Many times rabbis disagree on things in both hashkafa and Halacha. Usually, even when disagreeing, they will view the others' opinion as valid, even if they themselves would not rely on it. This is based on the principle of "eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chayim" (both of these are the words of the living G-d) (see Eruvin 13b).

Famous examples would be the arguments in the gemara, and the differences between sephardim and ashkenazim.

At what point is an halachic or hashkafic (new word!) opinion no longer "covered" by "eilu v'eilu"?

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    @ShmuelBrill. In my defence, the indefinite article "an" can be used before a noun that begins with the letter "h". It may be an uncommon use, or even an historic one, but it does not necessitate correction.
    – HodofHod
    Dec 22, 2011 at 20:52
  • google.com/…
    – msh210
    Dec 22, 2011 at 21:23
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    Just going to bring the source for that saying- Eurivin 13b Dec 22, 2011 at 21:54
  • @ShmuelBrill, keep reading. The next sentence or so in WP: "The article 'an' is sometimes seen in such phrases as 'an historic'... although usually violating the phonetic rule in such cases."
    – msh210
    Dec 22, 2011 at 22:43
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    Is "hashkafic" really a new word? I use it all the time :)
    – avi
    Dec 23, 2011 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


Opinions in arguments that are not leShem shemayim are not included. Almost all of the sources (which I know about) which comment on this issue do so in the context of halakhic arguments. (R' Kook is the exception.)

R' Kook (אורות הקודש) seems to hold that in theory, everything is included, but in practice, we only accept "acceptable" opinions that follow "preestablished standards."

R' Moshe Feinstein (אגרות משה - הקדמה) also makes a distinction between practical truth and theoretical truth.

Rashi (Ketubot 57a) holds that factual arguments, such as whether Rabbi A said something was assur or muttar, are not included, for there is a definite truth - he either said "assur" or "muttar," but not both. But general arguments in halacha are included, for something could be assur in one case, but muttar in a different case.

According to the Ran, even the incorrect halakhic opinions were given at Har Sinai.

Also note that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 17a) says that one of the tests for someone to be gain a seat in the Sanhedrin was whether he could be מטהר a שרץ מן התורה, possibly implying that even obviously false opinions are valid.

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    +1 A great answer! What's the source for the opinion having to be l'shem shamayim? (I'm not doubting, I'm just curious who says that.
    – HodofHod
    Dec 23, 2011 at 4:20
  • Where's the Ran?
    – Yehoshua
    Aug 2, 2013 at 12:25

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