Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Rambam, Kabbalah, and Moshiach - by Eddie UK

Guest Post by Eddie [D.T. I am posting this because I respect Eddie's sincerity as well as the fact that similar views seem to be accepted as valid amongst some Orthodox Jews. I personally totally reject this understanding and my posting it should not be interpreted as approval or agreement. - I also posted it because Eddie does raise some good questions that are important to deal with. However asking good question doesn't mean that the questioners explanations are correct. Please read the comment sections.]
The Rambam is widely recognized as the most authoratative Rabbinic scholar in post Talmudic literature and possibly Jewish life. His halacha, philosophy, and principles of faith are central to Jewish practice, even beyond denominational communities.

His Ikkarim or 13 principle of faith, which are in his Introduction to Chelek, are generally considered as make or break as far as orthodox or traditional Judaism is concerned.

In his epic Mishneh Torah, he concludes with the laws of Kings and Wars, which is widely accepted by all streams of Orthodoxy, whether Lubavitch, Litvish, Sephardim, Yemenites etc.

הלכות מלכים ומלחמות פרק יא
ז  ועיקר הדברים, ככה הן:  שהתורה הזאת אין חוקיה ומשפטיה משתנים לעולם, ולעולמי עולמים, ואין מוסיפין עליהן, ולא גורעין מהן; וכל המוסיף או גורע, או שגילה פנים בתורה והוציא הדברים של מצוות מפשוטן--הרי זה בוודאי רשע ואפיקורוס.

Here is delineates a position that any changes made to the Torah (that he has just described) is a work of evil and heresy.  He presumably means fundamental, mitsvot, rather than specific halachic opinions which are disputed by his great rivals such as the Gaon RAAVAD of Posquieres.

Regarding Messianic speculation, on the details of Mesianic times, sequences, details, he writes as follows:

ד  ויש מן החכמים שאומרים שקודם ביאת המלך המשיח, יבוא אלייהו.  וכל אלו הדברים וכיוצא בהן--לא יידע אדם היאך יהיו, עד שיהיו:  שדברים סתומים הן אצל הנביאים.  גם החכמים אין להם קבלה בדברים אלו, אלא לפי הכרע הפסוקים; ולפיכך יש להם מחלוקת בדברים אלו.  ועל כל פנים, אין סידור הוויית דברים אלו ולא דקדוקן, עיקר בדת.
  
It is instructive that he says the Prophets did not have access to the specifics, and that Chachamim had no Kabbalah (received tradition) on these matters.
ה  ולעולם לא יתעסק אדם בדברי ההגדות, ולא יאריך בדברי מדרשות האמורים בעניינים אלו וכיוצא בהן; ולא ישימם עיקר--שאינן מביאין לא לידי אהבה, ולא לידי יראה.  וכן לא יחשב הקיצין; אמרו חכמים, תפוח דעתן של מחשבי קיצין.  אלא יחכה ויאמין בכלל הדבר, כמו שביארנו.
Furthermore we are enjoined not to calculate end times, or to dwell on midrashim regarding these matters.

It also significant that he was not challenged by Raavad on these statements.

There is a counter trend amongst mystics of the Kabbalah esoteric school, which not only makes calculations of end times, but also dwells on the Moshiach of each generation, and tells fantastic stories, for example of the Arizal knowing what was unknown to the Neviim and Chazal!


We are expected to believe that some 400 years before the Wright Brothers, 2 mystics flew by cloud from Tzfat to Lublin (Poland) , the proof being that they presented the Maharshal with hot cakes fresh from the oven in Israel!

Had these men flown by cloud, not only would the cakes have cooled down by the sub zero temperatures, they would have died from the cold and lack of oxygen.

A number of departures from Rambam and misrepresentations of his comments have been made by some important and less important Acharonim.

The Baal HaTanya  in Shaar haYichud of his Tanya claims that G-d and Sefirot are One, and he bases this on
הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ב
יג  [י] הקדוש ברוך הוא מכיר אמיתו, ויודע אותה כמות שהיא.  ואינו יודע בדעה שהיא חוץ ממנו כמו שאנו יודעין, שאין אנו ודעתנו אחד.  אבל הבורא--הוא ודעתו וחייו אחד, מכל צד ומכל פינה:  שאלמלא היה חי בחיים ויודע בדעה, היו שם אלוהות הרבה--הוא וחייו ודעתו; ואין הדבר כן, אלא אחד מכל צד ומכל פינה ובכל דרך ייחוד.

This is despite Rambam stating that  אבל הבורא--הוא ודעתו וחייו אחד, מכל צד ומכל פינה

This is clearly not the case with the Sefirot / Ein Sof, which have a diverse life of their own.

R Shneur Zalman's chief Mitnagdic opponent, R Chaim of Vollozhin also makes a remarkable misattribution to the Rambam.

In Gate B. Ch. 5 (Penultimate paragraph),  he claims that Rambam in Moreh  Ch 72 of part 1, that G-d is the soul of the world, in the same way that human soul is related tot he human body.

A careful analysis of the above Rambam (Guide 1, ch.72) reveals that Rambam says the exact opposite. In his 3rd  caveat that the management of the universe is totally separated , ie unlike a human soul/body,  Hashem is absolutely separate from all parts of the universe. ( see R' Kapach's edition, Mossad HaRav Kook 1977, p. 132).

The entire works of Rambam, especially his Yad HaHazakah, Guide, and Helek, attest to his non materialist approach to G-d.  His views are bing misappropriated to give creedence to an alien and counter philosophy which is immanentism , which is one way in which pantheism is defined, even by orthodox Rabbis.

Another anti-halachic claim which is commonly mad, is that Rambam violates his own injunction not to calculate the Ketz, or end-times.  It is alleged that he did so in his Epistle to Yemen, when in fact he repeatedly states there that is is forbidden. What he did reveal, was a tradition for a possible date for the renewal of prophecy. He did this in order to stop people from calculating the ketz.

It seems to me, from the above halachic statements of Rambam, that he did not accept mystical kabbalah, and that he denied that Chazal  and Neviim, had knowledge of specifics of Messiah.

Furthermore, his fight against materialism, or corporeality, has gone unheeded, and that this idea, which he calls heretical, has come back in force to become mainstream orthodoxy, who brazenly misquote the  Rambam himself, as justification for this ideology.

One final word: Rambam was famous for saying accept the truth from whomever it comes.  When discussing such matters, and one's entire life and perceived reward is at stake, it is very easy to claim that a list of gedolim said this, therefore they must be right.

83 comments:

  1. Eddie there is an awful lot of what is called handwaving in this article. I really don't see where you have backed up your assertions with data

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    1. Data meaning the sources and references I have cited? Please raise any specific objections or corrections.

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  2. Eddie you are saying that your reading of the Rambam shows that Kabbala and Chassidus is not acceptable to Judaism. But you haven't shown 1) that the Rambam's understanding is agreed to be an uncrossable red line. Rav Tzadok points out it is clearly not. You might want to read Dr. Marc Shapiro's book on the subject. 2) That Rambam views preclude the possibility of the acceptance of kabbala. You simply haven't brought any evidence to support this nor have you cited a single authority who accepts your understanding. All you are doing is asserting the Rambam is understood a certain way and the Kabbala or Chassidus is understood to hold differently therefore it is wrong. But I don't see any necessity to understand the Rambam like you or to understand Kabbala as disagreeing with the Rambam.

    Are there sources that agree with you or are you claiming that you have you deeper understanding of theology than the last 800 years of gedolei Torah? Chasam Sofer, Nodah B'Yehuda etc etc obviously were aware of the Rambam - but made no such assertion?

    Please cite at least one godol who agrees with you!

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    1. Let us take the halacha into account.

      A good example is the case of calculating the end times. Even yourself made the error of claiming that Rambam committed this sin himself, until I corrected your assertion in a previous debate on here.

      Now, very recently, Ramatz denies going against Rambam, yet this is a clear example of going against him.

      ~ "Red lines" - this is also problematic. You cannot have moveable goal posts, or rather you can, if you take your line. If you say Gedolim can change Ikkarim as they please, then you have no Ikkarim. Which Rav Tzadok do u refer to, HaCohem or Michael?
      R Louis Jacobs said that we can also cross the red line on Torah's authorship. Why does one red line make you reform, but another keeps you orthodox? Your position is inconsistent.

      Your 2 points are also contradictory.

      On one hand, you are implying that Kaballah can be consistent with Rambam's viewpoint, on the other you say, ok it's not , but who cares about his red lines anyway? This is a logical fallacy.

      All you have done is repeat the standard circular arguments, without addressing any of the issues.

      Have you compared what Rambam actually says, with what R' Haim claims he says? I have proven that R Haim is incorrect. The question here is to analyse why this has taken place.

      Obviously, R Haim believed (or wished) that Rambam was consistent with his beliefs on Kabbalah. This misquote is evidence of a complete dissonance between the two.
      The issue of immanence is further evidence.


      "are you claiming that you have you deeper understanding of theology than the last 800 years of gedolei Torah? "

      This is a god rhetorical tool, but is at variance with the Rambam's adage of accept the truth from whomever it comes.

      If you fear gedolim and what they say, you lose the ability to think objectively. We are taught that in capital cases, the Sanhedrin would give its decisions starting with the smallest or youngest judge. This is precisely the opposite philosophy from what you are advocating. Haredi 9and also DL and MO) world view has reversed this Sanhedrin legal approach , where the Gadol makes the first statement, then everyone agrees with him.

      How do you reconcile Rambam's monotheism with R Haim's dualist approach of a hidden G-d, and and immanent one, and that we have no business praying to the Hidden one, but to the immanent one?




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    2. All I would like to add to Rav Eidensohn's above comment is that this article is essentially an exercise in logical fallacy most specifically the Straw Man fallacy.

