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New York - 'Parshat Chayei Sarah' The Age Of Rivkah At Her Wedding 3 Years?

Published on: November 19, 2008 09:45 AM
By: The Jewish Star By Rabbi Avi Billet
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New York - How old was Rivka when she was discovered by Avraham’s servant and brought to Canaan to marry Yitzchak?

You are a graduate of a yeshiva education and you still say “three years old.” And you justify this by saying that “three-year-olds were more sophisticated in those days.”

[The views and opinion of this article is solely of the writer Rabbi Avi Billet, that was printed in this weeks newspaper the Jewish Star , and doesn’t represent in anyway the views of VIN News, we merely bring the writings of Rabbi Avi Billet - feel free to debate this issue in the comments section in a respectful way with common sense, no ranting and raving.

Or you never really came across this question and you say, “Hmmm. I never thought about that. How old was she?”

We do not know the answer because the Torah doesn’t tell us. The Torah also doesn’t tell us how old Yitzchak was when he was bound on the top of a mountain by his father. Yet we seem to have that one clear as well. Unequivocally, he was 37 years old.

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Right? Wrong! At least about it being “unequivocally” a certain number.

Based on the midrash, Rashi ties together the Akeidah (binding of Yitzchak) with Rivka’s birth and Sara’s death –– all because they take place in the same few verses in the Torah. Since we know Sara was 127 when she died, simple mathematics produce Yitzchak being 37 at her death, and Rivka’s birth at that time. Since Yitzchak marries at age 40, Rivka becomes three at her nuptials.

Please do not misunderstand: there are no hard feelings against Rashi. I believe there are many ways to look at things and Rashi does not always have to be the bottom line. There is a reason why we have other commentaries and approaches which are considered valid, and we cannot continue to be satisfied with only one approach. Especially if that approach, at its core, really bothers us. And if it doesn’t bother us, it should either bother us, or we really do not understand it.

We ignore the fact that years can pass between verses. For example, in one pasuk Avraham is 86 as Yishmael is born (16:16), and in the very next pasuk (17:1), Avraham is 99 and about to circumcise himself. That’s a 13 year jump, and no one questions the validity of the change in years. So why do we accept that there wasn’t a gap between the Akeidah and Sara’s death? Ibn Ezra, for example, believes Yitzchak was 13 at the time of his binding. This would make Sara 103 at that time, a good 24 years before her death.

Where were we? Rivka’s age at her wedding.

The Talmud (Yevamot 61b) mentions Rivka’s marriageable status, and Tosafot quote a Sifrei (Devarim 397:7) that indicates Rivka was 14 at the time of her marriage. The Midrash puts Rivka in the category of pairs of people that lived to the same age, and she is partnered with Kehat, who lived to be 133. Working backwards, the conclusion is that Rivka was 14 on her wedding day and 34 when she gave birth to her twin sons.

While in our times we do not approve of girls marrying at age 14, we know it was once a reality. We are certainly aware that 14-year-olds in our society (hopefully not in our community) do things of a marital nature –– including having babies –– even if they are not emotionally mature enough to understand or foresee the outcome of their decisions.

On the other hand, some 14-year-olds may look and act like very mature adults.

I have yet to meet a three-year-old who fits into this category, and I never want to meet a three-year-old who fits into this category. To think that Rivka is three years old and understands the idea of offering water to camels, can physically shlep water back and forth tens of times to feed 10 camels, is given respect to make her own decision whether she’ll go with Avraham’s servant, is viewed as a marriageable prospect, and is appreciated by Yitzchak, as his wife, to fill the void in his life left by his mother’s passing is, unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking.

Put her at age 14, however, and it makes a whole lot of sense.

So why are we so fascinated with age three? Why do we also accept blindly that Avraham was three when he discovered G-d? These midrashim are fascinating and very deep and I would not presume to say I understand them, nor would I suggest taking them solely at face value.

Perhaps they are meant to teach us at what age our children ought to be when we begin teaching and inculcating in them important knowledge and lessons about life and the religion to which we commit ourselves.

Or perhaps we want to be inspired by the sophistication of our Avot and Imahot even at such a young age. I, for one, am happy to be inspired by a 14-year-old, as I prefer for the three-year-olds to remain just as they are: cute kids.



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Read Comments (227)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:51 AM Anonymous Says:

Didn't Yitzchak not have children for 20 yrs? That makes Rivkah 23 yrs old when she gave birth.

