Sunday, July 17, 2005

More responses to R' Feldman

R' Slifkin has decided not to get involved at this time regarding R' Feldman's letter. You can see some other responses here.

9 comments:

DarkBlueHat said...

Another link he provides "A response by Meir Ben-Tzvi", thanks your blog at the end of the 2nd paragraph for providing some of his material.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

That page is not available on R. Slifkin's site. But you can download the essays here:
http://mosi.blog-city.com/new_slifkin_affair_essays.htm

Nobody said...

One thing about Slifkin is that he takes his Torah seriously, unlike some others (I am specifically thinking of Schroeder here). Whether he is right or wrong, you have to respect that.

Unfortunately, I think he is very wrong about his assumption that his book only applies to those who are bothered by the question. I think the historical experience is that those who are really bothered aren't helped by such books, and those who aren't bothered become bothered by precisely such books.

But that is just a question of haskafah. As for being banned by those who didn't even read the book, well that has good historical precidence. The G'ra refused to read the Tanya before banning it, and all those associated with it.

Anonymous said...

Nobody,
Your historical experience is way off. Countless people remained with Yiddishkeit because of reading Science/Torah books and learning that there was a legitimate path to understanding those issues other than the party line they might have been receiving in grade school.
And how do you know Schroeder doesn't take Torah seriously?

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell you are somewhat imprecise:
The Vilna Gaon died 1797
First excommunication was 1777, second 1781
Tanya was published 1797
Hard to see how looking at the Tanya would have been possible, and how it would have prevented the excommunication. You could say that the excommunication helped form the Tanya.

Ari Kahn

Anonymous said...

The Vilna Gaon died in 1776.

Anonymous said...

Vilna Gaon
(1720-1797)

ADK

Nobody said...

"Hard to see how looking at the Tanya would have been possible,"

The tanya existed for many years in manuscript form, as its author didn't want to publish it, and only did so because so many bad versions with bad mistakes started to appear.

The G'ra is famously storied to have read the first two lines of Tanya and rejected it, refusting to read further, because the standard Girsa of the Gemmara does not put the quote as a braisa.

He (the G'ra) also refused to meet with the author when he came to see him.

You are right, my comment was a little glib. My recollection of the history is not quite as you put it, but the point was that the G'ra banned the ideas based on second and third hand reports of them, rather than hearing them directly from someone who believed in them and could explain them.

"Countless people remained with Yiddishkeit because of reading Science/Torah books and learning that there was a legitimate path to understanding those issues"

I certainly hope you are right, but these days, these issues are rarely the source of the problem. People aren't that philisophical.

"And how do you know Schroeder doesn't take Torah seriously?"

Well, in the conceptual sense, I'm sure he does. He is observant, after all. In his writings (what I meant by "his Torah" as in his interpretations), I read his book (actually two of them, but "The Science of Gd" was the one that gave me the impression). When you check his sources in Torah, you invariably come up empty. His interpretations are not sustainable, and I think this comes from not taking it seriously. He was looking for his answers. He took the science end of his equation much more seriously.

adk said...

I know Shroeder - he takes Torah very seriously - but he is not a Rabbi and doesn't have years of learning under his belt. His starting point was science - and he was looking for answers.