      First there is this:
      We are expected to believe that some 400 years before the Wright Brothers, 2 mystics flew by cloud from Tzfat to Lublin (Poland) , the proof being that they presented the Maharshal with hot cakes fresh from the oven in Israel!
      Essentially a Rebbe story brought from a Chabad website. A story that is not found within the writings of any of the Ari's actual students or their immediate students. In fact the Chida writes in his Shem Gedolim that the Ari wasn't known outside of Eretz Yisrael until well after his petira, so I doubt a Rav in Poland had heard of him.

      The Baal HaTanya in Shaar haYichud of his Tanya claims that G-d and Sefirot are One, and he bases this on
      Text please. You expect us to rely upon your interpretation which may or may not be correct.

      In Gate B. Ch. 5 (Penultimate paragraph), he claims that Rambam in Moreh Ch 72 of part 1, that G-d is the soul of the world, in the same way that human soul is related tot he human body.

      A careful analysis of the above Rambam (Guide 1, ch.72) reveals that Rambam says the exact opposite.

      Again requiring us to rely upon your interpretation. How do we know that the careful analysis of the Nefesh HaChaim will not show that they actually agree entirely?

      Hashem is absolutely separate from all parts of the universe.
      So you are saying that the G-d has physical boundaries? He is not infinite?

      Does this not contradict the Rambam Yesdoei HaTorah:
      ג [ה] המצוי הזה--הוא אלוה העולם, אדון כל הארץ. והוא המנהיג הגלגל בכוח שאין לו קץ ותכלית, בכוח שאין לו הפסק, שהגלגל סובב תמיד, ואי אפשר שיסוב בלא מסבב; והוא ברוך הוא המסבב אותו, בלא יד ולא גוף.

      ז ואלוהינו ברוך שמו, הואיל וכוחו אין לו קץ ואינו פוסק, שהרי הגלגל סובב תמיד, אין כוחו כוח גוף. והואיל ואינו גוף, לא יארעו מאורעות הגופות כדי שיהא נחלק ונפרד מאחר; לפיכך אי אפשר שיהיה אלא אחד. וידיעת דבר זה--מצות עשה, שנאמר "ה' אלוהינו, ה' אחד" (דברים ו,ד).

      ח הרי מפורש בתורה ובנביא, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא גוף וגווייה: שנאמר "כי ה' אלוהיכם, הוא האלוהים בשמיים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת" (ראה דברים ד,לט; יהושוע ב,יא), והגוף לא יהיה בשני מקומות. ונאמר "כי לא ראיתם, כל תמונה" (דברים ד,טו), ונאמר "ואל מי תדמיוני, ואשווה" (ישעיהו מ,כה); ואילו היה גוף, היה דומה לשאר גופים.

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  3. @ DT "Please cite at least one godol who agrees with you!"

    OK, how about the Meili?

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    1. Is that a supposed to be a joke? That means there are no recognized authorities that you can quote and this is your best shot?!

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    2. From Encycopedia Judaica

      MEIR BEN SIMEON HA-ME'ILI (first half of 13th century), Provençal talmudist and communal leader. Meir's main center of activity was *Narbonne , and he cites many of its customs in his works. His principal teacher was his uncle, *Meshullam b. Moses , and Meir frequently cites him and his customs. He also studied under Nathan b. Meir of Trinquetaille. There are references to his connections with Naḥmanides, another pupil of Nathan b. Meir. Among his other activities, Meir engaged in disputations with Christian eccelesiastics and was one of the chief speakers in a delegation of the Jewish leaders of Narbonne and Capestang who interceded with the cardinal of Narbonne concerning discriminating laws which it was proposed to issue against the Jews. He was spokesman of the community at the court of the emperor, and before ministers and church leaders. According to Gross and Scholem, his work Milḥemet Mitzvah (Ms. Parma, cat. De Rossi (1803) no. 155, only part of which was published; see below) was written between 1230 and 1240. The work itself, however, gives the date 1245, and it seems to contain matters of a still later date (see Gross in: MGWJ, 30 (1881), 296). The work contains an account of his disputation with the bishop of Narbonne, a defense of Judaism against the allegations of Christians, explanations of biblical verses dealing with the coming of the Messiah, and a commentary on the *Shema and the 13 divine attributes. Meir also appears in this work as a vehement opponent of a certain circle of kabbalists, to whom he attributes heretical views. Questioning the authenticity of Sefer ha-Bahir, he sharply criticizes its contents, together with other kabbalistic works. These criticisms were included in an "epistle" sent to "our rabbis in every town." His work was also directed against the ideas of some kabbalists based on works which, according to Meir, were forgeries attributed to well-known scholars. At the end of this epistle he gives Meshullam's commendation to his activity.

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    3. Really not impressed. You couldn't find a Meiri or Ramban? Maybe a Rabbeinu Yonah or Ritva?

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  4. Eddie wrote: ~ "Red lines" - this is also problematic. You cannot have moveable goal posts, or rather you can, if you take your line. If you say Gedolim can change Ikkarim as they please, then you have no Ikkarim. Which Rav Tzadok do u refer to, HaCohem or Michael?

    I am referring to Rav Tzadok HaKohen in the essay I posted regarding the mitzva of Yichud HaShem. BTW why didn't Rambam brings the 13 Ikkarim has halacha in Mishneh Torah?

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  5. Eddie wrote:

    Your 2 points are also contradictory.

    On one hand, you are implying that Kaballah can be consistent with Rambam's viewpoint, on the other you say, ok it's not , but who cares about his red lines anyway? This is a logical fallacy.

    All you have done is repeat the standard circular arguments, without addressing any of the issues.
    ===================
    Nope Eddie you are misunderstanding my point.

    I said you haven't demonstrated that Kabbala contradicts the Rambam. I said even if you were to prove that you have brought any sources that the Rambam can not be disagreed with.

    If you brought a Pnei Yehoshua a Chasam Sofer etc etc then your point would have some substance. So far you have quoted one non-mainstream authority. For something a significant as you claim than I would explect hundred's of outraged gedolim - but there aren't.

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    1. Aha, but I can do better than that! The anti-maimonist Gedolim also believed that he contradicted the Kabbalah. That is why there were anti Maimimonist wars, why his books were burned, his grave was desecrated and called a heretic. His disciple Ibn Tibbon was under attack. Does the name Jonah Gerondi ring a bell? If pro-Kabballa Gedolim opposed Maimonides, they certainly
      knew Kabbalha inside, and believed it to be contrary to Maimonism.
      Furthermore, Shiur Komah , which I have described previously, was expunged by Rambam, but was a major sefer of the kaballah. So that cat , is out of the bag.

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    2. How is this better. First you say that Rambam views are identical with Judaism and that a good Jew can't go against them. Now you say there were gedolim who were outraged - not at Kabbala but the Rambam. So you are saying that whoever opposed the Rambam is not a good Jew chas v'shalom! That since those who opposed him were sympathetic to kabbala that proves that they were wrong?!

      Bottom line your insistence that the Rambam is identical with and defines Judaism is simply not true.

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    3. Here and I thought it was his heavy reliance on Aristotle that had folks upset at the Rambam.

      That was the primary reason the Shadal rejected him and his 13 ikkarim, he felt them to be non-Jewish philosophy. Which by the way absolute Deism is an Aristotelian view, not a Jewish one, and one not supported by the Rambam's Yesodei HaTorah.

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  6. "are you claiming that you have you deeper understanding of theology than the last 800 years of gedolei Torah? "

    This is a god rhetorical tool, but is at variance with the Rambam's adage of accept the truth from whomever it comes.
    ===================
    The problem is that you are not presenting the truth but some rather wild conjecture that has been rejected by the mainstream for 800 years.

    According to your understanding the Gra, Rav Chaim Volozhner the Chasam Sofer etc did not properly understand Yiddishkeit - but you do?! As Rav Sternbuch once said, "I would rather be in their Olam Habah than yours."

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    1. Perhaps they did , however my point is that they are at variance with Rambam. Do you think they agreed on astrology with rambam? I pointed this out to Ramatz, and he said rambam's view was rejected. then today he said he accepts every word of the rambam.
      As i have said in other contexts, you wish to have your cake and eat it, and not say mezonos.

      You mention the Gra. But gra attacks rambam for being led astray by the accursed philosophy.

      So you have yourself a circular argument.

      It is clear that the 2 systems of thought are in opposition - which Gra and Gerondi explicitly say, yet you deny this.
      The question is not am i greater than Gerondi or the Gra, it is whether they were greater than the Rambam.

      Then you also ignore all evidence I present. Even if you accept kabbalah, R Haim's quote of the Moreh is incorrect. The fact that he was a Gaon she b'Gaonim, and learned from the Gra, doesn't make him correct. Isaac newton was also a genius and knew alchemy as well as science. Doesnt mean all his statements were correct.

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    2. You are stating that no one can argue with the Rambam because the Rambam defines Judaism. But it is not true. When the Gra criticized the Rambam, when the Ravad criticized the Rambam - they were not criticizing Judaism. They were not rejected that which was given on Sinai.

      So you are saying that you are simply presenting the Rambam and thus you can disagree with all the gedolim as long as you base yourself on the Rambam?! This is not Judaism but idolatry with the Rambam being the focus of worship!

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    3. No, no, no..
      Your statements are like a runaway train.

      Raavad's debate with Rambam (and let me make clear that I respect Raavad in many ways , more than you may realise), are debate of peers in Torah. Gra was several generations later than Rambam.
      Regarding idolatry, your statement is illogical, and emotional. But it is also false. Idolatry is to do with having gods besides Hashem, whether in the air, or a physical image.

