Saturday, November 29, 2008

All men are equal II - Critique & conclusion


What follows is my critique of the discussion between RaP and Rabbi Micha Berger. Pushing aside the smoke and mirrors in RaP's rhetoric it is obvious that his view is simply wrong and he has cited the Maharal out of context. What follows is first the main assertions of both sides with RaP's claim of victory because of his citation of the Maharal's views in chapter 1 of Tiferes Yisroel. Afterwards I discuss the issue and show citations from the Maharal and his student the Tosfos Yom Tov - which clearly reject the understanding that RaP has ascribed to the Maharal. Furthermore the Maharal - and the vast majority of Jewish sages - with the clear exception of the Baal HaTanya - state that all of mankind has a soul which distinguishes them from animals.

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RaP’s original assertion was that non-Jews have no neshma i.e., they are a form of animals – which is in fact the view of the Tanya.

The gentile is NOT a "tinok shenishba" and has NO neshama while the Jew has a 100% holy neshama, which the converting gentile presumably desires.

Doesn't the RAMBAM say somewhere that the difference between a goy and yid is like the difference between a monkey and a human?

2) RaP - when criticized by Rabbi Berger - modified his view by saying that while they have a neshama but it is not as elevated as that of a Jew.

Judaism holds that a non-Jew does not have THAT neshama that a Jew does have and indeed it is exactly THAT neshama that the sincere potential convert wants to have and should/does get upon immersion in the Bais Din's mikva when THAT neshama that he did NOT have enters into him/her upon immersion in the mikva of geirus. That is all I was saying and there was no need of you to move the issue into illogical non-relevant humanistic and globalistic egalitarian drive, when you could have just let the obvious Halachic reality stand without unnecessary questioning by you.

micha said

... Every human being has a neshamah. Proof: "vayipach be'apav nishmas chayim -- and He breated into his [Adam's] nostriles a living neshamah".


RaP responded

Wow. Sure. But not every human being has THE nashama of ADAM KADMON of Gan Eden who was a unique Godly being. But have you not heard of "atem kruyim adam ve'ein umos ha'olam keruyim adam"? ("You [the Jews/Children of Israel] are called [the true] Adam, and not the nations of the world who are not called Adam").

Ok show me where they ALL say that a goy has the EXACT same NESHAMA as a Yid and the Yidden and Goyim are FULLY equal in spiritual make-up IN ALL ASPECTS, which would make the whole process of geirus a totally point-less, hope-less, use-less and soul-less going through the motions procedure.

R' Micha Berger responded

If you would have said that non-Jews lack a second element to their neshamah, I would not have objected.

3) When it was pointed out that RaP had modified his original assertion that non‑Jews have no soul, RaP reverted back to his original assertion and denied ever modifying his position. He then brought a Maharal in the end of the first chapter of Tiferes Yisroel.

micha said...

You're changing your story from saying that non-Jews do not have a neshamah to saying they do not have the same kind of neshamah. I wouldn't have objected had that been your original claim.


RaP countered by saying


Umm, I am not sure where you see this. I am not changing my mind about anything and if you re-read my comments above I say at least five times that a Jew has a neshama and a goy does not.


As is typical in these type of arguments, the importance of winning obscures the truth.

RaP then presented what he called his knock-out punch - the Maharal's comments at the end of Chapter 2 of Tiferes Yisroel

The Maharal explains that what makes and distinguishes adam from other creatures is that the adam has a "Godly nefesh" and those (that is, the Israelites/Jews) who have the "Godly nefesh" they are ready for Godly things like prophecy and ruach hakodesh and he says that THIS MATTER YOU WILL ONLY FIND AMONG THE NATION THAT GOD CHOSE FOR HIMSELF THAT IS WHY THEY ARE CALLED ADAM SPECIFICALLY AND COMPLETELY BY VIRTUE THAT THEY POSSESS EVERYTHING THAT ADAM SHOULD HAVE, WHO IS SPECIFICALLY CALLED ADAM BECAUSE HE HAS THE GODLY QUALITY AND HE IS NOT OF THE NATURAL ORDER AND THEREFORE ATEM KRUIM ADAM/THE JEWS ARE ADAM AND THAT IS WHY THE MITZVOS THAT ARE GODLY ACTS ARE FOR YISROEL IN THERE ENTIRETY/PERFECTION

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Anyone who studies the Maharal knows that it is necessary to see what he says throughout his writings to understand what his views are on any issue. I am surprised that RaP who claims to be familiar with the Maharal missed this rather obvious and well known point. The Maharal has the tendency of making extreme assertions which are then modified elsewhere. A listing of where he discusses the relationship between Jews and non-Jews can be found in the indices of Rabbi Hartman’s critical edition of the Maharal. For example in the second section of Be’er HaGolah footnotes 562-563.

It is clear from these sources that the Maharal does not agree with the views of the Baal HaTanya that non-Jews have only an animal – not a human soul. Furthermore RaP totally misunderstands the view of the Rambam – as the Tosfos Yom Tov I have cited below explains. The Rambam did not distinguish between Jews and non-Jews. He distinguished between learned people and the ignorant. He states in Moreh Nevuchim that ignorant people are like monkeys and elsewhere (3:51) he states that the highest level of man is the philosopher (not the talmid chocham). We find a related understanding in the Chovas HaLevavos (1:2): The philosopher was right when he said that, ‘No one is truly able to serve G‑d except the prophet of the generation by his nature or the greatest philosopher through his acquired wisdom. All the others are actually worshiping something else because they cannot conceive of a being who is not a composite rather than a true unity.

In sum. From what I have seen, it is only the view of the Baal HaTanya that only Jews have a soul which distinguishes than from animals while everyone else acknowledges the humanity of all men and talks about gradations which are primarily the result of accepting the Torah. Consequently any non-Jew who either wants to keep the mitzvos or wants to convert - is able to. The same is not said concerning a monkey.

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Pirkei Avos (3:14): HE [ALSO] USED TO SAY: BELOVED IS MAN92 IN THAT HE WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE [OF GOD]. [IT IS A MARK OF] SUPERABUNDANT LOVE [THAT] IT WAS MADE KNOWN TO HIM THAT HE HAD BEEN CREATED IN THE IMAGE [OF GOD], AS IT IS SAID: FOR IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN.93

The Maharal states in his commentary to this Mishna essential the view that R’ Micha Berger has been saying all along. That non-Jews are also in G‑d’s image tzelem Elokim but that after the Giving of the Torah – the spiritual perfection is epitomized by Jews. However he clearly states at the end of his commentary to this mishna:

“ Even though the mishna says, ‘beloved is the Man’ this does not include all of the species of man. That is because our Sages have already said that ‘you are called Man and the nations of the world are not called ‘Man”. As if the perfection of Creation is limited to man i.e., to Jews and not the nations as we have explained many times. It is the Jews who are specfically call Man and this is something extremely clear. Even though this level is not exclusively found only in Jews – as is alluded to by the fact that the mishna hears says ‘beloved is the man’ and it doesn’t say ‘beloved are the Jews’. But there is still a significant difference between Jews and non-Jews. Even though this characteristic is specifically applied to Jews, nevertheless the image of Man is also found amongst the nations of the world. The point is that the epitome of this image of Man is not found amongst the nations. Nevertheless we find this image of Man amongst all the peoples of the world. However relative to the Jews it is not considered of significance. That is why the mishna doesn’t say ‘beloved are the Jews who were created in the image of G-d.’ Furthermore when man was created this characteristic was existed in Adam and Noach – even though they were not characterized as Yisroel (Jews). And if after G‑d chose the Jews this image was reduced in the non-Jews, nevertheless the Divine image still exists in them as they are Man. This is quite obvious."

ספר דרך חיים - פרק ג משנה יד

חביב האדם. מקשין על זה שאמר חביב האדם שנברא בצלם אלהים וגו', ואחר כך אמר חבה יתירה נודעת לו וכו', מה בא להוסיף שאמר חבה יתירה נודעת לו בודאי מאחר שנברא בצלם אלהים דבר זה נודע לו. וכן קשיא אצל חביבין ישראל שנקראו בנים, כי מה בא להוסיף במה שאמר חבה יתירה נודעת לו ובודאי כיון שנקראו בנים למקום דבר זה נודע לו, ועוד קשיא שמביא ראיה כי בצלם אלהים עשה את האדם והיה לו להביא ראיה ממה שאמר ויברא אלהים את האדם בצלמו, וכן קשה דמביא בנים אתם לד' אלהיכם ולמה לא הביא מקרא דכתיב (שמות ד') בני בכורי ישראל, ועוד קשיא שאמר חביבין ישראל שנתן להם כלי חמדה וגו', כי לפי הנראה כי הכל הוא חבה אחת כי בשביל שהם בנים למקום נתן להם התורה שהיא כלי חמדה, ועוד מאי כלי חמדה דקאמר כי למה קראו התורה כלי חמדה. ועוד עיקר הפירוש של בצלם אלהים נברא האדם לא ידענו מה הוא הצלם הזה, שאם פירוש הצלם תאר הגוף דבר זה אין לומר כלל שיהיה מיוחס אל השם יתברך תאר וצורת הגוף, ואם פירושו שנברא האדם בצלם אלהים היינו השכל שבאדם וכמו שפירש הרמב"ם ז"ל הצלם שנזכר בכתוב, דבר זה אין מוכח כך, כי מה שנאמר כאן חביב האדם על כרחך פירושו שהוא חביב אף מן המלאכים, כי מה שהאדם חביב מן הבהמה וכי דבר זה צריך לומר ועל כרחך פירושו שהאדם חביב אף מן המלאכים וכמו שיתבאר, ובודאי יש במלאכים דעת וחכמה. ואפילו אם תאמר כי לא בא לומר רק כי יש לאדם המעלה היתירה שהוא בתחתונים, מכל מקום היה זה נכלל במה שאמר חביב האדם שנתן להם התורה שהתורה בודאי חכמה ודעת ולכך מוכרח לומר כי דבר זה ענין בפני עצמו:

...

ואף שאמר חביב האדם, אין זה כולל כל מין האדם, כי כבר אמרו ז"ל כי אתם קרוים אדם ואין האומות קרוים אדם, כאלו שלימות הבריאה שהוא לאדם בפרט, הוא לישראל לא לאומות, כאשר בארנו פעמים הרבה, מה שישראל בפרט נקראים אדם, והוא דבר ברור מאד. ואף כי מעלה זאת אינה רק לישראל בלבד, אמר על זה חביב האדם ולא אמר חביבין ישראל, וזה כי הפרש גדול יש, אף כי גם מעלה זו היא לישראל בפרט, מ"מ יש צורת אדם באומות ג"כ, רק שעיקר צורת אדם לא נמצא באומות, מ"מ נמצא הצלם הזה אצל שאר אומות, רק שאינו נחשב לכלום ולכך לא אמר חביבין ישראל שנבראו בצלם אלהים. ועוד כי כאשר נברא האדם היה מעלה זאת לאדם ולנח אף כי אינם בשם ישראל נקראים ואם אחר שבחר השי"ת בישראל נתמעט הצלם הזה אצל האומות, מ"מ הצלם האלהי הוא שייך לאדם במה שהוא אדם ודבר זה מבואר:

The Tosfos Yom Tov – who was perhaps the most important student of the Maharal says the same thing – but specifically rejects the understand that RaP is reading into the Maharal in Tiferes Yisroel:

תוי"ט (אבות ג:יד): חביב אדם שנברא בצלם חבה יתירה וכו' שנאמר בצלם אלהים עשה אתהאדם - פירש"י חביב אדם שנברא בצלם. לכן מוטל עליו לעשות רצון קונו. ע"כ. ובכל אדם אמר ר"ע. וכמו שהוא הראיה שממנו הביא שהוא נאמר לבני נח לא לבני ישראל לבדם ורצה ר"ע לזכות את כל אדם אף לבני נח. ומאמר מלא אמר הרמב"ם בפ"ח מהלכות מלכים [הלכה י']. וז"ל צוה משה רבינו ע"ה מפי הגבורה לכוף את כל באי העולם לקבל מצות שנצטוו בני נח. וכל מי שלא יקבל יהרג והמקבל אותם הוא הנקרא גר תושב בכ"מ וכו' כל המקבל שבע מצות ונזהר לעשותן. הרי זה מחסידי אומות העולם ויש לו חלק לעוה"ב. והוא שיקבל אותן ויעשה אותן. מפני שצוה בהן הקב"ה בתורה. והודיענו ע"י מרע"ה שבני נח מקודם נצטוו בהן. אבל אם עשאן מפני הכרע הדעת אין זה גר תושב ואינו מחסידי אומות העולם. ולא [צ"ל אלא] מחכמיהם. עכ"ל. ומעתה אני תמה למה זה רחקה הדרך מן המפרשים ולא רצו ללכת בה לפרש דברי ר"ע שאמר מאמרו כלפי כל אדם כי אם לישראל בלבד. ונסמכו במאמרם ז"ל אתם קרויים אדם וכו' והרי זה דרש על דרש. ובזה נכנסו בדוחק ענין הצלם. ובפי' הכתוב שהביא לראיה. אבל בעיני זו הדרך דרך סלולה ומרווחת כי בא ר"ע להיישיר לכל באי עולם כאשר נצטוינו מפי מרע"ה כדברי הרמב"ם. ואם בכפיית חרב הרג ואבדן נצטוינו כ"ש בכפיית דברים. להמשיך לבם אל רצון קונם וחפץ צורם. יזכרם לטובה. ושהם חביבים שנבראו בצלם להורות נתן בלבם. כי זאת תורת האדם לעשות חוקי אלהים ומשפטיו מצד אשר הוא צוה כדברי הרמב"ם דהואיל שחבבו לבראו בצלמו. לכן מוטל עליו לעשות רצון קונו כפירש"י. והשתא אתי שפיר דנקט להך קרא. אע"פ שיש כמה מקראות הקודמים אליו שנאמר נעשה אדם בצלמנו. אבל זה המקרא הוא שנאמר גבי המצות שנצטוו בהם. לכך הביא לזה הכתוב שכן אמרו הש"י בטעם המצוה אשר צוה אותם כי בצלם אלהים עשה את האדם ולבני נח נאמר הכתוב. ולבני נח אמר ר"ע דבריו הללו. ואתי נמי שפיר שאמר שנברא בצלם. וחסר הנסמך שהוא אלהים הנאמר בכתוב. ואילו גבי בנים אמר שנקראו בנים למקום. והיינו טעמא שזו ג"כ מדברי התוכחה להוכיחם ולומר שהם נבראו בצלם ובאיזה צלם נבראו בצלם אלהים כאומר שהבריאה היתה בצלם אלהים אבל הואיל ואינם מקיימים מצותיו ואע"פ שאם מקיימים אינם מקיימים מפני אשר צוה אותם אלהים. הנה הם חסרים מתואר צלם אלהים. ועוד מענין צלם בעצמו שהוא כפירוש הרמב"ם בתחלת ספר המורה שהוא ההשגה השכלית אשר בו יתייחד האדם. ונתעצם באמתת מה שהוא והנה תכלית ההשגה השכלית הזאת הוא ידיעת אלהים כפי האפשר בכח האדם והשגתו. ולפיכך נתחכם החכם השלם הזה שלא אמר אצלם בצלם אלהים לפי שהם חסרים באמת מידיעת אלהים והכתוב שאומר בצלם אלהים עשה לומר שכן נבראו כלומר שהיא היתה כונת הבריאה באדם שיהא לו השגה שכלית מגעת לידיעת אלהים. אבל לפי שבאמת לא ידעו ולא יבינו ובחשיכה יתהלכו ולא יצאה הכונה אל הפועל מן הראוי שיאמר שנבראו בצלם. ולא בצלם אלהים אחרי שהכונה שהיא השגת אלהים לא נשלמה. ואין בהם אלא הכנה בלבד. ואותה ראוי להקרא צלם בלתי הנסמך שהוא אלהים. זה נראה לי בפי' מאמר ר"ע. ולפי זה מדוקדק יפה המשנה שאחר זו הכל צפוי וכו' כמו שאבאר שם בס"ד. ועוד שגם בזה יש ג"כ חבה יתירה נודעת בישראל שאע"פ שכבר חבבם כמו לכל אדם בצלם אלהים אשר עשהו בו. אעפ"כ לא זז מחבבן עוד ביתר שאת ויתר עז שנקראו בנים למקום. וזה שאת ומעלה יתירה. ובכלי חמדה היא התורה אשר נתן להם. וזהו עוז. כענין שנאמר (תהלים כ"ט) ה' עוז לעמו יתן. [שדרשוהו ז"ל בפרק פרת חטאת [בזבחים דף קט"ז] על התורה]:

33 comments :

  1. I think the TY goes beyond the Maharal on the mishnah of "chaviv adam". He says that here Adam must mean humanity, since otherwise there would have been no reason to break the parallel by switching from Adam to Yisrael. In fact, in the highlighted words, he expresses surprise at his rebbe (among the other meforshim) relying on derash upon derash rather than a simple understanding as per the Rambam.

    But their dispute is not over who was nivra betzelem. Rather, who remains chaviv.

    -micha

    ReplyDelete
  2. "It is clear from these sources that the Maharal does not agree with the views of the Baal HaTanya that non-Jews have only an animal – not a human soul."

    I'm sorry but, while I don't mean to defend the position of RaP, this strikes me as equivocation. The Baal HaTanya doesn't speak of animal vs. human soul, he speaks of animal vs. GODLY soul.

    While many may not be comfortable with this distinction either, it seems to me that the animal soul which the Baal HaTanya speaks of (which Jews have as well) has an entirely different conotation when contrasted incorrectly with human than it does when contrasted with the nefesh elokis.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Recipients and PublicityNovember 30, 2008 at 9:04 AM

    All men are equal? (with the question mark inserted please, unlike this post where you have puzzlingly and needlessly dropped it.):

    All men are equal? TANACH & MAHARAL & ARI & CHAIM VITAL & TANYA ALL say NO !!!!

    Gut voch! I was wondering over Shabbos how micha would respond to my last words and what he would say, so I am rather surprised that after Dr.Eidenson/da'as torah had maintained a studious and correct distance in this matter, he now injects himself into the discussion and on top of that assumes that it's a "conclusion" (while he is certainly free like anyone to offer a critique, especially on his own blog.)

    Firstly, lets keep things clear, it was micha who challenged me to find where the Maharal applies the description "GODLY/DIVINE INTELLECTUAL" soul and he alleged and taunted me that it does not even exist. I said I would look at my old fashioned hard copy books. Unlike him, I don't have the Bar Ilan disk with all the info on 65,000 seforim to search so I must rely on memory of fewer texts that I have learned and I was sure that I knew this one. And indeed I was right. Already in the first two paragraphs of the first chapter of the Tiferes Yisrael the Maharal uses the terms: "נפשו השכלית האלהית" his "Godly intellectual soul"; his "elevated Godly nefesh" "כפי מעלת נפשו האלהית"; "intellectual nefesh" "נפש שכלי" to describe adam's, meaning the Jew's high levels.

    I stuck with the text before me that in it does not contradict anything I say and on the contrary supports my assertions when micha taunted me that this text does "not even exist" while I showed him it's right here in the first perek of the Tiferes Yisroel.

    Secondlly, I prove beyond any doubt that the Maharal holds that adam, in truth, means ONLY Yisroel, that runs counter to micha's self-proclaimed "universalistic" outlook.

    The Maharal concludes in the 1st chapter that adam ONLY means Yisroel, another point that micha had disputed. THE MAHARAL SAYS AND QUOTES THE GEMARA FROM YEVAMOS: YOU ARE CALLED ADAM AND NOT THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD "ִִִכי אם ישראל מצד נפשם האלהית ומפני זה ראוי להם הפעולות האלהיות והם מצות התורה ִ והוא עצמו מה שאמרו ז'ל יבמות ס'א אתם קרוים אדם ואין עכו'ם קרוים אדם"
    So at least give me credit that I came up with an entire chapter in the Maharal that discusses this and clearly says what I have stated. Can Dr. Eidensohn please point to ANY place in my translation and presentation of the Maharal that shows I am 100% wrong? No! The best he can do is cite other works and sources that are not connected directly to this work. What I conveyed the Maharal said is not "negated" because he discusses similar related subjects elswhere, especially if they do not even use the same terminology or are based on different chazals and pesukim.

    Thirdly, not satisfied with commenting alone, Dr. Eidensohn entered the debate and tries to "close" it with arbitrary "conclusions" all while he widens the discussions and talks of other texts, rabbis and points of reference, some who have entirely different approaches (ok, that is good, eilu ve'eilu) and that mostly do NOT deal with the exact subject we are discussing while dealing with similar but not exactly the same subject matter.

    Fourthly, just reviewing some of what Dr. Eidensohn now introduces into the discussion you see it's about stuff I am not even arguing or disagreeing with and as I have said a few times, these discussions are NOT about the phrase "tzelem elokim".

    Let's get "real" about this subject and take stock. We are not talking about the VAGUE NOTION of tzelem elokim which can be applied in multiple ways, both generically to all members of the human race or to meaning Jews only, as that would depend on who was using it, it what context, who he was referring to, what point he was trying to make, and how deeply or not he meant for the description to be used in any specific way as a formal definition or as an axiom for this or that argument.

    Fifthly, Dr. Eidensohn mentions this or that disciple of the Maharal in other seforim elsewhere or mentions others (there are wlays disagreements in Torah!) as "disproofs" of how to read and learn the Maharal here. But that is so tendentious and arbitrary, anyone can say things like that and they carry no weight.

    For example among many Chasidim and mekubalim, the Tanya is viewed as a continuum from the Kisvei Maharal so that the way the Tanya defines and teaches concepts is the correct way that further crystlizes the teachings of the Maharal, and they are thus in harmony and hardly ever at odds.

    Unfortunately, Rabbi Hartman's recent explication of the Maharal was done under the guidance of Rav Yonason David of Har Nof and Brooklyn who is personally and hashkafically bitterly opposed to ALL of Chabad and their teachings and who has a vested interest in "minimizing, sidelining and sanitizing" (for lack of better words) and orchestrating that the Tanya (which he knows well) to minimimize the direct lines from the kabbalistic system of the Maharal (1520-1609) to making connections with Tanya, all while the Tanya is aligned with the kabbalistic system of the ARI (1534-1572) VIA the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760) to the Ba'al HaTanya (1745-1812) who took from the Maharal and absorbed and extended it.

    So, Rabbi Hartman is not the ideal person necassraily, even though he is has devoted much time to MAINLY EDITING and somewhat re-positioning the Maharal's writings. Besides, he is a rationalist, and while the Maharal was also that, it is hard to see how Rabbi Hartman can successfully and soul-fully convey that full kabbalistic aspect of the Maharal and come face to face with, horror of horrors, the Tanya's and the ARI's influences and/or commononalities with the Maharal.

    Sixthly, both micha and Dr. Eidensohn do me the honor of stating that what I have maintained thus far is in line with what is actually written in the Tanya (and I am not even Lubavitch!), in micha's case he says "he" "rejects" the first chapter of the Tanya, and Dr. Eidensohn just makes it sound like the Tanya is a minor reference point that goy has no neshama/nefesh, as if the views of the Ba'al HaTanya can be easily ignored or dismissed, when they cannot (see below why they cannot be) but quite honestly the Tanya is not the absolute source of the contention that a goy does not have a/the neshama that a Jew has, as the Tanya itself cites.

    Seventhly, I am not flip-flopping on this point of how to address what a goy does or does not have in the neshama/nefesh department; it can be taken in a few ways, which Dr. Eidensohn and micha make a mountain out of a molehill of. And that is, that because of the esoteric nature of the subject under discussion, be it "neshama" and/or "nefesh" which in English can be translated as either "soul" or "spirit" but that nevertheless it is true that one can maintain BOTH views that a goy EITHER does not have the nefesh/neshama/soul/spirit that any Jew born to a 100% Halcahically Jewish mother has OR that the gentile has an entirely DIFFERENT type of nefesh/neshama/soul/spirit that makes gentiles entirely different to Jews spiritually (according to the Tanya, the goy's essence comes from the klipa of evil that is part of the sitra achra/devil. Not my words or ideas.)

    One can live with BOTH of these either/ors that are neither contradictory nor problematic because "souls/spirits/nefashos/neshamos" are INVISIBLE, ABSTRACT, ETHEREAL notions that in Judaism are also bound to such notions as KEDUSHA ("holiness"), TAHARA ("purity"), CHOL ("mundane"), TUMA'AH ("impurity") which are absolute abstractions at their core even though they may manifest themselves in Halachic or life settings.

    Similar to notions and attempts and conceiving and perceiving the truth and essence of God that remains, for humans, an impossible and un-human task.

    So that whether one says a goy does not have the nefesh/neshama of a yid, or that the nefesh of a goy is not the same as the nefesh of a yid, for all intents and purposes in the context of conversion WHICH IS OUR MAIN SUBJECT, a goy does not have the requisite nefesh/neshama/soul/spirit and it is ONLY when a ger tzedek immerses and then comes out of the kosher mikva for conversion under the suprevision of reliably constituted Bais Din, that the GODLY INTELLECTUAL neshama/nefesh enters the goy and he/she then becomes a full fledged member of Klal Yisroel. This is Judaism 101 and it is hard to fathom why it is necessary to make such a tzimmes ("fuss") over it!

    Finally, since both micha and Dr. Eidensohn seem to be dealing very lightly and openly insultingly with the views expressed in the first chapter of the Tanya, over Shabbos, I too a deeper look myself and this is what it is:

    The Tanya is not pulling his views out of a hat like a magicain doing a rabbit trick. On the contrary, the Ba'al HaTanya cites his sources to prove his statements, and his sources reach back to Rav Chaim Vital (1543-1620), the ARI (1534-1572) all the way back to the Novi Yishaya (Isaiah) (8th-century BCE) and the Tanach.

    Let's take a closer look at some "controversial" lines in the first and second chapters of Tanya. Using a 1981 official Kehot Chabad Likutei Amarim-Tanya (English bilingual edition) that includes all of its footnotes and glosses, parenthesis and brackets in the translation:

    Chapter 1: "... in the light of what Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote in Sha'ar ha-Kedusha (and in Etz Chayim, Portal 50, ch.2) that in every Jew, whether righteous or wicked, are two souls, as it is written, The neshamot (souls) which I have made,'(כִּי לֹא לְעוֹלָם אָרִיב, וְלֹא לָנֶצַח אֶקְצוֹף: כִּי-רוּחַ מִלְּפָנַי יַעֲטוֹף, וּנְשָׁמוֹת אֲנִי עָשִׂיתִי. "For not forever will I contend, nor will I be eternally wrathful, when the spirit that envelopes them is from Me, and I made their neshamos/souls" [alluding to] two souls. There is one soul that originates in the kelipah and sitra achra, and which is clothed in the blood of a human being, giving life to the body, as is written, 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood' כִּי נֶפֶשׁ הַבָּשָׂר, בַּדָּם הִוא . From it stem all the evil characteristics deriving from the four evil elements...Fire...Water...Air...Earth. From this soul stem also the good characteristics which are to be found in the innate nature of all Israel, such as mercy and benevolence. For in the case of Israel, this soul of the kelipah is derived from kelipat nogah, which also contains good, as it originates in the esoteric 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.' [Cf. Zohar 1, 12b.] The souls of the nations of the nations of the world, however, emanate from the other, unclean kelipot which contain no good whatever, as is written in Etz Chaim, Portal 49, ch.3, that all the good the nations do, is done from selfish motives. So the the Gemara (Bava Batra 10b) comments on the verse, 'The kindness of the nations is sin,' (Proverbs 14:34) וְחֶסֶד לְאֻמִּים חַטָּאת...

    וגם מדות טובות שבטבע כל ישראל בתולדותם כמו רחמנות וג"ח באות ממנה כי בישראל נפש זו דקליפה היא מקליפ' נוגה שיש בה ג"כ טוב והיא מסוד עץ הדעת טוב ורע: משא"כ נפשות אומות עובדי גלולים הן משאר קליפות טמאות שאין בהן טוב כלל כמ"ש בע"ח שער מ"ט פ"ג וכל טיבו דעבדין האומות עובדי גלולים לגרמייהו עבדין וכדאיתא בגמרא ע"פ וחסד לאומים חטאת שכל צדקה וחסד שאומות עובדי גלולים עושין אינן אלא להתייהר

    Chapter 2: The Second soul of a Jew is truly a part of God above, (Job 31:2 וּמֶה, חֵלֶק אֱלוֹהַּ מִמָּעַל; וְנַחֲלַת שַׁדַּי, מִמְּרֹמִים cf.also Psalms 16:5 יְהוָה, מְנָת-חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי-- אַתָּה, תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי Psalms 73:26 כָּלָה שְׁאֵרִי, וּלְבָבִי: צוּר-לְבָבִי וְחֶלְקִי--אֱלֹהִים לְעוֹלָם Jeremiah 10:16 לֹא-כְאֵלֶּה חֵלֶק יַעֲקֹב, כִּי-יוֹצֵר הַכֹּל הוּא, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתוֹ: יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, שְׁמוֹ) as it is written, 'And he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,' וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם, עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה, וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו, נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים; וַיְהִי הָאָדָם, לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה and "Thou didst breathe it [the soul] into me.' (Siddur: אלהי נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא אתה בראתה אתהיצרתה אתה נפחתה בי ִִִ Brecahot 60b) And it is written in the Zohar, 'He who exhales, exhales from within him,' that is to say, from his inwardness and his inneremost...So alegorically speaking, have the souls of Jews risen in the [Divine] thought, (Cf. Genesis Rabbah 1:4) as it is written, 'My firstborn son is Israel,' (Exodus 4:22) וְאָמַרְתָּ, אֶל-פַּרְעֹה: כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה, בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל and 'You are children unto the Lord your God' (Deuteronomy 14:1) בָּנִים אַתֶּם, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם That is to say, just as a child is derived from his father's brain, so - to use an anthropomorphism - the soul of each Israelite is derived from God's thought and wisdom...

