Saturday, December 26, 2020

Psak is different for post-Talmudic authorites who lack ruach hakodesh

from Daas Torah - translation copyrighted

Kuntres HaSefekos (5:3): It seems to be me that Tosfos and the Nemukei Yosef are talking about a dispute between Tannaim and Amoraim as can be seen from their language. In such a case the judge does not need to struggle and find proofs to the validity of the different opinions. That is because it is impossible for us to refute the view of a particular Tanna or Amora with decisive proofs – because ruach hakodesh is manifest in them. Our Sages have already said about Talmudic sages, “These and those are the words of the living G﷓d. Therefore the judge must decide based on what makes sense to him – but he can’t prove or disprove whether a particular view is correct. In contrast the Rosh was describing the post﷓Talmudic situation and wrote that when two gedolim are in disagreement about a matter then the judge needs to look for proper proofs to decide between them. That is because from the day that the Talmud was closed – the fountains of wisdom have been sealed and therefore each person has the right to disagree with his predecessors with what he considers proof. Thus in the post-Talmudic world it is within the realm of the possible to decide between views by bringing proofs to the reasoning of one side over the other. We see this in the books of the Achronim where they refute the words of their predecessors with clear proofs.


  1. Panel Finds State Cannot Fire Youth Aide Who Struck Handcuffed Teen

    State of New York v. Civil Service Employees, 509925

    Before: Mercure, J.P., Malone Jr., Kavanagh, Garry and Egan Jr., JJ.

    Decided: December 16, 2010

    While petitioner's reluctance to reinstate Jackson is understandable, considering that he admittedly lost his temper and punched in the face a handcuffed child in his care, the public policy cited simply does not prohibit him from remaining employed in his position and it is not within this Court's power to "second-guess" the factual or legal determinations of the arbitrator

    (As a result of this incident, Jackson was arrested and charged with harassment in the second degree. He pleaded guilty to the charge)

    Boys who accused Kolko of touching them in his office or in the boiler room of Yeshiva Torah Temimah say that Margulies slapped them across the face and screamed that they are lying.

  2. Could we please have a definition of:
    "ruach hakodesh" - what are its characteristics, and how is it categorized in the Torah?
    And also, what can be said about the "sealing of the Talmud"? Where and when did this event take place? How many witnesses were there to it? Who were the witnesses?

  3. The Raavad was also post-talmud but see his Hasagah to Lulav 8:5. How would you interpret it? Or , how would the Ketzos interpret it?

    (Rabbi Isidore Twersky in his books about Rabad lists a bunch of other Rishonim who use a similar term here.)

  4. In his commentary on this halachah, the Ra'avad states:

    For a number of years, the spirit of prophecy has been present in our

    chamber of study, and we have determined that [such a myrtle] is not


    The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 646:10) quotes the

    Rambam's opinion. However, the Ramah writes that it is proper to adhere

    to the Ra'avad's view if possible. However, he quotes Rabbenu Nissim,

    who maintains that the top of a myrtle is only considered to be "cut

    off" when the top of the branch is broken. The leaves' falling off is

    not considered of significance.

  5. The Raavad is a very interesting and towering Gadol, one who is great enough to argue with the Rambam.
    Outside of the world of Torah scholarship is virtually unknown, whereas every Jew, even secular, knows about the greatness of the Rambam.


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