      If i was obsessed with Elvis Presley, and played his songs eery day, that is not idoaltry. No bet din could call that Avodah Zarah - unless i prayed to him.

      Does Michael Tzadok commit idolatry by quoting the Gra all the time, but ingnoring Shneur Zalman of Liadi? Your claims are ridiculous.

      Rambam and Saadia are major figures in Frumkeit. That is not a deification of them, it is simply a fact. Most acharonim would accept my statement. So the problem is there are 2 mutually exclusive points of view. To recognise that might be helpful. I was arguing largely in support of one view, which preceded the Zohar. Dealing with the paradox or chasm in Jewish theology would be much more productive than calling each other names.


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    4. you have so far failed in presenting any convincing arguments but you keep repeating your assertions without providing convincing justification for them.

      Most achronim would not accept your point of view. That fact that the Rambam was a major figure is not the point under discussion - it is the authority you give him to define Judaism.

      Having failed to offer anything of substance you condemn my criticism as mere name calling.

      The burden of proof is on you since you want to throw out the present understanding of Judaism. You have so far failed miserably.

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    5. Do you think they agreed on astrology with rambam? I pointed this out to Ramatz, and he said rambam's view was rejected. then today he said he accepts every word of the rambam.
      NOT TRUE
      Here is your comment and my response.

      EddieJanuary 13, 2013 at 12:55 PM
      RMT -
      Saadia Gaon rejected the concept of gilgul / reincarnation.
      Rambam mocked practices such as amulets and permutations of G-d's Name, and included Amulets in his Hilchot AZ, as was his appraisal of astrology. I once asked R' Riskin (who is Mekubal) about Astrology, which the Rambam forbids, but he Kabbalists promote. His answer was "the Zohar Kodesh is accepted". In other words, what Rambam called AZ is accepted by Kabbalah.


      Rabbi Michael TzadokJanuary 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM
      I don't know that R' Riskin is a Mekubal, but the ZOhar does not teach astrology, nor do any legitimate Kabbalists.

      As far as Tzeruf, that is taught clearly even in the Sefer Yetzirah. Same with Amulets(which have their source in the Gemara). The Rambam calls neither A"Z(Has V'Shalom), but he clearly was not a receptor of the tradition and so did not understand them.
      That is unless you want to believe Avraham Abulafia.


      Where did I say that the Rambam was rejected? Please try to do a better job with your accuracy.

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  7. Eddie wrote:
    A good example is the case of calculating the end times. Even yourself made the error of claiming that Rambam committed this sin himself, until I corrected your assertion in a previous debate on here.

    ================
    Please show me where you corrected my assertion. You have a different understanding of the Rambam - that doesn't mean that you are correct

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    1. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Epistle_to_Yemen/Complete


      From XV

      "The precise date of the messianic advent cannot be known. But I am in possession of an extraordinary tradition which I received from my father, who in turn received it from his father, going back to our early ancestors who were exiled from Jerusalem, and who were mentioned by the prophet in the verse, "And the exiles of Jerusalem that are in Spain" (Obadiah 20). According to this tradition there is a covert indication in the prediction of Balaam to the future restoration of prophecy in Israel. Incidentally it may be stated that there are other verses in the Torah which contain cryptic allusions in addition to their simple meaning. For example, the word "r'du" in the remark of Jacob to his sons, "r'du Shamah," "Get you down thither" (Genesis 42:2), has the numerical value of 210, and contains a hint to the length of Israel's stay in"

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    2. You left out some parts - this from the introduction of the tranlsater

      Messianism. Although Maimonides counted the belief in the advent of the Messiah as an article of faith and restated it in his legal code, his view of the Messianic age is rather sober. .... But in the Epistle to Yemen his entire attitude changes. Perhaps as a result of the difficult condition of the Jews or of the critical situation in Yemen, he manifests greater excitement, warmth, and typically Jewish piety. The abstract dogma becomes a concrete hope. He sees a prelude to the Messianic age in the misery which the Jews of his day are suffering. He looks to the renewal of prophecy in the near future, and even confirms the prophetic character of a man of his time who was nevertheless mistaken in his prediction of the imminent coming of the Messiah. ... Maimonides thus seeks to achieve two goals in his treatment of this subject. He attempts to make it clear that this pretender cannot possibly be the Messiah and at the same time to keep up the courage of the Jews by stressing the nearness of the redemption.

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    3. Rambam notes that Rav Sadiya Gaon made calculations to strengthen the people at a certain time

      As for R. Saadia's Messianic calculations, there are extenuating circumstances for them though he knew they were disallowed. For the Jews of his time were perplexed and misguided. The Divine religion might well nigh have disappeared had he not encouraged the pusillanimous, and diffused, disseminated and propagated by word of mouth and pen a knowledge of its underlying principles. He believed, in all earnestness, that by means of the Messianic calculations, he would inspire the masses with hope for the truth. Verily all his deeds were for the sake of heaven. Consequently, in view of the probity of his motives, which we have disclosed, one must not decry im for his Messianic computations.

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    4. Rambam continues that while the exact date of Messiah is not known he will offer evidence that it is soon. He is doing this in order to strengthen the people.
      ======================
      The precise date of the messianic advent cannot be known. But I am in possession of an extraordinary tradition which I received from my father, who in turn received it from his father, going back to our early ancestors who were exiled from Jerusalem, and who were mentioned by the prophet in the verse, "And the exiles of Jerusalem that are in Spain" (Obadiah 20). According to this tradition there is a covert indication in the prediction of Balaam to the future restoration of prophecy in Israel...According to the interpretation of this chronology, prophecy would be restored to Israel in the year 497015 after the creation of the world. It is doubtless true that the reappearance of prophecy in Israel is one of the signs betokening the approach of the Messianic era as is intimated in Scripture "And your sons and your daughters shall prophecy ... And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth ... Before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 3:1, 3, 4).

      This is the most genuine tradition concerning the Messianic advent. We were admonished against, and strictly prohibited form blazening it abroad, lest some folk deem it unduly postponed. We have already apprised you concerning it, but God knows best what is true.


      I don't know how you can read this as the Rambam was simply concerned with mentioning that prophecy was soon going to restored! He was clearly indicating that the restoration of prophesy indicated that the Messiancic era would soon start. He did this to offer hope.

      Delete
    5. I am quite surprised at how you misread this.
      He says, essentially that Saadia did an aveira in a sha'at dchuf. Rambam does not himself give a date for the messiah, he gives one for Prophesy returning. The question of whether that tradition is correct is beyond the scope of our discussion. He does not give a DATE for the Moshiach coming. He gives a tradition he has received for prophecy returning, which is some kind of precursor to the Messianac age. There is no fixed time limit for Messiah to come after this date. It could be 1 day to 1000 years. He is giving something to appease the Yemenites, without violating his own halachic statement in Hilchot Melachim

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    6. I am surprised you don't properly understand the Rambam.

      He is clearly saying that Moshiach will come soon after the return of prophesy and that he has a family tradition for the return of prophecy. He clearly is not comforting them by saying that it could be a day or a 1000 years and he is trying to comfort them. So while he did not give a day for Moshiach coming he did say I have a family tradition that it indicates that it will occur in the near future.

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    7. "It is doubtless true that the reappearance of prophecy in Israel is one of the signs betokening the approach of the Messianic era as is intimated in Scripture "And your sons and your daughters shall prophecy ... And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth ... Before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 3:1, 3, 4).
      "

      Yes, it is betokening the messianic era.

      So you agree he is not violating his own halacha? Rambam is giving a watered down non committal statement. He is snot giving a date for the messiah, that is the prohibition. If your approach to halacha on more mundane matters were so inaccurate, you would be "conservative".

      To fulfil the conditions for a violation of this halacha, as I quoted in my article, is to calculate the ketz. Rambam has not calculated the ketz. Just like I have not calculated the ketz, even though I see the Date Palms in the Negeve desert and remark that this is a sign of Messianic times.

      Delete
  8. Rambam's own son was strongly attracted to mysticism, and wrote approvingly of sufi practices. Creative mysticism departing from Rambam's rationalism is nothing new -- his own son (one of his father's main defenders) himself began that trend.

    Rambam is not the last word in hashkafa because there is no last word in hashkafa. I see nothing wrong with Rambam revivalists coming up with their own rationalist Orthodoxy based on Rambam and other rationalist rishonim -- R' Slifkin comes to mind -- but they don't need to insist that everyone else is wrong to justify the validity of their own derech.

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    1. His grandson. His son Avraham was a rationalist, and was involved in the controversies.

      Delete
    2. From Ency Judaica

      ABRAHAM BEN MOSES BEN MAIMON (1186–1237), theologian, exegete, communal leader, mystical pietist, and physician. ....Following his father's distinction between the elite and the masses, he devotes its initial sections to the "common way," i.e. religious obligations incumbent upon the community as a whole, whereas the last sections, of a markedly pietistic tendency, expound the "special way," reserved for the elect few. Of particular interest are his ritual reforms set out in the chapters on prayer, which include such Islamic-influenced practices as ablution of the feet before worship, standing in ordered rows during prayer, kneeling and bowing, and raising the hands in supplication. Some of these had existed in Temple times but had been abandoned in reaction to Christian worship. Indeed, Abraham justified the adoption of Muslim customs and symbols as restorations of lost Jewish traditions, which, having fallen into oblivion, had been preserved by the Sufis. ...hile recognizing the superiority of scientific speculation over the passive performance of the Law, Abraham considers the esoteric accomplishment of the precepts to be superior to philosophy. Indeed, in the Kifaya, he states with a note of opposition, reminiscent of Juda Halevi:

      God has enabled [the true adherents of the Law who have grasped its secret meaning] to understand by means of His Law what the scientists and philosophers do not understand, and He has established for them, by means of His signs and miracles, proof for what the latter deny …

      The pivotal difference being not one of theory but of practice, Abraham's foremost goal was to become a ḥasid rather than a ḥakham....


