyway i dont care what he learnt where and why and in what way.
    And why.
    I have no idea what he is even about.
    Though i do recall a story which im assúming is True in which he was very carefúl about misleáding others using others and having alterior motives for doing something. Iirc ....

    jaded topaz

  33. "I dont think randomly asking for definitions makes for intelligent discoúrse."
    then stop asking for them!

    "My Point was that ruách hakodosh is defined differently in different contexts."
    so? it was defined in a specific way understood by everybody else on this thread. that you think it can have multiple definitions and that this is a great point does not make it so. rather, it likely means that you should familiarize yourself more with the background of people's discussions, rather than pointing out that there are multiple definitions.

    "Nòt sure why that concept is so difficúlt to understand. "
    it is not difficult to understand. but neither is the concept helpful or to the point.

    "Your polite and cordial sense of mockery is nòt appreciated"
    understood. perhaps i just won't respond at all, instead.

    "You forgot to include an important question of mine, is hearsáy admissable as evidence in a courtroom in 2009, according to the Federal rúles of evidence ?"
    i didn't forget. rather, it is irrelevant. whether or not it would be admissible in court, reasonable people make use of such respectable second-hand reports all the time. or do you think OJ Simpson was not guilty, and one cannot conclude otherwise, because certain evidence was not admissible in court?

    "Anyway i dont care what he learnt where and why and in what way."
    good. so then why bother commenting? meanwhile, other people do care, because of the precedent he set, either way. there is a whole segment of judaism that looks down on learning secular studies. promulgating examples such as this can help shape the future of judaism. i would guess that you would favor the learning of secular wisdom. in which case, why are we "arguing" again? :)

    anyway, this will probably be my last comment on this thread. i am working on a series on my own blog addressing some of the points i said i hoped to patiently explain. now that r' chaim has answered me, i am in a position to do just that.


  34. Anonymous1:39 AM


    Yay for you.
    The following questions are rhetorical.

    My Point was, whoever first ùsed the words ruách hakodesh to describe the chazon ishes learning, how did he define ruách hakodosh. And are you and òr your fine fellow thread friends defining ruách hakodesh on this thread ùsing the same definition the original guy was using.

    Are you saying that the kind of ruach hakodesh R yochanan purportedly had was the same kind of ruách hakodosh the chazon ish was purportedly using when gètting his neuroscientific information from the talmud ?

    What about ruách elokim ánd the famous yad hashem from that other post.

    What makes yad hashem so much easier as a concept to swallow. Then both the mysterious ruách elokim and the new and improved ruách hakodesh.

    Ruach hakodesh might meán a deeper understand of a passage generally based on an individuals actions. Actions that somehow deepen his connection to Gd which in turn deepens his understanding of stuff.

    Would it make a difference if the chazon ish sang when he was learning the talmud. What if he played the harp ánd strummed along happily with lively tunes about aramaic arguments

    Árgúing intellectúally makes some people less ángry and way more happy.òr even ecatstic. Wasnt there some kind of ruách elokim connection to the harp playing prophet.

    Is there a connection between learníng torah and ruách hakodesh and òr ruách elokim.

    Anyway to conclude with a brilliant message from Absolut vodka ;

    "in an Absolut world the taste comes naturally"

    jaded topaz