2

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:00 AM Anonymous Says:

I do notknow who the author of this article is but it is good that he rmains nameless I think he should read the Raban's hakdomah to sefer Beraishis and what he writes there about the pirush of Rash'i. We know that Rashis based on chazal says that Rivkah was three years old who are you with your small mind (or no mind at all) coming to say that it makes more sence that she was 14. You are speaking about kedoishei elyon and in my opinion your thoughts border on pure apikorois.

3

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:00 AM tipshus Says:

Just because YOU do not UNDESTAND things does not mean that its not to be taken at face value!!!.
If Rashi can SO CAN WE.
If YOU do not understand it ad it to your list of unanswered kashis

4

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:12 AM Anonymous Says:

#2

Please define the word "apikorois"?

6

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:07 AM Anonymous Says:

so sarah imeini died because the satan told her about the akeides yitzchok so the malach told it to her 23 years later and she got shocked!!!????

7

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:14 AM Anonymous Says:

This is what happens when one learn Torah without remembering and internalizing that There Is A Nosen HaTorah.
Rabbi Billet, before one opens up a sefer and learns, especially before one writes a "commentary", remember we are mere mortals, dust, insignificant etc.
In Chassidic terms this is called "bittul".
Then remember that the Rishonim including Rashi had Ruach HaKodesh.
So if there is something that our minds does not comprehend, realize that the deficiency is with US.
We can definitely discuss the different Meforshei HaTorah,
just without offering our own preferences.
Please Rabbi Billet learn some Chassidus, eg. Tanya Maamorim and you will see
the Torah in a whole new light.

8

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:18 AM Big Masmid Says:

what happening here? why get excited if some one was able to persuade the editor of VIN to post THEIR views, agree with them or not, why jump at them.

Perhaps VIN should have a separate Torah section to benefit the public.
I am not about to comment because I did not bother reading it, sorry.

10

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is what happens when one learn Torah without remembering and internalizing that There Is A Nosen HaTorah.
Rabbi Billet, before one opens up a sefer and learns, especially before one writes a "commentary", remember we are mere mortals, dust, insignificant etc.
In Chassidic terms this is called "bittul".
Then remember that the Rishonim including Rashi had Ruach HaKodesh.
So if there is something that our minds does not comprehend, realize that the deficiency is with US.
We can definitely discuss the different Meforshei HaTorah,
just without offering our own preferences.
Please Rabbi Billet learn some Chassidus, eg. Tanya Maamorim and you will see
the Torah in a whole new light.

Just learn plain GOOD old Rshhi

11

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:14 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Anon,

How about specifically pointing out the issue with facts rather than name calling? In other words, if you feel that the article writer is wrong, how about clearly and calmly stating why. Perhaps quote the Raban (did you mean the Ramban?) so that we can all know what it says.

The Wolf

12

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Vos Iz Neias, you've really crossed the line now. I stopped reading this "article" as soon as I saw the disrespectful way he wrote about Rashi and the Torah. You really, really need to make teshuva on this one. For repeating information aimed at speaking against a tzaddik and trying to cause thousands of Yidden to question their Torah education. Shame on you!!!

13

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:22 AM Oy Vey! Says:

pretty much that "Rashi has his opinion and i have mine"
were is the respect for our Rishonim Achronim etc.
this is obviously a product of secularism (3 is too young, 14 makes more sense)
mishugas!

15

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM yitzy Says:

to anonymous # 2 - does this mean that you consider Tosafos, who claim that she was 14 based on other midrashim - apikorsim?

16

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:27 AM rescue Says:

To # 2,
did you even bother reading the article. He quotes tosfos that quotes the Sifei that put Rivkah at 14 and always back into 14 with the another source tying her to Kehas. Maybe your question should be, how could Rashi disagree with the Sifrei? Or the question is, how could Tosfos disagree with Rashi and quote a differing opinion. Just because your morah taught you in kindergarten the Rivkah was 3, it doens't necessarily make it so. The only thing apparent is, that you don't appear to have improved in your learning beyond the kindergarten level, if you don't understand that there could be other opinions. Would you also say that tosfos is right when he says that you can be koneh an elephant by making it jump? ELEPHANTS CANNOT JUMP, it is a fact.

17

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:35 AM Anonymous Says:

The basis of ANY logical and intellectual pursuit of a text, especially under the caliber of an outstanding , methodical, genius such as Rashi is only approached by accepting first the premises that -

that Rashi has a logical solid basis for his opinion even if there are other opinions who disagree and even though your pea brain may not yet get it -

if you dont go with that approach, you probably miss the boat on many other issues as well.

