Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sanhedrin on Gemara

Daat Emet may or may not need an introduction, but I won't provide one other than to link to a piece that appeared in the Jerusalem Report, snippets of a debate between the proprietor of Daat Emet, Yaron Yadan, and Jeffrey Woolf of Bar-Ilan University.

On the web site, Rabbi Dov Stein writes an article called "Responsa to Daat Emet (Knowledge of Truth) Pamphlets." (The piece was translated from Hebrew by Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Schatz.)

In the article R. Stein writes something refreshing:
This authority is given to the gemara only in the legal realm. However, this is not so with respect to opinions, and views on the existence of the world, science, legends, etc. A person can explain these items in any way, and he will not be considered as having unfit ideas.
There is nothing novel about these three sentences. Indeed, they are the opinion that was expressed throughout the generations, even more than a thousand years ago. It is a reflection of a consistent tradition of ge'onim, rishonim and aharonim regarding how we can to relate to aggadah in rabbinic literature.

It's wonderful that R. Stein writes this, even in a polemical context, because it lucidly expresses that which is contradicted by the outlook of some today, of those who slammed and banned the works of R. Natan Slifkin. Given the current intellectual climate those words are indeed refreshing.

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