Hot answers tagged

17

Let me break this down by question: 1. Are there any documented halachik authorities that rule that the belief in a dead Messiah is beyond the pale of permitted Jewish belief and therefore would qualify as Kfira? Short Answer: Yes -- and we do consideer it kfira in the case of Jews who adopt Christianity. Rabbi Gil Student, in his book Can The Rebbe ...


17

R' Yaakov Weinberg, in an audio recording, addressed this issue (as an issue with the ani maamin, which R' Weinberg, like you, rejected), and he explained that the point of the Rambam is not to say that the specific texts which we have now are identical to the one transmitted to Moshe. Rather, the point of the Rambam is to say that Moshe was a faithful ...


15

Edits in italics: Balashon blog discusses it at length here, and provides many sources, as well as a look at one example of it by various Rishonim. I have added some content from there during this edit. K-P-R is used throughout the Bible to mean wiped away or covered up, which are similar to what a denial does; it wipes away or covers up a fact. This ...


12

No, you are not supposed to ignore most non-religious Jews. Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 3:3: אבל בני אותן הטועים ובני בניהם, שהדיחו אותם אבותם ונולדו במינות, וגידלו אותן עליו--הרי הן כתינוק שנשבה לבין הגויים וגידלוהו הגויים על דתם, שהוא אנוס; ואף על פי ששמע אחר כך שהיה יהודי, וראה היהודיים ודתם--הרי הוא כאנוס, שהרי גידלוהו על טעותם. כך אלו האוחזים בדרכי אבותיהם ...


12

Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) neither desired nor intended to overthrow the Talmud; he was in fact an observant Jew. Rav Hirsch (1808 – 1888) "praised Mendelssohn as ‘a most brilliant and respected personality whose commanding influence has dominated developments to this day." In his article "Mendelssohn in Nineteenth Century Rabbinic Literature," Meir ...


11

My Rebbe Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl Shlit"a told me that his Rebbe ybcl'c Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l when serving as mesader kiddushin at a wedding, upon hearing that one of the witnesses under the chuppa did not believe in Kabbalah or that Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai authored the Zohar, had him replaced as a witness. The explanation I was given was that ...


11

This blessing was instituted in the days of Raban Gamliel when the Jewish heretics (saducees, etc.) of the time posed a direct threat to the nation, the blessing was instituted as an anti-missionary move. http://www.ou.org/torah/taryag/shemoneh_esrei_12


11

This statement does not appear in R. Chaim's own writings, though it seems to have been popular as an oral tradition. Its meaning is debated even by his closest students. One written source for the comment is from Reb Chaim's son, R. Velvel, quoted in the linked article as well as in Haggadah L'Beis Brisk (pg 175). His interpretation is I believe the most ...


10

From "Were Our Mouths Filled with Song": Studies in Liberal Jewish Liturgy by Eric L. Friedland. Jastrow's Reform principles- the degree and definition of his Reform- are precisely defined in Antwort an Herrn I. M. Wise (1867) in the form of a syllabus errorum...: I am for any reform that is able to influence the moral enhancement of the Jews....


9

As far as I'm aware, just about every posek assumes that all nations are obligated to believe in God in some way or another. This is stated explicitly by Rav Shmuel ben Hofni Gaon (commentary to Beraishis 34:12), Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon (intro to Talmud), probably the opinion of the Sefer Hachinuch (commandment 417, and Minchas Chinuch there), Maharal (Gevuros ...


9

I'm going to assume that this 'inability to believe in God' comes from a conviction that God doesn't exist. The question is, should a person be faulted for disbelieving, if he thinks that believing in God is philosophically unjustified? First off, I should mention the Rashash to Shabbos 31a, who writes that a person is only considered a heretic after fully ...


9

I obviously can't comment about what is "original" or not, because we don't know what the "original" wording was, if there ever was such a thing. Chazal left us nothing of the sort. What we do know is למשומדים is found in just about every surviving manuscript, from Yemen, to Ashkenaz, to Spain. The major article on the subject which you'll want to read is ...


8

Rambam Laws of Tefilin, Mezuzah, and Sefer Torah 1:13: יג ספר תורה תפילין ומזוזות שכתבן מין, יישרפו. כתבן גוי, או ישראל משומד, או מוסר, או עבד, או אישה, או קטן--הרי אלו פסולין וייגנזו: שנאמר "וקשרתם . . . וכתבתם" (דברים ו,ח-ט; דברים יא,יח-כ)--כל שמוזהר על הקשירה ומאמין בה, הוא שכותב. נמצאו ביד מין ואין ידוע מי כתבן, ייגנזו; נמצאו ביד גוי, ...


8

The Bach in Siman 5 of Teshuvos Yeshanos writes this of someone who, among other problems, was כופר in תורת נסתר. וכל שכן המלעיג על דברי חכמים ומדבר דופי על חכמת הקבלה שהוא מקור התורה ועיקרה וכולה יראת שמים דפשיטא דחייב נידוי דאין לך מזלזל בד"ת דחייב נידוי גדול מזה ועוד דהלא נמשך אחר הפילוסופיא היא המינות בעצמה ואשה הזרה שהזהיר עליה שלמה כמ"ש ...


8

"Am Haaretz" just means "ignoramus" colloquially but the rest are defined by Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah Chapter 3 among the thirteen categories who "have no share in the world to come." 3:6וְאֵלּוּ הֵן שֶׁאֵין לָהֶן חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֶלָּא נִכְרָתִים וְאוֹבְדִין וְנִדּוֹנִין עַל גֹּדֶל רִשְׁעָם וְחַטָּאתָם לְעוֹלָם ...