18

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:35 AM merkin Says:

Why do you jump to call R. Billet an apikorus? Ibn Ezra also gives a different age for Rivkah Is Ibn Ezra an apikorus? You are much too fast to point fingers and call people names for not being "religious" enough. I think in our community many of us have turned off our brains and in place of thinking we just shout slogans at each other mostly to accuse others of not being frum enough. Or maybe our minds were never turned on to begin with. It is a real shame. A tragedy of our dor.

19

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:31 AM MOSHE Says:

Putting Rivka at 14 based on other Midrashim is not a problem, but trying to get her older then 3 because it doesent fit with todays world is wrong.

20

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:38 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Rescue,

Oh no! Please don't bring up the jumping elephants... :)

The Wolf

21

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:47 AM simple jew Says:

This is not "borderline" apikursos this IS apikursos! This is what happens when small minds get all full of themselves in this day and age and chas v'shalom think they can challenge Rashi with their own reasoning as if Rashi was just one opinion and theirs is another. Shame on you VIN for reprinting such an article (even if it is not your view).

22

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
rescue Says:

To # 2,
did you even bother reading the article. He quotes tosfos that quotes the Sifei that put Rivkah at 14 and always back into 14 with the another source tying her to Kehas. Maybe your question should be, how could Rashi disagree with the Sifrei? Or the question is, how could Tosfos disagree with Rashi and quote a differing opinion. Just because your morah taught you in kindergarten the Rivkah was 3, it doens't necessarily make it so. The only thing apparent is, that you don't appear to have improved in your learning beyond the kindergarten level, if you don't understand that there could be other opinions. Would you also say that tosfos is right when he says that you can be koneh an elephant by making it jump? ELEPHANTS CANNOT JUMP, it is a fact.

it makes no difference here because this "rabbi" isn't trying to prove 14 years old , rather he's trying to fit Torah with "Modern Times" b/c "he can envision a 14 year old but not a 3 year old" as he says
"Put her at age 14, however, and it makes a whole lot of sense. "

23

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
WolfishMusings Says:

Anon,

How about specifically pointing out the issue with facts rather than name calling? In other words, if you feel that the article writer is wrong, how about clearly and calmly stating why. Perhaps quote the Raban (did you mean the Ramban?) so that we can all know what it says.

The Wolf

The author is wrong for the way he presents his arguments. One is not an apikoros for suggesting that there are alternative pirushim to Rashi's view. However, this article was written in a manner that is highly disrespectful to Rashi and seems to indicate that the author believes that Rashi and he are on the same level. I don't that the author is an apikoris for writing these views, but he is a shoteh presenting it in this manner.

24

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:41 AM AuthenticSatmar Says:

I don't have a problem with "Rabbi" Billet bringing sources to quote that she was 14. I am concerned with his idea that Rashi must be mistaken that she was 3, because it makes no sense.
The torah is not about what we understand. Does Rabbi Billett understand how a father sells his daughter as a slave and then she's forced to marry her owner or his son?
The Torah is eternal, and it would be more appropriate to leave it un-understandable then to try to make sense of it.
To his credit, I assume that he is in a similar predicament to the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim. There the rambam writes very contreversial statements, which are explained that he only wrote them to alleviate the questioning folk attempting to "modernize" the torah, but not necessarily accurate. For example, the Rambam writes there that the reason for karbonos was because G-D was jealous of the other G-D's whose followers were offered sacrifices. Its obvious that G-D isn't jealous, but nonetheless the Rambam wrote it to ease the minds of the people of those times.
Rabbi Billett serves a community that is liberal and attempts to align Torah values with modern values, hence his need to explain it the way he did. It also helps that he has a mekor for it.
Let's refrain from calling him names.

25

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:52 AM Charlie Hall Says:

This may be a just matter of different manuscripts of the Seder Olam having a different age. The manuscripts that were available to Rashi said Rivkah was 3 years old. However, manuscripts from the Middle East, where Seder Olam was written, say she was 14, which is more consistent with Sifrei and also with a baraita in Talmud Bavli Yevamot 61b which says she was a "naarah" which clearly means age 12 from the discussion there. How can we simply dismiss these other opinions, which seem to be the majority? I wish the rabbi had brought forth these sources that support his point.

Source: *Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology*. Translated and with commentary by Heinrich W. Guggenheimer. Aronson Press, 1998. ( I've been told this is now out of print; I hope that is incorrect.)

26

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:52 AM R' Billet's Cousin Says:

Rabbi Billet is an extremely intelligent, learned individual. He brings valid sources for his claim, and I am happy to have that clarified rather than swept under the rug with a simplistic "she was more mature."

27

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:54 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Clarification: by the sources I meant the middle eastern texts of Seder Olam.

