Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daas Torah brought about the desire to kill Yeshoshua and Calev

Rav Zilberstein (Aleinu LeShebeach - Shelach) notes that when a person sins it provides justification for further sins. As the result of the Jews questioning the wisdom of going into Israel – against the wishes of G-d – it set the stage for further deterioration. When the spies came back with their report which included the conclusion that they would not be able to succeed in conquering Israel - the people collectively became very upset. This was to the degree that they wanted to kill Yehoshua and Kalev who were insisting that it was a good land and that they could succeed. Rav Zilberstein asks that while it is understandable why they were upset with the report – but why did they want kill the spies who had asserted that they could in fact conquer the land? Furthermore he notes that the people said that,  We should appoint a king and go back to Egypt." What was the impetus for that plan?

He answers that Rashi (Bamidbar 14:1) says that aida is referring to the Sanhedrin. Rav Zilberstein explains that after the negative reaction to the report of the spies – the people became very upset and did not know what to do. Therefore they wanted to know what Daas Torah was in this matter and they went to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin poskened that since going into Israel could only be accomplished through miracles and the people at this point were not deserving of miracles – going into Israel would be suicidal. In other words if they entered Israel they would be killed and the women and children taken captive. The people drew the logical conclusion that rather than die in in a futile attempt to conquer Israel they should appoint a king and return to Egypt. When the people saw that Yeshoshua and Calev were still insisting that they continue into Israel – and were going against Daas Torah – they concluded that they were rodefim and they need to be killed to save their own lives. The people would have in fact killed them except for the intervention of G-d.


  1. What the events in the Torah, the commentary by RAshi and the chiddush of R' Silberstein are pointing to is that a) there is no truth to the idea of the "majority" always being correct, and b) the idea of Daas Torah (in the context of how it was in those days) is a false one.

  2. I guess the mistake was that when Moshe is around the buck doesn't stop at the Sanhedrin. Obviously, Rav Zilberstein is not negating daas Torah.

  3. there are two types of people in the world - those who are struck by the awesome chidush in Rav Zilberstein's words and those who don't understand what the big deal is.

    Assuming that events happened as Rav Zilberstein conjectured - that would mean that the Sanhedrin - Daas Torah paskened on the very narrow grounds that Jews were not ready to go into Israel - totally ignoring the fact that G-d had said that they were going. Thus Daas Torah here clearly is not the ratzon of Hashem and is in fact opposed to it.

    Additionally Rav Zilberstein apparently doesn't see anything incongruent about the Sanhedrin paskening for the entire nation while not only ignoring the leadership of Moshe but that of G-d! Don't you think that they should have been consulted or at least their views taken into consideration?! Here then the term Daas Torah is simply a psak based on the immediate facts presented without input from ruach hakodesh or even any concern for the broader picture. It is clearly a mistaken judgment.

    In short Rav Zilberstein's use of the term Daas Torah clearly is not in accord with the contemporary chareidi use of the term. Does that have any significance? I think it is a good question.

  4. There is a difference between Ruach kodesh and having deep perception. As an example, when in the mid-eighties, Rav Shach started opposing the Messianic tendencies of Lubavitch, many people were shocked and claimed R' Shach was an extremist. But looking at the bigger picture, and where it lead to, we can see that he had a clarity of thought, deep knowledge of Torah and halacha, and could "read" what game was being played in Brooklyn. Is that Ruach Kodesh or maturity, clarity, and healthy skepticism - where supporters of the Rebbe were self deluding, emotional, and buying into fairy stories (myself included)?

  5. Your Chidush is simply based on RZ's language, i.e. calling the Sanhedrin "Daas Torah". The concept of the Sanhedrin being wrong per se is not a Chidush at all - that is what מסכת הוריות is all about!

    P.S. How do I write in italics? I don;t want to use capitals instead, because then it seems like I'm shouting AND I"M NOT!

  6. So the Sanhedrin made a mistake. The Torah has a special sacrifice for this eventuality.

  7. Hmmm.. Don't we pasken "lo beshamayim hi" as in the case of tanur achnei? In which case whatever the Sanhedrin paskened should be the correct way to proceed?

    Or do we say that didn't come into power until after Moshe Rabbenu was niftar, since he had such close personal contact with Hashem, his word couldn't be negated?

  8. The_Original_Bored_LawyerJune 15, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    The problem with this kind of drush is that that is what it is -- drush.

    The gemara clearly states that Moshe Rabbenu had a din of Sanhedrin (71) and all the most difficult shaylos were brought to him (Bnos Tslofchod, Pesach Sheni). He also had a din of Melech. One can as easily say that the fault was going to a less-than-highest authority to seek daas Torah.

  9. Did you receive my message?

  10. Nice to hear Rav Zilberstein say this. I've been saying for years, and I'm not the only one, that Aguda is today's meraglim. It seems obvious. The world view, of the Aguda chashuvim, is to plant themselves in a midbar, and insist on learning and tefila only, to the exclusion of everything else - an Old Europe haskafa, comparable to reliance on the nissim, mon and ananei kavod, that the meraglim wanted to continue, rather than march into and conquer eretz Canaan. The Aguda, anti-Zionist galus attitude is one of inferiority, and pessimism - we are grasshoppers, the meraglim said. What is the one contribution of Aguda to the child abuse problem? Before reporting abuse to legal authorities, first, ask your rabbi if there are reglayim l'davar - reason to believe. I suggest, read the words this way: m'raglim l'daber. The spies speak.

