Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The land of *whose* people??

Summary: Ibn Ezra vs. Mizrachi. And I suspect that neither one is right.

Post: At the start of Balak, Balak sends for Bilaam:

5. He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of his people, to call for him, saying, "A people has come out of Egypt, and behold, they have covered the "eye" of the land, and they are stationed opposite me.ה. וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָכִים אֶל בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר פְּתוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר עַל הַנָּהָר אֶרֶץ בְּנֵי עַמּוֹ לִקְרֹא לוֹ לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם הִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת עֵין הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב מִמֻּלִי:

Rashi explains, based on Midrashim, that in "the land of his people", "his" refers to Balak:

the land of his people: [I.e.,] Balak’s [people]. He came from there. This one [Balaam] prophesied, telling him, “You are destined to rule.” If you ask, “Why did God bestow His Shechinah on a wicked gentile?” [The answer is] so the nations should not have an excuse to say, “Had we had prophets we would have repented.” So He assigned them prophets, but they breached the [morally] accepted barrier, for at first they had refrained from immorality, but he [Balaam] advised them to offer themselves freely for prostitution. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 1, Num. Rabbah 20:1]ארץ בני עמו: של בלק. משם היה, וזה היה מתנבא ואומר לו עתיד אתה למלוך. ואם תאמר מפני מה השרה הקב"ה שכינתו על גוי רשע, כדי שלא יהא פתחון פה לאומות לומר אלו היו לנו נביאים חזרנו למוטב, העמיד להם נביאים והם פרצו גדר העולם, שבתחלה היו גדורים בעריות וזה נתן להם עצה להפקיר עצמן לזנות:


Thus Balak is not initially from Moav. Thus Bemidbar Rabba:

ארץ בני עמו שמשם היה בלק והוא אמר לו שסופו למלוך. 


So too Midrash Tanchuma:
ארץ בני עמו שמשם היה בלק (כשנמלך), והוא אמר: שסופך למלוך.

To demonstrate that this need not be purely midrashic, I will note that Rashbam says the same:
ארץ בני עמו - של בלק. 

Ibn Ezra  writes on this:
ארץ בני עמו -והם ארמים.
וכן מפתור ארם נהרים.

ובדרש:
שבלעם הוא בלע, כי זה ארמי ואם בעבור בעור אביו, הנה בן אחשורוש קודם אחשורוש, רק הם שנים.
The first part it just to establish what is ambiguous, what land it is, namely Aram. In the second part, he dismisses the midrashic identification (made in Targum Pseudo-Yonatan) of Bilaam ben Beor the sorcerer with Bela ben Beor king of Edom. After all, "Bnei Amo" shows that this land, Aram, is his {= Bilaam's} land. And so how would he be the king of Edom, an Edomite?

Avi Ezer, a supercommentator of Ibn Ezra, says שרא ליה מריה and refers us to the supercommentary of Mizrachi on Rashi:

Basically, he gives the reason for Midrash Rabba (and Tanchuma) that why should we mention eretz bnei amo -- after all, the simple assumption is that any resident of a country was born there. Further, he is astonished at Ibn Ezra for arguing on the midrash, for by contrasting Bilaam the Aramean with Bela the Edomite, he is arguing on the (Tanchuma and) Bemidbar Rabba's explanation of עמו as referring to Balak! And furthermore, who revealed to Ibn Ezra the truth such that he will argue with a midrash?!

I don't think that Ibn Ezra would be bothered by such trumpeting. Of course he can argue on midrash when it comes to peshat. I would point out that the midrashic explanation rooted on Arami Oved Avi, brought down by Targum Yonatan, that Bilaam is really Lavan, is predicated on Bilaam being from Aram, and thus an Aramean, presumably is based in part on this Eretz Bnei Amo as Bilaam's land.

The midrash interpreted it as Balak's land because there was an ambiguity which called out darsheni, and so they chose the less obvious yet available interpretation. Further, it solves various other problems as to Balak and his role as now-king of Moav. That the midrash develops a general picture made out of particular interpretations of pesukim does not mean, however, that medieval parshanim must subscribe to that midrashic interpretation, as a religious matter.

