To continue my scientific/Halachic exploration, I would like to summarize the approaches in one question that addresses the famous Rashi on Dvorim 17,11. I think this long and well-sourced question is crucial in setting the common ground for all "reality/science vs Judaism" related questions.

עַל־פִּי הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ וְעַל־הַמִּשְׁפָּט אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְרוּ לְךָ תַּעֲשֶׂה לֹא תָסוּר מִן־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־יַגִּידוּ לְךָ יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאל׃

You shall act in accordance with the instructions given you and the ruling handed down to you; you must not deviate from the verdict that they announce to you either to the right or to the left.

Rashi on the verse, actually, "distorts" the original Sifre mixing it a bit with Yerushalmi, please compare:

Rashi uses "objective" terms of right and left:

" אֲפִלּוּ אוֹמֵר לְךָ עַל יָמִין שֶׁהוּא שְׂמֹאל וְעַל שְׂמֹאל שֶׁהוּא יָמִין, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁאוֹמֵר לְךָ עַל יָמִין יָמִין וְעַל שְׂמֹאל שְׂמֹאל (ספרי):

Even if the judge tells you about right that it is left, or about left that it is right, you have to obey him; how much the more is this so if actually, he tells you about right that it is right and about left it is left.

Sifre Dvorim 154:5 clearly uses a different, "subjective" language:

"ימין ושמאל. אפילו נראים בעיניך על שמאל שהוא ימין, ועל ימין שהוא שמאל - שמע להם.

"right or left": Even if it seems in your eyes that they are telling you left is right and right is left, listen to them.

And the Yerushalmi Horayot 2b presents a completely different picture:

":ואם בטועה לומר התורה אמרה אחריהם אחריהם אין זה שמעון בן עזאי כהדא דתני יכול אם יאמרו לך על ימין שהיא שמאל ועל שמאל שהיא ימין תשמע להם? ת"ל ללכת ימין ושמאל שיאמרו לך על ימין שהוא ימין ועל שמאל שהוא שמאל

(my translation) ... Can you think that if they say on right it's left and vice verse you will listen to them? [of course not!] For [the verse says] "to stray right and left" is only when they say on right that it's right and on left that's left.

So the Rashi's interpretation here is off the traditional approach of either Sifre that allows for listening to the Rabbis when the judgment is subjective (like your right is my left) or the Yerushalmi that does not accept listening to Rabbis that contradict the evident - call the right left and vice verse.

Interestingly, this Rashi became widely accepted and extrapolated to all Rabbinical sayings in the Talmud, the Midrash and more, causing accusation of those who follow the opposing [and not a less traditional] view in heresy and apostasy.

The question: Are there sources that accept the Sifre and the Yerushalmi's approach to [not/] accepting Rabbinical sayings over Rashi's? Like Ramba"N, Avraham Ben Haramba"M and more?

A "Meta"-question - shouldn't the contemporary Rabbis revert the official Judaic position of the blind אמונת חכמים to the Sifre and Yerushalmi views without sacrificing anything??

  • It seems your question is better asked featuring focus on the Ramban. – David Kenner Aug 28 '18 at 19:19
  • Why does this question bother you? Learn the first two dapim of Horayot and you should come out with a clear answer like that of the Yerushalmi. What Rashi explained could be to a student in the beginning of his learning. There are seven billion people in the world; about one million know the Truth. This fact should tell you a lot about what everyone thinks. – chacham Nisan Aug 28 '18 at 20:29
  • @chachamNisan What really bothers me is the fact that [based on that Rashi] many people try to forcefully justify numerous, apparently wrong Rabbinical sayings calling the others Kofrim. – Al Berko Aug 28 '18 at 21:15
  • @AlBerko Like what? – chacham Nisan Aug 28 '18 at 21:37
  • 1
    @chachamNisan Sad thing is that I can't tell if that's sarcasm or not... – AKA Aug 29 '18 at 18:24

Yes, there are very many. See the mefarshim to this verse.