28

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:57 AM Anonymous Says:

I have no problem with someone prefering one commentery over another because of shaleh he has as long as he understands the the other commentary knew exactly what's bothering you and non-the-less still felt his approach was the correct one. However when the sheilah is so obvious as this and you are inclined to disagree just because you dont understand how someone can marry at age of three and look down at it as if Yitzchak was an abuser, then yes you ARE an apikores. An Apikores means one who laughs at what Chachamim tell us. You might as well believe that Moshe was on Hashish when he thought he accepted the Torah from G-D and that it's impossible that Adam Harishon was as tall as from planet earth to the sky and as long as from one end of the world to another when lying down. You may not be a Reform Jew but what's bothering you is exactly what was bothering them, they wanted to update the Bible so they can explain it to a gentile without having him say, "What".

You can ask why Rashi went along with this approach and not with the one of the Gemara and as you very well bring out relevent arguments why the other approach is more probable, and therefor go along with the other approach as long as you understand that Rashi most like new all these questions you had and you dont fully understand what his real approach is, it's called being humble. However, when you start asking questions that say that what Rashi is saying is against common sense or even more that kids are meant to be cute, that's apikorses. You're laughing at Rashi rather then asking a valid question based on the laws of how to learn torah, and one of them is not to ask how is it possible.

You'd better be off trying to explain rashi in a veru different light. Not so long ago it was very common practice to engage children very soon after they were born. Nows of course there was no validity to it because the boy can always reject the engagement, but it was symbolic. In this case it would be valid, because the groom was an adult but it was more symbolic, because it is pretty obvious that she was still a baby. she was still being nursed. That is just one example how to do it with respect, I just put a different light to Rahi's approach without just saying that I disagree with Rashi because Rash believes kids ar not meant to be cute and play at home. That is apikorses!

29

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:59 AM Anonymous Says:

The problem isn't disagreeing with Rashi - the problem is the language and tone used in disagreeing with Rashi.

30

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:58 AM AchdusHashem Says:

Everyone please calm down, before this issue gets out of hand and accusations start flying all over the place.

Let us get one thing straight. When dealing with “Midrahshie Chazal”, any statement that seems out of the ordinary “seder haolam” needs to be carefully analyzed and in most cases the true intention is not the literal translation but some hidden meaning that Chazal conveyed in this manner.

This is established by the Rishonim such as the Rashba Z”L and R` Avrohom ben Harambam Z”L found in the introduction to “Ein Yaakov

Following is a link to an English translation of the latter.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ein_Yaakov/Introduction

This an important topic that should be studied by every individual who either has difficulty with comprehending Midrashei Chazal or, on the other hand, often finds himself accusing others as being Apikorsim

31

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:58 AM gerrorist Says:

Very interesting, and thoughtful!

32

 Nov 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #19  
MOSHE Says:

Putting Rivka at 14 based on other Midrashim is not a problem, but trying to get her older then 3 because it doesent fit with todays world is wrong.

How about if it doesn't fit with the world even then?

Yes, there have been child marriages in history, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of marriages did NOT happen at age three. Likewise, I'm willing to put dollars to donuts that three-year-old, even then, were generally not physically able to water ten camels.

The Wolf

33

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

#2

Please define the word "apikorois"?

According to the Rashi and the code of laws, an Apikores is someone who laughs at the words of Chachamim. Rabbi Billet is clearly laughing between the lines at the old fashion approach rashi has taken which makes no sense. He starts looking for new pshatim so he can explain the pshat to a gentile without having him laugh. He is clearly an Apikores.

34

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:05 AM puzzled Says:

To # 22 and others,
Are you saying that rashi is wrong? dont we know that Rashi and all other rishonim wrote with Ruach Hakodesh?
what is next? that the gemara is wrong?

35

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:08 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #32  
WolfishMusings Says:

How about if it doesn't fit with the world even then?

Yes, there have been child marriages in history, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of marriages did NOT happen at age three. Likewise, I'm willing to put dollars to donuts that three-year-old, even then, were generally not physically able to water ten camels.

The Wolf

How about shimshon hagibor picking up two mountins and grinding them together.

36

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:07 AM rescue Says:

I am sure others can bring proof, but could it e possible the Rashi never wrote that she was 3 but rather wrote shlosh-esreh and there was a printing mistake. There are other places in shas where this has been proven (I don't know where off hand) that something was written and the printers either made a mistake or truncated the original to the point where the written words are wrong. Hence we have hagahos habach, hagahos hagra, the frankel rambem, the oz v'hadar print that brings all diferent nuschaos. To say that it makes no sense to me that Rivkah was 3 but what do I know because the Rishonim wrote it, it must be so, is not derech hatorah. I can't say Rashi is wrong, but I can say it doesn't make sense to me and prove from elsewhere that my "disagreement" is correct. Yisikheit does not beleive in infalibility, (wich is the current definition of daas torah, see JO article written for the passing of R' Chaim Ozer Grodzensky for proof) to say a kadmon was never wrong is cathalosism, and I don't belong to that religion.