Also, the radical Ibn Ezra is an easy target. Would Avi Ezer say שרא ליה מריה, and would Mizrachi be so ready to criticize Ramban? For Ramban explicitly says the same, as a matter of peshat:
ה): ארץ בני עמו - 
של בלק. משם היה, וזה היה מתנבא ואומר לו עתיד אתה למלוך, לשון רש"י מדברי אגדה (במדב"ר כ ז). ש
ופשוטו, ארץ בני עמו של בלעם, כי שם נולד ושם יחוסו. והטעם להזכיר כן, מפני שהיה קוסם מן הארץ שכל עמה קוסמים, כעניין שכתוב (ישעיה ב ו): כי מלאו מקדם ועוננים כפלשתים:

And the Netziv is frum, and yet agrees with Ramban (and thus Ibn Ezra) on this.

Despite all this, I suspect that neither the midrash nor Ibn Ezra are correct in interpreting eretz bnei amo, as a matter of peshat. Rather, I still maintain what I suggested a while back at some length, rather than עמו, we should understand it as עמון, the land of Bnei Ammon. That is the land of Ammon, as Ammon took its name from the boy called Ben-Ammi.

Anyway, I just noticed that the Samaritan Torah has the same -- they change עמו to עמון:

Not that I think that the text is correct. However, it does show that way back when, some people were looking at the text and thinking Ammon for Ammo, such that a scribe "corrected" the text to match this understanding.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

meir says
Maybe this is simple but i dont know the answer and the one who is shy will not learn.
Rus came from Lot.Rus came from Balak. If Balak was not from Moab how does this work out.

joshwaxman said...

meir:
it is a strong question. it is discussed (by me and others) here and then here.

kol tuv,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
Thank you very much for your reply and telling me to look at sota 47a
I did look there in the new mesivta gemoro and am rather surprised that he quotes all your quotes but also adds a maharsho which on is the page which i did not see you quote. If you did quote it please delete this post.

joshwaxman said...

i should note that I don't own that blog, and all the legwork you see in the posts themselves are the work of that blog author. i am just responsible for two comments on that post.

no, i didn't see the maharsha on this, but then, i didn't really research this in depth.

kol tuv,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
Thank you for the link to R Padwa tshuvah. I doubt if he has a web site and i therefore hope you dont mind me asking you to explain it.
He basically says at the very end that the din of 'yotszay' depends on where it grows the most. And therefore even though it grows to a certain extent in a treifa fish since most of its growth is in the kosher fish it is a kosher worm.
Similar to if one took a fetus from a non Jewish woman and installed it in a Jewish one and it was later born from a Jewish woman the child would be Jewish since most of its development was in the Jewish woman. Without going into that question specifically at the moment and i am not up to date with the rules of 'ze vze goirem'. I am aware that a hen raised on traifus is also traifo. The idea of 'yotsai' was as far as i know never meant to include that. In other words, when it came out of the treifa fish it was traifo and now having gone into the kosher fish it becomes kosher, even though the 'parents' of this worm were in the 'whale' and definitely not kosher. I do not know how to copy the last lines of the tshuva but it would be helpful, to understand what i am talking about.
I hope its not too much trouble for you.

Anonymous said...

meir says
It seems i cant edit a post
I must add according to his reasoning it should be kosher even in the belly and not just in the flesh. Unless one says different worms reside there. Or that the main growth only starts in the flesh.

joshwaxman said...

i don't know that i will get around to translating / analyzing the full teshuva. perhaps. i'm pretty confident that there will be back and forth on this, from the osrim and mattirim.

in terms of even that in the belly being muttar, perhaps. i'd have to look at it again, with your question in mind. but i think this whole thing is going according to the assumption that there might be a problem, which means according to modern scientific analysis rather than the gemara's assumptions. or perhaps he would say that in the belly, we don't know how long it has been in it -- perhaps even just 1 minute, while in the flesh, it must have traveled from the belly and had time to develop. such that we go back to the safek / vadai setup...

kt,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
After further thought on the matter.
Although one does find in zeraim that added heter can afterwards make the original issur boteil, the laws of animal and vegetable are not the same.
Honey is muttar although it starts out as nectar heter and goes through the bee, since the bee doesnt have any input (even its legs!) on the honey.
I cannot believe that the host fish has any input on the eggs larva or worm.
I must again repeat that once a thing is ossur be it in egg larva or worm form. Even it should change it will not become muttar by being in hetter host.
My example of a child born from a Jewish mother is different because it had no status before hand and therefore it only recieves its status when it us born and is therefore Jewish.
I dont think the whole tshuva needs translating most of it is not really relevant just that last few lines. I will try again to copy them in Hebrew.

joshwaxman said...

