Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rav Gifter's letters

I don't know why, but I have no cheishek to write. General malaise. has a collection of Rav Gifter's letters here. Three quick points:

1. For those of you learning the daf, he has a kashe on the Mishna in Chulin 81 here.

2. All the gedolim yell about the slow pace of learning that has taken root in yeshivos -- you can find this in R' Shach's letters, in the Steipler's letter, and in many other places going back even earlier, and I see R' Gifter echoes the same (a sharp example on p. 35). There is a point he mentions that I have not seen elsewhere. He writes (p. 84) that many gedolim had a seder learning just gemara & Rashi, without the Tosfos. This is why many times R' Akiva Eiger hints to a kashe in the gilyon ha'shas that Tos. right on the page already asks -- R' Akiva Eiger was learning gemara / Rashi and noted the kashe, but he did not want to slow down to dig through the Tosfos at that point. Interesting.

3. Rav Gifter quotes (p. 80-81) the AB"D of Telz (I am assuming he means R' Leizer Gordon here, unless it's R' Bloch?) as saying that if in Telz they don't eat butter made of cholov aku"m, in Paris they will be careful and not eat pig meat, but if in Telz they are meikil on butter, in Paris they will eat tarfus. I have seen the same idea quoted in the name of R' Yisrael Salanter, and I had assumed it reflected the notion that Klal Yisrael is a unified entity, and where the head goes, the tail will follow, albeit a few steps behind. However, R' Gifter quotes R' Daniel Movshovitz of Kelm (R' Simcha Zisel's SIL?) who understood the idea far more broadly. He says that GR"A's delving into the deepest truths of Torah in his little hidden kloiz in Vilna caused the light of truth to shine more brighly into the world, and because of that Immanuel Kant sitting a world away in Berlin was able to formulate his categorical imperative. (I don't know yiddish -- hope I'm right in assuming based on the context that it's the categorical imperative he is referring to. And just agav urcha, maybe I'm too cynical, but are the days when a gadol might refer to an insight of Kant as a "he'ora nifla'ah amukah" gone forvever? Just asking.)


  1. Anonymous1:09 AM

    if the gedolim currently delving in Yerushalayim will race thru the inyanei of tzedakah, then maybe the charity administrators in New York will bestir themselves just enough to justify their salaries!

  2. Anonymous3:47 PM

    and if they learn thru hilchos gneivah and chillul hahsem, there will be no more minyanim in federal penitentiaries???