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TORAH SHEBALPEH------arguing with kadmonim

jj Posted - 05 April 2001 15:43

Agav, there’s a shvere Rambam (I forgot where) that says "v'nerah li" that it appears to me that this is the halacha, when in actuality it’s a open Gemorah on Bava Kama bais amud alef.

The roshay yeshiva go to town on this Rambam r' Aryeh Laib Malin etc. with "toyris" on it. R' Avraham ben HaRambam says that his father at the time he was writing the Yad forgot the Gemorah but he paskined the right way because of his extra siyata dishmaya.

So I don't chap this, what happens to all of these toyris and stuff? I mean, it doesn’t only apply to here, it’s relevant to every R' Chaim. Mehechi taysi this is emes? You want to say all of these nice lomdishi things and maybe are just so totally off?

I don’t chos visholom want to be moynaya in R' Aryeh Laib’s kovod, I just don’t understand what’s going on

MODERATOR Posted - 05 April 2001 16:22

The Rambam is a Rishon, and we accept Rishonim as authoritative. Of course, the less great a person is, the less we are going to accept his "nireh li" as binding.

The Rambam - the same Rambam who you are talking about - writes in Pirush HaMishnayos that the reason why Horios comes right after Sanhedrin in to show us that even the Sanhedrim HaGadol can make a mistake.

Similarly, the Meforshim explain the rule of Ain Onshin Min Hadin to mean that since Kal Vachomer is the only of the 13 Midos that is based on logic - the others are all Halachah l'Moshe Misinai - we can never be 100% sure that our logic is right, maybe we are making a mistake, and therefore just because we made a kal vachomer we have no right to punish people because of it.

However, all of the above notwithstanding, because Chazal were Chazal and we are only us, we realize that whatever seems to us to be flaws in the logic of Chazal are really flaws in our own logic. The same thing, but to a much lesser extent, with the Rishonim.

This is all based on reality. The reality is, anyone who thinks he can figure out something better than the Rashba today, is fooling himself. Simple as that.

With regard to Achronim, we have to be intellectually honest. It is theoretically possible that Reb Chaim is wrong. But if you think that your problem with what he says is insurmountable, and that if Reb Chaim were here he would not be able to answer it is so unlikely that we attribute the error to us, not him.

However, this depends on many factors. What information did the posek have? If someone is misinformed regarding a situation, and we know that as a fact, we are entitled to say that the psak was based on misinformation. Also, depending on how strong the evidence against the Achron, especially if there are other Achronim who disagree, we sometimes do argue with them.

But it depends who you are. You have to be foolish to argue with an expert doctor on a diagnosis if you're an amateur, but if you’re more educated, and you have serious issues with what the doctor says that indicates he made am mistake, you may disobey his advice.

It’s the same thing here. Whether you can argue with someone else depends on (a) who you are , (b) who he is, and (c) what the issue is and how much you know about it.

Just bear in mind that you are not allowed to fool yourself into thinking you are bigger than you are. And Torah, generally, is not a matter of opinion. If you can read the X-ray better than the doctor, then you may be an Odom Godol yourself. Even though Torah has disagreements, it’s like people disagreeing over a reading of an X-ray, where if you want to be entitled to an opinion, you have to back it up with Torah proofs. You can't just say "I feel that this X-ray means XYZ". (Even though Ailu V'Ailu etc, that's only if you have proof.)

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