      Abraham was at the hub of a pietistic circle of a sectarian nature whose adepts were dissatisfied with formal religion. Partly inspired by Abraham Abu ar-Rabia (d. 1223), also known as he-ḥasid, whom he calls "our Master in the Way," this circle included Abraham Maimonides' father-in-law, Hananel ben Samuel, and his own son Ovadiah (1228–1265) author of the mystical al-Maqala al-Hawdiyya ("Treatise of the Pool"). Despite an enormous literary output, the movement did not engender a widespread community of ascetics similar to Sufism, probably because of the vehement opposition to Abraham's ritual reforms. Indeed, this opposition, as well as the movement's own elitist character seriously impeded its spread. With the general decline of Oriental Jewry, his Sufi-type Jewish pietism sank into oblivion, though some of its mystical elements were possibly absorped into the nascent Kabbalah. However, the exegetical and ethical writings of several of his direct descendants perpetuated his tendency to temper Maimonides' spiritual ideology with Sufi mysticism.

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    3. OK, I accept this comment on Avraham, but he was a defender of his father's rationalism.
      However, it is an embarrassing article to post on a haredi blog, where is suggests that Avraham was enamoured of sufism, which as some academics claim, was the source of early kabbalah. This is not my claim on this post, but I thank you for bringing my attention to it.!

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    4. His grandson. His son Avraham was a rationalist, and was involved in the controversies.

      I would suggest that you read Avraham Ben HaRambam's sefer HaMaspik LeOvday HaShem(especially from 177 and forward), as well as his Iggeret HaMusar p. 7.

      Moshe Idel does an interesting comparison between Sufi mysticism, the Rambam and Avraham Ben HaRambam, and how that eventually developed into the system of Avraham Abulafia.

      While the Rambam may have rejected the Shiur Komah(still need to see that inside), general scholarly consensus is that he was highly influenced by Sufi mysticism as was his son, and that this became a major part of his general world view, see Moshe Idel's Studies in Ecstactic Kabbalah for instance.

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    5. Eddie wrote:

      However, it is an embarrassing article to post on a haredi blog, where is suggests that Avraham was enamoured of sufism,
      ===================
      why? If he felt that this was really Jewish? The Rema makes a similar comment about philosophy. He says he doesn't know why frum Jews are embarrassed about the topic of philosophy since it originated with Jews.

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    6. I read a while back that someone in Rambam's family , very possibly Avraham, or his son, said "this Sufism is great, why don't we have something like this".

      It depends on what it means as being "Jewish".
      The Kuzari says this about Science, which he says was the wisdom of Solomon, that went to the Greeks.


      And the Rema is interesting. I am not convinced that opposition to Rambam is as widespread as you suggest. The 13 principles are taught in Haredi Yeshivot and Seforim. And I think that he did include most of them in Halacha. The only one I cannot vouch for is Techiyat Hameitim, but he wrote a separate (and unsuccessful) maamar ont hat topic.

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    7. Eddie makingassertions like the above isreally not helpful. Who said them? Was it wishful thinking? What language was used. It is impossible to carry on a meaningful discussion when such vague and unsourced assertioned are tossed around as if they have significance.

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    8. I make 3 assertions above.

      1) Some academics claim Kabbalah had its origins in Sufism, and your Britannica article says the same. Incidentally, Rambam's thought may have had its origins in Aristo and Averroes, or it may have been really Jewish, as he claims in his Guide. A sophisticated understanding of the debate will see that both sides make similar claims about their opponents

      2) Kuzari and Science - that is well documented.

      3) Point out any of the Ikkarim of Rambam (other than techiyat hameitim) ,and will attempt to find its halachic equivalent. In any case, Techiyat hameitim is not disputed by Mystics, it is central to their beliefs.

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    9. Avraham ben Ramban's interest in sufism is not wild speculation -- he mentions it in various places in his own books (including, I believe, the Guide to Serving G-d.) He believed that some sufi practices were actually Jewish practices of the prophets that were lost to the Jews, and for mysterious reasons preserved by the sufis.

      That doesn't mean Kabbalah has its origins in sufism -- that sounds rather speculative to me. Though of course you can find academics advocating for that, since secular academics for ideological reasons like to try to prove Judaism originated from non-Jewish sources (based on little or no evidence).

      Delete
  9. From Critic:

    Eddie,

    I believe we are all wasting our time. Daas Torah and R Tzadok though they come from 2 differnt worlds share one identical viewpoint which is that it is impossible that so many generations of gedolim have been wrong. They have no proof to that sentiment (notice how R Tzadok always asks for sources but can not bring any proof that backs up his claim that it is impossible for them to have gotten it wrong) but that is their sole premise and why you can not win a debate with them. Any event or passage that seems to back your point of view at even a 99.9% level of certainty will be reinterpreted by them simply because they will NOT accept under any circumstances that the Gedolim could be wrong.

    I happen to be very uncomfortable with the notion of so many greats getting it wrong, but in my quest for truth I accept it as a possibility wheras they do not, so you will never convince them.

    R Tzadok suddenly quotes Shadal who opposes philosophy - what a joke!!!! - the same R Tzadok who mocks Shadal and basically says you can't believe anything from an apikoris like Shadal - now he usaes Shadal to back up his claims about Rambam...BY the way, Shadal certainly is against philosophy but is 100 times more opposed to Kabala!! To me, the fact that he is against both shows that he has no hidden agenda. He is an honest and logical thinker.

    Daas Torah asks for a PNei Yehoshua. THe same Pnei Yehoshua believed R Yonason Eybeschutz to be a heretic. Do you own his seforim? Have you burned them yet? or is the Pnei YEHoshua's opinion in this matter not important to you?

    Eddie does not think that he is greater than these great people. In fact, even if they made a mistake on this critical issue, it is not a reflection of them at all. Once the Zohar and that stream of kabbala was accepted for whatever reason, anyone after that truly believed that it was Torah Misinai and would go to any possible lengths to interpret or answer it in a way that fit mainstream hashkafa...and would always add the disclaimer that - of course, Hashem is one - because they truly believed that they were not believing in C"V idloatry. SO that fact that gedolim "fell" for it is no big deal.

    In the words of R Tzadok, later generations actually can know more than the earlier. You have said this regarding kabbala. The same can be applied to our discovering that kabbala may not be true. As a later generation we can know more and discover things unknow to ealier generations.


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    1. Critic I agree you are wasting your time. You have an agenda which I simply don't buy and for which you have not presented convincing arguments

      Delete
    2. Critic,

      I respectfully disagree.

      The object of this discussion (for me) is not to win an argument or disprove one segment of Yiddishkeit. It is to sharpen my own understanding of issues, to help formulate my arguments more accurately, and to try to encourage the other players to do the same, as well as understand their objections more clearly and offer refutations where I am not convinced.

      We must model ourselves intellectually on the greatest Shoftim, who have no personal interest in the matter, and only wish to strive to find the Emess of the matter.

      Winning a game is one thing. Sometimes we learn more about our own position by engaging in the "game".

      Delete
  10. From Critic:

    R Tzadok - You have done it again!!!! You rip into Shadal as an unworthy source claiming at the very least that he was an ignorant boor who did not have a Rebbi or learn after 13 and that he an apikoris.

    Yet, you found a staunch defender of the kabala in Rabbi Benamozegh!!! IS this a joke or were you serious? A little bit from Wikipedia about this great Rabbi! So you trust him and believe that he totally refuted Shadal. THis is incredibly dishonest and proves my point that it would be impossbile to convince you as are entrenched in your position and it is too late for you to admit error. As long as the source in question is pro kabbala, you are on board with him - no matter how sketchy his credentials. IF the person is against kabbala as the Shadal was, he must be an oisvorf.

    Unlike you, I will read this Rabbi's "refutation" and ssee if perhaps his points will convince me that Shadal was wrong.


    Benamozegh's works are noted for his free and uninhibited use of various non-Jewish religious sources, especially the New Testament and ancient pagan mythology. Benamozegh even considered the Gospels to be a highly valuable Jewish Midrash, comparable to the Talmudic Aggadah. He respected Jesus as a wise righteous Jew, but criticized the religious innovations of Paul.

    In his theological works, Benamozegh suggested to explain the Christian dogmas of Trinity and Incarnation as an oversimplified and corrupt version of the Kabbalistic panentheistic doctrine of Divine emanations.[3] While he disagreed with the Trinitarian Christian theology, he considered it, unlike most other Orthodox rabbis, an erroneous misunderstanding of subtle Kabbalistic doctrines and not a major deviation from monotheism. Moreover, he claimed that Christianity is too monotheistic in comparison with the Kabbalah which views all pagan deities in their essence as partial manifestations or faces of the Absolute. Similarly, Benamozegh criticized the Christian view of Jesus as incarnated God on monistic or panentheistic grounds. According to Benamozegh's Kabbalistic view, the entire world is an incarnation of Shechina, the feminine aspect of Divinity. He believed that Hinduism is closer in this respect to mystical Judaism than Christianity.[4]


    [edit] Cosmopolitanism and patriotismBenamozegh considered himself, simultaneously, an Italian patriot and an cosmopolitan. He believed that authentic mystical core of the Jewish tradition, which he called "Hebraism" as opposed to more isolationist exoteric Judaism, is profoundly universal and capable of uniting all world religions and nations into one brotherly cosmopolitan network. While Benamozegh believed in the unique spiritual mission of the Jews, his idea of Jewish chosenness was far from narrow particularism. According to his worldview, the Jews are chosen to serve the humanity as a priestly people, by proving a common mystical ground that transcends the boundaries of the nations and religious traditions. He also emphasized the impact of other cultures on Judaism, starting from the ancient Egyptian paganism, as well as the great role of the proselytes in the Jewish history. Unlike some exclusivist Kabbalists, Benamozegh believed that Kabbalah is a universal theology that unites all human beings and views them as equals.

