Rashi Could Do Things We Can’t

Lawrence Kaplan writes on Hirhurim: "If I understand the end of Rabbi Slifkin’s article correctly, he was seriously saying that Rashi was allowed to say that God is a body while we are not, and he understood full well the irony that a very similar statement is attributed to Rav Elyashiv re Rabbi Slifkin’s views. My understanding is that Rabbi Slifkin plans to return to this issue and explain why we are not allowed to say that God is corporeal even though Rashi was allowed to say it, and how this differs from Rav Elyashiv’s comments re Rabbi Slifkin’s views on the issue of authority of Hazal on matters of science and that of the age of the world."

“A number of years ago, Rabbi Dr. Nehemiah Polen gave a paper at an Association of Jewish Studies Conference also arguing, IIRC, that Rashi was a corporealist. I do not know if he ever published it.”

“Although I have not studied it carefully, my iniitial impression of Rabbi Buchman;’s review essay is similar to Gil’s. True, some of Rabbi Buchmn’s argument strike me as special pleading – after all, there are limits as to how far one can go in blaming the “bukher setzer” for all of the errors Dr. Shapiro pointed out — other of his arguments seem to me to miss the legitimate differences between the approaches of halakhists and historians, and finally ye other of his arguments seem to me to treat the “academic” approach in an undifferentiated manner (this despite his legitimate criticisms of Dr. Shapiro for so treating the “traditionalist” approach). Still, many of his arguments strike as well founded. I think the teshuvah of the Rambam he cites re “shoreh be-mayyim” is very telling and exemplifies both the care with which the Rambam wrote the MT and the Rambam’s “lomdus” as well. I also think the focus has to be on the MT, and Dr. Shapiro’s referring to errors in the Perush ha-Mishnah just muddies the waters. I also found the lengthy statment of Prof. Twersky, zl, cited by Dr. Shapiro in support of the historical approach, to be problematic on a number of counts.”

LIM writes: "R. Slifkin is starting to irk me with this fruitless attempt to jump between the doorposts. Charedi Jews dont approve of his views, but better educated Jews do. Yet he keeps showing this weird tendency to validate the other side’s stance. Knock it off already."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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