"Honey is muttar although it starts out as nectar heter and goes through the bee, since the bee doesnt have any input (even its legs!) on the honey."
in terms of honey, see this announcement, that honey nowadays is assur, since today's bees DO have input on the honey.

http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/06/kashrus-alert-honey-today-is-not-kosher.html

kt,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
I am rather surprised at your last post. They do not say that honey is ossur. They just look for reasons why its muttar, perhaps you didnt read right to the end where they add a disclaimer. Anyway I wasnt referring to the kashrus of honey but to the official reasoning behind it and how it applies in the case of the worms.
I must also add that I think its an excellent thing that a tshuva can be analyzed through the media and would suggest that all contemporary issue tshuvas all recieve this treatment especially those that are machmir. The age of secrecy which was never intended as part of the Torah, has now passed. If a rav gives a ruling he should be prepared as well to prove it to the public.
At the moment it is well known that Jewish people use the courts, mainly because they give reasons for their verdicts and are seen to be fair. If dayanim would start doing the same I think one would see a great increase in their use.
There is nothing wrong with the shulcan oruch and goyish law is not seen as superior only the way it is applied.

joshwaxman said...

i did read until the end. that post (and my comment here) was written tongue-in-cheek.

Anonymous said...

meir says
some further thoughts on the tshuva.
I hope to see others also comment on it. Maybe they do on other sites of which i am unaware. At the beginning he comes up with this chidush.
I as usual explain it in simple terms although it is not the example he gives.
I found this example yesterday in the new mesivta on shvouos.
a pregnant wife of a cohen is allowed to go to a cemetery because there is a double doubt. It may be a girl and if not, it may not live. Since today one can test by scans, does she have to do this before entering a cemetery?
The answer is that if the double doubts would be equal, since she is gaining nothing by finding out it is a boy, since a further doubt still remains she does not have to.
With the worms one does not need to check if there are any since even if they are they may be kosher.
What is novel about this is, is that in the case of the pregnant wife both doubts are of 'metsius' whereas here the second doubt is of halacha. What is your opinion on the matter?
Thanking you for giving me space on your blog and for bringing contemporary issues to the wider public.

joshwaxman said...

according to rashba, in some cases you can apply the sfek sfeika that perhaps it is not there, and even if there, maybe it already it degraded and is no longer whole. (and so wouldn't be a berya and would be batel.) i was under the impression that that was the ספק ספיקא he was discussing.

but maybe he was thinking of the ספק ספיקא i was thinking of, that maybe it is not there, and if there, maybe it developed inside the fish rather than coming from the outside and is therefore muttar. (the problem with such a ספק ספיקא is that it is not *reversable*, and the Shach requires that it be reversable so as not to collapse into a single safeik. a few argue with the Shach on this point.)

maybe he means maybe despite all this evidence before our eyes anisakis worm is muttar just like Chazal and Shulchan Aruch say; and maybe it is not there. or that maybe it is muttar because it later grows to some degree in the fish. whatever that safek in halacha is, there is also the safek whether it is there.

Can you clarify what his safek lehalacha was, from reading the teshuva?

In *some* instances (though not all), I recall Rav Schachter questioning that one cannot rely on an halachic safeik as one of them, because it is the role of the rabbis to decide, and once paskened it is no safeik.

However, this is not necessarily such a big chiddush. For example:
http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/727118/Rabbi_Aryeh_Lebowitz/May_a_Man_Have_Long_Hair
"Rav Ovadia Yosef (שו“ת יחוה דעת חלק ב‘ סימן ב‘) believes that at the very least one can apply a ספק ספיקא to allow one to wear תפילין של ראש on top of a generous amount of hair. First, perhaps the הלכה follows the רשב“א that one may have a חציצה on the head, and even if the הלכה accords with the רא“ש perhaps hair, regardless of length, does not constitute a חציצה."