Ramban agrees with Sifrei and disagrees with Rashi (this is in line with the Shaarei Aharon and other mefarshim), based on the fact that he echoes the Sifrei:

וענינו: אפילו תחשוב בלבך שהם טועים, והדבר פשוט בעיניך כאשר אתה יודע בין ימינך לשמאלך, תעשה כמצותם

The Hakesav Vehaabbalah (based on Mizrachi and Tzedah Laderech) says that Rashi's girsa is wrong and should follow the Sifrei:

ימין ושמאל – אפילו מראים בעיניך על שמאל שהוא ימין ועל ימין שהוא שמאל (כ״ה לשון ספרי), פי׳ דלפי מראה עיניך הם טועין בדין מ״מ תשמע להם; אבל אם ידוע בודאי שהם טועים, כבר אמרו בירושלמי (רשפ״ק דהוריות) אם יאמרו על ימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהוא ימין אין לשמוע להם (ע׳ רא״ם וצד״ל), ולשון רש״י כאן צריך תיקון.

Malbim follows Sifrei directly, as he explains it:

ומ״ש ״ימין ושמאל״, היינו לפי דמיונך. שתדמה שמהפכים שמאל לימין, בכ״ז לא תסור. כי באמת הלכה כדבריהם, ועל דעתם ניתנה התורה. ורוח ה׳ תנהלם לכוון ההלכה, ולא יטעו.

A notable Shitah is that of the Minchas Yehudah (one of the Baalei Hatosfos), who even interprets Rashi in line with the Sifri/Yerushalmi, noting that obviously Rashi agrees that if you know something is clearly Assur, you should not listen to anyone that tells you otherwise, and that Rashi must be referring to Rabbinic Takanos/Gezeiros. This clearly shows that he disagrees with what you are reading into Rashi (and that he feels that Rashi disagrees with the way you are reading Rashi):

פירש״י אפי׳ אומר לך על ימין שהוא שמאל ועל שמאל שהיא ימין וכ״ש כשאומרים על ימין ימין ועל שמאל שמאל עכ״ל. תימא וכי שומעין לחכם שאומר על טמא טהור ועל אסור מותר אלא ע״כ פתרונו על גזרות חכמים ותקנותם על ימין שהוא שמאל כגון תקיעת שופר שאינה דוחה שבת וכן הרבה ועל שמאל שהוא ימין כגון שניות לעריות וכן הרבה עד״י ב״א.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    This answer is completely wrong in its citations. The OP asked for citations that disagree with an apparent and claimed reasoning/opinion of Rashi. The Minchas Yehudah quote claims Rashi meant something other than the OP reads into Rashi. Therefore it cannot serve as an example answering the OP's question. The OP wanted someone arguing against Rashi. Furthermore, the link provided to "mefarshim" quotes 4 sources. 2 of them seriously support Rashi (as the OP describes Rashi, especially Ramban) and 2 appear to be inconclusive or just not addressing it. This answer should be deleted. – David Kenner Aug 28 '18 at 19:07
  • The answer could be downvoted but its proper to wait for a response by the poster or a voluntary edit/delete first. This answer's issues are pretty blatant IMHO. – David Kenner Aug 28 '18 at 19:11
  • I agree with David. The question had a special angle of opposing the Rashi's "generalization" of Sifre into accepting all Rabbinic sayings even evidently wrong ones. Your citation tries to sooth the Rashi's problem but does not solve it. – Al Berko Aug 28 '18 at 20:19
  • 1
    @DavidKenner and Al - my point is that there were rishonim that disagreed with the way you read Rashi so strongly, they could not even read Rashi that way!! But I will edit accordingly. – רבות מחשבות Aug 28 '18 at 21:09
  • 2
    However, Ramban is not so pashut: וכל שכן שיש לך לחשוב שהם אומרים על ימין שהוא ימין כי רוח השם על משרתי מקדשו ולא יעזוב את חסידיו לעולם נשמרו מן הטעות ומן המכשול. See also his comments on Sefer ha-mitzvot – wfb Aug 28 '18 at 21:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .