Monday, December 27, 2010

In Defense of Emunas Chachamim and Daas Torah

A Guest Post By E. Fink

Enough articles and posts have been written about the recent confusion about emunas chachamim and Daas Torah. To the sheeple, these terms have been taken to mean that when a gadol speaks about a subject, be it halacha, hashkafa or science, the gadol is speaking with Divine Assistance and the gadol's words are binding. Rabbi Rivlin holds this to be true. As do the many commenters that allows to filter through their fascist comment queue.

This opinion suffers severe flaws in logic and is in dispute with many Torah principles. But what bothers me is this: When did this happen? I understand that in Chassidus this idea is a a cornerstone to their avodas Hashem. But how and when did this become the leading opinion in non-chassidic circles?

I went through the yeshiva system. My family all went through the yeshiva system My grandfathers went through the yeshiva system. We were taught about emunas chachamim and Daas Torah but in a completely different way.

These are real Torah concepts. And I object to the hijacking of these principles.

We were taught that emunas chachamim means that there is value in the words of Chazal as well as more recent Torah scholars. The emunah required is that even when one does not understand a position of a chacham, one does not discard it. One tries to understand it. Never was I taught that one should suspend disbelief because something was said by a Torah scholar.

We were taught that Daas Torah refers to the accumulated wisdom a great Torah scholar possesses and that wisdom could be channeled into areas beyond the pages of the Talmud. One who has engaged in critical thinking for most of their life has developed their mind to a point that their advice on a subject or opinion on a crucial matter may be one worth exploring. Never was I taught that this Daas Torah could create an obligation to listen to that advice.

I guess this is why I always find Kol Korehs so amusing.

What authority are the gedolim asserting? Are they telling us that it is assur to read lashon hara? Thanks. We knew that already. Are they telling us certain things constitute lashon hara? That's a psak and needs an explanation. Are they saying there is no toeles in this lashon hara? That is debatable. It would nice if they would debate it and allow us to think about their reasoning.

What are they trying to accomplish? What weight does a ban carry when there is no authority to assert the ban? Further, MY rabbis did not sign the ban. I am sure many of your rabbis did not sign the ban either. So even according to their (wrong) version of Daas Torah - I am following MY Daas Torah by not listening to the ban!

The only thing that it accomplishes is their powerful voices are taken from them by virtue of the fact that no one will listen and whatever smidgen of power remains is given to their handlers.

In my opinion, the true victims of this and other bans are the important principles of emunas Chachamim and Daas Torah.

Search for more information about hijacked Torah principles at

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