Friday, January 12, 2007

An old bit of business

Earlier this week, I suggested that the Rabbi Without a Cause said we can't "second-guess" the Gedolim. I'm pleased to report that I inadvertently mischarecterized his intentions. What he actually believes is that we can question "their decisions," but not "their gadlus." He is fine with second-guessing. DovBear regrets the error.

And, for the record, I agree with him completely. You'll never find this blog second-guessing a Rabbi on a matter of Jewish law. I may, in some rare cases, ignore their prescriptions (I continue to fly El Al, for example) but I don't doubt their skills and talents as Jewish jurists.

A famous Jewish speaker I once knew used to begin his speechs with something like this: "I'm not a Rabbi. (he'd say) I'm a politician. But I'm going to give a dvar torah, and I don't feel bit bad about it. After all, Rabbis always talk about politics, and you know what? I do less damage to their profession then they do to mine."

This little joke approximates my position on the Gedolim. So long as they stay in their area of expertise I'm all about the respect. I don't know much about halacha, and I would never dream of challenging an expert in the field. And if you review my blog with any honesty, you'll see that I have never done that.

My story changes when the gedolim stray into history or science. I'm not expert in these feilds, but I know enough about them to see that the gedolim aren't either. Like the RWAC, I respect the gadlus of the gedolim, but when it comes to science and history (and some other subjects) they have none. And, I say that plainly and with a tone that is once generous and matter-of-fact, and with no disrespect implied or intended.

No comments: