Monday, December 20, 2010

Rav Moshe Feinstein:Can one disagree with the Chazon Ish & other gedolim


Igros Moshe (Y.D. 3:88): Is it permitted to argue with the words of our Sages in public – even in their communities? You are concerned about the permissibility of moving to Bnei Brak because there are times when you will be disagreeing with the Chazon Ish zt”l. I really don’t understand why you are concerned. In fact the opposite is true. It is in fact showing respect to the Chazon Ish zt”l by mentioning his Torah view and examining his words – even though you don’t end up agreeing with him. It would be inconceivable to the Chazon Ish zt”l that there shouldn’t be a talmid chachom who disagreed with him. It is simply not possible that he would be bothered by this. In fact the opposite is true. He loved truth and peace as it says in (Yevamos 14b) concerning the dispute between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel. In fact the idea that the deceased talmid chachom gets pleasure from discussion of his Torah work – is even when it is disputed. However, obviously it has to be mentioned respectfully. This that Rabbi Yehoshua suffered (Chagiga 28b) was not because he questioned the words of Beis Shammai but because he spoke in an inappropriate manner against them. But when done respectfully there is absolutely no problem - either with questioning the words of a talmid chachom or disagreeing with them. In fact not only is it permitted but we see from Bava Basra (130) that Rava told his students that they were not allowed to rule according to a view of his that they disagreed with since a judge can only rule based on how he sees things. The same applies with issurim…. As long as a student could not find an explanation for difficulties he had with Rava’s understanding he is not allowed to make a ruling in accord with it - even though Rava was his teacher.. If that were true with Rava and his students than it is surely true that one should not be concerned about questioning and disagreeing with gedolim of our generation – even the highest level gadol – as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Therefore there is absolutely no basis for concern or to feel it is inappropriate to remain in Bnei Brak and to give lectures. Just the opposite is true, the Chazon Ish with be your advocate in Heaven because you study his Torah works in a serious manner.

7 comments :

  1. Marvelous article! "Rava told his students that they were not allowed to rule according to a view of his that they disagreed with since a judge can only rule based on how he sees things."
    There isnt anyone today who follows this system, certainly not in the world of Daas Torah.
    There is a single view, and it is accepted blindly. A good example is in recent weeks, the declaration about renting apartments to arabs. Without taking sides on that matter, some prominent Gedolim who signed the letter, had to withdraw when their Rebbe came out against it.

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  2. What is the Context?

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  3. Who was R' Moshe addressing?

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  4. Rav Moshe is talking about someone of stature can disagree. Rav Moshe is not granting permission to every yodle on the street to disagree with the CI.

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  5. "Dave said...
    Rav Moshe is talking about someone of stature can disagree. Rav Moshe is not granting permission to every yodle on the street to disagree with the CI."

    Dave, that's all very well, but your argument is really a "No True Scotsman " fallacy; ie, only someone of stature can disagree with the CI - but of course, noone has the stature to do this.

    Any respectful student can offer an alternative view, that is disagreeing. You dont need to be a Rambam to disagree. That is precisely what Rava was teaching his students.
    There is another oft quoted Halacha, that a Sanhedrin would reach a capital decision, but they woudl start with the youngest Judge, and work upwars, so that the younger ones are no influenced by the opinion of the Elders. Today, the complete opposite exists: The Oldest will give his Daas Torah, and then magically, all his followers will arrive at that same opinion!

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  6. Incorrect Eddie. There are those of stature who can disagree. i.e. the Brisker Rov, Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Satmar Rebbe, the Steipler, Rav Ahron Kotler, etc. etc.

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  7. Dave,

    so who was asking the qn of Rav Feinstein, was it someone of stature you just mentioned?

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