    ונפש השנית בישראל היא חלק אלוה ממעל ממש כמ"ש ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ואתה נפחת בי וכמ"ש בזוהר מאן דנפח מתוכיה נפח פי' מתוכיותו ומפנימיותו שתוכיות ופנימיות החיות שבאדם מוציא בנפיחתו בכח: כך עד"מ נשמות ישראל עלו במחשבה כדכתיב בני בכורי ישראל בנים אתם לה' אלהיכם פי' כמו שהבן נמשך ממוח האב כך כביכול נשמת כל איש ישראל נמשכה ממחשבתו וחכמתו ית' דאיהו חכים ולא בחכמה ידיעא אלא הוא וחכמתו א' וכמ"ש הרמב"ם

    ...Likewise [are there distinctions between nefashot and nefashot, for every soul consists of nefesh, ruach, neshamah. (Cf. Zohar I, 206a; Shenei Luchos ha-Beris I, 9b.) Nevertheless, the root of every nefesh, ruach, and neshamah, from the highest of all ranks to the lowest...all derive, as it were, from the Supreme Mind which is Chochmah Ila'ah (Supernal Wisdom)

    וכן נפשות לגבי נפשות כי כל נפש כלולה מנפש רוח ונשמה מכל מקום שרש כל הנפש רוח ונשמה כולם מראש כל המדריגות עד סוף כל דרגין המלובש בגוף עמי הארץ וקל שבקלים נמשך ממוח העליון שהיא חכמה עילאה כביכול

    Conclusion: Bottom line it is very obvious that the Tanya is built upon solid roots that reach through to Rav Chaim Vital to the ARI, who base their teaching on sources in the Tanach, and that the Tanya's approach and conclusions are very much like those of the Maharal reflecting the same premises and conclusions: That the neshama/nefesh/soul of a yid are absolutely not what a goy has, and/or on the contrary, the goy's spiritual essence is rooted, as the Tanya states, in the sitra achra and does not share the same connection with the soul/neshama/nefesh of the Jew/Isralite that is a חלק אלוה ממעל ממש "literally a part of God above" as ONLY it originates from the Tree of knowldge of Good and Evil

    כי בישראל נפש זו דקליפה היא מקליפ' נוגה שיש בה ג"כ טוב והיא מסוד עץ הדעת טוב ורע: משא"כ נפשות אומות עובדי גלולים הן משאר קליפות טמאות שאין בהן טוב כלל

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  4. The question of whether there is an intrinsic difference between Jew and non-Jew is a long-standing dispute between Rambam and R. Yehudah HaLevi. Rambam held that there is no intrinsic difference, just cultural advantages. See Kellner's books for details.

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  5. RaP wrote:
    Seventhly, I am not flip-flopping on this point of how to address what a goy does or does not have in the neshama/nefesh department; it can be taken in a few ways, which Dr. Eidensohn and micha make a mountain out of a molehill of. And that is, that because of the esoteric nature of the subject under discussion, be it "neshama" and/or "nefesh" which in English can be translated as either "soul" or "spirit" but that nevertheless it is true that one can maintain BOTH views that a goy EITHER does not have the nefesh/neshama/soul/spirit that any Jew born to a 100% Halcahically Jewish mother has OR that the gentile has an entirely DIFFERENT type of nefesh/neshama/soul/spirit that makes gentiles entirely different to Jews spiritually (according to the Tanya, the goy's essence comes from the klipa of evil that is part of the sitra achra/devil. Not my words or ideas.)
    ==================
    I am glad to see you are finally coming around to the view expressed by R' Micha Berger and myself. The original crticism of your exposition was regarding your assertion that a non-Jew does not have a soul while a Jew does. Nothing you said since modifies in the slightest - that the dominant Jewish view is that non-Jews and Jews are both part of a common humanity both physically and spiritual. While they differ significantly in spiritual makeup for various esoteric reasons - the non-Jew has a neshama and tzelem Elokim - and is not an advanced form of animal. It also would seem that you have reinforced the assertion that the Baal HaTanya disagrees with this view.

    There are obvious consequence of viewing non-Jews as a form of talking dolphin rather than a fellow human being.

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  6. Recipients and PublicityNovember 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Dr. Eidensohn says: "I am glad to see you are finally coming around to the view expressed by R' Micha Berger and myself."

    RaP: I am not. I presented a series of points (eight here alone, counting the conclusion) to be comprehensive and you are latching on to one, and one-sidedly at that. This is the same technique you used to mis-align one sefer of the Maharal with another. Suit yourself.

    "The original crticism of your exposition was regarding your assertion that a non-Jew does not have a soul while a Jew does."

    RaP: For your information, I still maintain that position, and have cited the Maharal and now Tanya to back it up. Of course you are free to learn the Maharl and understand the Taanya your way, but that does not mnake you objectively right from the perspective of Yiddishkeit. I can't do better than that and if you can't stomach this, the debate is now going around in circles. What don't I or you get?

    "Nothing you said since modifies in the slightest - that the dominant Jewish view is"

    RaP: What is this "dominant Jewish view"? Of secularists, humanists, Reformers, Conservatives and Modern Orthodoxy? Because that is where you basically are placing yourself de facto if not de jure!

    "that non-Jews and Jews are both part of a common humanity"

    RaP: Ok, yes, so they are, so what? What kind of logic is this? Like saying rocks can be found on Earth AND on the Moon? Or that there is fire inside the core of the Earth and on the Sun, does that mean that Earth "equals" or in any way resembles in make-up either the Moon or the Sun?? Or it is like saying the Nazis and Jews breathed the same oxygen (until the Jews were gassed of course) or that 70 wolves roam the same fields that a lonely sheep also hangs out on, and the wolves can't understand why they can't finally devour and kill this sheepish nuisance.

    "both physically and spiritual."

    RaP: Wrong! I am really surprised you say this! Are you afraid the Inquisition or "Jew Watch" ch"sh is monitering your blog? How do you explain the proven genetic differences between Jews and gentiles and even the luz bone factor? This is just in the physical domain. In the spiritual domain what you are asserting is laughable.

    "While they differ significantly in spiritual makeup for various esoteric reasons"

    RaP: What kind of neutered mumbo-jumbo is this phrase "spiritual makeup"? when Jews Baruch Hashem have seforim like the Maharal and the Tanya that teach otherwise. But of course, noone is so blind as he who refuses to see.

    "- the non-Jew has a neshama and tzelem Elokim -"

    RaP: Very funny, so now the goy also has a neshama AND a tselem Elokim. Why a need for geirus then? This is what believers in the so-called "Abrahamic covenant" hold that if they are "Abrahamics" they do not need formal conversions. When will goyim keep the mitvas then and what defines a Jew if all are the same? as the Maharal is trying to say that if they have it, at best it is VERY limited, as the Maharal says just enough for 7 mitzvos Bnai Noach, that is if they can get over the evil ways of Edom/Esav and Paran/Yishmael. Or the Tanya's stronger assertion that the gentiles come from the klipa that is all evil and only the Jews have a connection to the chelek eloka mima'al. Don't you know anything about about dai lechochem beremiza and yishma chochem veyosef lekach? We are spinning our wheels now and I see no point of re-stating my views or hearing you regurgitate and recycle micha's liberalism.

    "and is not an advanced form of animal."

    RaP: You are being crass and that was never the intent in this discussion. Esav, Yishmel and Yafet were and are great people (so was O. J. Simpson, and so they think Barack Hussein Obama is too)with great cultures (who denies it?) and so are their descendants but learn what the Maharal has to say about shibud daled malchuyos and how each of these "great" nations set out to prove in its own time that they are not greater than the Jews but would also rub them out. Try understsanding what the Maoz Tzur is trying to teach, it's almost Chanuka when those loveley Hellenists with the lovely "spiritual make-ups" almost wiped out the Jews physically, culturally and spiritually. Honestly I cannot fathom what you are saying now. Gentiles are the antithesis to Jews all while they all live in the same world. The Maharal makes it clear that Jews are from the olam hanivdal, what do you think he means by that? That they have the same "spiritual makeup"? and the gentiles are just your nicest fellow travelers in the human "race"?

    "It also would seem that you have reinforced the assertion that the Baal HaTanya disagrees with this view."

    RaP: What view? About goyim being animals? He doesn't talk in those terms. Tanya makes it clear that Jews have two souls while goyim have one and that one is hooked up to evil itself. There "nefesh" actually makes their "spiritual makeup" worse because it's dangerously conncted to the sitra achra/Satan/evil. You are bending over backwards now and it's not a pretty sight.

    "There are obvious consequence of viewing non-Jews as a form of talking dolphin rather than a fellow human being."

    RaP: Dolphins? And who was talking about "consequeneces"? The question is very simply, what happens when a non-Jews converts, and the answer according to Judaism is that they get a NEW neshama of a Jew that they did not have before because goyim do not have Yiddishe neshamos. Why is that hard to focus on? Instead of all these tangents and hangups that micha has about his youth and what he thinks he was erroneously taught or about sosme crass Chasidim. This is not a session in how to cure the misapplication of delicate and refined mystical concepts by Chasidim or by the Kabbala Centre or anyone for that matter.

    All the general and main discussion was about was to clarify that a goy gets a soul/neshama/nefsh upon a proper conversion, that gentiles do not have with all the human and wonderful connections everyone has.

    The Rambam uses a "monkey vs humans" analogy that you don't like and then spin off to another subject. So ok. Keep spinning! That is what apologists and spinmeisters do! In any case, talking of sea creatures, there are dolphins and then there are sharks and noone in their right mind equates the two. They are obviously cut from different (fish) cloth.

    Let's get this straight again, at no point is anyone here. from what I can tell, saying that gentiles are not part of the human race or that Jews are not part of it either but what Judaism teaches is that Jews and other humans are two entirely different human species that inhabit the same world and while outwardly they may look and talk and walk alike BUT inwardly, meaning in their "spiritual make-up" as you label it, they are radically different because while Jews ALONE are the chelek Eloka mima'al and they ALONE have a soul/neshama/nefesh that is "Godly and Intellectual" (Elokis Sichlis) connected to the Etz Hadaas, on the other hand the goyim do not have this, and they are connected to the Sitra achra according to the Tanya and to the extremes of Esav and Yishamel that exclude them from being part of or being called "adam" and adam is ONLY Yisrael/Jews.

    More than this is really beating around the bush.

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  7. RaP said: Let's get this straight again, at no point is anyone here. from what I can tell, saying that gentiles are not part of the human race or that Jews are not part of it either but what Judaism teaches is that Jews and other humans are two entirely different human species that inhabit the same world and while outwardly they may look and talk and walk alike BUT inwardly, meaning in their "spiritual make-up" as you label it, they are radically different because while Jews ALONE are the chelek Eloka mima'al and they ALONE have a soul/neshama/nefesh that is "Godly and Intellectual" (Elokis Sichlis) connected to the Etz Hadaas, on the other hand the goyim do not have this, and they are connected to the Sitra achra according to the Tanya and to the extremes of Esav and Yishamel that exclude them from being part of or being called "adam" and adam is ONLY Yisrael/Jews."
    ===============
    I agree with the above characterization - but that is not what you have been saying all along. Why didn't you simply say the above and nobody would have blinked?

    BTW Esav was considered a Jew. [The full exposition of when Jews became Jews will have to wait to the publication of Daas Torah on Jewish identity.]

    I also agree that this discussion is better focused on what happens when a non-Jew converts. Does he in fact get a new neshama or is it simply that he always had a Jewish neshama and conversion is just a formal acknowledgement of that fact?
    ------------
    There are a number of sources which seem to indicate that the ger always had a Jewish soul. And that an apostate never had a Jewish soul.

    Among them are the following:

    1 The souls of gerim were at Sinai
    2. Gerim suffer for not converting sooner than they did.
    3. The Chofetz Chaim - upon hearing about a Russian village that converted en masse said, "There is no such thing as a Jew who becomes an apostate nor is there such a thing as a goy who becomes a Jew."
    [See the post about the Ramban's supposedly having a son who became a Christian for a similar view.
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/ramban-his-wayward-son.html ]

    The Baal HaTanya also had a son who converted to Christianity.

    To be continued in a separate post

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  8. "It is clear from these sources that the Maharal does not agree with the views of the Baal HaTanya that non-Jews have only an animal – not a human soul."

    What is the source for this ridiculous assertion in the words of the Alter Rebbe? The Alter Rebbe says no such thing, as anyone who bothered to look inside the Tanya knows. He says that Jews have an extra soul that gentiles, and angels for that matter, lack. Nothing about equating gentiles and animals.

    Also, one of the works that the Alter Rebbe based Tanya on was the Maharal, his ancestor, which makes this attribution all the more objectionable.

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  9. Recipients and PublicictyNovember 30, 2008 at 1:41 PM

    Dr. Eidensohn says: "BTW Esav was considered a Jew."

    RaP: I know this concept but in actual fact, there were no Jews at that time either. The term "Yisroel" is better because the term "Jews" or "Yehudim" is derived from those who were members of first malchus Yehudah (although the members of malchus Yisroel were also "Jews" in this sense) and then from the kingdom of Judea that was eventually destroyed by the Romans and since that time, both to themselves and the world, the people of Yehuda/Judea became known as Jews.

    But of course, when the word "Jews" is used in Torah circles in means those who are descended from the avos, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. While Avraham (and Sarah via surrogate birth) had Yishmael by Hagar his status is very close to a "partial Jew" (this is where the "Abrahamic" idea comes into play) but in the Torah the ones known as Jews today went through covenants with Hashem in the wilderness of Sinai after the Exodus that bound them to him in a form of "national conversion" that peaked during Mattan Torah at Har Sinai.