  11. The_Original_Bored_LawyerJune 15, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    The parshiyos of Pesach Sheni and Bnos Tslofchod seem to indicate the latter.

    Not to mention that lo ba shayim hi deals with halakha. This was a horass shaah -- conquer EY or not. As to that, the word of a navi is supposed to be followed. Rambam Yesodei ha Torah 9:1-4:

    דָּבָר בָּרוּר וּמְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה, שְׁהִיא מִצְוָה עוֹמֶדֶת לְעוֹלָם וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים: אֵין לָהּ לֹא שִׁנּוּי, וְלֹא גֵּרָעוֹן וְלֹא תּוֹסֶפֶת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "אֵת כָּל-הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם--אֹתוֹ תִשְׁמְרוּ, לַעֲשׂוֹת: לֹא-תֹסֵף עָלָיו, וְלֹא תִגְרַע מִמֶּנּוּ" (דברים יג,א); וְנֶאֱמָר "וְהַנִּגְלֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ, עַד-עוֹלָם--לַעֲשׂוֹת, אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת" (דברים כט,כח). הַא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁכָּל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה, מְצֻוִּין אָנוּ לַעֲשׂוֹתָן עַד עוֹלָם; וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם" (ויקרא ג,יז; ועוד שבעה מקומות), וְנֶאֱמָר "לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם, הִיא" (דברים ל,יב). הַא לָמַדְתָּ שְׁאֵין נָבִיא רַשָּׁאי לְחַדַּשׁ דָּבָר, מֵעַתָּה.

    ב לְפִיכָּךְ אִם יַעֲמֹד אִישׁ, בֵּין מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין מִן הָאֻמּוֹת, וְיַעֲשֶׂה אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת וְיֹאמַר שֶׁה' שְׁלָחוֹ לְהוֹסִיף מִצְוָה, אוֹ לִגְרֹעַ מִצְוָה, אוֹ לְפָרַשׁ בְּמִצְוָה מִן הַמִּצְווֹת פֵּרוּשׁ שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמַעְנוּ מִמֹּשֶׁה, אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר שֶׁאוֹתָן הַמִּצְווֹת שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בָּהֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵינָן לְעוֹלָם וּלְדוֹרֵי דּוֹרוֹת אֵלָא מִצְווֹת לְפִי זְמָן הָיוּ--הֲרֵי זֶה נְבִיא שֶׁקֶר, שֶׁהֲרֵי בָּא לְהַכְחִישׁ נְבוּאָתוֹ שֶׁלְּמֹשֶׁה; וּמִיתָתוֹ בְּחָנֵק, עַל שֶׁהֵזִיד לְדַבַּר בְּשֵׁם ה' אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּהוּ, שְׁהוּא בָּרוּךְ שְׁמוֹ צִוָּה לְמֹשֶׁה שֶׁהַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת "לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ, עַד-עוֹלָם" (דברים כט,כח), וְ"לֹא אִישׁ אֵל וִיכַזֵּב" (במדבר כג,יט).

    ג אִם כֵּן, לָמָּה נֶאֱמָר בַּתּוֹרָה "נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם" (דברים יח,יח)--לֹא לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּת הוּא בָּא, אֵלָא לְצַוּוֹת עַל דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה, וּלְהַזְהִיר הָעָם שֶׁלֹּא יַעַבְרוּ עָלֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁבָּהֶם "זִכְרוּ, תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה עַבְדִּי" (מלאכי ג,כב).

    ד וְכֵן אִם צִוָּנוּ בְּדִבְרֵי הָרְשׁוּת, כְּגוֹן לְכוּ לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי אוֹ אַל תֵּלְכוּ, עֲשׂוּ מִלְחָמָה הַיּוֹם אוֹ אַל תַּעֲשׂוּ, בְּנוּ חוֹמָה זוֹ אוֹ אַל תִּבְנוּהָ--מִצְוָה לִשְׁמֹעַ לוֹ; וְהָעוֹבֵר עַל דְּבָרָיו--חַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וְהָיָה, הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִשְׁמַע אֶל-דְּבָרַי, אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר, בִּשְׁמִי--אָנֹכִי, אֶדְרֹשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ" (דברים יח,יט). [ג] וְכֵן נָבִיא שֶׁעָבַר עַל דִּבְרֵי עַצְמוֹ, וְהַכּוֹבֵשׁ נְבוּאָתוֹ--חַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם; וּבִשְׁלָשְׁתָּן נֶאֱמָר "אָנֹכִי, אֶדְרֹשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ".

  12. it was already stated by R' Tzvi Yehuda Kook that the anti-zionist movement was the sin of the spies. I saw once a response to that , perhaps in the now defunct Jewish Observer, or similar publication, that Zionism was the sin-after the spies, ie those who tried to go an conquer the land after the spies, without Hashem's permission. Unfortunately, ti is not a very good analogy, since this sin (the moshul) in the Torah ended up in their being all killed, whereas the nimshol, Zionism, ended up in a new Nation being born, whilst those who remained in Europe were tragically murdered.


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