this reply of yours unfortunately reveals you to be amoron with almost zero skills in reading comprehension. not exactly the best person to take a view on how to comprehend the words of Chazal.I am not usually so rude to people I disagree with, be they rationalists or non-rationalists. Snarky, yes. So what put me over the edge? I don't think it was anger on my part that prompted this. Rather, there is a qualitative difference between what this particular poster and general intellectual opponents.
indeed, your entire first comment was misunderstanding my "second reason", expanding my terse "first reason" into what you thought it would be, and attacking it. (hint: it was not what you said.) perhaps if you first had asked for clarification of my first point, this could have progressed better.
my advice is to work on you reading comprehension skills, and come back in a few years when you are capable of engaging in an intelligent conversation in which you understand what the other party is saying.
i am sorry if this is insulting, but i believe it to be true. which is why i likely won't continue wasting my time conversing, and why you will continue to think you understand my position, but will not.
Basically, of course you can argue with me. And the likelihood is that many of the times someone will argue with me, they will be correct and I will be incorrect. I am not infallible, and also different perspectives and/or knowledge will yield a different analysis, which may well be the correct one. And it is sometimes then productive to argue it out, bringing proofs one way or the other. This is a machlokes which is lesheim Shamayim, even if sometimes it can get frustrating, and even if the participants can sometimes be rude. And even some of the arguments in that post, even though I disagreed with them, were of such a caliber.
As Midwood Mentsch wrote there:
I'm just writing to say that I am very disappointed with the tone that some of your critics take when arguing. At the same time, I think that there is a to'elet from the give and take. For example, I was not aware that you maintain that you can sometimes learn a piece of gemara better than a rishon can. Now, I admit to being shocked by that statement; I need to think about it, though. Without all the give and take, I never would have known your position on this (or on other important issues), so I think that the discussion, even if it comes from a less than positive place, is beneficial to us readers. Thanks so much for being open regarding all these issues.Such an argument lesheim Shamayim, which contributes to reconsidering one's ideas and fleshing them out, is only possible if the other person understands the words coming out of your mouth, or keyboard.
If I say "Ducks are Good" and someone replies, "You said Cows are Green -- and you are wrong for reason X, Y, and Z," then that is not a productive discussion. Not only that, but people might end up thinking that I think cows are green, because that is what has been attributed to me. Now it might be possible to clarify to the individual, and say "No, I said Ducks are Good, not Cows are Green." And then to demonstrate how this is that I meant, and how the words I used indeed meant "Ducks are Good". If the reply to that is not only a refusal to acknowledge that the original words meant "Ducks are Good," but a further misinterpretation of the second statement, that I now added that Pigs Fly, then there is no purpose to future communication with that individual.
But not communicating with that individual might give the impression that it is because I have no good answers to tangential points he made, or that he has somehow "debunked" me. Since not everyone is a careful reader, I spell out carefully the reason it makes no sense to pursue further conversation with that person, while still leaving the door open to rationalists and non-rationalists alike to continue discussing it with me, maybe asking some of the same tangential or essential points in argument. (Indeed, I might clarify my thoughts on the matter in a post or two here on parshablog, and I welcome thoughtful discussion, even that which disagrees with me. ) Though alas, my tone, or else the tone of those who attempted to reply to me, induced the closing of that thread.
On to the particulars. In reply to a different commenter, I gave two reasons why, even if hypothetically a Rishon would give an allegorical interpretation into the gemara in Eruvin, if I thought it was a kvetch, I would indeed consider it a kvetch. Though other Rishonim might label it a daas Yachid or else maintain that indeed demons are real, what right do I have to second-guess the explanation of this hypothetical Rishon and say that the gemara was much more likely intended literally? And so I gave two reasons.
The first reason I wrote in short -- standing on the shoulders of giants. If asked to clarify, I would have, and I have a post planned detailing just what I meant. The second reason I wrote at greater length -- that since I maintain that Chazal can be wrong in matters of science and related matters, without this denigrating them; and since I maintain that it is not heretical to have a different belief than Chazal, this leads to less of a need to teitch up Chazal's words. (I wasn't trying to impute what I would term bias, per se; more along the lines that there are number of possible ways of resolving this contradiction between our possible beliefs and Chazal's statement, and that this path was not as obvious and compelling to religious Jews back then [for otherwise they would not be Rishonim, but Karaim and kofrim], such that out of the available options, they chose the most likely to them. Change the structure, and a different path would become more likely. Some might call this bias, but I think it is more nuanced. But the precise definition of this is beside the point.)
This poster I blasted responded to my comment. He pointed out that reason #2 wasn't a reason, but rather a defense mechanism; and that it was not intended as a reason. He also expanded on my behalf my terse reason #1, and attacked the position he imputed to me.