    But while Yishmael was only the son of Avraham alone and not of Sarah, as were many other from the "pilagshim" who Rashi says became the
    Bnei Kedem" who some gedolim, like Rav Hutner, said are the Indians and the people of Asia. On the other hand Yitzchak and Rivka only had the twins Esav and Yaakov. While they were equal in their ORIGINS, however in their final status they are different, while Yaakov becomes the literal prototypical YISROEL and has his name changed to that by God's anagel, on the other hand, Esav is classed as a "Yisroel mumar" by chazal as a heretical Jew because he disgarced his birthright and it was taken away from him finally when Yitzchak gives over the blessings and the birthright to Yaakov only, meaning the "right to be his one and only official descendant and spiritual heir" and from that point on, only a descendant of Yaakov/Yisrael can officially be a member of Bnei Yaakov/Bnei Yisrael/Jews/Israelites.

    Thus Yaakov Avinu's twelve sons are all the progenitors of the Bnei Yisrael/The Jews. Over time it is mostly concentrated in the Tribes of Yehuda and Levi and part of Binyamin and a smattering of others, but the Ten Tribes are lost to the Jewish people after the war against them by Sancheriv and the Assyrians.

    Being a Jew is thus a function of TWO processes encapsulated and formulated by the posuk in Deuteronomy 33:4 תּוֹרָה צִוָּה-לָנוּ, מֹשֶׁה: מוֹרָשָׁה, קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב that Torah/Yiddishkeit/Being an Israelite & Jew is a result of two coalescing lines: An INHERITANCE from Jacob and as a COAMMAND/mitzvas through Moshe Rabbeinu, so that in historically evolutionary stages, starting from Avraham and Sarah thru Yitzchak and Rivka, thru Yaakov/Yisroel and Rochel & Leah & Bilhah & Zilpah who bore Yaakov 12 sons who become the 12 shevatim and who then grow to 70 souls when they go down to Egypt where they grow to be a nation of over 600,000 adult males over 20 (a constant base number that is never crossed downwardly ever again in Jewish history) and their families and from then on to Har Sinai and the Midbar where they make several covenants with God and at Mount Sinai they receive the coporate Jewish soul for 600,000 and from that point on, 3,321 years ago, one must be descendend from THAT Bnei Yisrael to be regarded as a Halachic Jew.

    "[The full exposition of when Jews became Jews will have to wait to the publication of Daas Torah on Jewish identity.]"

    RaP: Ok.

    "I also agree that this discussion is better focused on what happens when a non-Jew converts."

    RaP: Fine, but since when are we limited here when you are posting and blogging about all sorts of things that meet your fancy?

    "Does he in fact get a new neshama or is it simply that he always had a Jewish neshama and conversion is just a formal acknowledgement of that fact?"

    RaP: While this part of the standard discussion and there are various views about this, but at the same time, regardless of what the "spiritual make-up" is of the converting gentile, one cannot avoid the question of what makes all the others tick, and that indeed they do not have what the one who seeks conversion does. It would also be a travesty of logic to claim that because a converting gentile may have had a "lurking" or "lingering" or "an awaiting" Jewish soul somewhere or other that therefore every last gentile on earth have the same souls and neshamos as Jews, which they clearly do not have, which makes what the sincerely converting gentile does and what happens to him/her all the more of a chiddush and astonishing that such a one who is supposedly part of the klippa of the sitra achra, and whose "spiritaul make-up" is not a chelek of Eloka mima'al, and who does not have a nefesh Elokis sichlis, should be able to do a 180 degree turn and flip from being the opposite of a Jew to becoming a ger kehalacha.

    "There are a number of sources which seem to indicate that the ger always had a Jewish soul."

    RaP: One can say all sorts of politically correct things and things that will not rock the boat. But this is not clear. If they had a Jewish sould then why would they need conversion and the work of a Beis Din to ratify them?

    "And that an apostate never had a Jewish soul."

    RaP: This is just 100% FALSE, especially after you just got through claiming that Esav was a Jew and he was the world's first and biggest apostate (after Adam who ate from the Etz HaDa'as). Nowhere does it say that a Yisroel mummar, or an apikores or meshumad never had a Jewish soul/neshama/nefesh. The most we can say is that the Torah teaches that as a result of certain sins, like an adult eating on Yom Kippur that the punishment is kares. which is called "heavenly excision" by some that some say is the destruction of the soul or part of the soul or that it will be allowed to enter Gan Eden.

    These things are just not clear, even for what's mentioned in the Torah so certainly for spiritual conditions that are even more esoteric and nebulous. Futhermore, how would you understand "Yisrael af al pi shechata, Yisroel hu" or a "tinok shenishba" status for almost all today according to the Chazon Ish, or the mere fact that one can do teshuva, even to the point of paying with one's life for chilul Hashem transgressions? So at this point this claim of yours must be fully rejected unless you can back it up with really solid sources besides the sorry and nebulous tales you outline below.

    "Among them are the following:
    1 The souls of gerim were at Sinai"

    RaP: Ok, true, so were the souls of all future Jews until the times of mashiach. It basically means that ANY Jew who is part of enters into the covenant of Sinai (hatafes dam bris for male geirim is part of that) and the context of that statement of all the souls of gerim being at Har Sinai was the extraordinary events of Har Sinai where they also all died after hearing Hashem speak the first two commandments and they were supposed to live forever and had they not sinned with the Goolden Calf there would not have been a need for more geirim (they had plenty from the eruv rav at that time, remember) since they would have gone into Eretz Yisroel built the Bais HaMikdosh and the time of Mashiach would have arrived there and then.

    "2. Gerim suffer for not converting sooner than they did."

    RaP: So what to make of the Halachic fact that geirim must be told that until now they did not suffer but they will suffer because they are becoming part of the suffering and afflicted Jewish people? And once the events of mashiach times comes and the Jews will suffer no more, the Halacha is that one will not be able to accept Geirim. So you need to be careful with what you are claiming.

    "3. The Chofetz Chaim - upon hearing about a Russian village that converted en masse said, "There is no such thing as a Jew who becomes an apostate nor is there such a thing as a goy who becomes a Jew"."

    RaP: You need to give a context. Is this true? What was he saying? Was it an official halachic declaration and ruling or was it some thought that tumbled out of his mouth speaking of a hashkofa or a mashal but not meant to be taken in any litral sense at all? Gedolim speak in all sorts of ways and not everything they say is of equal import.

    "[See the post about the Ramban's supposedly having a son who became a Christian for a similar view.
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/ramban-his-wayward-son.html ]"

    RaP: Throughout the history of the Jews there have always been meshumadim AND GERIM -- two way traffic, if you will -- in the times of the Ramban in those days when the Christians were reconquering Spain from the Muslims especially, most families were shattered and there were many such cases by the hundreds of thousands over the centuries (the reconquest of Spain by the Christians took a few centuries), which is where the whole Marrano/Anusim saga comes from, and the Ramban was in the thick of the beginning of it and had to flee after his famous debate with a born JEW ("Pablo Christiani") who had converted to Christian priesthood, see the kisvei Ramban.

    "The Baal HaTanya also had a son who converted to Christianity."

    RaP: So what does that prove? Some say this son was not mentally stable, but Russia itself in those days was torn apart by the wars with Napoleonic France and with the rise of Christianity in Russia over the centuries, there are many stories of meshumadim that many have not heard about but that was quite relatively widespread.

    But hey, when it comes to Christianity you can start with Jesus himself, did he have a Jewish soul or was he never Jewish to start with which would make the Hebrew Christians pretty shocked and how about all the Jews today who join Christian Churches or become Buddhists and other religions, did they never have Jewish souls? So this is really a minefield.

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  10. So ok. Keep spinning! That is what apologists and spinmeisters do!
    You complain about R' Berger and Dr. Eidensohn being disrespectful!? Unlike you, Dr. Eidensohn uses his real name in the J-blogosphere and the implication that he is an apologist and/or a spinmeister is nothing less than slander.

    Despite your constant mocking, I think Dr. Eidensohn is coming off more ingenuous than yourself. Here's why:

    After R' Berger wrote that, "You're changing your story from saying that non-Jews do not have a neshamah to saying they do not have the same kind of neshamah" you responded that, "Umm, I am not sure where you see this. I am not changing my mind about anything and if you re-read my comments above I say at least five times that a Jew has a neshama and a goy does not." Originally, it did not even make sense to you how R' Berger could accuse you of flip-flopping but now you're trying to reconcile "no neshama" and "no second neshama," statements which obviously at least at first glance contradict each other.

    (btw, what happened to our Slifkin thread?)

    ReplyDelete
  11. To clarify my point above: "apologist" is one thing and does not necessarily have a negative connotation.

    But to mock Dr. Eidensohn by writing that he should keep spinning 'cause he's a spinmeister and/or an apologist and that's what those types of people do, is quite insulting.

    ReplyDelete
  12. (btw, what happened to our Slifkin thread?)

    =================
    If you have any questions please ask. Otherwise it looks likes everything has been clarified.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dr. Eidensohn:
    I understand where you're coming from.

    I asked RaP some questions over there. Instead of repeating them, I'll just link: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/r-slifkin-context-of-ban-rap.html?showComment=1227814140000#c6020567704516299311

    If he agrees that everything's been clarified, so fine by me. If not, I'd be interested in his opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Daattorah said...

    "Furthermore the Maharal - and the vast majority of Jewish sages - with the clear exception of the Baal HaTanya - state that all of mankind has a soul which distinguishes them from animals."


    I just want to make an interjection here. When the Tanya discusses non Jewish soles it is quoting from the sefer Eitz Chayim, where it is mentioned that the souls of the nations come from impure sources. May be someone here can bring other interpitations of Rav Chaim Vital's statement here.I do not know. Also the Baal Hatanyas assertion regarding the chessed of the nations is sourced in the Gemmora.

    Now for the sake of our discussion we will look at it through the eyes of the Baal Ha Tanya. The Tanya does not explicitly say that gentiles are indistinguishable from animals. Yes it describes the differance between the nefesh (some would call it our animal soul) of a Jew and non Jew but there is no comparison to animals. Keep in mind that both the nefesh of a Jew and non Jew is also the seat of the human intellect.

    However in terms of comparing the shitta of the Baal Hatanya with those of the Rambam and the Tosafos Yom Tov is like comparing apples and oranges. They wrote their treatise on a philosophically hashgafic/halachic level on this subject and Baal Hatanya wrote on a mystical level. This means that he needs to be understood. So already it is difficult to make a real machlokes out of it.

    It is however interesting to note that in the book "Lessons in Tanya" which is elucidated by Rav Yoseph Wineberg, it is noted that what is written the Eitz Chayim protal 49 and the Gemmora does not necessarily apply to all gentiles. He notes that there are gentiles who do posses a nefesh like we do and they are considered righteous. There chessed is also altruistic in nature. There is still a difference between us that Jews posses a neshama which is something that is lofty to the point where it transends anything experiential.

    In other words it is possible for non Jews to be righteous. For Jews we cannot stop there. We must be holy because that is our potential. In saying that, this is not a reason to feel superior. It is a reason to cry "mother" and tremble at the enormous responsibility that we have. Hashem said we are to be a holy nation. Absolutely terrifying.

    It is like me being conscripted into the sayeret matkal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm still waiting for a retraction of the preposterous, unsourced claim, attributing this statement to the Alter Rebbe; it's odd that my post was ignored.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Recipients and PublicityDecember 1, 2008 at 4:52 AM

    To Baruch and Dr. Eidensohn, I did not have time to continue with the Slifkin discussion because this one here kept me busy as you should be able to tell.

    Dear Baruch, don't get so huffy, and defensive on behalf of Dr. Eidensohn I think that he is capable of defending himself and by now he is familiar with my style to know that in the course of typing my lengthy responses I may say or use some phrases sharply but that in no way are they meant to be insulting, but rather it is just words that arise in the heat of the moment to drive home a point. The issue of nom de plumes versus using real names on the Internet is a non-starter and would prove nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Recipients and PublicityDecember 1, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    Baruch said... "I asked RaP some questions over there. Instead of repeating them, I'll just link: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/r-slifkin-context-of-ban-rap.html?showComment=1227814140000#c6020567704516299311 If he agrees that everything's been clarified, so fine by me. If not, I'd be interested in his opinion."

    RaP: I have not agreed with most of Dr. Eidensohn's responses. I have now responded fully to Dr. Eidensohn and to Baruch's posts at http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/11/r-slifkin-context-of-ban-rap.html Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I may say or use some phrases sharply but that in no way are they meant to be insulting, but rather it is just words that arise in the heat of the moment to drive home a point.
    I think such words serve to obfuscate and slander rather than to drive home a point. It's one thing to say, "Dr. Eidensohn, I think you're extremely wrong and your arguments amount to little more than apologetics." It's quite another to write what you did.

    But you see it as harmless rhetoric. So what can we do? I suppose we're stuck at an impasse on this issue; oh well.

    The issue of nom de plumes versus using real names on the Internet is a non-starter and would prove nothing.
    My main point is that it is easier to speak lashon hara against somebody without a pseudonym.

    I have not agreed with most of Dr. Eidensohn's responses.
    Somehow I suspected as much.