37

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:07 AM Anonymous Says:

I thought Rivka was betrothed (errusin) when she was 3 went back with Yitzchok and Elierzer then finaly had kedushin when she was 14

38

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:07 AM Milton Says:

You obviously have no hakaras hatov for what RASHI has given us

39

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM Yachtzel Says:

"Why do we also accept blindly that Avraham was three when he discovered G-d?"

"Rabbi" Billet, did you ever wonder why the (mature?) Yidden accepted the Torah "blindly" & said Naaseh V'nishma before they knew what the Torah says? Or would you not take this Midrash at face value either?

40

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:12 AM Big Mike Says:

Here we have a learned man, Rabbi Billet, who is studying Chazal and Torah and he has a thought about something that is hard to understand, and instead of praise for learning and being Oisek in Torah, the people on this blog hurl invectives at him and call him names. Where have we gone wrong, rabbosai? There is a world of Jews out there, 95% never heard of Rashi and 99% never learned a blatt gemorah. A fellow Jew comes along and offers an opinion and you jump down his throat like he is a Cossak. We are in galus gentleman for one reason and one reason only: Sinas Chinum. And it is apparent right here on this blog. I say Kudos to Rabbi Billet for learning Torah and thinking into Torah and writing about Torah. Talmud Torah k'negged coolam rabbosai, and we should not be attacking our scholars even if we have a different opinion.

41

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:13 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #35  
Anonymous Says:

How about shimshon hagibor picking up two mountins and grinding them together.

Shimshon is clearly endowed with superhuman strength. Rivkah is not.

The Wolf

42

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is what happens when one learn Torah without remembering and internalizing that There Is A Nosen HaTorah.
Rabbi Billet, before one opens up a sefer and learns, especially before one writes a "commentary", remember we are mere mortals, dust, insignificant etc.
In Chassidic terms this is called "bittul".
Then remember that the Rishonim including Rashi had Ruach HaKodesh.
So if there is something that our minds does not comprehend, realize that the deficiency is with US.
We can definitely discuss the different Meforshei HaTorah,
just without offering our own preferences.
Please Rabbi Billet learn some Chassidus, eg. Tanya Maamorim and you will see
the Torah in a whole new light.

So when the rabbis today tell you to sweep clergy molestations under the rug you too will oblige and say we can't understand the reasoning? And if a rebbe tells you to do an aveiro (covering for a rapist is just that!) or treat him like a g-d without thinking, which is a blatant reversal of true torah jewry and more like catholicism which encourages ignorance, you too will follow without thinking? One MUST challenge what defies logic (gemorah is all about logic and is worded in a way where it challenges accepted halachos in the form of questions and doubts) yet remain humble enough to be receptive to a LOGICAL explaination. I have no problem with this article other than his failure to quote the sources in Seder Oilom mentioned by an earlier poster. My emunah was reinforced by the article. Thank You rabbi.

43

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:15 AM DM Says:

Reply to #18  
merkin Says:

Why do you jump to call R. Billet an apikorus? Ibn Ezra also gives a different age for Rivkah Is Ibn Ezra an apikorus? You are much too fast to point fingers and call people names for not being "religious" enough. I think in our community many of us have turned off our brains and in place of thinking we just shout slogans at each other mostly to accuse others of not being frum enough. Or maybe our minds were never turned on to begin with. It is a real shame. A tragedy of our dor.

I agree.

Apikorus is the wrong word (perhaps).

The right word, I think, is "Ba'al Gayva" because he doesn't even feel the need to bring Ibn Ezra -- or does not want to, because he wants to make this seem like his own chiddush.

(I'm speaking as someone who is well-aware of the Ibn Ezra, find it quite plausible, and have used it in my own teaching. My problem with this piece is that it's dripping with gayva.)

44

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:16 AM baruch Says:

Excepting a determination of whether or not Rabbi Billet's approach is apikorsus this entire matter is less than a tempest in a teapot, i.e., a non-issue. Why? Simply stated, the m'forshim cite that while Rivkah imeinu was three when she was wedded to Yitzchak avinu they did not begin to cohabit until after she became a na'arah.

45

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:15 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #34  
puzzled Says:

To # 22 and others,
Are you saying that rashi is wrong? dont we know that Rashi and all other rishonim wrote with Ruach Hakodesh?
what is next? that the gemara is wrong?

