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WOMEN-----learning torah V

proud2bfrum Posted - 16 July 2004 14:19

As it is erev Shabbat I don't really have time to write a lengthy response, but bli neder I will.

However, I did want to make a comment on your description of Rav Henkin. I firmly believe that when learning it is more important to read WHAT is being said and not WHO is saying it.

If you check their sources and their logic and it all works out there is no reason to say you will not accept it because of WHO said it. That's why, although I disagree with many things the Moderators on this site say, I can still respect them. I believe that's how we can give credence to your site at all.

Although some things of his are definitely outlandish, I am well aware, some of his writings are tremendous works of scholarship and should be taken as such.

As far as what I said being Modern Orthodox propaganda, well then maybe I'm Modern Orthodox without being aware of it. That is, assuming that Modern Orthodoxy exists at all, but that is an entirely different discussion.

MODERATOR Posted - 27 July 2004 18:18

In theory, you are right - what matters is what is said much more than who says it - but you are making a terrible mistake by applying that theory to these circumstances.

First of all, you have no way of knowing whether what I being said is reliable or even reasonable form a Halachic perspective unless you (a) are an expert Talmid Chacham or (b) have trust in the authority of the writer.

Since neither apply in the case of Rabbi Henkin, you should not be reading his seforim - it’s not as if you’ll be missing anything, but you will be messing up your mind. As an example, the thing you quoted in his name that after Torah is written the prohibition of teaching girls Gemora does not apply, which you considered quote-worthy when it makes no sense at all.

The Halachah is that we do not read seforim from an unqualified rabbi - im rabcha domeh alecha lemalach hashem tzivakos yevakesh torah mipihu. If not, not. The halachah is that we do not consider ourselves on the level of R. Meir, who was able to learn from Acher, by paying attention to "WHAT is being said and not WHO is saying it."

You are making a terrible error if you believe that you can "If you check their sources and their logic" and "see if it all works out". In order to do so you would have to be a very advanced Talmid Chacham. "Sources" are subject to interpretation, and logic - svara, too - is something that is not at all that simple. It takes years to master it.

SO if you know that someone if for sure unreliable - that his "sources and logic" are so messed up that he would believe that those sources and that logic say some of the most laughable things, yet are taken seriously by him, you rally do not want to bother wasting time on his seforim.
Never mind that you may be misled by them.

MODERATOR Posted - 29 July 2004 10:07


I don’t understand your last post, but in short, you admitted that Rabbi Henkin says outrageous things (read: against the Torah), and your issue was should you read the seforim of someone like that. The answer is no.

As far as the Prisha, logic is logic. If you can’t answer the proofs you ought to give in. If you don’t want to, then admit to yourself that you really want one side to be right. And once that’s true you’re blind, because you’re not objective anymore.

The Prisha does not say that every girl has a right to determine if they are sincere enough to learn Torah, nor does nay father, nor does anyone. What he does say is that if there is solid evidence that a woman is an exception, we may rely on it. And the only proof he has that he considers useable here is the proof that if a woman learns on her own that proves she is exceptional.

Clearly, nowadays not every woman who learns is exceptional. In fact, some are outright anti-religious, some are not religious, some are semi-religious, some are very religious; some are smarter than others; and their motives vary. Nobody disagrees with this. Clearly, then, if a girl learns on her own there is no evidence any longer to say that she is anything in particular.

And without that evidence you have no right to assume she is not part of the "rove".

proud2bfrum Posted - 29 July 2004 14:42

I am not blind and I do have responses to all your evidence. I am not posting them because I think that would be a waste of my time and effort.

The only reason I'm posting now is regarding the Rabbi Henken issue and this is an issue that I am not willing to drop because it is one of my biggest pet peeves that people often commit.

I have not learned enough material by Rabbi Henken to tell you if he says anti-Torah things or not. You told me I shouldn't read what he says because he is anti-Torah and I don't have the knowledge to discern what is true and what shouldn't be listened to.

You further posit that by continuing to read his books I could mess myself up. I think it would be safe to assume that if Rabbi Henken had the chance he would say the same things about your site. He would tell me not to read things here because they will mess me up and he would point out specific places that you are wrong, etc.

How do I know who is right? I use my logic. I try to understand the arguments and see who is valid. However, if I am already using my logic to understand who is right on this front, why don't I take advantage of what each of you have to offer and learn as much as possible while ignoring those things that make no sense.

Of course, this plan is fallible without what I believe is the most important ingredient. I have a Rebbi, who I also chose according to my own logic, and when I learn something or come to conclusions about something I speak to him about it. That means that I have someone who is knowledgeable to keep me grounded in case I encounter a situation that is above my comprehension.

MODERATOR Posted - 29 July 2004 14:50

If the goal in spending your time is to win an argument, then you may be right - your posting your other points may well be a waste of time. But if your goal is to learn something, then it wouldn’t be a waste of time to hear a response.

As far as Rabbi Henkin, never mind, then, that you are not Talmid Chacham enough to recognize 99% of the problems in his wirings. But simple good midos should tell you that someone who writes pages regarding whether it is prohibited halachicly to say "Zatzal" after the Satmar Rebbe or not, should tell you that this man is not someone that you want to learn from.

And even if you are not a Talmid Chacham, simple A-B-C logic will be able to tell you that what you quoted form him - about girls being able to learn Gemora after Torah shebal peh was written, even though all the poskim who prohibit it have done so after that time - makes no sense at all.

You don’t need to be a Talmid Chacham to see that this man's material is nothing you want to have anything to do with, both form a Torah perspective, and that of simple menchlichkeit.

proud2bfrum Posted - 30 July 2004 11:48

If a rapist told you that the sky was blue on a nice sunny day, would you disagree with him? What if he told you e=mc2? Despite the fact that you know he's right, would you still disagree with him? What if a very holy and famed rabbi told you that the world is flat and geocentric? Would you whole-heartedly believe him?

It is not outlandish, but I understand why you would say that. It comes from a certain amount of an emotional attachment, and excuse me for saying this, but it is very common in girls. There are times where I will hear Rabbis that I respect so much say the most illogical things.

Some people may choose to believe it no matter how it is disproved because they have the emotional connection to the Rabbi, but others will reject it while realizing that their esteem in that Rabbi should not be lowered. I explained my ideas more in depth before, but the Moderator chose not to post it.

MODERATOR Posted - 30 July 2004 11:54

The issue is not if you should choose to believe it but should you go asking that person for Torah in the first place. The answer is no. Torah is not science - it is soul-to-soul connection. It is also a chilul Hashem to recognize such a person as a teacher of the public.

Do you think the husband of that woman who was raped in your example would go make the rapist his Rebbe? Even though he may have information to covey, the outrage at his offense would motivate any decent man to stay away.

So too when someone hurts our G-d and our people by distorting the Torah we would be giving Hashem a terrible slap in the face by learning Torah form such a person.

But here the issue is not that the man is a rapist but that he is a distorter of Torah and you have no idea of knowing what is distorted and what is not.

Although I did not post your post, I did answer it. Your reasoning is all addressed there. I did not post it because your opinions about the right and the left and people’s motivations for wanting or not wanting girls to learn are not relevant to the topic and only confusing to any readers. Again, your points were addressed.

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