Rabbi Slifkin responded by clarifying that my reason #2 was indeed written, and intended, as a reason. Because words words words, HENCE, words words words. Or precisely:
He does not have a need to make Chazal agree with his own view. Hence he is not biased.Mr. Lazar then attacked Rabbi Slifkin for reading into my words something I did not say (according to him). Thus:
Please read again what he wrote. He wrote 2 points: disagreeing with Chazal doesn't diminish them, and that he has a right to disagree with them. Your "hence" is contained NOWHERE in anything that he wrote. You are reading into what he wrote something that isn't there. Is this your method in general?I clarified that indeed that was precisely was I intended, and that it was present in my words "this leads to". In other words, that I wrote words words words, THIS LEADS TO words words words.
I wrote one post clarifying that this was what I meant, and also wrote as follows:
besides my clarifying that that was exactly what i meant, it was there in my original statement, when i said "this leads to less of a need to "teitch up" Chazal in a way that they are neither wrong nor am i a heretic. it is great when they are right, and when what i believe accords with them. but i am more open to other possibilities." that was my HENCE.Since reason #2 was given as a reason, a normal reaction would be "Ah, yes, this was introduced as a reason, and there are words there which indicate causality, and the logic flows, even though I may disagree with the conclusion. Oops! My bad. This has been clarified, and now we can proceed with discussing the actual points of disagreement."
Had he responded in such a matter, I might have continued the discussion. Instead, he cut off my quote. I began with the words THIS LEADS TO. He left this out and cited me as saying:
"it is great when they are right, and when what i believe accords with them. but i am more open to other possibilities." that was my HENCE."
With the emended quote, yes, there is no word parallel to HENCE. But that was because he did not read what I wrote! He left out THIS LEADS TO.
And in response to this edited quote, he wrote:
I am confused. The "hence" statement was one that Natan made, not you. My challenge regarding the "hence" statement was to him, not you. Yet now you respond to me by saying, "that was my HENCE." But YOU never said the "hence" in the first place. Unless you and Natan are one and the same.But I never meant that I said the word "hence", such that I was Rabbi Slifkin. "that was my HENCE" meant "that was my equivalent statement to Rabbi Slifkin's HENCE, and so HENCE is indeed in my words." Where, in THIS LEADS TO.
He then continued with:
"i would like to see an explicit retraction or admission on your part on this count"Again, he cited one part of my statement, and completely omitted the beginning, which was the relevant part. I has said "this leads to less of a need to teitch up Chazal." That statement does in and of itself contain the issue of bias, for it implies that certain Rishonim did have such a need.
Sorry - it is not warranted. The statement ""it is great when they are right, and when what i believe accords with them. but i am more open to other possibilities" does not in and of itself contain the issue of bias whatsoever.
But what am I to do? Continue arguing with a moron, who repeatedly does not read the actual words I wrote? This either makes him a moron or a manipulative jerk. And I explained this to him, as above.
He replied with:
I don't find it insulting. I find it somewhat amusing. You have revealed your true colors in the comments, and I appreciate that. Good luck with your continued mission to educate poor unfortunate morons like me!which is either manipulation, or further misreading. I do not consider everyone who disagrees with me to be an unfortunate moron. And I have no mission to educate morons such as this fellow, as I just said it was pointless. I do welcome discussion with non-rationalist and rationalist non-morons, who don't misunderstand every word I write.
One further point. Waxman Fan wrote, in part:
I also wish to point out, and please be patient with me here - remember I am an admirer - that the point you made leading to calling your antagonist a moron, to my mind was not really convincing. You equated your statement of "...with an attitude by which Chazal can say something and I would simply disagree. this leads to less of a need to "teitch up" Chazal in a way that they are neither wrong nor am i a heretic" with the conclusion that "the rishonim could be biased but you are not." (Not a quote, but a summary of what Rabbi Slifkin attributed to you). I don't see how these two "statements" are equal. A person can certainly be open to possibilities that are in disagreement with the rishonim (your first "quote") without ipso facto considering them (the rishonim) to be biased (the opposite of your second quote).But that was not what Mr. Lazar was doing, or what made him a "moron". Besides misunderstanding my original statements, he didn't realize that I was saying that THIS LEADS TO was a "therefore" or a hence. And so he omitted it in his two responses to my words and started the quote later. And he didn't understand (or pretended not to, at least) that I was saying by "this is my HENCE" that this was my equivalent of the word HENCE used by Rabbi Slifkin. In other words, he still didn't realize or admit that in reason #2, I was giving a reason. And that was all I was asking for him to concede.
I understand that you may have meant these statements differently from what I portrayed above, but I think that what I portrayed above is certainly a *reasonable* understanding of the two statements as they appear in this thread. And so to call someone a "moron" for understanding them in this way is, as I said before, rather unbecoming.
In other words, I was not upset about the argument in terms of SUBSTANCE -- whether the contents of my statement were the same as that of Rabbi Slifkin. I was perturbed by the more superficial misunderstanding of my words -- that is, FORM -- such that he omitted to most relevant words of the quote, responded to that, and implied that I had claimed to use the literal word HENCE. (And apparently wondered whether I am really Rabbi Slifkin in disguise, who now slipped up.)
That is what takes a moron, and what makes conversation nearly impossible.