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Indeed, therein lays the true potency of its absolutely non-contingent existence. These are issues of deep abstraction, and as Wolfson points out Introduction, n. Doubtless there are issues that require further clarification, but the limits of this essay require us to do no more than highlight the relevant point. The entire corpus of Jewish thought with all the conceptual, geographic and temporal diversity of its specific applications, can indeed be seen as variant facets of the singular, eternally unchanging Torah, whose transcendent essence unfolds in a fragmented sequence of developmental interpretation.

Specific applications of Torah interpretation must now be understood as contextualized windows onto a far greater truth. Each new application represents a new facet, broadening the collective view onto the greater whole. Like the manifold pieces of a mosaic, each application can be better understood when placed within the broader pattern. For a more humorous but no less serious demonstration of how this harmonistic system of developmental interpretation may be re-imagined in the context of the Chanukah miracle see The Menorah Files , by Tzvi Freeman based on Kuntras Mai Chanukah , compiled and edited by Rabbis Yoel Kahn and Dovid Olidort.

This offers me the opportunity to direct the interested reader to take a look at the following passage:. Rabbi Dr. Gotlieb, This is a recurrent theme throughout the book. The relevant pages of the published talk, upon which the following paragraphs are based, can be viewed Here and here.

2. Fichte’s Philosophical Project

The process of interpretation on the part of the Jewish people must remain within the internal framework of developmental methodology proscribed by the Torah itself. See also below, n. From which it is even more understood that the root of the souls… is in the essence of Divinity. The Unfolding of the Transcendent Torah. I am not learned and it is daunting to offer my comments when I am clearly out of my depth.

We cannot all understand at the same level as learned rabbis, and a Tzadik, such as the Rebbe, understands at levels that even the most learned find difficult to plumb; yet we are all confronted by this mystery. As a human being, I am programmed to understand life as it is experienced, one moment after another.

Even reviewing my own life, so far, I can only see it as a progression with some areas more vivid than others. Yet, with the help of a metaphor from somewhere, if I think of my experience, I can understand this progression as an arpeggio and I can understand the divine perspective as a chord; and if that chord is my life, from start to finish, I can begin to sense all lives as other chords co-existent in harmony.

Then, beyond existence, other aspects, at which I am lost in wonder at what is too profound for me to contemplate. I can say no more. To Shmuel Yashar Koach for the mm! The Rebbe seems to be adding another, quite significant point to the Urim v'Tumim: Not just that "the spirit of G-d dwelled within them," but that "since they have been accepted in all the diaspora, therefore they have become a portion of the oral Torah. The work's context as a portion of Torah overrides the context of its authorship.

This lines up much more with the Rebbe's concept of Torah as Eli presents it here—an ever-unfolding singular entity. The Rebbe vs. Rather it was the spirit of G-d that dwelled within them, and brought them to word their books in a manner that includes many more ideas. See also from the Rebbe: TM vol. But I do not think I am the right person to undertake this major project.


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Perhaps I can persuade my good friend and colleague, Prof. Jonathan Garb to undertake it. Re: Rebbe and Rav Kook Prof. Kaplan, please do. I would be fascinated to read. Unification While not attempting to address all the individual points raised here, I'd like to provide a general pointer on the Rebbe's anschauung re diversity in Jewish thought vs. Chassidus views every intellectual 'sevara' as expressing a discrete subjective spiritual reality. The variety in the system though is ultimately an expression of the 'pirud' inherent in the lower spheres, which results in multiple, partial 'truths'.

Thus, whatever Rambam might state is merely representative of some subjective truth he arrived at through utilizing his admittedly mighty intellect; it expresses some higher truth, but he might not have been fully aware of its fuller context and significance. Chasidus and a Rebbe, on the other hand, are about drawing the ultimate, objective Truth into our lives; Atzmus is consummate unity. It's certainly not about any one person. And I believe that's to the point that the talmid may even discern from the nuances of the teacher's otiot something to which the teacher himself was oblivious.

For example, Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanus, who never taught anything he did not hear from Rabbi Yochanan, his teacher--and nevertheless surprised his teacher with his chidushim see the account in Pirke D'Rabbe Eliezer and was by some readings of Bet Shammai, even though his teacher was of Bet Hillel! If so, I believe that to make dikdukim in otiot ha-rav, you really need a feel for the etzem ha-nefesh of the rav. That the "gedola shimusha"--and the yirat shamayim. Harmonizing I agree with Dr. Indeed, Eitan Fishbane in his book on R. Isaac of Akko shows that this was his approach.

I cite from Sefer Meirat Eynayim: The wise individual should not only make peace between the words of two different Sages by the way of truth [Kabbalah], but even with respect to matters of philosophy, the wise individual should make peace between them and matters of Kabbalah.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

On the other hand, R. Isaac warns against premature harmonization, against those who "confuse the traditions" ["le-arbev et hakabbalot. Lefcoe states, one must first work out fully all the individual shittot, and only afterwards seek to harmonize them with each other. To Michael re: "commitment" To me the harmonizing trend comes after one has toiled in the analysis and clarification of the individual shitot, with the commitment to linear reasoning, ukimta and so on.

Only after that process has reached a maturity does the individual begin to break through into "seeing" the overall picture, a holistic view wherein all the individual Torah views find their respective places as expressions of various aspects of an overriding whole of Torah.

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In the old days this would be done sequentially, with the "harmonizing" nistar view being taken on only later in life 40 years, with a family etc. We need to be reassured that there is a transcendent Whole Torah in a way that previous generations may not have. Wells illustration. Eli's point about halakhic vs. My question, I suppose, concerns the Rosh Yeshiva.

THE Rambam may be brought to his table and opened up for examination. But what if Leo Strauss or R. Isadore Twersky, etc. Will not two very different pshats emerge? Pshats, not drushim. Even regarding halakha alone. And it would not be any lack of coherence in each one's reading that would betray an inferiority or superiority. Lawrence Kaplan's scholarly work is likewise hardly lacking in coherence or profundity or brilliance. It would be the beautiful coherence in each reading that would leave us dumbfounded.

Again, is there a way, hermeneutically, around commitment?

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Anybody see a way around this? Not a rhetorical "? Let's say a rosh yeshiva were to give a pilpul on a diyuk in the Rambam, and a dignified, turbaned man were to walk in the room, claiming that his name is Moshe ben Maimon, and he is here to protest the contortions through which this rosh yeshiva has been putting his writings. Let's say the rosh yeshiva would then tell a student, "Bring me the Rambam! I want THE Rambam. THE Rambam is the text that has come down to us. Ultimately, when it comes to deciphering what the Rambam himself meant, we have to use our judgement to achieve the most objectively accurate picture possible, based on the specific and broader contexts.

IMHO this is where post-modernism fails: Ultimately neither objectivity nor subjectivity is ever total. Lawrence's point is, I think, very important for understanding the Rebbe. We must always distinguish between halachic - pshat interpretations and other forms of hermeneutics, which carry a no less valid but very different type of significance.

The Rambam and the Rebbe Is there room to question the very premise that there may be something like a "peshat" in the Rambam? Meaning not that peshat must in fact be a kind of drash, but, on a deeper level, that any given peshat unfolds within some "unfolding larger picture. My question is: On what basis can one assume that what one calls the "peshat of the Rambam" has somehow escaped the gravitational force that keeps any hermeneutic gesture - including peshat - within the finite orbit of a given unfolding picture?

On what basis can one assume that one can actually be free of dogma or - to use a less ugly word - of commitment - or perhaps better still - of a hermeneutically limited massorah? Still, if one will claim that the views of the Rambam are part of and can be assimilated into an unfolding larger picture, OK. But to give the impression that this is the peshat in the Rambam, here my scholarly persona rebels.

Also note that the Rambam himself was certainly NOT a hamonizer. One can harmonize the Rambam with other systems, but one should acknowledge that in doing so he is acting against the Rambam's spirit. An alternate paradigm for a circular temporality I just came across an article describing how time actually separates the individual from his or her own self, the essential "I" is "stretched out between past, present and future". A common thread I'm seeing a common thread developing in the comments here: Michael drew attention to the need to acknowledge the historical or linear component, beginning with the revelation at Sinai and followed by the unfolding of the Torah via the efforts of those who study it, which Rabbi Tzvi alluded to.

At the moment that unfolding seems to be fragmented, but with the ultimate historical event, alluded to by Dr. Lefcoe, the essentially circular - ahistorical - nature of the Torah will be fully manifest.

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