    At the same time, Benamozegh was a staunch Italian patriot. He even wrote a daring formulation, based on the Jewish declaration of faith: O Israelites, that you will always love Italy, that you will love her with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. Apparently, according to his panentheistic philosophy, Benamozegh viewed the Italian soil as a specially beloved expression of the Shechina

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    Replies
    1. Bringing one apikorus to refute another is simply good practice.

      Oh and if you wouldn't mind keeping your comments on topic, this is very distracting.

      Delete
  11. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Not commenting on content, but congratulations to Eddie upon his first "guest post" on this choshuve blog and for having the intellectual honesty to try and formulate his ideas.

    Eddie's views do have a backing somewhere, and he should be given time to find more "sources" but at this time he is facing two tough opponents in Rabbis Eidensohn and Tzadok who could be just a little more willing to cut him some slack because Eddie is not wrong on every count as they are trying to assert.

    As that old saying goes, "there's gold in them thar hills" in a lot of this guest post from Eddie's that he's not being given enough credit for. It's not fair that the impression is that he is "being handed the rope to hang himself" when he should be congratulated for voicing a different approach and especially for his independent thinking and not parroting over things like an automaton. Thank you Eddie for adding to liveliness of this blog and for your freshness of spirit, even though in the past we have had disagreements.

    Congratulations and thanks once again to Rabbi Eidensohn as the host and blog-master for his willingness to post views he does not always agree with but by the fact that he posts them shows that they are important in and of themselves. Well done Eddie and thank you Rabbi Eidensohn. Yasher Koach to all!

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    Replies
    1. RaP I agree with the spirit of your comment and if Eddie was simply giving his understanding of a Rashi or Tosfos - I would agree 100%.

      The problem is he is trying to undermine and discredit a serious part of yiddishkeit. For that you don't get slack or gold stars for trying or even a pat on the back.

      Again - if he were dealing with a problematic aspect - then go for it. But he is claiming kabbala is invalid and that the gedolim who accept it have an unacceptable form of yiddishkeit.

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    2. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      About Eddie 1 of 2:

      "Daas Torah said...RaP I agree with the spirit of your comment and if Eddie was simply giving his understanding of a Rashi or Tosfos - I would agree 100%. The problem is he is trying to undermine and discredit a serious part of yiddishkeit. For that you don't get slack or gold stars for trying or even a pat on the back. Again - if he were dealing with a problematic aspect - then go for it. But he is claiming kabbala is invalid and that the gedolim who accept it have an unacceptable form of yiddishkeit."

      Not even mentioning Reform or non-Orthodox views, but I think that one big problem is that you are hammering away at this topic from a very, shall we say, ultra-Charedi point of view, I am not trying to be pejorative here, and Eddie is expressing a view that you will find is pretty much standard in the very Modern Orthodox world where they even accept the views and scholarship of Bible critics who are totally unknown to Charedi Torah scholars.

      One cannot deny that in the HISTORY of Judaism, there was always a very strong anti-mystical and anti-Kabbalah movement basing itself on RAMBAM. You cannot change that fact. The rationalists of Spain, Germany, and Modern Orthodox scholarship that is found in universities looks on kabbalah with disdain so that while they can deal with RAMBAM they can't deal with pie-in-the-sky mystical notions.

      It does not help to quote them the Noda BeYehuda or Rav Tzodek or say things like R Tzadok says that Rav Aron Kotler and Rav Shach were "mekubalim" just to make a point, since, yes, theyhad familiarity with the latest manifestation of Jewish mysticism, namely writings of the ARI and Chasidism)

      Those who oppose mysticism in Judaism, the so-called Rationalists 9who love the RAMBAM by the way) utterly negate anything and everything that has do with mysticism in general, Jewish mysticism, kabbalah, its texts like Zohar, and they can and do rightly point to the great catastrophes and failures of Jewish mysticism, such as the 3 out of the 4 that were hurt when they went into PRDS that the RAMBAM warns about, false messiahs galore, Shabtai Tzvi's heresy and he was a genuine kabbalist, with his "prophet" Noson of Gaza, not everyone thought that the ARI was successful nor that he did the right thing by spreading his teachings, and that some see the failure of Shabtai Tzv as well as the apostasy of Jacob Frank and the Frankists, the Emden-Eibeshutz dispute, the war of the GRA against the spread of Chasidism, and how to understand the GRA's own involvement with own "kabbalah" since the GRA was also regarded as stressing that secular studies should be studied, the subsequent controversies surrounding Chabad, and that not every school of thought accepts the Tanya.

      Delete
    3. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      About Eddie 2 of 2:

      The main "problem" but in a way it's a problem of being a victim of one own's success is that Chasidism and Charedism have triumphed so strongly, that other views that were and still are around in more "modern" circles are marginalized and ridiculed, and you expect Eddie to bring forth a hundred texts to back up what he is saying when that is not his method. He is coming at the subject the way an academic does by arguing the points to their end conclusion, Socratic fashion, without resource all the time to a thousand and one texts that just muddy the waters. In some ways Eddie is being more intellectually honest and not hiding behind texts. Rav Yehuda HaLevi was on to something with his Kuzari. So was Rav Hersh with Torah Umada, get a Phd and be a talmid chochem.

      There were some gedolim who used to say, "bring me a chazal and I will find you a chazal that contradicts it" -- while Eddie cannot summon up the chazal that you can, you are stronger in that department, there is SOME maybe a LOT of merit (I am not sure I am not into these topics so much) in both his argument and argumentation that you, and certainly not R Michael Tzadok (he just seems to use verbal bullying and tricks of language and strong arm tactics even insults) to give Eddie SOME credit for, his efforts at least which can be frustrating and is why you will never make any headway with him since you are speaking a different language, just spinning your wheels around and around all the time.

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    4. Interesting perspective. the fact is that Eddie is commenting on a chareidi blog to discredit the chareidi understanding of Yiddishkeit.

      If he were commenting on a blog that is sympathetic to his view I would have made no comment. But he is basically a guest here and he is walking with muddy boots on the furniture and acting very disrepectfully towards people I look up to. Since Eddie has been a valued long time commentator I gave him the opportunity to explain himself - but that doesnt change the fact that he is seriously attacking the integrity of the rabbis who are my connection to Sinai.

      Delete
    5. RDE, you are shooting the messenger.
      " if Eddie was simply giving his understanding of a Rashi or Tosfos - I would agree 100%."

      however, since I am simply giving my understanding of Rambam, you are being offended.
      Of course, I wrote this post to be very controversial, and to question our understanding of things. In the past, I would comment about a small issue, eg Rambam and astrology, The book Shiur Komah and Rambam's opposition to it. The argument is essentially the same.
      I don't think you have been successful in denying that the Rambam held certain ultra-rationalistic views - especially since the controversies with r Gerondi were exactly over the issues I have raised.

      So the default position is "oh, well Rambam isn't all that, and his views are not the final word".
      That position accepts that there is a big distinction between the two worlds.

      Earlier you were suggesting that my cliam "because someone opposes Rambam on this or that view, he is a "bad Jew" ". But you only have to read the Rambam, where he calls certain classes apikorsim.
      I have not chas v'shalom attacked Raavad, Ramban, etc even though they were kabbalists. In many ways, I follow their
      views on halacha, and Torah more than the Rambam.

      And then we have the blanket statement that my arguments are against all Haredi gedolim. I seem to recall R Chaim of Brisk's famous comment that someone who believes in corporeality is nebech an apikores. Am I attacking R Chaim?

      The Leshem apparently attacked Nefesh Hachaim big time. So is it a sin to show inconsistencies in a sefer by a previous generation gadol? Actually, the Gra told RHV himself that this was permissible.

      And one last point, " he is seriously attacking the integrity of the rabbis who are my connection to Sinai. "

      By this statement are you implying that Rambam was not connected to Sinai?

      Delete
    6. He is coming at the subject the way an academic does by arguing the points to their end conclusion, Socratic fashion, without resource all the time to a thousand and one texts that just muddy the waters. In some ways Eddie is being more intellectually honest and not hiding behind texts. Rav Yehuda HaLevi was on to something with his Kuzari. So was Rav Hersh with Torah Umada, get a Phd and be a talmid chochem.

      I hope that here to you are being facetious. What academic setting allows one to write or argue points without bringing sources of some sort to back up one's assertions?

      Pure logic is never enough, especially not in truly academic circles. Go to your local University Library and look through the doctoral dissertations, or even a Master's thesis on file, they are all crammed with sources.

      Pick up a book by Gershom Sholem or Moshe Idel, again you will see large and lengthy bibliographies of various sources. Yes true academics do do some original research and may argue its merits, but then they submit their theories and theses for peer review before they declare them 100% truth.

      I am willing to accept the fact that Eddie may not be able to summon a hundred sources from Chazal, however, I would hope that one making such a thesis would be able to summon some sources from somewhere. I would hope that they would be able to actually deal with the original texts and show their logic and possible errors. That has not yet happened from Eddie.

      certainly not R Michael Tzadok (he just seems to use verbal bullying and tricks of language and strong arm tactics even insults)
      This is you being a sore loser from our previous debate here. I never insulted you, though I bore a good number of your own insults and false accusations.

      Delete
    7. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      "Daas Torah said...Interesting perspective. the fact is that Eddie is commenting on a chareidi blog to discredit the chareidi understanding of Yiddishkeit.