This is clearly a sfeik sfeika where one safek is in halacha.

joshwaxman said...

another example, regarding sefirat haOmer:
האם דין זה מבוסס על ספק ספיקא - שמא ספר כשורה, וגם אם לא ספר, אולי הלכה כרוב הראשונים שאין צורך בספירת כל הימים

another example, from sefirat haOmer:
והטעם דאיכא ספק ספיקא שמא לא דילג כלל ואת"ל שדילג שמא הלכה כאותן פוסקים דכל יום הוא מצוה בפ"ע.

an example from Nishmat Adam:
ויש לומר שיש כאן ספק ספיקא, שמא הלכה כנוסחת הירושלמי האחרת, "והוא ששנה על אתר", ובעינן משנה וגמרא דוקא, וכן פסק רבינו ירוחם

another one from yalkut yosef, from rav ovadia yosef:
שיש כאן ספק ספיקא להקל, שמא לא נכבש במים מעת לעת, ואף אם תמצא לומר שנכבש מעת לעת, שמא הלכה כדעת הסוברים דכבוש כמבושל הוא רק בשלשה ימים, ושמא הלכה כהסוברים דכבוש כמבושל הוא רק בחומץ.

another one from rav ovadia yosef, in yechaveh daas, though here both would seem to be in halacha; maybe:
ומכל מקום נראה שבבין השמשות שהוא ספק יום ספק לילה, רשאים לומר נפילת אפים, ומה גם דהוי ספק ספיקא, שמא הלכה כדברי הגאונים והפוסקים הסוברים שרשאים לומר נפילת אפים גם בלילה, ואם תמצא לומר שהלכה כמקובלים שמחמירים, שמא בבין השמשות שפיר דמי, כיון שהוא ספק יום

another one, though this is clearly two sfeikot in halacha, from Rav Yitzchak Abulafia:
בשו"ת פני יצחק אבולעפייא (לר' יצחק בן משה אבולעפייה, ח"ב, דף ס"ט, ע"ד) עשה בזה ספק ספיקא להקל: שמא הלכה כהאומרים דעדי קידושין כעדי נפשות ממש והעדות בטלה, ואם תמצי לומר דהוי כדיני ממונות, שמא הלכה כמו ש"ך וסיעתו דאף בדיני ממונות אם אמר אחד איני יודע עדותן בטלה.

and from levush mordechai:
ועוד נראה דעי' בשו"ת לבוש מרדכי, שכתב טעם להקל בצוה"פ מכח ספק ספיקא, א' שמא אינו רה"ר, ואפי' את"ל דהוי רה"ר שמא מהני ע"י צוה"פ בלחוד לעשותו רה"י מה"ת, ומכח ס"ס מותרת הטלטול מה"ת, ומצד איסורא דרבנן, דאינו מועיל צוה"פ לרה"ר, סגי בספק א' שמא אינו רה"ר,

So, while I certainly am no expert on sfeik sfeika, which is a very complex subject, it does seem that there is ample precedent for a ספק ספיקא to be based on halacha. certainly Rav Ovadia Yosef (and others) holds so. but others might argue on him. i don't know.

kol tuv,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
With all due respect i think you are missing my point.
First of all the wording of R Padwa is and I quote 'it is definite and without a doubt that even worms which come from outside cannot be classified only as doubtful (non kosher) worms.
You can make of that what you will. And i personally dont agree. Now to the main point. I am quite aware that a double doubt can include even a doubt in halacha. That was not my point. My point was the chidush that even if you can clarify one doubt you dont have to, since the second doubt remains. And that even applies where it is a doubt in halacha.

joshwaxman said...

"With all due respect i think you are missing my point."
indeed. it would certainly have been clearer had you written this in the first place. the other example threw me.