    ReplyDelete
  19. RaP seems to rely heavily on the Baal HaTanya and his(the Baal HaTanya's) reference to Shaare Kedusha and Eitz Haim. So first here is the relevant parts from Shaare Kedusha,

    חלק ג שער א

    השער הראשון במהות העולמות בתכלית הקצור שיהיה בו צורך להבין מהות הנבואה:

    הנה המאציל העליון אשר האציל כל העולמות נקרא אין סוף ואין בו שום תמונה לא בשם ולא באות ואפילו בקוצי האותיות כלל, ולכן אפילו ההרהור אסור בו. והאציל חמשה עולמות, זה נשמה לזה וזה לזה, והן, אדם הקדמון הנזכר בספר התקונים (בתקון י"ט ובריש תיקון ע' ובכמה מקומות) ובלשון הגאונים נקרא צחצחות, השני עולם האצילות, השלישי עולם הבריאה, הרביעי עולם היצירה, החמישי עולם העשיה. ואלו החמשה עולמות נקראו הוי"ה אחת, כי קוצו של יו"ד הוא א"ק [אדם קדמון], והיו"ד אצילות, וה"א ראשונה בריאה והוא"ו יצירה, וה"א אחרונה עשיה. ולפי שא"ק לרוב העלמו אין לו תמונת אות אלא קוצו של יו"ד כי האין סוף אפילו תמונת קוץ אין לו לכן אין אנו מזכירין לעולם אלא ארבעה עולמות אצילות בריאה יצירה עשיה, כי הם אותיות גמורות וארבעתם יחד נקראים שם הוי"ה:

    עוד נתחלקו אלו הארבעה לתשע מדרגות והם חכמה ובינה ושש קצוות התפארת ומלכות. כי אלו הארבעה נקרא ארבעה יסודות עליונים שהם ארבעה עולמות אצילות בריאה יצירה עשיה. ונחלקים לתשע ספירות, ואמנם קוצו של יו"ד שהוא א"ק העולם החמישי העליון כולל כולם ובו לבדו שורש כל ארבעה היסודות שהם ארבעה עולמות, אצילות בריאה יצירה עשיה, ונמצא כי לעולם לא יש יותר מארבעה יסודות בלבד. כלל העולה כי האין סוף אינו נכלל בשום חשבון כלל:

    ואחר כך העולמות. בתחלה הם כללות אחד, והם שם אחד של הוי"ה. ואחר כך נחלק לארבעה יסודות, זולת השורש שלהם שהוא א"ק קוצו של יו"ד והיא הספירה העשירית העליונה מכולם הנקרא כתר, ואחר כך אלו הארבעה יסודות נחלקו לתשע ספירות כנזכר:

    והנה כל זה נכללין בשתי חלוקות והם המאציל והנאצלים כולם. וזהו שכתוב בפרקי רבי אליעזר (פרק כ"ג) עד שלא נברא העולם, רצונו לומר העולם הזה, היה הוא ושמו אחד, כי האין סוף הנקרא הוא והנאצלים הכלולים בשמו שהוא הוי"ה אחת, הכל אחד, כי היתה השלהבת גנוזה בגחלת:

    והנה נתבאר כי כל העולמות נכללים בשם הוי"ה הנחלקת לארבעה יסודות ולעשר ספירות, וכמו כן כל עולם מהם נפרט על דרך זה. כיצד, הנה עולם האצילות שהוא אות יו"ד הנקרא חכמה נחלק לכל הבחינות הנזכרות. ויש בו הוי"ה אחת שלמה נחלקת לארבעה יסודות ועשר ספירות גמורות על דרך הנזכר בכללות כל העולמות ממש, ועל דרך זה הוא בכל עולם מחמשה עולמות הנזכרים, ועל דרך זה עוד הולך ונפרט הענין בתכלית הפרטות עד שנמצא כי אפילו בזה העולם השפל אין לך בריה קלה שאין בה כללות ארבע אותיות ההוי"ה וכללות עשר ספירות. וכל זה להורות כי הכל נברא מכח המאציל יתברך ואין זולתו:

    עוד הקדמה אחרת והיא כי כל אלו הבחינות והמדרגות מרום אדם הקדמון עד התהום שבעולם השפל, כולם הם זו למעלה מזו וזו לפנים מזו, כי העליון מחברו מתלבש תוך התחתון ממנו כנשמה לגוף, ואמנם אין כל כללות העליון מתלבש בתחתון רק בחינה פרטית תחתונה שבעליון מתלבש בכל התחתון וכן על דרך זה עד סיום העולמות. באופן שכל העולמות, הן כולן בכללות, הן כל בחינה מהם, אפילו בעולם השפל, בכל פרט מהם, הכל הוא בדרך זה, כי זה עליון מזה וזה פנימי מזה עד שכולן הן כענין לבושים זה לזה וכולן לבושים אל האין סוף ונשמה לכל הנשמות:

    ואמנם בכל עולם מאלו החמשה יש הבדל בהתפשטות האורות עד היכן מגיעין כדי שיהיה הפרש בין זה לזה וכן יש הפרש אחר בפרטי הארבעה יסודות שבכל עולם, וכן בפרטי הפרטות, ואין זה מקום באור ענין זה:

    ונמצא כי כמו שבדרך התפשטות האורות מלמעלה למטה אין לך ספירה שאינה כלולה מכל העשר ספירות וכל ספירה וספירה מתחלקת לאלפים ולרבבות ספירות, כן הענין בהתפשטות האורות מבפנים ולחוץ יהיה על דרך זה, כי הפנימי שבכולם נקרא כתר, והחיצון שעליו חכמה, והחיצון שעליו בינה, והחיצון שעליו שש קצוות התפארת, והחיצון שבכולם מלכות וכן כל בחינה ובחינה היא נחלקת בדרך זה לאלפים ורבבות פרטי פרטים. ולפי שבאור ענין זה בכל שאר העולמות נתבאר אצלנו זולת ענין העשיה לכן נבאר ענינו בקצור נמרץ מה שיש צורך אל דרוש מבוקשנו פה:

    הנה שבעה רקיעין הן, והעליון נקרא ערבות, לפי שכולל שלש ספירות ראשונות דעשיה, והם גלגל השכל, גלגל המקיף, גלגל המזלות. וחמשה גלגלים (שצמח"נ) שבתאי צדק מאדים חמה נגה, (שהם חג"ת נ"ה) חסד גבורה תפארת נצח הוד, וגלגל ששי יסוד, כולל כוכב ולבנה. והאחרון נקרא וילון אינו משמש כלל (חגיגה דף י"ב ע"ב) כי הוא ספירת מלכות דעשיה וגם היא בעצמה נחלקת לעשר ספירות שבה. והם, וילון כתר שבה וארבע היסודות אש רוח מים עפר שבעולם השפל, הם חכמה ובינה ושש קצוות התפארת והמלכות. ונמצא שהמלכות שבמלכות שבה היא יסוד העפר, כלי וגולם לכל העולם כלו, ובזה היסוד העפר נמצאו כל התולדות שבה כלולים מכל הארבעה יסודות הנזכרים, בסוד הכל היה מן העפר:

    והרי נתבאר מלמעלה למטה, והנה כן הן מבפנים ולחוץ. כי הנה יסוד העפר כלול מעשר ספירות והכתר שבהן פנימי מכולם ונקרא בחינת יחידה של יסוד העפר. וחוצה לו, חכמה. וחוצה לו, בינה, נשמה. וחוצה לו, שש קצוות התפארת, רוח. וחוצה לו, מלכות. נפש יסוד העפר. וזו המלכות נחלקת לעשר ספירות שבה, והמלכות החיצונה שבהם הוא יסוד העפר עצמו החמרי, שאין בו שום רוחניות אלא חומר עכור הנקרא דומם, וכל מה שבפנים נקרא נפש הדומם. ועל דרך זה ביסוד המים, כי המלכות החיצונה שבכולם נקרא מים המצמיחים ונקרא צומח וכל מה שבפנים נקרא נפש הצומח. ועל דרך זה ביסוד הרוח, וביסוד האש, שהם החי והמדבר, ואמנם ארבעתן יחד הן, הדומם - נפש. והצומח - רוח. והחי - נשמה. והמדבר - חיה. ווילון - יחידה. וכבר ביארנו כי כל בחינה מהם כלולה מכולם:

    וזהו מה שתמצא בדברי הפילוסופים בשם כוחות, באמרם כי בנפש הצומחת יש בה כח הזן וכח המושך וכח המעכל וכח הדוחה, וכן אמרו בנפש החיה הנקרא התנועה והמרגשת. כי יש בה כח המתעורר וכח המדמה וכח המצייר כו' ועל דרך זה בכולם:

    העולה מכל זה כי גם שמלכות החיצונה שבכל איזו בחינה שתהיה, הנה היא הגוף שבאותה הבחינה. אמנם אינו נקרא גוף וחומר אמיתי עכור, אלא המלכות החיצונה אחרונה שבעשיה מלמעלה למטה ומבפנים לחוץ, וזאת הנקודה לבדה היא יסוד העפר החמרי לגמרי, והוא הגוף היותר עכור והחמרי של כל העולמות כולם:

    חלק ג שער ב

    במהות האדם, ובו יתבאר דרושים לא שערום הראשונים והם יסודות נפלאים, ולולא ההכרח לבאר ענעי הנבואה לא הייתי מבאר אותם, ואכתבם בתכלית הקצור וכבשים ללבושך:

    ואשאל כמה שאלות עמוקות, א' מה צורך היה בבריאת האדם בעולם הזה בגוף ונפש. ב' למה הוסיף עוד ביצירת האדם שתי יצירות אחרות והם היצר טוב והיצר הרע שבו. ג' אחר ששניהם שקולים בו איך ניתנה הבחירה להטותו לזה ולזה באיזו כח. ואם יש יכולת להטות אם כן לא יבראו כלל. ד' ביאור אל שני יצרים האלו מה ענינם. ה' לדעת אם נשמת האדם גדולה מהמלאכים אם לא, אם נאמר שהאדם גדול מהמלאכים למה לא ירדו גם המלאכים בעולם הזה להתלבש בגוף ונפש, ואם המלאך גדול מהאדם אי אפשר, כי בכל מדרשי רבותנו ז"ל נמצא הפך, כמו שאמרו (מד"ר וישלח פע"ח) מי גדול השומר או הנשמר וכיוצא בזה. עוד כי הכתובים עצמן מורים להפך כמו שכתוב (דברים פרק ל"ב) צור ילדך תשי, (תהלים פרק ס"ח) תנו עז לאלהים, על ישראל גאותו, (דברים פרק י"ד) בנים אתם לה' אלהיכם, (ישעיה מ"ט ג') ישראל אשר בך אתפאר. ואין המלאכים אומרים קדוש עד שיתחילו ישראל, ולא נמצא כזה במלאכים כלל. ו' כי גם אם נודה שכן הוא תימה גדול לקרותם בנים ולומר שמתישים כח עליון או מחזיקים או מתפאר בם וכביכול יבוא האדם לידי כפירה. ז' ענין הנבואה איך יתכן שידבר מלך מלכי המלכים ואפילו על ידי מלאך אל האדם השפל ומה גם בהיותו מתלבש בחומר היותר עכור שבכל העולמות:

    ואמנם כבר נתבאר בשער שקדם לזה עניני מהות העולמות איך כולם הוי"ה אחת כוללת כולם ונחלקת לחמשה עולמות והן נקראות יחידה וחיה ונשמה ורוח ונפש. והעולם החומרי הזה הוא גוף וחומר לכלן, באופן כי כל העולמות הם צורות אדם כלול מחומר וצורה נחלקת לחמשה מיני רוחניות כנזכר. וידעת כי שם ההוי"ה במלואה באלפי"ן עולה בגימטריא אדם. ועל דרך זה בכל פרט ופרט בכל בחינותיהם וכל בחינה מהן נקרא אדם פרטי נכלל מהוי"ה אחת הנחלקת בארבעה יסודות ועשר ספירות:

    ועוד יש חלוק אחר לא נתבאר בשער שקדם, והוא, כי גם העשר ספירות נחלקו לתרי"ג בחינות כמו שיתבאר. והרי כי כל העולמות יחד וכן כל פרט מהם בפני עצמו נברא כדמות אדם התחתון, וזהו סוד נעשה אדם בצלמנו כדמותנו, והבן זה היטב:

    וכבר נתבאר (עץ חיים שמ"ז פ"ז) כי מן הבריאה ולמטה הכל נקרא עץ הדעת כלול טוב ורע, אלא שבכל מדרגה מהם מתמעט הטוב ומתרבה הרע, עד שנמצא שהעולם השפל רובו רע ומעוטו טוב. גם נתבאר, כי לעולם הרשע מכתיר את הצדיק ולכן הטוב נקרא פרי והרע נקרא קליפה המלבשת את הפרי ולא זו בלבד, כי אפילו האורות הטובים הם על דרך זה, כי היותר זך ורוחני שבהן מתלבש בתוך שאר האורות, וכן כולן כפי סדר מדרגותיהם. וכבר נתבאר בשער שקדם איך האין סוף פנימי מכולן וחוצה לו הספירות בסדר מדרגותיהם כתר פנימי מכולם ומלכות חיצונה מכולן:

    ועתה נבאר מה שלא נתבאר שם. והוא כי כמו שזה האור המיוחד הנקרא עולם העשר ספירות בתמונת אדם אחד, כן יש עוד אור אחד הנקרא מחצב הנשמות של בני אדם נכלל ממש בכל אותם פרטי הבחינות שנתבאר באדם של העשר ספירות שהוא הנקרא אלהות גמור והוא מתלבש תוך האור הזה הנקרא מחצב הנשמות בכל פרטיו:

    עוד יש אור אחר בצורת אדם הנקרא מחצב המלאכים, שממנו נחצבו כל המלאכים וגם הוא נכלל מכל פרטים הנזכרים כולן והוא מלבוש חיצון על אור מחצב הנשמות:

    ועוד יש אור אחד מעט ונקרא אור חשוך וכלו דינים קשים שממנו נאצלו כל הקליפות שבאותו עולם, ומלביש על אור מחצב המלאכים וגם הוא תמונת אדם. וחוצה לכל אורות הנזכרים הם הרקיעים עצמן שבאותו עולם והם הנקראים גוף לאותו עולם, ובפנים ממנו חמשה אורות הנזכרים, אור האין סוף כפי ערך אותו עולם לפנים מן הכל, ועליו אור העשר ספירות, ועליו אור מחצב הנשמות, ועליו אור מחצב המלאכים, ועליו אור מחצב הקליפות, ועליו העולם עצמו שהן הרקיעים גוף האורות הנזכרים. ואחר כך בזה הגוף הנקרא רקיעין נבראו שם תולדות העולם ההוא והם כלולים מכל הבחינות, כי כל אחד מהם יש לו כח נמשך מן הרקיעין והוא גוף שלו, ובתוכו אור הדינין, ובתוכו אור המלאכים, ובתוכו אור מחצב הנשמות, ובתוכו אור העשר ספירות, רוכב עליהם ומחיה כולן. ואותו הכח הנמשך מאור מחצב הנשמות נקרא מזל עליון של נפש האדם השפל, והבן זה מאד. אלא שזה בבריאה נקרא מזל הנשמה, ושביצירה נקרא מזל הרוח, ושבעשיה נקרא מזל הנפש:

    ועתה נבאר מהות האדם מה ענינו. ונתחיל הויתו מעולם העשיה ממלכות ולמעלה, כבר נתבאר כל עולם ועולם וגם התולדות של אותו עולם מה ענינם. והנה עולם העשיה תחלה יש בו חלק התחתון הנזכר, מלכות שבה, ונקרא ארבעה יסודות העולם השפל, והנה כל תולדותיו נבראו בגוף שבו והוא ביסוד העפר הגשמי. ונחלקים לארבעה חלקים, התחתון שבהם, האבנים טובות והמתכות ואין בהם רק יסוד העפר שקבל כח מארבעה יסודות כולם מן הגוף שבהם ונתערבו יחד ונעשה מהם מתכת ההוא, אמנם יש בתוכו כח אחד שערב התערובות הנזכרים, והם נקרא נפש ליסוד העפר הכלול מחמשה כוחותיו כנזכר לעיל:

    אחר כך נברא הצומח, כמו האילנות והעשבים, והיה גופו מיסוד העפר וכו' ובו נפש הדומם הראוי לו, ונוסף עליו נפש הצומח כלולה בחמשת כחותיה:

    אחר נברא החי והם בהמות ועופות וכו'. ובהם גוף ונפש דומם ונפש צומחת ונוסף עליו נפש החיה הנקרא נפש הבהמית והתנועה וההרגש:

    אחר כך נברא האדם המדבר, ויש בו כל הכוחות הנזכרים לעיל ונוסף עליהם נפש המדברת מיסוד האש:

    אך דע, כי ודאי שכל הבחינות מגוף וצורות שבאדם יהיו יותר זכים משל החי ושל החי משל הצומח ושל הצומח משל הדומם וזה יתבאר לך ממה שכתבתי לעיל. כי כל הבחינות, נכללה כל בחינה מהם מכלן, כסדר זו בתוך זו:

    ואחר כך ברא את האדם הישראלי זך בכל בחינותיו יותר מכל שאר הנבראים בגופו ובארבע בחינות נפשותיו הדוממת והצומחת והחיה והמדברת, מפנימיות הזך שבכל ארבע יסודות שבהן ובצורתן, רצוני לומר נפשות שבהן. ולהיותו יותר זך מכל הנבראים בארץ, נתעלה עוד כי גם הוא נכלל ונקשר בכל העולמות ובכל פרטיהם ממטה למעלה. הא כיצד, תחלה נכנסת בו נפש מרקיע וילון, ומשם ולמעלה עד רקיע עליון דעשיה הכל נקרא נפש דעשיה, וזו נקראת נפש השכלית הקדושה שבאדם. ואמנם זו עצמה נחלקת לחמשה כוחות יחידה וחיה וכו':

    גם נחלקת בשתי חלוקות, באופן אחר, כי כל הבחינות שלוקח מארבעה יסודות נקרא נפש היסודית הנחלקת לכוחות הנזכרים דומם וצומח וחי ומדבר, ונפש של וילון כתר על כולם ונקרא נפש שכלית, ומה שמשאר תשעה רקיעין נחלקין לרוח ונשמה וחיה ויחידה שבנפש וכולן יחד נקרא נפש אחת דעשיה בבחינת כללות העולמות:

    ואחר כך לוקח רוח אחד מעולם היצירה וגם הוא נחלק לכמה מדרגות על דרך הנזכר לעיל. אך בבחינת כללות כל העולמות נקרא רוח. ועל דרך זה נשמה מבריאה, וחיה מאצילות, ויחידה מא"ק:

    והרי נתבאר היטב מהות האדם כי הוא כולל כל העולמות כולן בין בכללותם בין בפרטם, מה שאין כן בכל הנבראים העליונים ותחתונים. כי כל תולדות איזה עולם מהן אינו כולל רק העולם אשר בו נברא. והרי זה בענין העולמות ממטה למעלה:

    גם הוא כולל כל העולמות מבפנים ולחוץ. כיצד, הנה בעולם העשיה יש לו גוף מהעפר הנקרא עולם השפל ובתוכו נפש היסודית מבחינת הקליפות, ובתוכו מבחינת מלאכי העולם הזה שנבראו לכל צרכי העולם הזה לגדל הצמחים וכו' ובתוכו מבחינת הנשמות של בני אדם. וכל אלו נעשין מרכבה אל אור הנמשך מן אורות העשר ספירות שבעשיה אשר בתוך ארבעה היסודות כדי להחיותן והם לפנים מן הכל, וכן על דרך זה במה שיש באדם מגלגלי העשיה ומשלשה עולמות יצירה בריאה אצילות:

    In addition to this for the full understand please see the Ben Ish Hai's explanation in Daat UTevunah as well as his sourcing to the more at length discussion of these things in Eitz Haim. Then see the commentaries by R' Shalom Sharabi(Shamash and Nahar Shalom) as well as the Eipha Shleima, Shemen Sasson, and others. The reason is that none of these Gedolim understand the words of Haim Vital in the way that the Baal HaTanya does. Much to the contrary, while the Jew has a "higher level" soul, since the higher is clothed in the lower and concealed within it, then so does the non-Jew. Only the non-Jew has no access because of the klipot. It is only through the removal the klipot that he has access by means of milah and/or mikvah.

    While some mekubalim(by no means all as many are opposed to Habad thought outright) will consider Tanya a worthwhile source, they do not see it as more authoritative than the above mentioned. It is best to understand the Baal HaTanya as does R' Adin Steinsaltz, in the first volume of his commentary on Tanya, as a Daas Yachid, who invented while seeming to ascribe to sources older.

    My second criticism of RaP's position is this, he stated:
    "Wow. Sure. But not every human being has THE nashama of ADAM KADMON of Gan Eden who was a unique Godly being. But have you not heard of "atem kruyim adam ve'ein umos ha'olam keruyim adam"? ("You [the Jews/Children of Israel] are called [the true] Adam, and not the nations of the world who are not called Adam")."

    Haim Vital in Eitz Haim and Otzrot Haim, Shaar Adam Kadmon, as well as the Ben Ish Hai in Daat UTevunah Opening 3 state that Adam Kadmon is not a physical entity and to refer to it in any way as a physical entity is complete heresy and such a person will be punished in this world and the world to come. I am not calling RaP a heretic, rather I bring this paraphrase to show that RaP more or less demonstrates a general ignorance of the sources that he claims for support. To be clear Adam HaRishon was in Gan Eden, Adam Kadmon is a mental, and possibly spiritual construct(depending upon your shita).

    RaP also says,
    "Unfortunately, Rabbi Hartman's recent explication of the Maharal was done under the guidance of Rav Yonason David of Har Nof and Brooklyn who is personally and hashkafically bitterly opposed to ALL of Chabad and their teachings and who has a vested interest in "minimizing, sidelining and sanitizing" (for lack of better words) and orchestrating that the Tanya (which he knows well) to minimimize the direct lines from the kabbalistic system of the Maharal (1520-1609) to making connections with Tanya, all while the Tanya is aligned with the kabbalistic system of the ARI (1534-1572) VIA the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760) to the Ba'al HaTanya (1745-1812) who took from the Maharal and absorbed and extended it."

    The lineage of the Baal HaTanya is not so clear. First there was no direct instruction from the Ari to the Baal Shem, in fact if you check R' Aryeh Kaplan's work as well as R' Ariel Bar Tzadok you will see that that lineage is shaky at best. It is more likely that the Baal Shem learned from a European disciple of Yisrael Sarug, not from someone schooled in the system as tranmitted by Haim Vital. Second the Baal HaTanya did not learn from the Baal Shem, he learned from the Magid. In fact R' Adin Steinsaltz in his first volume on Tanya quotes the Baal Shem's grandson and successor as having said the the Baal HaTanya, "Your Chassidus is not the Chassidus of my grandfather." Whether that statement was an acknowledgment of his greatness or a criticism is a discussion best left to Hasidic circles.

    I cannot speak for the Maharal, but I must say that based on the above it would seem that at the very least it would be a Machlokes, not such a finished deal as RaP would like to suggest.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm sorry RYO, you're not going to get that retraction. I was going to quit this discussion, since there is noone following it whose mind isn't already made up. But since you are taking my silence to mean something else....

    Here's the words of the Tanya: משא"כ נפשות אומות עובדי גלולים הן משאר קליפות טמאות שאין בהן טוב כלל...
    (proof texts ellided, which ends ch. 1; chapter 2 begins:
    ונפש השנית בישראל היא חלק אלוה ממעל ממש כמ"ש ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים...

    As you can see, the Alter Rebbe certainly does exclude nachriim from having the soul G-d gave Adam.

    To continue from later in ch. 2:
    ומ"ש בזהר ובזהר חדש שהעיקר תלוי שיקדש עצמו בשעת תשמיש דווקא משא"כ בני עמי הארץ כו' היינו משום שאין לך נפש רוח ונשמה שאין לה לבוש מנפש דעצמות אביו ואמו וכל המצות שעושה הכל ע"י אותו הלבוש כו' ואפי' השפע שנותנים לו מן השמים הכל ע"י לבוש זה...

    And in case there is still doubt, in ch. 35 the Tanya describes the process of being born and getting a body as:
    ירידת נשמותיהם לעולם הזה, להתלבש בנפש הבהמית שמהקליפה וסטרא אחרא...

    So, all that talk about only having a soul from qelipos and sitra achara really is all about only having an animal's soul as opposed to Adam's. I didn't make it up.

    So, no retraction.

    However, it is true that "Lessons in Tanya" takes a quote from Siddur Im De'ach, from R' Hillel Paritcher, and assumes the Alter Rebbe must have held like his talmid -- despite the Tanya's own words.

    Yirmiyahu: Human soul equals G-dly soul. What is the whole "kuntz" of being human if not being betzelem E-lokim? And was the soul given Adam not the whole source for the concept of G-dly soul? "Whomever breaths, breaths from within himself."


    There are really three issues:
    1- Is the distinction quantitative or qualitative?

    2- Is it inherent -- Jews were given the Torah because they are different? Or, is it that we are different because we are the carriers of the Torah? (Even those of us who try to escape that role.)

    IOW, are all men created equal, but then some become part of the Torah sheBa'al peh, or are some created different?

    3- What bothers me the most is the third, perception issue. Do we define the gap by using a language of how much greater we are than them, or of how similar they are to animals?

    It's the third question, even though is can often be one of perspective rather than substance, will have the greatest behavioral impact.

    The Kuzari says the difference is inherent (although not between Jew and gentile but between matrilineal descendant of the Avos and gentile) and qualitative. But about the greatness of the Jew, not the lowliness of the gentile.

    The rationalists (R' Saadia, Rambam, much later R' Hirsch) say it's both quantitative and caused by been given the Torah. (The Rambam even goes so far as to place Aristo ahead of a Jewish am haaretz, not that I think anyone else would. Maybe chassid umos ha'olam vs Jewish rasha...)

    The Maharal says the difference is inherent and quantitative, as in the text RaP cited. Despite his (?) insistence on using "lefi godel" as a qualitative distinction, the words don't mean that. And RaP thereby creates a self-contradiction in the Maharal where none exists. (Or he believes that the Maharal in Gevuros Hashem ch. 28 is saying that nachriim can't speak.) He also does not play down the nachri-animal distinction, but rather plays up the gedulah of being a Yehudi.

    The Tanya is unique in making no distinction whatsoever between Chiune Sugihara's soul and Koko the sign-language "speaking" gorilla.

    The title RED chose for this thread is unfortunate. I'm not assuming that all derakhim require belief that all men are equal. I'm objecting to a derekh which teaches that most men and animals are.

    -micha

    PS: Anyone who thinks RED is speaking from an ignorance of hashkafah, as RaP seems to think, obviously never saw Daas Torah vol. I.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver said...

    I'm still waiting for a retraction of the preposterous, unsourced claim, attributing this statement to the Alter Rebbe; it's odd that my post was ignored.
    =====================
    I took the time to go the the Chabad library this morning to research the issue. I also discussed this with a number of Chabad chassidim.

    1) The claim in not preposterous. Many years ago I spent some time learning Tanya at 770. I still remember my shock when the person teaching me presented this idea that a non-Jew only had an animal soul. As he put it, "it is hard for many western liberals to view non-Jews as a higher form of animal."
    2) I went through the various commentaries and compendium in the library - including the sefer about teaching the 7 mitzvos to non-Jews including Kabbalah. There is no mention of this claim.

    3) There is an interesting letter the L.Rebbe wrote in reaction to someone saying that this section of Tanya should not be translated because of its' negative view of non-Jews. He replied that it too late since it has already been translated into a number of languages. That a non-Jew can just accept it as a fact and simply not be offended and finally they don't need the Tanya as an justification for antisemitism.
    4) In discussion with knowledgeable chassidim the following was learned. a) There are number of diverse and sometimes apparently contradictory statements on this within the Chabad written and oral Tora - as we saw with the Maharal. They are all true from some perspective. Thus while all non-Jews and Jews are part of a common humanity - there are strong differences spiritually. b) There is a strong difference between what is said in discussion and what is put in writing. The written discussions are much milder and apologetic than the oral. c) The previous L Rebbe had a much harsher attitude towards non-Jews than the last L. Rebbe. This was possibly because of his very negative personal experiences. d) Tanya and chassidus developed in a culture where non-Jews were not very elevated. Thus it is perceived within Chabad that the goyim have genuinely progressed in the last 200 years. This is parallel to the rishonim and achronim that say that the negative comments about non-Jews found in the Talmud refer to the barbaric idolaters but not contemporary non-Jews. This is not just apologetics but is a genuine belief. d) Rabbi Oliver apparently has much less access to the inner circle of Chabad - as we saw by his mistaken assertion that the L. Rebbe was infallible when the L. Rebbe said himself that he made mistakes.

    In sum - there is no reason to retract the original assertion - because it is an accurate reflection of a perspective found in Tanya. The degree to which it is the dominant or subordinate focus varies between Lubavitchers - but it genuine exists. My memories from 40 years ago were validated.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Recipients and PublicityDecember 2, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    Some responses to the latest above.

    mekubal said... "RaP seems to rely heavily on the Baal HaTanya and his(the Baal HaTanya's) reference to Shaare Kedusha and Eitz Haim."

    RaP: Let's get this straight, I did not originally rely on the Tanya as such but more on the Maharal. I cited the Tanya once Dr. Eidensohn mentioned that my views were those of Tanya. Secondly, I am not the one citing Rav Chaim Vital, it is in the first perek of the Tanya and I was citing it verbatim as it appears in the first perek of Tanya.

    "So first here is the relevant parts from Shaare Kedusha,"

    RaP: Why you feel you have to quote so much I do not know. I could also have quoted and posted entire perakim of the Maharal and Tanya but I tried to post only those phrases, pesukim, words and few paragraphs that shed light. Could you please point to the central words and ideas you want to help you here.

    But from all the lengthy quotes you bring there is nothing there that says he is talking like a modern day liberal egaliterian humanist who sees "all men as being created equal" but rather he is talking about Adam as being in the context of referring to Israelites/Jews which is the way "adam" is understood by classical chazal.

    Other views come about as for one need of apologetics or another and do not fall within the hashkofes of Torah true Yiddishkeit and true Da'as Torah.

    "The reason is that none of these Gedolim understand the words of Haim Vital in the way that the Baal HaTanya does."

    RaP: Sure it is true that the Sefaradi mekubalim followed an entirely derech in Kabalah and it stands to reason that they would have different views of how to understand subjects, as their is also a split between the minhagim of the Sefaradim and the Ashkenazim in Halacha, but you are still not citing specfic words and proofs to show that they held that the goyim had souls and a nefesh like that of a Jew.