      If he were commenting on a blog that is sympathetic to his view I would have made no comment. But he is basically a guest here and he is walking with muddy boots on the furniture and acting very disrepectfully towards people I look up to. Since Eddie has been a valued long time commentator I gave him the opportunity to explain himself - but that doesnt change the fact that he is seriously attacking the integrity of the rabbis who are my connection to Sinai."

      That was a refreshingly honest and open admission from you not relying on texts for a change it is like refreshing rain to hear it. it is important that Eddie should hear it that no one should steam-roller just one point of view -- "theirs" -- onto everyone else. Sometimes there needs to be a "gentleman's agreement and understanding" to "agree to disagree" and just leave it at that, because if not, often it just leaves two sides screaming at each other and if confronted in person even coming to physical blows.

      That is why it is virtually impossible to get someone who is a "true believer" to agree with an academically trained critical thinker, or to get someone who believes and lives by ideology XYZ to switch over in an argument to become a believer in the opposing ideology ABC. Sometimes the best "resolution" is to "agree to disagree" to sign a "cease fire" and agree to live in peace and co-exist -- TO AVOID TRIUMPHALISM that bane of the Charedi world as rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm has been saying for along time -- to recognize that sometimes there can be no reconciliation, that some things must be left to history and Hashem to decide and move on with life.

      That is how Jews and Christians live side by side even though they practice conflicting and contradictory religions that do have something in common. That is how secular chiloni Israelis and dati and charedi Jews in Israel can sit in a Knesset together. Basically R Michael Tzadok and Eddie have been screaming passed each other, with mots of the insults coming from Michael which is VERY bad kiruv and just look like another Ayatollah spouting his "holy" views, it just looks like another fanatic to run away from !!!!

      While personally I can see the merits of both sides, but to Eddie, R Michael Tzadok may as well be suffering from bouts of hallucination even though he spouts words, he may be sitting in front of his computer and have access to a data base and just copy and paste words as if mouthing them from texts, and to R Michal Tzadok, Eddie seems like an "apikores" who cannot read texts and just wants to argue even though there are points that Eddie raises that must be raised.

      Neither Charedi nor Modern Orthodox nor Secular ways of thinking are perfect. They can all learn from each other. If you want to talk to yourself get a mirror, because online there will always be people who think differently, that is the beauty of a medium that hooks up 7 billion people to have the potential to communicate with each other, it will take a while to sort out all the cross-wires and misunderstandings and things lost in translation etc etc etc ad infinitum, but having the courtesy to hear the opposing party out and to really, really, really try to get where they are coming from instead to just PREACHING to them which will never work, is the first small step to get any point of view across, let alone to winning an argument, which is a lot tougher than most people realize.

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    8. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      To Michael Tzadok 1 of 2:

      "Rabbi Michael Tzadok...I hope that here to you are being facetious. What academic setting allows one to write or argue points without bringing sources of some sort to back up one's assertions?"

      RaP: Yes, Socrates the father of acdemia did not require sources, it is not even known if he could read or write, but he could THINK and ARGUE LOGICALLY, and that is the foundation of scholarship. Writings papers and doctorates is like giving children homework assignment in the bigger scheme of things. By the way, in Yiddishkeit as well there were no "texts" that got the big minds rolling. The "yeshiva of shem and ever" was place where they learned EMES! Avraham learned from self-discovery. The biggest mystics of came in touch with their neshomas not with "texts" the BESHT was not known as a scholar, he was wagon driver who went into woods, practiced HISBODEDUS, received great REVELATIONS and in turn became the father of a great movement. Don't talk like a child. That is part of the concept of a Torah SHE'BEAL PEH, with no texts, just massive memorizations!

      "Pick up a book by Gershom Sholem or Moshe Idel, again you will see large and lengthy bibliographies of various sources. Yes true academics do do some original research and may argue its merits, but then they submit their theories and theses for peer review before they declare them 100% truth."

      RaP: I am not talking about what individual do or what they require for courses to fill the time. Originally, when studying for a doctorate there was no set curriculum and sometimes no real "books" per se, just deep, in-depth discussions and discourses, that is why LOGIC and RHETORIC were key foundations, Obviously you don't know this. Notice how you always et up arguments so that people talk past each other, it is fascinating, you hardly every endeavor to find common ground! It is kind like trying to debating with someone who imagines they have the "monopoly on truth' and I am getting sick of it !

      "I am willing to accept the fact that Eddie may not be able to summon a hundred sources from Chazal, however, I would hope that one making such a thesis would be able to summon some sources from somewhere. I would hope that they would be able to actually deal with the original texts and show their logic and possible errors. That has not yet happened from Eddie."

      RaP: Eddie is not on "trial" here and you are not the "jury, judge and executioner" get that through your head!

      "This is you being a sore loser from our previous debate here. I never insulted you, though I bore a good number of your own insults and false accusations."

      Michael you have a fertile imagination that's for sure. You set up straw men and the you think you have "won"! If that makes you happy enjoy it, I will not burst your little bubble too much, BUT you are living in Disney Land under the full force of magical thinking if you imagine there is now a free for all open study of Kabbalah at Litvish yeshivas when in fact the world's rabbonim are opposed to the public spread of Kabbalah teaching whether from the Kabbalah Center of Philip Berg or other so-called "kosher Kabbalah yeshivas" that still have a long way to go before they will ever receive and achieve mainstream approval. Right now you are on the margins and no one is obligated to follow in your ways of preaching Kabbalah on this blog or anywhere as if it was a new kind of "gospel"!

      I repeat again FYI: The RAMBAM says NOT to enter into PRDS !!! And he warns that look what happened to 3 out of the 4 greats of Israel who were damaged by it. HE says PRDS should only be taught by a master to one outstanding select student at time. He says to be busy with Gemora, the meat and bread that will fill you up and keep you safe. Stop waving flags of victory for battles that you never won.

      Delete
    9. R Michal Tzadok, Eddie seems like an "apikores" who cannot read texts and just wants to argue even though there are points that Eddie raises that must be raised.

      I don't think that Eddie is an apikores. Far from it. I think he is mistaken in some rather fundamental points.

      Nor do I think that he is incapable of reading them, rather I think that he is not honestly reading them. Meaning he is not trying to see what they actually say, but is trying to find proof for his assertions.

      I agree that some of his questions are quite good, and have not in fact been asked in English before, and thus should be given answers for those who are honestly seeking those answers. However, I feel that Eddie refuses to actually engage in discussion on the issues.

      For instance he claims that the Rambam says that G-d is not in the world at all in any fashion. He has claimed this on three separate threads. On three separate threads I have responded by asking Eddie then how is it that G-d is infinite and unlimited. Let's say science is correct(personally I believe it is) and the Universe has a diameter of 46.6Billion light years(14.7 Billion parsecs for the astrophysicists among us), further the Universe is expanding at a rapid and increasing rate. That is a rather large(and increasing space) where G-d is not. This implies that G-d has physical boundaries.
      Further it contradicts, to my reading, at least two of the halakhot of belief that the Rambam brings in his Yesodei HaTorah
      ג [ה] המצוי הזה--הוא אלוה העולם, אדון כל הארץ. והוא המנהיג הגלגל בכוח שאין לו קץ ותכלית, בכוח שאין לו הפסק, שהגלגל סובב תמיד, ואי אפשר שיסוב בלא מסבב; והוא ברוך הוא המסבב אותו, בלא יד ולא גוף.

      ז ואלוהינו ברוך שמו, הואיל וכוחו אין לו קץ ואינו פוסק, שהרי הגלגל סובב תמיד, אין כוחו כוח גוף. והואיל ואינו גוף, לא יארעו מאורעות הגופות כדי שיהא נחלק ונפרד מאחר; לפיכך אי אפשר שיהיה אלא אחד. וידיעת דבר זה--מצות עשה, שנאמר "ה' אלוהינו, ה' אחד" (דברים ו,ד).

      ח הרי מפורש בתורה ובנביא, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא גוף וגווייה: שנאמר "כי ה' אלוהיכם, הוא האלוהים בשמיים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת" (ראה דברים ד,לט; יהושוע ב,יא), והגוף לא יהיה בשני מקומות. ונאמר "כי לא ראיתם, כל תמונה" (דברים ד,טו), ונאמר "ואל מי תדמיוני, ואשווה" (ישעיהו מ,כה); ואילו היה גוף, היה דומה לשאר גופים.
      I'm willing to have a discussion, but let us have it be an actual discussion.

      Delete
    10. Rap, thanks for your kind words. yes we disagreed on a couple of items in the past, but I have read a lot of your recent posts on various topics, and am in agreement with 99% of them.

      Delete
    11. BUT you are living in Disney Land under the full force of magical thinking if you imagine there is now a free for all open study of Kabbalah at Litvish yeshivas
      This is a good example of your insults and false assertions. I never said this. I never implied this. I said that there were chevarot in many mainstream Litvish Yeshivot for qualified students.
      when in fact the world's rabbonim are opposed to the public spread of Kabbalah
      Here is yet another false assertion for which you offer no proof despite ample evidence provided to the contrary.

      I repeat again FYI: The RAMBAM says NOT to enter into PRDS !!! And he warns that look what happened to 3 out of the 4 greats of Israel who were damaged by it. HE says PRDS should only be taught by a master to one outstanding select student at time. He says to be busy with Gemora, the meat and bread that will fill you up and keep you safe. Stop waving flags of victory for battles that you never won.
      A third false assertion, as Rav Eidensohn has repeatedly pointed out to you from sources in the Rambam himself.

      Further the Rambam is not the final halakha in this(or any) area.

      Delete
    12. OMG, Michael, you seem to be completely ignorant of any science whatsoever. Thus you cannot conceive of physical space time as created dimensions. Perhaps this is why you misunderstand everything that Ramabm says.