8

The only question that I'm going to answer directly is number 2, since I heard directly from my Rebbi that it is 100% permissible (unfortunately, I can't quote it in his name since I didn't get his permission to use his name on this site, but I'll say that he's a well respected Musmach from Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim). He said that given the limited number of ...


7

R. H. Shachter notes in a shiur here (beginning at minute 66)1 that the Baal HaMeor seems to have embraced the secular chronology (to the ire of the Raavad) and added that Chazal's fallibility is affirmed by the Maharshal and Tosafos Rid, concluding that if the Me'or Einayim were published today, he doesn't think it would cause such a storm (over the ...


7

Hokhmah Elohit is the term coined by translators like the ibn Tibbon's to translate the Arabic "al-'ilm al-ilaahiy", which, in turn, was coined by Arab translators from the Greek to translate Aristotle's term for metaphysics/theology. An 'elohi' is therefore a practitioner of metaphysics or theology. See Philosophical Terms in the Moreh Nebukim by Israel ...


7

Copied (with slight modification) from another answer of mine: Almost all contemporary poskim, most notably the Chazon Ish, have assumed that at least some, if not all, of those halakhos are no longer applicable today to a person who doesn't believe in God, because we'd attribute it to his upbringing or the inability to be properly philosophically convinced ...


7

I've asked this question to several talmidei chachamim, and all of them have given me the same general response: the Rambam shouldn't be taken too literally, as after all, he certainly knew the passages in Chazal which you've quoted. What he means is that, for all intents and purposes, we have the same Torah. The very slight differences of a plene spelling ...


7

In the Rambam's list of those who have no share in the world to come, in which he lists those groups generally included in the umbrella of "heretic" (מין, אפיקורס, כופרים, וכולי), he has those who deny the Torah, הכופרים בתורה (Hilchos Teshuva 3:8). At the end of the description of those who deny the Torah, he writes: והאומר שהבורא החליף מצוה זו ...


7

The simplest answer would probably be that they only reject the specific Oral Torah of Rabbinic Judaism; they don't reject interpretation altogether. This is essentially what R. David Ibn Zimra writes in his responsum about Karaite Torah scrolls: Shu"t Radvaz 2:774 ואני שאלתי את פי הגדול שבהם והוא בקי בכ"ד ספרים על עניינים הרבה שאינם מפורשים בתורה ...


7

Rambam in Guide for the Perplexed 1:36 writes as follows: How great, then, must be the offence of him who has a wrong opinion of God Himself, and believes Him to be different from what He truly is, i.e., assumes that He does not exist, that He consists of two elements, that He is corporeal, that He is subject to external influence, or ascribes to Him any ...


7

Yochanan didn't leave Judaism; he became a Sadducee, meaning that he left the Pharisees. If we follow Abbaye's opinion that Yannay is Yochanan (Berachot 29a), then the story of how he became a Sadducee is given in Kiddushin 66a. Rava's opinion is that they are two separate people, but the story is still useful because it explains the motives why someone ...


6

R. Meir Mazuz Shlita was asked the following question: אני רוצה לשאול בפרט על ה"דורדעים" שאינם מאמינים בחכמת הקבלה כל עיקר, אלא בדברי הגמרא, רב סעדיה גאון, הרמב"ם, וכדומה. איך יש להתיחס להם? האם הם כשרים לעדות? "I want to specifically ask about the "Dor-Deim" who don't believe in Kabbalah at all, but only in the Talmud, Rav Saadya Gaon, the Rambam, ...


6

A medrash Tehillim on perek 118 cites the explanation of Beruria that the verse says "yitamu chataim min ha'aretz" - not that the sinners should be destroyed, but sin should be destroyed - we do not pray for the destruction of the evildoers. The wording of this blessing echoes that sentiment - kol harisha means the evil, not the evildoers. We never pray ...


6

What happened was that R. Azaryah de Rossi was in the right place at the wrong time. He openly scrutinized non-halakhic parts of Chazal, such as historical components. This is totally consistent with the general attitude of all known Geonim including R. Sa’adya Gaon, Rav Sherira Gaon, Rav Shmuel bar Chofni Gaon, and Rav Hai Gaon, who do not look at ...


6

"Apikorus" derives from the Greek Eπικουρος (epikouros) - the name of a philosopher ("Epicurus" in Latin) who believed, among other things, that the gods had abandoned this world after having created it. An epicurean, in this context, is one who rejects any belief in divine providence, God's involvement in human history and in revelation. According to the ...


6

Although there is a prohibition to read books about idolatry or even say their names (Rambam Avodah Zara 2:3), R. Moshe Feinstein (Y.D. II 53) has stated that, like in other halakhos of Avodah Zara, we need not be concerned if that form of idol worship has been annulled (which in this context means that nobody worships it anymore). However, R. Yair Hoffman ...


6

The minor tractate Avot D'Rabbi Natan (c.700–900 CE) records in chapter 16, commenting on the teaching of R. Yehoshua that hatred of creatures removes one from the world: ושנאת הבריות כיצד? מלמד שלא יכווין אדם לומר אהוב את החכמים ושנא את התלמידים, אהוב את התלמידים ושנא את עמי הארץ, אלא אהוב את כולם, ושנא את האפיקורסין והמסיתים ומדיחין, וכן המסורות. ...


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