    "Much to the contrary, while the Jew has a "higher level" soul, since the higher is clothed in the lower and concealed within it, then so does the non-Jew. Only the non-Jew has no access because of the klipot. It is only through the removal the klipot that he has access by means of milah and/or mikvah."

    RaP: What does "no access" mean? So vague and politically correct! You are getting lost in words because on this matter they are saying the same thing as the Tanya and the Maharal but perhaps in more diplomatic and concretized and less spiritualized ways. They are saying it as a kind of mathematical formula while the Maharal and Tanya speak in blunter and reasoned elevatedness of "nistar in the form of nigleh". So it's six of one and half a dozen of the other and you have proven nothing because all hold that a goy does not have the soul/nefesh of a Jew no matter which you slice it and when a goy converts he gets a soul/nefesh that he/she did not have before.

    "While some mekubalim(by no means all as many are opposed to Habad thought outright) will consider Tanya a worthwhile source, they do not see it as more authoritative than the above mentioned. It is best to understand the Baal HaTanya as does R' Adin Steinsaltz, in the first volume of his commentary on Tanya, as a Daas Yachid, who invented while seeming to ascribe to sources older."

    RaP: I think the above comment is the worst that I have read in this entire discussion so far, worse than anything than Rabbi Eidensohn or even micha have conjured up at times, and they have said some pretty enlightened and non-traditional things. Tanya is just a "source" to you??? That is a good joke, Tanya is the basis of the entire Kabalah of Chasidus and it is obvious that you are not familiar with the Oilam Hakabala of Chasidus. So your comments reveal your lack of knowledge and prejudice and cannot be regarded as serious.

    Then you go on to make an even greater blunder to say that Rabbi Adin Steizals's view of Tanya should be taken as "the" correct way of understanding Tanya. Really??? Who in Chabad and in the Chasidic world outside of Chabad says this? Does even Rabbi Steinsalz say that his view is the "only correct one"? You are now totally out of bounds.

    Furthermore how you can mention someone as controversial as Rabbi Steinsalz is a mystery, for a number of reasons. He too came from a scientific backround, not rooted in Yiddishkeit. And the cherry on the cake is that his works were publicly excoriated and put in cherem by none other than Rav Shach ztzk"l and that puts him in the same class of controversial non-mainstream Charedi authors of banned books like Rabbi Slifkin (all his many books), Rabbi Reinman (of one book with a Reform rabbi), Rabbi Binyomin Kamenstesky (one book about his father). All real bnei Torah know this.

    To call the Baal HaTanya a "da'as yachid" is ridiculous when not just his Tanya but also his Shulchan Aruch HaRav is the definitive source for him being the "posek ha'acharon" for all Chasidus but also one of the main pillars or present day Halachah alongside the Chayei Odom, the Oruch HaShulchan, the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch and the Mishnah Berurah. Some "da'as yachid" and it shows how out of it you are.

    "Adam Kadmon is not a physical entity and to refer to it in any way as a physical entity is complete heresy and such a person will be punished in this world and the world to come. I am not calling RaP a heretic, rather I bring this paraphrase to show that RaP more or less demonstrates a general ignorance of the sources that he claims for support. To be clear Adam HaRishon was in Gan Eden, Adam Kadmon is a mental, and possibly spiritual construct(depending upon your shita)."

    RaP: At no point did I ever say that Adam Kadmon was physical. And I would not be quick to now start running around saying who is a "heretic" because based on some of your own assertions right here you could be called one yourself, so let us not go down that path but rather ask for clarification before you make wild unfouned and irresponsible statement. So do not attribute things to me that I never said or implied.

    If you look over the ongoing discussion, you will see that it was micha who wanted to say that all humans come from only one source that is called Adam. And it was then that I pointed out to him that that is a very simplistic view because there is also the notion of Adam Kadmon, as you correctly say who is a spiritual construct, and that the souls of Jews come not from Adam Harishon as such, because Adam sinned, but it is from a higher, holier, purer, untainted more spiritual source and that source is symbolized by the notion of Adam Kadmon who is UNTARNISHED by sin and who is in harmony with the Tree of Life (and with Shabbos which is the source of all Kedusha in this material world) which is also represented and embodied by the Torah.

    The Torah is also multi-meaninged that it can refer to a written Torah from the times of Moshe Rabbeinu but there is also the meaning of the Torah that it is created 2000 years before the physical world and it is the blueprint for the world and for mankind.

    Hence the constructs of histakel beoraysa uvara alma and Adam Kadmon and the shoresh of nishmas Yisroel are all le'eila ule'eila and they are conncted with Kudsha Brich Hu unlike the goyim who do not have any of this and are not part of the world of Adam Kadmon, of Yisroel VeOraysa UKudsha Brich Hu Chad Hu and therefore also kashim gerim leYisroel kesapachas.

    "The lineage of the Baal HaTanya is not so clear. First there was no direct instruction from the Ari to the Baal Shem, in fact if you check R' Aryeh Kaplan's work as well as R' Ariel Bar Tzadok you will see that that lineage is shaky at best."

    RaP: Hmm, while Rabbi Kaplan has credibility, since when can anyone rely on Ariel Bar Tzadok from Manhattan? And then "lineage" from one mekubal and from one talmid chochem to another does not run like a visible line in the middle of a road and it is not something that can be clearly quantified but it nevertheless strongly exists.

    The fact that the Baal Hatanya had access to the writings of Rav Chaim Vital who wrote down the teachings of the ARI and that the Baal HaTanya was related to and had access to the works of the Maharal and then the fact that he became a disciple of the Maggid who was the close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov means that the Baal HaTanya was fully prepared with both the Torah She'bichsav and the Torah She'bealpeh of Kabbalah and Nistar to lay the groundwork for his works and Tanya. He was also a giant of giants among the great Litvaks in Lomdus, Talmud, Poskim and Halacha as is evidenced by his magnum opus the Shulchan Oruch haRav. So he was not only a central figure in all of Chasidus but he was also one that was able to be a seminal one in all of present day Kabbalah and tie together vast fields in both Kabbalah (which became the conerstone of Chasidus) and as a conerstone of Halachah in the Shulchan Oruch HaRav.

    "It is more likely that the Baal Shem learned from a European disciple of Yisrael Sarug, not from someone schooled in the system as tranmitted by Haim Vital."

    RaP: How the Baal Shem Tov got "schooled" at all is a mystery and not really known to anyone. Most of it is assumed to be directly from Shamayim as it is and he did not become who he was from "schooling" even though he himself hid himself as a "melamed" of small children.

    The Baal Shem Tov learned more in visions and dreams and giluim min Hashomayim (as in Gilui Eliyahu) than in any formal reading of seforim and it seems that the ARI's influence was upon him someway, somehow. But in the case of the Baal haTanya, he already had BOTH the seforim of Rav Chaim Vital to quote and the mystical kabbala from the Baal Shem Shem Tov via the Maggid of Mezeritch.

    "Second the Baal HaTanya did not learn from the Baal Shem, he learned from the Magid."

    RaP: I never said that he did and I see you enjoy repeating things in a way that they were not said. It is well known that the Baal HaTanya never met the Baal Shem Tov, so why are you saying this? But what I did mean is that the Baal HaTanya took the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov as he received them from the Maggid (and others) and put them into the Tanya and noone argues this point either.

    "In fact R' Adin Steinsaltz in his first volume on Tanya quotes the Baal Shem's grandson and successor as having said the the Baal HaTanya, "Your Chassidus is not the Chassidus of my grandfather." Whether that statement was an acknowledgment of his greatness or a criticism is a discussion best left to Hasidic circles.

    RaP: This is well beyond our discussion because it is known that Breslov feels itself to be closer to the true teachings of the Baal Shem Tov since Rav Nachman MeBreslov was the son of the Baal Shem Tov's daughter Udell. But this has nothing to do with anything and it is no disproof to the centrality and key importance of the Tanya and its author to the world of Kabbalah and to all of Torah.

    michas says: "And RaP thereby creates a self-contradiction in the Maharal where none exists. (Or he believes that the Maharal in Gevuros Hashem ch. 28 is saying that nachriim can't speak.)"

    RaP: There is "speech" and then there is "speech"! The speech of Adam is/was loshen hakodesh that is reserved only for Yisroel who specialize in speaking Torah. It is forbidden al pi Halacha to teach a goy Torah and a goy who learns Torah makes himself liable for the death penalty.

    So while the speech of a goy is like the prattle of the animal kingdom and it can be quite a high level of prattle as when the Greeks spoke the chochmah of philosophy BUT only a Jew (and the malcahim) may have access to speaking in learning and praying in loshen kodesh and to the words of loshen kodesh in the Torah so that while humans do speak sichas chulin, talk about mundane matters, the speech that makes Adam a medaber worthy of the tzelem elokim and proves that he is a chelek eloka mima'al and that he has a nefesh that is Elokis sichlis and that he is worthy of being the true adam, atam keruyim adam is only meant for the Jew/Israelite who alone posseses the soul/neshama/nefesh that a goy does not, and which connects the Jew with God as in Yisroel VeOraysa VeKudsha Brich Chad Hu!

    "The Tanya is unique in making no distinction whatsoever between Chiune Sugihara's soul and Koko the sign-language "speaking" gorilla"

    RaP: You are being crass and you know it and it is a poor way to attack the Tanya.

    da'as torah says: "Many years ago I spent some time learning Tanya at 770. I still remember my shock when the person teaching me presented this idea that a non-Jew only had an animal soul. As he put it, "it is hard for many western liberals to view non-Jews as a higher form of animal."

    RaP: That kind of technique is excellent kiruv by the rabbi who taught you. It is the shock therapy that is needed and essential to let ANY average American liberal novice know and understand what the true status of a Jew is in this world. The rest in commentary.

    ReplyDelete
  23. RaP:

    1- You're trying to dig your way out of a hole by turning a simple reference to speech into something the Maharal wasn't talking about. He writes about an animal, who can think but has no godliness and an infant who is godly, but can't yet think. He's talking about talking, plain and simple. Not some "haqol qol Yaaqov", "talking Torah", or anything else.

    (And if he meant what you're creatively assigning to him, why didn't the Maharal contrast a speaker to a nachri?)

    The Maharal says that you need a G-dly Intellegent soul in order to speak. Thus, nachriim have one. Thus your understanding of Tif'eres Yisrael ch. 1-2 is off.

    And it's evidence it's off without invoking another source, since "lefi godel" is inherently a relative term, not a qualitative distinction.

    2- When I wrote, "The Tanya is unique in making no distinction whatsoever between Chiune Sugihara's soul and Koko the sign-language 'speaking' gorilla."
    I was not "being crass". I was being shocking.

    And I note that you do not say I'm wrong. Because... it's really what the Tanya forces one to conclude. Even in a shocking case of one of the chassidei umos ha'olam who risked his life and ended up living apart from his family in poverty for it compared to a gorilla.

    And why was I shocking? Because it is shocking.

    Rather than being a "poor way to attack the Tanya", it is a very accurate way of explaining why I cannot accept the Tanya's position on this (and related) issues, even as an eilu va'eilu. I am not saying I considered it and rejected it, but literally I cannot. I lack the emotional versatility.

    -micha

    ReplyDelete
  24. Recipients and PublicityDecember 3, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    To micha and Dr. Eidensohn: I do greatly appreciate all the time you have devoted to this subject and for your serious attention as always, but I think this thread of discussions has run its course.

    After all this, it is satisfying enough for me, that according to both of you, that I can count 100% on the Tanya (and by implication if one follows the Baal HaTanya's sourcing, also on the ARI, Rav Chaim Vital and the Baal Shem Tov) and on at least 50%, if not not more, on the Maharal, it is good enough for me.

    There is nothing I can do about micha's negative feelings about what the Tanya writes, no can I do anything about Dr. Eidensohn's concerns about the implications of the Tanya's teachings, especially as he has experienced them through Lubavitch teachers.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Recipients and Publicity said...

    To micha and Dr. Eidensohn: I do greatly appreciate all the time you have devoted to this subject and for your serious attention as always, but I think this thread of discussions has run its course.
    -----------------
    Just when it is getting interesting?
    ==========================
    RaP: After all this, it is satisfying enough for me, that according to both of you, that I can count 100% on the Tanya (and by implication if one follows the Baal HaTanya's sourcing, also on the ARI, Rav Chaim Vital and the Baal Shem Tov) and on at least 50%, if not not more, on the Maharal, it is good enough for me.

    ... nor can I do anything about Dr. Eidensohn's concerns about the implications of the Tanya's teachings, especially as he has experienced them through Lubavitch teachers.
    --------------------
    Does that mean that you are a Lubavitcher?

    I am surprised you are just walking away from this one - it is very uncharacteristic - though I do appreciate the more concillatory tone of your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Boruch Hashem
    Chassidus Chabad says clearly that all goyim are different from animals in that they possess a Nefesh Ha’Sichlis. The Alter Rebbe doesn’t mention the Nefesh Ha’Sichlis in Tanya Kaddisha because it’s not relevant in that context. Just as he omits many other concepts that are explained elsewhere. Umah peleh—divrei Torah aniyim b’mokom echod va’ashirim b’mokom achier. This is all the more so considering that Tanya Kaddisha is regarded as the Torah Shebichsav of Toras HaChassidus. Many ideas are only alluded to in Torah Shebichsav; some are not mentioned altogether. Thus, to understand it you need to learn the Torah Shebaal Peh—in this case, the explanation of the Rebbeim who followed. It is thus absurd to infer only from this omission here that he holds that the Nefesh Ha’Sichlis doesn’t exist, when it is clearly discussed in kisvei Arizal, e.g., at the end of Etz Chaim and in the Alter Rebbe’s own writings elsewhere. In particular, it is mentioned throughout the Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah (jus t one example of scores: www.chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/toraor/1/3d.htm ) that there are four levels of the creation, domem, tzomeach, chai, and medaber. The difference between chai and medaber is that medaber has a Nefesh HaMedaberes, which is also known as the Nefesh Ha’Sichlis, as explained in many places in Chassidus Chabad. (See also Tanya chs. 20-21.) Medaber clearly includes goyim. Goyim thus also have a Nefesh Ha’Sichlis. See also Likutei Biurim from Rabbi Korf on ch. 10 of Tanya, where he explains that there the Alter Rebbe is alluding to the Nefesh Ha’Sichlis.This is also explained in many lectures and articles of Reb Yoel Kahn.

    See also Sefer HaMa’amarim 5702 Dibbur ha’maschil Chavivin Yisroel, Ohr HaTorah, Shevuos Dibbur ha’maschil Chavivin Yisroel, etc., where it is explained clearly that Choviv odom shenivra betzelem refers to his Nefesh Ha’Sichlis, and that a gentile also possesses a Nefesh Ha’Sichlis. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 15, p. 58 ff.

