Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Did Rabbi Yaakov Addes cause the Pope to quit?


For one thing, the pope was already speaking (in his book "Light of the World") about the possibility of retiring back in 2010, if he were incapacitated:
But the book, an interview with German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald, also contains many personal reflections on Benedict's health, his daily routine and his future.
"Yes, if a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation, to resign," he says.
Here is the post from yaak, reproduced in full:

Rav Yaakov Ades: "My Book Got the Pope to Quit"

This is amazing if true.

Kikar reports (with an accompanying >37 minute Hebrew-language audio interview) that Rav BuhBut from Bnei Brak had sent a book written by Rav Yaakov Ades Shlit"a called "Divrei Yaakov - Pirkei Mahashava" that was translated into Italian to the pope. The book explains the foundations of Judaism and harshly attacks Xtianity.

The pope sent a letter back that he thanks him for the book, he learns a lot from it, it brings in spirituality, and hinted to the idea that the book will continue to bring great spirituality to the entire world.

A few weeks later, the pope resigned. Rav Ades says that it seems to be because of this book. The resignation, says Rav Ades, shows that the pope is denying the foundations of Xtianity as if he was saying that Xtianity is not true and people should stop going to church. A spiritual leader doesn't just quit like a political leader, he says.

What is special about this book? "Is there a lack of books against Xtianity?" Rav Ades asks. He explains that this book shows that while in Xtianity and other religions faith replaces the mind, this book shows that faith in Judaism does not replace the mind.

Rav Ades says that the book shows that supernatural Deveikut is possible even for a non-Jew, something that was missing from Xtianity. 

(I expect a heavy dose of skepticism about this.  Before dismissing outright, however, one should realize who Rav Yaakov Ades Shlit"a is first and how he is not one to look for fame, and then carefully calculate one's words.)
R' Yaakov Addes
Just Oy. I provided my analysis in a comment there, but it is such an obvious point that I wonder how anyone can take the claim seriously for even half a moment. It reflects such... simplicity. As I wrote there:
OK, done calculating.

The facts of the story sound plausible. He sent a book to the pope and the pope sent back a form letter. Because that is what "he thanks him for the book, he learns a lot from it, it brings in spirituality, and hinted to the idea that the book will continue to bring great spirituality to the entire world" means. It is a standard polite form letter from a very busy public figure. I doubt the pope even read the book. Otherwise, a harsh attack on Christianity would not get this response. [Edit: It might, if the pope read it but still wished to give a polite brush-off.]

Then, the pope resigns. This has absolutely nothing to do with this book.

Then, Rabbi Ades interprets a connection between the two, and say that "it seems" to him to be cause of his book.

I don't think Rav Yaakov Ades shlita is one who looks for fame. Though i don't know him one way or another.

I do think that it is quite possible that he does not understand what a form letter is, and misinterpreted the form letter as a glowing haskama and a renunciation of the Christian faith.


yaak said...

Thank you for including my post.

If it was so obviously false, why post about it?

If it's La'afukei those who might "stray" after the Kikar article, then it's a re'aya that it's not obvious.

isaacson said...

I'm sure you are correct but to play devil's advocate for a second.
1. without seeing the letter how do you know for sure? simply because he only quoted part of the letter, and certainly not verbatim?

2. What would a "true" story look like?

Meaning if someone did send the Pope a book disproving Christianity and let's say some how it got straight to the Pope. And for the sake of argument the Pope had finished reading time magazine or whatever he reads on the can and picked up this new book he got and was just riveted, he couldn't put it down.

He cancels all his appointments, snuggles up under his blanky and reads it cover to cover. And the Pope has this huge revelation! "We're totally wrong! This book has opened my eyes!" Says the holy father. But he quickly realizes he can't tell anyone about this or he will surely be killed (do Jews think we're the only ones with chassidim who "take care of problems"?) so instead he blames his health and quietly steps aside.

Highly unlikely? OK. Out of the question? Who says?

joshwaxman said...

it is obvious to those who would not stray after the kikar article. those who would stray are of similar 'temimus' to Rabbi Addes.

i don't know for sure, just like i don't know for sure that aliens didn't abduct the pope and it is his doppelganger who is retiring.

but in an implausible story such as this one, where the 'compelling' evidence offered clearly matches a form letter, and those who offer it don't realize that these details so match, and when people from this community have been similarly 'simple' in evaluating the world in the past, then yes, i am going to safely assume that the evidence provided is the evidence they have.

i also have my doubts that someone without sophistication in interfaith dialogue would come up with a sophisticated enough argument to convince the pope. (whether such argument is true or not.) 'while in Xtianity and other religions faith replaces the mind, this book shows that faith in Judaism does not replace the mind' doesn't seem to cut it.

a true story would have details of the letter suggesting that the pope actually read and responded to points raised in the book. while your narrative is an extremely remote possibility, it is extremely remote, and not a conclusion that people should simply assume and be inspired by.

if you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

Mark said...

Doesn't the pope have askanim that keep the dreck (books like this) away from him?


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