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DAAS TORAH-----infallible? 3

mr.jew Posted - 20 March 2001 23:42

my Rebbe always tells me to listen to the Gedolim but when my mother asked a Godol about which school she told me he said to do something which I know was to smart. I know myself better than anybody. They are human too, are they not?

MODERATOR Posted - 21 March 2001 0:00

Of course they are human. But when they give advice - and I repeat: advice, not a psak, not a Hashkafa, etc. - then you are correct, that you ultimately know yourself better than anyone else. A Godol, even the greatest, can only base a suggestion on information he is provided with. But if you know that the information that the Godol used is faulty, if he is misinformed, under informed, or mislead, then his suggestion will not work.

So if the Godol is not aware of something about you or about the school he recommended, it is definitely possible that you are correct, and the suggestion is not designed for the reality of who you are.

Bear in mind that in such a case, the Godol himself is not commanding or demanding that you follow his advice, but rather that you consider it wisely when you make your own independent decision. Therefore, if you end up not following his suggestion, you are not "going against" the Godol, since he himself never intended anything except your considering it, which you did. As opposed to when he tells you a psak or a Hashkafa, he is saying "This is the correct way to think", which is different.

You can find a source for this in the Ruach Chaim of Rav Chaim Volozhiner ZTL on the Mishna in Avos, "Marbeh atzah marbeh sevunah". He says that when seeking advice, you should ask numerous people, collect all the different opinions, and then use their collective wisdom to make a decision for yourself, since you ultimately know your situation better than anybody, but others are perhaps wiser than you, so if combine their wisdom and apply it to your self-knowledge, you will have good advice.

Also, in your particular case, I do not know who gave you the advice, so I do not know whether I would agree or disagree with your mother as to whether the advisor is a "Godol" in the first place. Different people have different views on who is and isn't a Godol.

M.J. Posted - 23 March 2001 20:07

Doesn't it say that even if a Rav tells you your right hand is your left and your left your right, you have to listen to them anyway, for it is on there cheshbon now?

MODERATOR Posted - 23 March 2001 20:12

1) That is talking about the Sanhedrin Hagadol, not everyone with Smicha.

2) That does not apply to advice, but rather to Halachic rulings.

3) Even regarding Halachic rulings, if the rabbi turns out to have been mistaken, there is a disagreement in the Poskim about your status. Some hold that as long as you honestly believed the rabbi regarding the Halachah, you are a shogeg (non-purposeful sinner), and others hold that unless the rabbi was one of the "established poskim" (baalei horaah muvhakim), you are considered a "mazid", a purposeful sinner, since you should have asked a bigger rabbi.

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