    As for the claims made:

    “I also discussed this with a number of Chabad chassidim.”

    Like who?

    “The claim in not preposterous. Many years ago I spent some time learning Tanya at 770. I still remember my shock when the person teaching me presented this idea that a non-Jew only had an animal soul. As he put it, "it is hard for many western liberals to view non-Jews as a higher form of animal."”

    So, you had the misfortune to learn from an ignoramus. Therefore that’s the Alter Rebbe’s opinion?! Or, perhaps you are misremembering, and what you were told was "it is hard for many western liberals to view non-Jews as lacking a soul that Jews possess."

    “I went through the various commentaries and compendium in the library - including the sefer about teaching the 7 mitzvos to non-Jews including Kabbalah. There is no mention of this claim.”

    Do you mean the sefer Kol Bai Olam? It’s not discussed there because that book is about the importance of spreading the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach, not peshat in Tanya.

    “3) There is an interesting letter the L. Rebbe wrote in reaction to someone saying that this section of Tanya should not be translated because of its' negative view of non-Jews. He replied that it too late since it has already been translated into a number of languages. That a non-Jew can just accept it as a fact and simply not be offended and finally they don't need the Tanya as an justification for antisemitism.”

    Mah kesher? That letter is talking about the issue of saying that the Nefesh Ha’Behamis of gentiles stems from Sholosh Kelipos HaTemei’os which are totally evil (which is quoted directly from Kisvei Arizal, of course). That’s neither here nor there. The claim was made that the Alter Rebbe says that goyim ONLY have a Nefesh Habehamis. You have cited no source for this.

    “There are number of diverse and sometimes apparently contradictory statements on this within the Chabad written and oral Tora - as we saw with the Maharal. They are all true from some perspective. Thus while all non-Jews and Jews are part of a common humanity - there are strong differences spiritually.”

    Were you told sources? Otherwise these generalizations are meaningless to me.

    “The previous L Rebbe had a much harsher attitude towards non-Jews than the last L. Rebbe.”

    What is the basis of this claim?

    “This was possibly because of his very negative personal experiences.”

    The Rebbe, who was in Nazi Germany, whose close family members were brutally slain, didn’t have “negative personal experiences”?! And regardless, with all due respect to whoever told you this, I find this silly sociological speculation.

    “Tanya and Chassidus developed in a culture where non-Jews were not very elevated. Thus it is perceived within Chabad that the goyim have genuinely progressed in the last 200 years. This is parallel to the rishonim and achronim that say that the negative comments about non-Jews found in the Talmud refer to the barbaric idolaters but not contemporary non-Jews. This is not just apologetics but is a genuine belief. ”

    1. What the Alter Rebbe says about Goyim is from kisvei Arizal, which preceded the Baal Shem Tov.

    2. The world in general has progressed because it becomes more refined as we approach Moshiach. Is that what you are talking about? Or there is the fact that we are better treated in the western world nowadays on the whole than in the pre-war era. Is that what you are talking about? That has nothing to do with Chabad per se.

    3. Also, what is your source for the claim that akum in general in the Gemoro, etc., doesn’t refer to goyim of today? My understanding is that that disclaimer was purely because of fear of the censor, which itself shows just how much nothing had changed. The fact that these disclaimers were followed by the horrors of the Holocaust shows that nothing had changed all the more.

    “In sum - there is no reason to retract the original assertion - because it is an accurate reflection of a perspective found in Tanya.”

    In sum, this is an “interpretation” based on total ignorance of relevant sources.

    Oh and Micha, Siddur Im Dach is not from Reb Hillel Paritcher, but from the Alter Rebbe himself. Your total ignorance of the subject matter on one hand and your certainty that your interpretation is correct on the other is astounding. I don’t come and express opinions with such confidence about what the Moreh Nevuchim means in this or that section, because I don’t claim expertise in that area. And then you have the gall to suggest that Reb Hillel Paritcher “contradicted” the Alter Rebbe when in fact he quoted a tradition of a teaching of the Alter Rebbe. Bimechilas kvod Toroscho, I suggest that you stick to Chakirah.

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  27. "To be clear Adam HaRishon was in Gan Eden, Adam Kadmon is a mental, and possibly spiritual construct (depending upon your shita)."

    Mekubal, are you saying that there was no physical Adam HaRishon?

    "As you can see, the Alter Rebbe certainly does exclude nachriim from having the soul G-d gave Adam."

    Chapter 2 of Tanya is clearly talking about the souls of Jews: "v'nefesh hasheinis *b'Yisroel*". The reference to Adam does not contradict this, for as is well-known, Adam had the soul of a Jew, which was a neshomo klolis. See Likkutei Torah l'hoArizal Tehillim 32:

    "כשברא הקב"ה את אדם הראשון, כל הנשמות שנכללו בו לא היו אלא נשמות ישראל, ואם לא הי' חוטא לא היו האומות יוצאין לעולם, ואחר שחטא נתערבו בו ניצוצות אומות העולם, וזהו אדם אתם, ישראל לבד היו כלולין נשמותיהן באדם הראשון".

    Thus, ch. 2 of Tanya is only saying that Jews have the Nefesh Hoelokis but goyim do not; it is not in any way implying that goyim are equal to animals. Your reference to Tanya ch. 35 is equally irrelevant to your claim.

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  28. Recipients and PublicityDecember 4, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    Dr. Eidensoh says: "Does that mean that you are a Lubavitcher?"

    RaP: Nope. Definitely not! Since when is studying the history of Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi and his times, the Tanya he authored, and notingthe glory of the Shulchan Oruch HaRav only for Lubavitchers? Odd comment on your part, unless you are pulling my leg of course.

    "I am surprised you are just walking away from this one - it is very uncharacteristic -"

    RaP: I do not see how more discussions would help here. But my time is limited and I found that I was getting bogged down in this thread and the one about Slifkin when usually I limit myself to only one seriousl.

    Instead, I wanted to discuss the implications of the latest EJF posting and I wrote up a lengthy response and submitted it, but you have not posted it. Did you receive it? If yes, why have you not posted it, it was a very good analysis I thought. I would appreciate hearing from you as to what happened. Thanks.

    "though I do appreciate the more concillatory tone of your comments."

    RaP: Thanks, you are welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  29. RaP wrote:
    Instead, I wanted to discuss the implications of the latest EJF posting and I wrote up a lengthy response and submitted it, but you have not posted it. Did you receive it? If yes, why have you not posted it, it was a very good analysis I thought. I would appreciate hearing from you as to what happened. Thanks.
    ===========
    never received it - please send again

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  30. Um, RYO, are you sure the neshamah of a Jew is a "neshamah kelalis"? The way I read it, the Jewish people have a single "neshamah kelalis", the kalal's neshamah. (And the chain from Moshe Rabbeinu a"h down to RMMS would be considered that soul's yechidah kelalis.)

    As already discussed, according to the Maharal, animals have a nefesh sichlis. And infants have a nefesh E-lokis. Neither can speak, because to speak one needs a nefesh sichlis E-lokis -- both attributes.

    I mention this because it's unclear that attributing a thinking soul means distinguishing between chai and medabeir as a difference in kind rather than quantity. In the link you give, Torah Or (Bereishis 3d), the distinction is in he'erach harbei, which doesn't really insist on a qualitative difference. (And the use of harbei actually argues against it, but I don't know enough to say that's indicative.)

    Last, he is discussing "ha'adam", using the beri'ah of Adam haRishon. From what RaP was arguing, I'm not sure that Chabadnikim would take it for granted that this description refers to nachriim.

    We would also need to understand what a nefesh beheimis that isn't the same as a beheimah is supposed to mean. Why is it called nefesh beheimis if it's not the same species as a beheimah's?

    -micha

    PS: The pot-shot about my supposed ignorance aside (you confuse not speaking the insider's lingo with not having learned the sefarim), you're mistaken. You also don't know me very well if you think I tend to write about chaqiros, or for Hakira. We only mentioned the source "Siddur Im Dach" because Lessons in Tanya did -- and the attribution is in the footnote. It's not even mine!

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  31. Micha:
    1. The neshama of Adam HaRishon was a neshama klalis of nishmos Yisroel. That's what I was saying, as quoted from the AriZal, in explaining Tanya.

    2. Animals have a certain degree of sechel, but it is fundamentally different and inferior from that of humans. They do not possess a nefesh ha'sichlis in any way comparable to the way that a human does. Conversely, a child has a nefesh ha'sichlis, just one that is undeveloped. The distinction between chai and medaber is thus clearly one of kind. In general, the four levels of domem, tzomeach, chai and medaber are different in kind because they each possess a nefesh that the lower levels don't.

    3. Are you asking: How is a human's nefesh habehamis different from an animal's? Good question, it needs more research.

    4. My point was that you didn't read the footnote correctly. It's quoting two separate sources, one from Reb Hillel, and one from Siddur Im Dach, which is from the Alter Rebbe himself. You wrote that Siddur Im Dach is from Reb Hillel! This seems to indicate that you may need to study a bit more before reaching definitive conclusions in these matters.

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  32. "To be clear Adam HaRishon was in Gan Eden, Adam Kadmon is a mental, and possibly spiritual construct (depending upon your shita)."

    Mekubal, are you saying that there was no physical Adam HaRishon

    -----------
    How do you possibly get that from my statement. As I said and sourced Adam HaRishon and Adam Kadmon are NOT the same thing. One was a physical being with a soul, that being Adam HaRishon. One is a mental and possibly spiritual construct, that being Adam Kadmon.

    ReplyDelete
  33. RaP,

    The problem is that while you can rely on Tanya. You cannot rely upon the AR"I and the MaRHU. Let's be clear. He cites Shaare Kedusha, yet in the only place that Shaare Kedusha speaks on the subject it does not say what the Tanya claims it says.

    Secondly in relation to this we have the work of R' Yehuda Patiya, who quoting the same sources, as well as the Tfas Emes' commentary on them, in his work Minhat Yehuda, Parshat Vayera,(Ot 43) He asks the question who are the seed of Abraham? He then goes on to explain that Muslims and Christians who do not have blood on their hands, and Torah Observant Jews fill this category and that they have equal souls.

    RaP said:
    "The fact that the Baal Hatanya had access to the writings of Rav Chaim Vital who wrote down the teachings of the ARI "

    -----------------------
    This proves nothing. Shabbtai Tzvi also had access to these texts and we see the good it did him. The Torah Hakham states on 145a that the MaRHU intentionally wrote many of his works confused so that those who were not properly trained and just read them would not understand them. So if the Baal HaTanya was not part of that lineage, then I am afraid we cannot rely upon him for accurate understanding.

    RaP:
    "Tanya is just a "source" to you??? That is a good joke, Tanya is the basis of the entire Kabalah of Chasidus and it is obvious that you are not familiar with the Oilam Hakabala of Chasidus."

    ------------------------
    Gur reject it, Braslav reject it, Belz reject it, Satmar reject it, that is over half the world's Hasidic population, I have not even begun on the many minor sects that do not take that also reject it such as Chernowitz-Chmielnick. Which, as Rabbi Chaim Yehuda Leib Auerbach was a son of the Admor, when he found the major Ashkenazi Kabbalistic yeshiva, Shaar HaShamayim, he also rejected it.

    RaP:
    "Furthermore how you can mention someone as controversial as Rabbi Steinsalz is a mystery, for a number of reasons. He too came from a scientific backround, not rooted in Yiddishkeit. And the cherry on the cake is that his works were publicly excoriated and put in cherem by none other than Rav Shach ztzk"l and that puts him in the same class of controversial non-mainstream Charedi authors of banned books like Rabbi Slifkin (all his many books), Rabbi Reinman (of one book with a Reform rabbi), Rabbi Binyomin Kamenstesky (one book about his father)."

    -------------------------
    Thank you very much for bring in R' Shach here. If you are going to hold by R' Shach's ban on him, then you also need to hold by his ban on all things Chabad, or do you switch tunes when he says "Chabad is the religion that most closely resembles Judaism."? Which on its own places Tanya as a very weak source.

    RaP:
    "So he was not only a central figure in all of Chasidus but he was also one that was able to be a seminal one in all of present day Kabbalah and tie together vast fields in both Kabbalah (which became the conerstone of Chasidus) and as a conerstone of Halachah in the Shulchan Oruch HaRav."

    -----------------------
    Take the sects that I mentioned above as rejecting Tanya and add Bobov, and you will have those that do not accept this as authoritative halacha. Your claims of his centrality are baseless.

    RaP:
    "At no point did I ever say that Adam Kadmon was physical. And I would not be quick to now start running around saying who is a "heretic" because based on some of your own assertions right here you could be called one yourself, so let us not go down that path but rather ask for clarification before you make wild unfouned and irresponsible statement. So do not attribute things to me that I never said or implied.

    If you look over the ongoing discussion, you will see that it was micha who wanted to say that all humans come from only one source that is called Adam. And it was then that I pointed out to him that that is a very simplistic view because there is also the notion of Adam Kadmon, as you correctly say who is a spiritual construct, and that the souls of Jews come not from Adam Harishon as such, because Adam sinned, but it is from a higher, holier, purer, untainted more spiritual source and that source is symbolized by the notion of Adam Kadmon who is UNTARNISHED by sin and who is in harmony with the Tree of Life (and with Shabbos which is the source of all Kedusha in this material world) which is also represented and embodied by the Torah."

    ----------------------
    But first you said:

    "Sure. But not every human being has THE nashama of ADAM KADMON of Gan Eden who was a unique Godly being."

    -----------------------------
    So either Adam Kadmon is or is not in Gan Eden?

    Even if you did not intend to say that Adam Kadmon was a physical entity, or in some way on some plane of existance consumes space, and are just stating that Jewish souls are rooted from this lofty level, you are wrong.

    Shaar HaGilgulim Hakdamahs 7, 19, 29 and 31 state that all souls except those of Angels and truly new souls were rooted in Adam Rishon. That all men whether Jew or non-Jew share the same soul sources, and that they have identical souls, hence there are righteous among the nations and Bnei Noach. See also the first introduction to Shaar Hakavnot for this in brief. If the souls of Jews were rooted in A"K there would be no need for Tikun, and they would be immortal, they would actuallly be on a level with abilities higher than those of Adam Rishon, however that is not the case.

    As I said before I am no expert on the Maharal. However it seems to me that the only real backing that you have for your cause is Tanya. So please before you ascribe teachings to others check your sources, and the sources of the source you are getting them from.

    PS the reason that I quoted the long piece from Shaare Kedusha, is that the entirety is necessary to understand his point. However, you seemed to have missed that. No I will not be giving direct quotes from the recently mentioned texts. If you want to see them look them up, I do not currently have electronic versions of them, and I have no intention of spending my time typing them in.

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