Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nodah B'Yehuda & Kabbala - private & public view by Rabbi Dr. David Katz

The follow is an excerpt from Rabbi David Katz' doctoral dissertaion on the Nodah B'Yehuda. Rabbi Katz is a rav in Baltimore and is a very well respected talmid chachom as well as very knowledgable about many other things. The full dissertation can be downloaded here from the University of Maryland. The main point is that the Nodah B'Yehuda had a negative public attitude towards Kabbala but privately he had a strongly positive one. This also was true of Rav Yaakov Emden, Chasam Sofer and others. This duality was resulted from the concern for the followers of Shabtsai Tzvi and the Frankists as well as the well founded fear of the ignorant studying kabbala without a proper teacher or foundation.

5 comments:

  1. It seems like the Nodah B'Yehuda was arguing against study of Kabbalah by those who were not prepared so it is reasonble to say that his position was not a duality. He respected Kabbalah but did not like that the uninitiated were studying it and getting a warped view of Torah.

    That is very different from R Emden and Chasam Sofer who were specifically casting doubts on the provenance of the Zohar as anything more than a forgery. There is no duality there. Either it is a forgery or it isnt.

    You claim that "the Nodah B'Yehuda had a negative public attitude towards Kabbala but privately he had a strongly positive one. This also was true of Rav Yaakov Emden, Chasam Sofer and others." On what basis are you making this claim?

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  2. HIM:
    http://torahanytime.com/Rabbi/David_Katz/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 21, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    "The main point is that the Nodah B'Yehuda had a negative public attitude towards Kabbala but privately he had a strongly positive one."

    RaP: You need to define the word"negative" and what you mean by that, and how the Nodah B'Yehuda expressed his positions of Kabbalah. Meaning you need to explain whether the Nodah B'Yehuda was "diplomatic" or was he "blunt" about this subject, and then show HOW and explain WHY.

    "This also was true of Rav Yaakov Emden,"

    RaP: Ah, well at least we are now getting closer to a subject that will reveal the influence of Shabtai Tzvi and his school of Kabbalah (and yes, he did leave behind a vast following replete with many scholars and texts that was left leaderless that others tried to pick up along the way...) on subsequent generations as best illustrated in the Emden-Eybeschütz Controversy: From Wikipedia: "Emden [1697-1776] accused Jonathan Eybeschutz [1690-1764] of being a secret Sabbatean. The controversy lasted several years, continuing even after Eybeschütz's death. Emden's assertion of Eybeschütz's heresy was chiefly based on the interpretation of some amulets prepared by Eybeschütz, in which Emden saw Sabbatean allusions. Hostilities began before Eybeschütz left Prague, and in 1751, when Eybeschütz was named chief rabbi of the three communities of Altona, Hamburg, and Wansbeck, the controversy reached the stage of intense and bitter antagonism. Emden maintained that he was at first prevented by threats from publishing anything against Eybeschütz. He solemnly declared in his synagogue the writer of the amulets to be a Sabbatean heretic and deserving of excommunication. In Megillat Sefer, he even accuses Eybeschütz of having an incestuous relationship with his own daughter, and of fathering a child with her.

    ...Emden then returned to Altona and took possession of his synagogue and printing-establishment, though he was forbidden to continue his agitation against Eybeschütz. The latter's partisans, however, did not desist from their warfare against Emden. They accused him before the authorities of continuing to publish denunciations against his opponent. One Friday evening (July 8, 1755) his house was broken into and his papers seized and turned over to the "Ober-Präsident," Von Kwalen. Six months later Von Kwalen appointed a commission of three scholars, who, after a close examination, found nothing, which could incriminate Emden.

    The truth or falsity of his denunciations against Eybeschütz cannot be proved; Gershom Scholem wrote much on this subject, and his student Perlmutter devoted a book to proving it. According to historian David Sorkin, Eybeschütz was probably a Sabbatean, [David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840, Wayne State University Press, 1999, p. 52.] and Eybeschütz's son openly declared himself to be a Sabbatean after his father's death."

    "Chasam Sofer and others."

    RaP: The Chasam Sofer rejected Chasidism and does not pasken like the Shulchan Oruch HaRav of the Baal HaTanya the way Chasidm do.


    "This duality was resulted from the concern for the followers of Shabtsai Tzvi and the Frankists"

    RaP: This is the key to the modern opposition to Kabbalah study!

    "as well as the well founded fear of the ignorant studying kabbala without a proper teacher or foundation."

    RaP: So why don't you post a lot about this warning first and impress it on your readers, over and over and over again?!

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  4. "HIM:
    http://torahanytime.com/Rabbi/David_Katz/"

    That is someone else. There are a number of different people with that name.

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