"it is definite and without a doubt that even worms which come from outside cannot be classified only as doubtful (non kosher) worms"
a slight correction. while a literal translation of the Hebrew, in English you would write 'can only be considered as doubtful worms.'

i would agree that most likely he is saying these are safek because of the psak of Chazal and Shulchan Aruch.

if it is indeed a chiddush, i think i would agree to it, because while an extension from the base case, as a whole, it has a din/situation sfek sfeka, and who says we should start distinguishing between them? (yes, some distinguish between אפשר לברר and not, so too some distinguish between ספיקא דדינא and not, in general, so perhaps.) then again, i am certainly no expert on sfek sfeka, and am not engaged right now in deep study of this subject matter.

(also, maybe these are not the species/location of Tolaim which are assur, for other unstated reasons from Chazal [like Rav Dessler says regarding lice] or by virtue of Chazal's force [like Rav Hertzog], could be made parallel to maybe the woman is not Jewish, or maybe the baby will be a neifel, sych that the relevant dinim which apply to other species don't apply to them. that is, maybe he regards the halachic safek as a sort of safek in metzius, as he considers them 'safek tolaim'.)

rav padwa could probably do a much better job defending his thesis, in this, and in general, than i am here. i don't really have the time or inclination. if i would, i would take it piece by piece, like a proposed above, expanding it by lookup up all the source material, etc., rather than responding off-the-cuff to points throughout the article.

shkoyach, though, on your analysis. an interesting point.

kt,
josh

joshwaxman said...

again, i am not engaged in the subject matter right now, but it *appears* that Rav Aharon Lewin did consider it to be such a safek, where one safek was in din, such that one need not be mevarer the metzius:

http://bdld.info/2010/02/04/the-elephants-birthday-party-and-the-one-true-son-a-study-in-forensics/

"Rav Levin was asked a classic, textbook-style Kashrus question, and his responsum revolves around a leniency based upon the principle of ספק ספיקא:

על דבר שאלתו באחד שנשלחו לו ממקום רחוק על ידי בי דואר בערב שבת תרנגולת ואווזא, ושניהם היו מלוחים, ונמצא על הקורקבן של התרנגולת כמין יבלת מבחוץ, ושלח לשאול את המורה והטריף התרנגולת, כי מהיבלת הי’ יוצא שביל לבן עד העבר השני, ועתה נולד ספק שמא האווזא נמלחה יחד עם התרנגולת, ושאל השואל מה דין האווזא

א) הנה לכאורה יש להתיר האווזא מכח ספק ספיקא, ספק אחד שמא לא נמלחה יחד עם התרנגולת, ואם תמצא לומר נמלחה, שמא הלכה כראבי”ה דסבירא ליה דכל מליחה אינה אוסרת רק כדי קליפה, …10

Rav Levin raises an objection, however: we may not utilize a ספק whose resolution is feasible:

אמנם מה שיש לעיין בנידון דידן, אם הספק הראשון שמא לא נמלחו יחד מועיל לענין ספק ספיקא, כי הספק הזה אפשר לברר על ידי שאלה למשלח, וכל היכי דאיכא לברורי לא מהני ספק ספיקא,

Rav Levin then raises the qestion that even if we suggest that since there was no time to contact the sender before Shabbas, we are not required to give up our Simhas Shabbas and we may rely upon ספק ספיקא, in contemporary times, there is a “machine called a telephone” via which we can achieve (immediate) inter-city communication by “paying a certain sum to the post office”, and perhaps we are required to make use of it:

ד) אמנם יש להסתפק בזמננו שאפשר לדבר מרחוק מעיר לעיר על ידי מכונה הנקראת טעלעפאן, כשמשלמין סך מסוים על הבי דואר, אם החיוב להוציא הסך הזה ולדבר אל המשלח כדי שיתברר הדבר עוד קודם השבת או לא.

והנה מלשון הש”ך בכללי הס”ס ל”ה ס”ק שכתב, דיש להחמיר בספק ספיקא דאיכא לברורי כשאין הפסד מוכח, דאם איכא הפסד ל”מ אפשר לברורי, ואם כן יש לומר כיון שההכרח לשלם עבור הדיבור מרחוק, לא הוי אפשר לברורי, אולם בתשובת רעק”א סימן ע”ז כתב, דאפילו אם איכא לברורי על ידי טורח והוצאה גם כן מקרי איכא לברורי,
..."

Anonymous said...