Well, clearly *someone* is wrong. Either Rashi, or Tosfos, or the ibn Ezra. And please don't tell me "Eilu V'Eilu..." she could only be three or fourteen or some other age, but not both at the same time.

Or, you can simply say that not every Rishon who wrote meant for his words to be taken 100% literally.

The Wolf

46

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:17 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #34  
puzzled Says:

To # 22 and others,
Are you saying that rashi is wrong? dont we know that Rashi and all other rishonim wrote with Ruach Hakodesh?
what is next? that the gemara is wrong?

The Artscroll Schottenstein Talmud gives many examples in its footnotes where the text we have today misquotes scripture, or clearly differs from the talmud text that was available to one or more rishonim.

47

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:17 AM anon Says:

Vayikra Rabba 20:2 talks about Yitzchak returning and telling his mother, in graphic detail, every component of the Akeidah story. While it says she died from the news, it doesn't mention any passage of time (or lack thereof). Is Yitzchak the Satan?

Read the article. Read the sources. You'll see that the comments about Rashi are that he is not the ONLY opinion. And that to say one midrash's numbers are unequivocally correct over a different midrash is wrong. Midrashim conflict with each other. Or did you not know that?

Any "disrespect" is aimed at challenging the reader (not Rashi) to open your eyes and look beyond the bottom of your second grade chumash. There's a whole world of Torah and learning out there. Don't approach any of it with blinders on. You're likely to be blindsided.

And the lashon hora is inexcusable.

As is your use of the internet. Rashi surely would not have approved of the internet.

48

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:18 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #36  
rescue Says:

I am sure others can bring proof, but could it e possible the Rashi never wrote that she was 3 but rather wrote shlosh-esreh and there was a printing mistake. There are other places in shas where this has been proven (I don't know where off hand) that something was written and the printers either made a mistake or truncated the original to the point where the written words are wrong. Hence we have hagahos habach, hagahos hagra, the frankel rambem, the oz v'hadar print that brings all diferent nuschaos. To say that it makes no sense to me that Rivkah was 3 but what do I know because the Rishonim wrote it, it must be so, is not derech hatorah. I can't say Rashi is wrong, but I can say it doesn't make sense to me and prove from elsewhere that my "disagreement" is correct. Yisikheit does not beleive in infalibility, (wich is the current definition of daas torah, see JO article written for the passing of R' Chaim Ozer Grodzensky for proof) to say a kadmon was never wrong is cathalosism, and I don't belong to that religion.

well then where do you stop? At the shilchon Aruch, why? At Rambam, why there? Lets go one step ahead untill we reach the age of the talmid, mazal tov you just became a reform jew. Oh that's not nice you're a progressive Jew.

49

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:21 AM Shalom Says:

Reply to #18  
merkin Says:

Why do you jump to call R. Billet an apikorus? Ibn Ezra also gives a different age for Rivkah Is Ibn Ezra an apikorus? You are much too fast to point fingers and call people names for not being "religious" enough. I think in our community many of us have turned off our brains and in place of thinking we just shout slogans at each other mostly to accuse others of not being frum enough. Or maybe our minds were never turned on to begin with. It is a real shame. A tragedy of our dor.

#18 Merkin: "The tragedy of our dor" is putting ourselves on the same level as the holy Rashi, while our morals and values are probably more appropriate to the time of the Flood. Just like you can't imagine Rivka Imenu at 3, you cannot fathom who Rashi was. If you don't understand Rashi, that doesn't mean he's wrong. Whoever doesn’t believe that Rashi wrote everything with ruach hakodesh is an apikorus, as anonymous #2 meant to say.

50

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM Moishe Zichmech Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Didn't Yitzchak not have children for 20 yrs? That makes Rivkah 23 yrs old when she gave birth.

You took the words out of my mouth; it is also said (I think Rashi) that they did not ASK for children only the latter 10 years because before that she was not in a position to bear children. That means that from 3 to 13 it was a simple union and only after 13 did "biah" come into play. 13 years at that time was standard.

51

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:28 AM Puzzed Says:

The Ramban said he didn't believe a certain medrash.

So, if I had a view on that point, would I be an apikorus for rejecting the medrash, or an apikorus for disagreeing with the Ramban?

Just need to know for my peace of mind.

52

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:27 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #43  
DM Says:

I agree.

Apikorus is the wrong word (perhaps).

The right word, I think, is "Ba'al Gayva" because he doesn't even feel the need to bring Ibn Ezra -- or does not want to, because he wants to make this seem like his own chiddush.