      Everything in physics, including atoms, molecules, planets, the tea cup on my desk, idols of gold and wood, are all composite items.

      The basic units of measurement in Physics are Mass, length and Time. Even Einstein's equation of relativity, E=MC2 can be broken down into these units of measurement.

      Your poor knowledge of science leads you to making serious errors in your understanding of rambam, and of the problem of corporeality. thus you impose your anachronistic views, and assume them to be true.

      We can apply these units to what Rambam is saying -

      Mass, G-d does not have mass, he cannot be "weighed", he has no material and is not subject to gravitation forces.

      Length, again he is not subject to our physical dimensions of distance. You cannot take a tape measure and say so many billion lengths will measure G-d. he is not subject to the physicality he created. he is beyond this.

      Time, perhaps this you may be able to grasp, but we shall try anyway - time was created. our experience of time, just like our experience of fear, taste, laughter etc are human physical experiences. However, G-d is not limited to time. This is not a secret , ti is well known. nothing came before G-d, because he is not rapped in the dimension of time.

      Now, I think it is quite 2arrogant" of ramatz to talk authoritatively about these concepts when he has no understanding whatsoever of he scientific basis for what Rambam is arguing in his halacha.

      When i was about 5 I learned there is something called "air", which we breathe, and this seemed a difficult concept. then at around 7 I learned there is something called "light" which travels, and also it was difficult, since i assumed that we just "see" something beacause it is there.

      Ramatz's serious errors in is misrepresentation of every Rambam he sees are a result of his childish level of science and physics.
      You have to remember that Rambam was no fool, he was a gadol not only in Torah, but in science, Physics, Philosophy, astronomy, medicine etc.

      Everything you bring from the Rambam you impose your own lack of knowledge on it and then believe that you have the truth.

      Baal haTanya, because of his superior Knowledge of rambam, was able to critique the Gra on the Tzimtzum, , precisely because the gra stated that G-d literally contracted himself in the tzimtzum.

      Look at the serious and basic errors that Ramatz is making :


      a) " This implies that G-d has physical boundaries. "

      b) ג [ה] המצוי הזה--הוא אלוה העולם, אדון כל הארץ. והוא המנהיג הגלגל בכוח שאין לו קץ ותכלית, בכוח שאין לו הפסק, שהגלגל סובב תמיד, ואי אפשר שיסוב בלא מסבב; והוא ברוך הוא המסבב אותו, בלא יד ולא גוף.


      The Rambam you cite completely demolishes your mistaken assertion. However, your lack of basic knowledge in the field leads you to the imagination that you are correct, since you have been initiated.

      Since Chazal made a bracha for seeing a secular scientist, then I suggest you also learn humility, and not presume you can wing it in a field that you have no expertise in.


      Delete
    13. Since Chazal made a bracha for seeing a secular scientist, then I suggest you also learn humility, and not presume you can wing it in a field that you have no expertise in

      Thank you for your string of insults lacking any actual rebuff of my statement whatsoever, and demonstrating some fairly serious, and erroneous assumptions. You assume that because I am Chareidi that I lack secular education. That is a mistake. Or that I misunderstand science, again that would be a grave error. If you would like to talk advanced astrophysics and string theory, we can do that.

      However, you have not answered the contradictions that you raise in the Rambam. If, as you claim, there is a created dimension outside of HaShem, then that too is a contradiction of the Rambam's Yesodei HaTorah. In fact the Rambam brings the continual revolution of the earth as a proof of G-d's infinite power. Are you saying that G-d's power is separate from G-d?

      Baal haTanya, because of his superior Knowledge of rambam, was able to critique the Gra on the Tzimtzum, , precisely because the gra stated that G-d literally contracted himself in the tzimtzum.
      So now are you claiming that the Baal HaTanya was right? That G-d does pervade the whole world?

      Can you answer the objections that Rav Agasi brings to the extremes of both of these positions?

      Delete
    14. You are assuming that G-d is physical, has dimensions in Km, and is subject to time and space. Then you claim he must clash with the universe, otherwise he wouldnt be infinite. On top of this u revise the Rambam to fit in with your mistaken views.

      If you wish bring another Rambam, please cite Ch and verse.

      "So now are you claiming that the Baal HaTanya was right? That G-d does pervade the whole world? "

      No, i said that he pointed out one error in Gra's approach to tzimtzum, which was apparently accepted by NH.

      Rambam doesn't subscribe to the Tzimtzum, although he does use a a mechanism of "tzimtzum" of terminology.

      Insults? No, I was just returning the kind compliments you made to me.

      I haven't read Agasi, but it sounds reasonable. If neither the Gra or SZ could have a clear view, then obviously there are some difficulties in the concept.



      Delete
    15. in Yesodei 1, Rambam writes:

      ג [ה] המצוי הזה--הוא אלוה העולם, אדון כל הארץ. והוא המנהיג הגלגל בכוח שאין לו קץ ותכלית, בכוח שאין לו הפסק, שהגלגל סובב תמיד, ואי אפשר שיסוב בלא מסבב; והוא ברוך הוא המסבב אותו, בלא יד ולא גוף.

      He controls the world with a power that has no dimensions or boundaries, and no "hand" or body.

      In the aforesaid Moreh, he says the same thing. That G-d controls the world but is separated from it, and we cannot fathom how this is done.

      You are implying the opposite, that he is physically present in this world. That he is immanent and acts from within.



      Delete
    16. He controls the world with a power that has no dimensions or boundaries, and no "hand" or body.

      In the aforesaid Moreh, he says the same thing. That G-d controls the world but is separated from it, and we cannot fathom how this is done.


      Actually I do not see those statements as congruant. Especially the way you seem to understand them.

      If said power has no dimensions or boundaries, than it is not excluded from creation. While it ultimately transcends creation, it is not absent from it.

      Secondly separation, does not denote absence especially as closeness and separation according to the Rambam in the Yesodei HaTorah are dependent upon resemblance and spiritual level(see Yesodei HaTorah 2:6).

      Delete
    17. Your statement is mixing definitions , confusing distinctions, and drawing erroneous conclusions.

      Absent or present is not something physically measurable, you can't get a Geiger counter or something else to see His presence. Everything Rambam says about G-d, he continues to stress is incompatible with worldly terms.

      Read the rest of the chapter carefully.

      e.g. יב [ט] כל הנמצאים חוץ מן הבורא, מצורה הראשונה עד יתוש קטן שיהיה בטבור הארץ--הכול מכוח אמיתו נמצאו. ולפי שהוא יודע עצמו ומכיר גודלו ותפארתו ואמיתו, הוא יודע הכול ואין דבר נעלם ממנו.

      יג [י] הקדוש ברוך הוא מכיר אמיתו, ויודע אותה כמות שהיא. ואינו יודע בדעה שהיא חוץ ממנו כמו שאנו יודעין, שאין אנו ודעתנו אחד. אבל הבורא--הוא ודעתו וחייו אחד, מכל צד ומכל פינה: שאלמלא היה חי בחיים ויודע בדעה, היו שם אלוהות הרבה--הוא וחייו ודעתו; ואין הדבר כן, אלא אחד מכל צד ומכל פינה ובכל דרך ייחוד.


      Now the most fascinating statement Rambam makes (in terms of our debate):

      טז [יא] דברים אלו שאמרנו בעניין זה בשני פרקים אלו, כמו טיפה מן הים הן ממה שצריך לבאר בעניין זה. וביאור כל העיקרים שבשני פרקים אלו--הוא הנקרא מעשה מרכבה.

      He defines this as Maaseh Merkabah!

      In other words, his "philosophy" is halachically what Kaballah claims also as its domain.

      Are these the same things?
      Were Kabbalists happy about this , or did they pillory his statement?

      Is this halachic statement binding in any way?

      This is like a drop in the ocean as he says - so where lies the rest of the ocean? Is it the Moreh, which also makes the same claim? Or is it another doctrine?

      We could write many posts on each point, but it is beyond the limited space and time we have here.

      Delete
    18. Are you backing away from your position that G-d is absent from creation? Your contention with the Baal HaTanya was that he claims that G-d is present in creation, and you claimed that the Rambam calls this Kefira(though that is not found in the Yad), and that G-d is absent from creation. So which is it?

      In other words, his "philosophy" is halachically what Kaballah claims also as its domain.

      Are these the same things?
      Were Kabbalists happy about this , or did they pillory his statement?


      I'm not sure what you think Kabbalah is or isn't, however it is essentially philosophy. The Rashba believed that the core text for Maaseh Merkava was the Bahir, he even wrote a commentary on it(Or HaGanuz). Likewise so did the Ramban.

      As to whether Kabbalists disliked this statement why would they? Most Kabbalists upheld the Yad(as did the Rashba). Further the Leshem quotes the Rambam and Rav Saadia Gaon explicitly regarding who is worthy to study Maaseh Merkava, in his sefer Biurim, Chelak 1, Anaf 5:5.

      Delete
    19. I am not backing away from that at all.
      Your argument has dangers, which are what I am concerned about.
      Your argue that :

      a) G-d is infinite
      b) therefore has no limitations
      c) To say he isn't x or y is to place limits on him which is heresy.

      That is essentially how you argue that he is in the universe.


      This argument has a number of fallacies.

      Firstly, Rambam says that His Truth is not the same as our truth, His Knowledge is not the same as ours etc. You are imposing our concept of space and time on him, to include Him in our world or vice versa.

      Next, your infinity argument is justification for Shabbetai Zvi type thinking, although I do not level such accusation against you.

      A few examples:

      * If G-d is infinite, then saying that he can't be in my Buddha is to restrict him, therefore my Buddha is also chas v shalom infused with divinity.

      * If G-d is unlimited, then it makes no differnece whether I attend shul or chas v shalom a house of ill repute, since to deny His presence in those places is to set limits on Him.

      The same for a cheeseburger at McDonalds, etc etc.


      Now this problem did occur in the Hassidic movement in halachic terms. An example was and is that some Hassidim could daven outside of the set times, eg Mincha late at night. This was more problematic in practice than just their philosophy. but it is a natural outcome. And the opponents of these ehassidic practices were primarily the Gra.

      Delete
    20. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      "Rabbi Michael Tzadok said...Further the Rambam is not the final halakha in this(or any) area."

      I see! Maybe we should throw out the RAMBAMs and just go by Zohar?! Imagine if someone said to you that "Further, that Shimon Bar Yochai and the Zohar are not the final word in kabalah in this (or any) area" -- no doubt you would have a hissy fit! Michael, you are "meshuga ledavar" and it is pointless trying to reason with you because you are on a literal jihad to delve into things you should not be involved with and to spread Kabbalah teachings berabim that you should not be doing. I could never let someone so opinionated as you be my "rebbe" in Kabbalah or in anything else for that matter. You must learn tolerance in order to teach others instead of trying to ram your views down everyone's throats as if you have the monopoly on Gillui Eliyahu HaNavi.

      Delete
  12. Ok read the Rambam and the Nefesh Hachaim. All I can say is WOW!!!

    Eddie first you have really missed the plot on both. I suggest that you re-read them both and try to understand what each is trying to say, and then consider a retraction on that point. Otherwise this is going to get embarrassing.

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    Replies
    1. This is one of your claims without substance.

      NH says clearly that G-d is the soul of the universe, and claims to base it on Moreh. Moreh denies this absolutely.
      One of the views of the NH throughout his sefer is that we relate to G-d in his "hithabrut" tot he world, and that is where we direct our prayers. however, we are not permitted to direct them to His unknowable essence.
      This view is in total opposition to Rambam's. Unfortunately, RDE thinks that I am calling NH reform.
      The point is not that .

      The point is that NH hold Rambam in such high esteem, that he relies on Moreh. He also was once asked hwo the GRA was compared to Rambam, and said he was like a "worm".

      Now probably you will take this as me insulting the Gra, by quoting the NH!!


      Delete
    2. This is one of your claims without substance.

      No, actually I wrote a guest post backing this up with full substance. Hopefully Rav Eidensohn will publish it.

      Delete
    3. Eddie wrote:
      The point is that NH hold Rambam in such high esteem, that he relies on Moreh. He also was once asked hwo the GRA was compared to Rambam, and said he was like a "worm".

      Now probably you will take this as me insulting the Gra, by quoting the NH!!
      =================
      Where does Rav Chaim Voloshner say such a thing?!

      Delete
    4. I have heard this several times from Haredi Rabbanim (oral communication).

      Delete
    5. makes no sense - even if said by haredi rabbis

      Delete
    6. assuming that they did not mislead me, and I am not misleading you, why doesn't it make sense?

      How would you compare a Gra or Besht to Chazal, in terms of Gadlus?

      Delete
    7. For the simple reason that I have never heard a great talmid chachom being called a worm in relationship to someone else.

      You have the famous statement Shabbas (112b) R. Zera said in Raba b. Zimuna's name: If the earlier [scholars] were sons of angels, we are sons of men; and if the earlier [scholars] were sons of men, we are like asses, and not [even] like asses of R. Hanina b. Dosa and R. Phinehas b. Jair,17 but like other asses.

      No comparisons to worms

      Delete
    8. Honestly, these are just metaphors. An "ass" is hardly a compliment to a Talmid Hacham. That was within Chazal even.

      Now, I have heard this several times from Litvisher rabbis who follow the GRA and RCHV. I do not have a written source. And I agree that it is shocking, but no more shocking that the comment you quoted above.

      Delete
  13. A few people here, very frum and holy people, have said that Rambam isn't the last word on Judaism, Theology and Halacha.

    Since Purim is approaching, I wish to introduce some other people who say the same thing. the difference is on which areas they diverge from the Rambam:

    http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/18-04-19.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. From Critic:

    Daas torah - And what is my agenda?

    Even if I do have an agenda as you claim, don't we all...despite Eddie's claiming that he doesn't, all human beings do no matter how honest they claim they are...no one is totally pure. Clearly, Eddie has an agenda to interpret things kabbalistically and Eddie will interpret almost everythign rationally and they both think they are right.

    But writing me off by saying I have an agenda is totally wrong of you. In fact, I have said more than once that I am not comfortable writing off the views of many generatinos of gedolim...yet my quest for honesty does not allow me to accept thee views. Does this sound like an anti-kabbala agenda? So you have some explaining to do.

    You have not answered any of my points, nor have you taken your ally R Tzadok to task for stating that Shadal has been disproven and when I point out that the sefer was written with someone whose credentials actually do sound borderline orthodox (as opposed to Shadal) R Tzadok callously and cynically remarks that what better way to disprove a heretic then with another heretic. Is this a truth seeker? Is he someone without an agenda? Where is your criticism of him?

    I did not find that funny at all, actually very disturbing and consistent with another commenter's assessment of R Tzadok as being like any other fanatic who screams and yells whne others disagree.

    I challnege you again to give me a single source that sayas that gedolim can not be wrong on an issueeven for hundreds of years.

    No response from anyone on the above. Why not?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No response from anyone on the above. Why not?

      All of the sages of even a single generation cannot be mistaken. That is the point of Emunat Hakhamim.
      http://www.torah.org.il/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter6-622.html
      http://www.torah.org.il/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter6-623.html
      http://www.torah.org.il/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter6-624.html

      Delete
  15. Here is an article by Ariel bar Tzadok, who claims Rambam knew a degree of kabbalah.

    http://koshertorah.com/PDF/rambam.pdf

    I find it entertaining. His major source is Avraham Abulafia, who wrote a mystical commentary on the Guide.

    The Guide does contain a system of esoteric thought and meditation. Rambam mocks the practice of tziruf otiot, which is in fact what Abulafia was using in his method.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Abulafia, precisely because he aspires to prophecy, which is an authentic part of Judaism. Both Rambam and Abulafia have been criticized for their approach to Maaseh Merkabah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that the Rambam mocked the magical practice of tzeruf, which would have been far different from the Abulafian practice.

      Further that was only one of the methods that Abulafia puts forward.

      Both Rambam and Abulafia have been criticized for their approach to Maaseh Merkabah.
      I don't know so much about that. Abulafia was criticized more for teaching VERY publicly. Rambam was criticized for his supposed reliance on Greek philosophers.

      Delete
    2. Abulafia also had Messianic and prophetic claims, as well as practicing Kabbalah Maasit.
      Incidentally, I am not opposed to AA, on the contrary, I think that if Kabbalah is for real, then he is proof of it. And accordind to Idel, his methods were written in RaMaK and R H Vital's works.

      Idel points out that although Moreh hanevuchim was opposed by some french Kabbalists, it was also propagated by many others, and AA wrote several mystical commentaries to it.

      Delete
  16. From Critic:

    Rav Tzadok,

    Perhaps I missed your point, but I read through your links and did not see any mention that the sages of a single generation can not all be wrong. In fact, it seems to be saying that the torah is given to MAN and mistakes can happen. Now with regard to halacha, we must still follow erroneous conclusions issues by the bais din, but no such rule applies for matters as these.

    In this case, there never was a generation where ALL gedolim agreed. There was always a minority who argued against the zohar.

    Eddie makes a great point. You do not hld off R Abulafia, yet it is a fact that much of R Chayim's Vitals writings came from him. You claim that from Arizal and on, Kabala Maasit was no longer practiced yet R Chaim Vital was influenced by one of the greatest proponents of Kabala Maasit. Something does not add up.

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    1. Eddie makes a great point. You do not hld off R Abulafia, yet it is a fact that much of R Chayim's Vitals writings came from him. You claim that from Arizal and on, Kabala Maasit was no longer practiced yet R Chaim Vital was influenced by one of the greatest proponents of Kabala Maasit. Something does not add up.
      Yes you are right. Something does not add up, namely your understanding of Kabbalistic sources. Rav Avraham Abulafia repeatedly denounces the use of Kabbalah Maasit. Even when faced with death he did not make use of it.
      As far as Abulafia "influencing" the Marchu, he clearly states in the main text where he brings down Abulafian methods, that everything that he was about to write he received from the lips of his teacher Rav Yitzhak Luria.
      So no he was not so much influenced by Abulafia as he was in reception of what the Ari taught. Which was a synthesis of what were before him seemingly widely divergent systems.

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    2. "Rav Avraham Abulafia repeatedly denounces the use of Kabbalah Maasit."

      Is this a typo? Depends on what you define Kabbalah Maasit as. Rav AA was was MR Kabbalah Maasit. His methods were also used to reach prophechy. And he was criticised by more conservative Kabbalists.
      Next, please explain your chronological flip-flop, since AA preceded the Arizal and Chaim Vital.

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    3. . Rav AA was was MR Kabbalah Maasit.

      So when he says that anyone who uses his methods to attain any physical result, or anything aside from Ruach HaKodesh is cursed, that is not denouncing Kabbalah Maasit?

      Personally I define Kabbalah Maasit as the Shulhan Arukh does in Yoreh Deah.

      Next, please explain your chronological flip-flop, since AA preceded the Arizal and Chaim Vital.
      Please explain your reading comprehension problem. The Marchu was not influenced by Abulafia, he(the Marchu) writes clearly that everything he wrote(including those things that were explicitly Abulafian) he learned from the Arizal. The Arizal brought forth a Synthesis of everything that was before him(which would have been the S"Y, Bahir, Zohar, Abulafia, Giktalia, Ramban ect).



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