Meir says
A most interesting link. Apparently he doesnt he doesnt utilise this svoro. Since he wants to say one would have to use the telephone to be 'mavarer' the first sofek.
I am not sure if i can discuss here the rest of the link, but i will just mention one point and see what your opinion of it is. Today when a woman can find out in advance when she is ossur through modern methods, and the gemoros methods at best hardly work well. She is mechuyav to use modern methods. The 'knei boisem' does touch this point but apparently when his sefer was written the modern methods were not as effective as today which i think are foolproof.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to answer my posts.

joshwaxman said...

"Apparently he doesnt he doesnt utilise this svoro. Since he wants to say one would have to use the telephone to be 'mavarer' the first sofek."
i cut it off there. but he is saying that maybe one should use the telephone, now that we have a telephone rather than having to send a letter, and it is not a case of hefsed, for as Rav Lewin writes, דאם איכא הפסד ל”מ אפשר לברורי. r' padwa says the same thing but i think claims that this is a case akin to hefsed. (see third paragraph, ve-af.)

so he perhaps WOULD utilize the sevara, given a parallel situation. he considers it such a sfek sfeka.

but yes, it appears that Rav Lewin does not apply this. it might be because one is a safek in halacha, but perhaps because he disagrees with the Nodah Biyhuda that where only one safek can be resolved, we needn't.

as to your question, while a good question, i don't want to take a position. though of course it touches on the question of whether we have to use UV lights on red fish. maybe lo nitna torah lemalachei hashares. or maybe not.

kt,
josh

joshwaxman said...

let me pose another question. where chazal say something is only assur up to a klipa, need we run tests in labs with radioactive markers to see how much is absorbed?

should we discard tataa gavar now that we know the laws of thermodynamics?

should we forbid metzitza (b'feh or otherwise) on shabbos since if now know that it is not a sakana to omit it?

how much of shulchan aruch are we willing to rewrite?

kt,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
you are talking about kulos. I am talking about chumros.
there is a difference
I believe the whole shulchan oruch has to be written.
I cant say everything in one go but i have many innovations

joshwaxman said...

firstly, all my examples were of *chumros*. it could absorb much more than a mere klipa. and we would say a chumra that ilaa gavar and certain things would be assur. and a chumra not to violate the laws of Shabbos.

secondly, i am sure you have many innovations. that is what i was hinting at, that all of shulchan aruch would need to be rewritten.

but if you indeed do this, like Rav Lampronti (iirc), and say this only lechumra, then you will end up not only with a radical new Shulchan Aruch, but one in which no one will be able to do anything, because almost *everything* will be assur.

(i believe i can show, for example, that the entire concept of bittul is based on the continuum rather than atomic model of the universe, as the Greek scientists have remarkably *similar* discussions of how something is no longer there once it cannot be sensed, because we are not dealing with particles which appear or disappear, but substance which takes on the {hot, cold, wet, dry} properties of surrounding materials. They even talk about חוזר ונעור. By all rights, then, nothing nowadays should be batel, even in 1000!)

from Rosh Hashanah 14b:
[Someone who acts in accordance with the] leniencies of beit Shamai and the leniencies of beit Hillel, [is] wicked. [Someone who acts in accordance with the] stringencies of beit Shamai and the stringencies of beit Hillel, on him the verse states: ‘and the fool walks in darkness’. Rather if [he acts in accordance] with beit Shamai, [then he should follow both] their leniencies and the stringencies, and if [he acts in accordance] with beit Hillel, [then he should follow both] their leniencies and the stringencies.

While I can imagine a Judaism reworked consistently, or left alone without such reanalysis, I really don't believe that such a reanalysis lechumra, such that we don't do hundreds of thousands of things which have been permitted and established halacha from the time of Moshe Rabbeinu until today, is really the ratzon Hashem.

kt,
josh

Anonymous said...