(I'm speaking as someone who is well-aware of the Ibn Ezra, find it quite plausible, and have used it in my own teaching. My problem with this piece is that it's dripping with gayva.)

I may have been too strong in my criticism of Rabbi Billet and I apologize. His essay was probably not intended for an audience that can cite Rashi, Tosafot, Ibn Ezra, BT Yevamot, MIdrash Rabbah, and conflicting manuscripts of Seder Olam. To include all these sources would have likely made it too long to be published in the newspaper and would have bored most of its readers!

53

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:25 AM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #49  
Shalom Says:

#18 Merkin: "The tragedy of our dor" is putting ourselves on the same level as the holy Rashi, while our morals and values are probably more appropriate to the time of the Flood. Just like you can't imagine Rivka Imenu at 3, you cannot fathom who Rashi was. If you don't understand Rashi, that doesn't mean he's wrong. Whoever doesn’t believe that Rashi wrote everything with ruach hakodesh is an apikorus, as anonymous #2 meant to say.

I wasn't aware that believing in the "divinity" of Rashi's writings was one of the ikkarei emunah.

The Wolf

54

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:24 AM Anonymous Says:

Just a quich thought according to Rabbi Billet most of Mesectes Kedushen makes no sense. The Talmud writes many times over that a father is allowed to marry off his CHILD daughter without her concent as long as she is a child which I think is about the age of 12. The gemara brings some stories as well. According to Rabbi Billet this makes no sense and is unfair and discrimination of genders. Rabbi Billet, Rabbi Mier Kahane would put you into your place. It would be worth it to look up a debate he had with Allen Durshewits.

55

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:24 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #39  
Yachtzel Says:

"Why do we also accept blindly that Avraham was three when he discovered G-d?"

"Rabbi" Billet, did you ever wonder why the (mature?) Yidden accepted the Torah "blindly" & said Naaseh V'nishma before they knew what the Torah says? Or would you not take this Midrash at face value either?

Hey! even i know that the same midrash that states avraham was 3 when he discovered hashem also states the opposing opinions of two other tanaim. get a life. the good rabbi only stated the opposing opion of tosafos backed by a sifrei. We have thousands of factual midrashic contradictions and we dont get bent out of shape when we encounter them. To say that tosafos's pshat sits better with common logic and sense then the pshat of rashi is no crime.

56

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:30 AM TB-MR Says:

As a general rule Rashi is mefaresh Peshuto Shel Mikru. That is, in the case where there is no apparent and obvious problem with the organization context and in this case time line that would derive from the basic interpretation of a posuk, Rashi will adapt the basic peshat. Rashi did not have an obvious issue with accepting that Rivka was 3 years old at her wedding, therefore Rashi accepted the time line offered by Seder Olam as Peshuto Shel Mikru - indicating that the Akeidah, birth of Rivka and death of Sarah happened at the time. Had Rashi felt that putting Rivka's age at her wedding at 3 years old was not rational, Rashi would have adapted the approach alluded to in Sifrei, although that would have not been in line with his preference for "Pushet Pshat". Of course anyone who feels uncomfortable with Rivka being 3 at her wedding, could offer a different time line, as long as he accepts that it will not be the best fitting approach in the pesukim. (As far as the social issue is concerned, we should remember that the circumstances in every generation change, what was "normal and accepted 100 years ago as prime marriageable age is considered crazy today. Trying to figure the norms in Rashi's days and the days of the Avos is somewhat of a stretch)

57

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #32  
WolfishMusings Says:

How about if it doesn't fit with the world even then?

Yes, there have been child marriages in history, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of marriages did NOT happen at age three. Likewise, I'm willing to put dollars to donuts that three-year-old, even then, were generally not physically able to water ten camels.

The Wolf

well if the torah says thats what happened then thats what happened.... and because YOU THINK that even in those days its not possible then continue "CRYING WOLF" bec thats the only thing you seem to be good at

58

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:59 AM rest my case Says:

Reply to #15  
yitzy Says:

to anonymous # 2 - does this mean that you consider Tosafos, who claim that she was 14 based on other midrashim - apikorsim?

