New York - Undermining the Talmud Bavli By Arguing The Halacha For Lulav On Shabbos
New York - Sometimes the worldviews of sociologists and religious leaders are miles and miles apart. Where a sociologist would cheer, a Torah leader would shed tears.Example: A sociologist would be overjoyed in seeing the birth of a new religious or schismatic movement. A Rabbi would be deeply saddened at the loss.
First century (letaaricham) Jerusalem would have been a prime example. Mecca and Medina in the 7th century when Islam was born is another example. Hamburg, Germany in the late 1700’s was where Reform Jewry was born. Haskalah, throughout Europe, in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, was another such treasure trove. The turn of the twentieth century in the United States was when the conservative movement was born.
Sociologists would love to observe these schismatic movements in their nascent form.
Religious leaders, on the other hand, shed numerous tears. Why? The “what if?’s” of course. Imagine if all the major maskilim, reform and conservative Jews would have used their creative minds and talents in Torah instead of the schismatic movements and their theologies. The world would be a different place, surely.
This same duality exists in the latest manifestation of schismatic movements as well.
For some reason there is a new movement that tries to do away with the logic and authority of the Talmud Bavli and grasp on to minhagim of our people’s past that once existed and give rise to them again. It seems that every Yom Tov we find people adopting practices that normative Judaism no longer practices.
The latest case in point is an article published by Yediot Ahronot and posted by VIN News about taking the Lulav on the first day of Yom Tov when it falls on Shabbos. According to the Bavli (Sukkah 43b), Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Brura and an entire cadre of Rishonim and Achronim the move is utterly ridiculous.
Chazal specifically wanted the halacha as practiced in Eretz Yisroel to be exactly like that practiced in Chutz LaAretz. Nonetheless, there is a persistence on the part of some people to move forward and carry the Lulav on Shabbos.
To quote the article posted on VIN News:
This year I will add another mitzvah to that list: taking the lulav on Shabbat. Although I will take the lulav in my sukka, before I go to synagogue, I pray for the day when all of the people of Israel will be ready to fulfil the mitzvah of lulav on Shabbat..
The question is what are the sociological factors that have led to this attempt to unshackle themselves from the guidance and authority of the Bavli?
It would seem that it is a combination of a number of factors. Firstly, the rise in Israeli nationalism is a contributing factor – people wish to display new fervor in the fact that we have a Jewish state under Jewish auspices. At the same time they wish to move beyond the areas in which the chief rabbinate have moved in regard to anything remotely having a nationalistic theme.
Another factor is the idea that there is a resentment in the fact that expertise and leadership in halacha is now relegated to a limited circle. In the secular world, a lawyer can argue a case and influence the world in case law. Later they can make changes in normative legal practice as judges. Not so in halacha. There is a growing sense of frustration among these people and they need a venue of expression.
Finally, the third factor may be a certain sense of haughtiness. It takes guts to take on established authoritiy. It takes sheer haughtiness however to disagree with Rashi. Rashi tells us (Sukkah 44a) that Chazal felt that in order to keep Jewish Achdus chazal changed the halacha for Eretz Yisroel and made them conform to our halachos of not using the Lulav on Shabbos. The concern, according to Rashi, Achdus – Jewish unity.
Imagine if we in the golus and those Jews in Israel had different Yamim Tovim. It would lead to a dismemberment of the Jewish world. A catastrophic scenario the implications of which Chazak were quire aware.
So please, out there, let’s cut the garbage, and give the Talmud Bavli the respect it deserves.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
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