meir says
First of all your example of cooking which i am sure is correct, may have other reasons. For instance, cooking through the sun is the finished product that different than cooking under fire.
Although i think the torah evolves, to prove the point, if the pm"g argues with the mg"a we follow the pm"g although we are sure the mg"a would have an answer.
אין לדיין אלא מה שעיניו רואות
This applies to the whole torah. My example was something to enhance (to keep it properly) the torah. There is nothing against it in the gemorro unlike yours.
Out of interest, can you quote me any previous godol who says explicitly that one follows the torah against science. I am aware of the chazon Ish who takes a godol to task for not doing this more than once.
Although one holds a rishon cannot make a mistake, that is only in svoro but there are examples of rishonim making mistakes in 'teva'.
Also in topography. So is it so far fetched for that to be with tanoim, amoroim as well. An example is the one quoted who did not understand chickens. I can go on but this thread is already getting too unwieldy, and i think i have made my point and just bringing further examples, unless one will agree to adopt them serves no purpose.

joshwaxman said...

first off, i'd like to apologize for my combative attitude. it is one i often assume for rhetorical purposes only.

"First of all your example of cooking which i am sure is correct, may have other reasons."
why the sudden attempt to find kulos? and where was this reserved attitude when it came to evaluating rav padwa's assertion that these may only be considered safek tolaim?

your example does not really pertain to my examples, i think.

but e.g. kli sheni aino mevashel. (which i believe also has parallel in greek science, but ignore this for now.) but sometimes, for some substances, we do say that it is, or may be. for example bread in hot soup, since it is soft. so it is a matter of metzius. shouldn't we say that it is a matter of the temperature, rather than whether it is direct or indirect heat? (i can go on like this for hours, btw.)

"This applies to the whole torah. My example was something to enhance (to keep it properly) the torah."
there is an unfortunate trend nowadays to regard the more draconian measure as the more optimal, and more enhanced.

if by more enhanced, you mean "true", because the Torah is a Torah of truth, then yes. but then we should maintain a true Torah bein lechumra or lekullah. a din established in error, or a minhag established in error, is not the same as a simple minhag which we no longer want to keep.

joshwaxman said...

"There is nothing against it in the gemorro unlike yours."
but in terms of anisakis worms, it does go against a gemara. and why should this matter? are you saying that Chazal have power to legislate even when they are wrong? i might agree, but this should be clarified.

"Out of interest, can you quote me any previous godol who says explicitly that one follows the torah against science."
this was discussed in terms of lice not spontaneously generating, and I mentioned them above more than once.

Rav Dessler said something similar to what you suggested above. Namely, that though Chazal give a false reason, the *true* reason has been lost in antiquity. And so, we should follow the rule even though the science directly contradicts.

There is also Rav Hertzog, who said that it does not matter whether they were wrong or right. Rather, it is Chazal's authority which is binding, even though they based themselves on a faulty premise. (Compare Rabbi Yehoshua vs Rabban Gamliel about the time for Yom Kippur.)

I'd need to see the precise case from the Chazon Ish, to evaluate whether he would extend it to explicit cases where it seems Chazal are *wrong*. But the Chazon Ish does have a statement similar to Rav Hertzog, regarding the 2000 years of tohu vavohu, 2000 years of Torah, and 2000 years of mashiach, such that what is enacted during the 2000 years of Torah is then fixed, and there is no more chiddush. whether this would extend to the present case is another story.

"Although one holds a rishon cannot make a mistake"
Some people may hold this. I certainly don't. Why couldn't a Rishon make a mistake in sevara?

"but there are examples of rishonim making mistakes in 'teva'"
indeed.

"So is it so far fetched for that to be with tanoim, amoroim as well."
no. although there will be some -- such as those who banned rabbi slifkin's books, who are also signing on to this present issur on fish -- who maintain that to say that anything in the gemara is false is utter heresy. there are multiple ways of holding here.

i would note that of course we assume they could err, either in sevara or metzius. the whole idea of par heelem davar shel tzibur, and much of masechet Horayos, is predicated on this idea.

another example. the gemara assumes that a girl under three years and a day, her besulim will return after bia. such that rashbi holds that if she converts before that time, she is fit to marry a kohen. (and the gemara states that if after that by a day, it would not return. and that this reality will mold to whether bet din establishes a leap year, etc.)
given that gynecologists will dispute this, if we can determine this is not so, would we undo this halacha for the general young convertess?

given that nowadays, many of the things labeled by chazal as treifa will live past 12 months, and certain things not labeled as treifa would not, would you be mattir? would you be machmir?

kt,
josh

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin