Monday, March 25, 2024

Preaching to the Choir

 Everybody knows about the dybbuk and the Chofetz Chain. Rav Elchonon Wasserman used to tell the story at the Purim Seudah, But he said only those who believe in these things should be invited.

In other words these stories are meant as spiritual chizuk not as a means of convincing anyone about spirituality. In Making of a Godol (page 363-354) he also notes that his father was against telling spooky tales even about the Golem as it convinces some that Judaism is full of bizarre superstitions The above probably is true of Agada medrash and chassidic miracle stories


  1. So how about medrash aggada stories of drunk people on purim chopping off someone's head, then bringing them back to life?

    1. It's a Gemora not a medrash. And it's well known that any Amora and certainly any Tanna could bring people back to life.

    2. a) It is still aggada
      b) No independent evidence whatsoever that this power existed, and it is also claimed by Yashke.
      c) Rambam writes in his methodology of learning aggadah that taking them literally is an insult to the Sages, and that it requires careful study to ascertain the intent of the authors

    3. Except when they themselves were killed, and then the mask slips and they have no such powers whatsoever. Same nonsense as with Yashke.

    4. Just because the goyim copy us is no reason to ignore the Chazal. Rambam is not the only Rishon and many others hold aggada is taken literally. You know that so why play around.

    5. Rambam does say that if you are of the first or 2nd categories on his list, turn away, since his method will be damaging to your little mind.

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