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MODERATOR Posted - 11 January 2008 10:08

Hi flipped,

I noticed that on more than one place on the site (Zionism and secular studies come to mind) after an entire discussion of the issues, you ask for or mention the need for some kind of rundown on every godols' opinion on the matter.

Two things about this:

1) Of course its good to know what relevant people hold about an issue, but if (like in the secular studies forum), after hearing that Chazal, the shulchan aruch, the Rishonim and poskim all hold one way without any dissenting opinion, you still ask for a run down of every godols' opinion on the matter, there is something missing to this picture.

It's clear form your posts - not only from the ones on the above 2 threads but in general - that you have been led to believe that there are "different opinions" about issues on which there has been a clear monolithic consensus and acceptance of one proper derech and one improper one. Anyone who wants to violate the Torah can always say "there are different opinions" whether it is so or not, and they can teach it in their off-the-derech Yeshivos as well. Now you know one of the reasons why those Yeshivos and communities are not accepted. It’s not an issue of different approaches. It’s an issue of distorting the Torah, simple as that.

2) Judaism is not like science. In science there are no such thing as "authorities". Everyone can disagree with anyone else. In Torah, our entire religion is based on authority of the person with the opinions. I can’t argue on the Chazal, only because the Tanaim and Amorayim were so much greater than I am, and I would be foolish to try to argue with them. Without the idea that we have a Mesorah of who is an authority and whose opinion counts, our religion falls apart. If we know Moshe Rabeinu held a certain way, we would follow. Why can’t we argue?

If we know that the Tanaim held a certain way, we consider that conclusive. Why can’t I argue?

If we know that the Amorayim held a certain way, we consider that conclusive. Why can’t I argue?

The Rishonim, the Shulchan Aruch, the Gedolei Poskim --- all of these have a measure of authority that is determined ONLY by our Mesorah. There is no Policies and Procedures document that came down from the sky and told us who to listen to. It is all our Mesorah.

If a certain combination of Rishonim held a certain way, the Shulchan Aruch would pasken like that automatically; Ashkenazim pasken like Tosfos and the Rosh in general, Sefardim like the Rif and Rambam. There are many many examples of this --- without the idea that there are certain authorities greater than others, you may as well argue on Moshe Rabbeinu. Why not? Doesn’t say anywhere in the Torah Moshe was infallible. In fact, we know he wasn’t perfect.

So too every generation has its Gedolei Hador who Klall Yisroel relies on, because they are the greatest authorities of the generation. As we learn in Pirkei avos - Moshe gave the Torah to Yehoshua, who gave it to the zekeinim, who gave it to the neviim who gave it to the anshei keneses hagedolah etc etc etc throughout the entire mesechta.

What does this mean? Isn’t it true that the entire nation got the torah and we teach it to all our children? Why does it say only the Gedolim gave it to the next generation of Gedolim?

The answer is, that every generation learns Torah form the Gedolim of their generation, and those who learn so well that they can teach it authoritatively to the generation, well, they become one of the Gedolim! Our entire religion is based on authority.

So imagine Pirkei Avos extending to our generations. Who would be the givers and receivers of Torah. The teachers of the generation?

You would have the Chofetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish, Rav Chaim Ozer, the Brisker Rav, Rav Ahron Kotler, to name just the most obvious.

When The Chofetz Chaim wanted to move to Eretz yisroel and Rav Chaim Ozer asked him but if you move, who will lead klall yisroel here? The Chofetz Chaim answered what do you mean? - Rav Elchonon Wasserman will!

When they asked Rav Elchonon who will lead Klall Yisroel after Rav Chaim was niftar, he said the Brisker Rav should - since he has a very strong Mesorah.

More often than not, when the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah used to meet, everyone voiced their opinion, until Rav Ahron Kotler stated his - then they all acquiesced to whatever Rav Ahron said. Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky once said about Rav Ahron, "He has gotten so great I don’t think I can even disagree with him any longer."

Of course there can be - and is - disagreement among Gedolim, just as there always was. However, if you know that there is in fact a consensus among the Gedolei HaDor - and by that I mean those great enough to be authoritative leaders of the generation, and more - if all those Gedolim have stated that the reason there is such a consensus in these issues is because it is simply an issue of basic Judaism, and any deviation is simply idolatry, and not based on Torah but personal negiyus or distorted values, NOT legitimate Torah arguments, and that nobody has any right to follow any dissenting opinions on these matters regardless of how you were brought up, and even though there are some Talmidei Chachamim and rabbis who may dissent, their dissenting is like what happened in the days of the egel or Korach or shabse tzvi, and they must be ignored, then if you tell me yes but Rabbi so-and-so - or many rabbi so-and-sos, dissented, I will tell you OK, so? Ignore them.

And then if I show you that the opinion of the Gedolim happens to be clear from a Torah perspective, so glaringly obvious that the dissenters have nothing to say in response, and what they do muster in their defense can be easily disproved logically, sometimes even in a laughable manner, then you should all the more so throw your hands up to heaven and thank Hashem she'hivdilanu min Haltom venison lanu Toras emes.

And then, if I show you that some great respected scholars among the dissenters (though of course not nearly in the league of the Gedolim) have actually forged documents and purposely concealed facts in their own seforim to try to convince people of the correctness of their position, then what in the world are we talking about?

So please fliipedoutfish - when anybody tells you there are 2 opinions on an issue, (a) verify exactly who says what (because in your list of rabbis that you put up in the Zionism forum there were many who were misrepresented), and (b) consider what the authority id of those who said what, and (c) consider the honesty and objectivity of the 2 sides.

Yknow what I mean?

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