Does tosafos say that Rashi was wrong and makes no sense???? No he had a Different opinion.
One may want to go with tosafos but to say Rashi makes no sense???? comon. Did he learn all of the medroshim? Bavli? yershalmi? Sifri? sifru? ......
Well rashi did!!!
I rest my case

59

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:52 AM eitza geber Says:

Even in the generation prior to WWII it was not uncommon to "be m'shadech" young children. The Satmarer Rebbe zt"l was something like 6 years old when he was engaged. Even babies were engaged occasionally. Rashi himself in parshas Toldos says that Yitzchok had to wait 10 years till he was able to consummate the marriage

60

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
AuthenticSatmar Says:

I don't have a problem with "Rabbi" Billet bringing sources to quote that she was 14. I am concerned with his idea that Rashi must be mistaken that she was 3, because it makes no sense.
The torah is not about what we understand. Does Rabbi Billett understand how a father sells his daughter as a slave and then she's forced to marry her owner or his son?
The Torah is eternal, and it would be more appropriate to leave it un-understandable then to try to make sense of it.
To his credit, I assume that he is in a similar predicament to the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim. There the rambam writes very contreversial statements, which are explained that he only wrote them to alleviate the questioning folk attempting to "modernize" the torah, but not necessarily accurate. For example, the Rambam writes there that the reason for karbonos was because G-D was jealous of the other G-D's whose followers were offered sacrifices. Its obvious that G-D isn't jealous, but nonetheless the Rambam wrote it to ease the minds of the people of those times.
Rabbi Billett serves a community that is liberal and attempts to align Torah values with modern values, hence his need to explain it the way he did. It also helps that he has a mekor for it.
Let's refrain from calling him names.

I Believe what the Rambam actually says is that the PEOPLE were jealous of the ovdei avoda zara who offered sacrifices to their idols, so Hashem allowed korbanos so they should not be tempted to sacrifice to avoda zara. (similar in concept to "Yefas Toar")

61

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:52 AM Anonymous Says:

ITS A CHILLEL HASHEM EVEN TO POST SUCH A ARTICALE

62

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #32  
WolfishMusings Says:

How about if it doesn't fit with the world even then?

Yes, there have been child marriages in history, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of marriages did NOT happen at age three. Likewise, I'm willing to put dollars to donuts that three-year-old, even then, were generally not physically able to water ten camels.

The Wolf

well was/is it ever possible to have 12 stones come together as one..... hmmm no way well thats what happened to yaakov avinu if you like it or not or agree with that too bad this is what we have and will continue to learn your all a bunch of tzidokim....... how about is it physically possible to go without any sleep for 14 YEARS yes YEARS not seconds or minutes or hrs or days or weeks or months........ well this is what we got to accept and believe because thats our mesorah so who ever doesnt like it there are other religions that mike make more sense to you little brains

63

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:05 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #57  
Anonymous Says:

well if the torah says thats what happened then thats what happened.... and because YOU THINK that even in those days its not possible then continue "CRYING WOLF" bec thats the only thing you seem to be good at

Anon,

I'm not disputing the fact that Rivkah watered the camels. What I am saying, however, is that since there are other (valid) opinions that state that she was older, and we generally don't find three year olds who have that sort of strength, there is room to conclude that the other opinions may be more correct than Rashi.

Now, do you think we can possibly continue discussing this like adults, rather than you issuing ad hominem attacks?

The Wolf

64

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:08 PM at least i know where you stand Says:

Reply to #45  
WolfishMusings Says:

Well, clearly *someone* is wrong. Either Rashi, or Tosfos, or the ibn Ezra. And please don't tell me "Eilu V'Eilu..." she could only be three or fourteen or some other age, but not both at the same time.

Or, you can simply say that not every Rishon who wrote meant for his words to be taken 100% literally.

The Wolf

You dont believe in Eilu Veilu Divrei Elokim Chayim either? that is exactly what i said, fist you question Rashi then the Gemara and then....

65

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
Big Mike Says:

Here we have a learned man, Rabbi Billet, who is studying Chazal and Torah and he has a thought about something that is hard to understand, and instead of praise for learning and being Oisek in Torah, the people on this blog hurl invectives at him and call him names. Where have we gone wrong, rabbosai? There is a world of Jews out there, 95% never heard of Rashi and 99% never learned a blatt gemorah. A fellow Jew comes along and offers an opinion and you jump down his throat like he is a Cossak. We are in galus gentleman for one reason and one reason only: Sinas Chinum. And it is apparent right here on this blog. I say Kudos to Rabbi Billet for learning Torah and thinking into Torah and writing about Torah. Talmud Torah k'negged coolam rabbosai, and we should not be attacking our scholars even if we have a different opinion.

well i dont know about you but i have read all the posts up to this point and know has been hating him they are just giving their own opinions and sticking up to what they learned from their rebbes so i think your jumping way ahead of yourselves unless maybe i am sensing you have some sinas chinom on all the ppl that posted.... have you ever heard of machlokes lshem shomayim or that either doesnt make sense so you decide to disagree because it was only Rebbe hakodesh that wrote the mishnayos???????

66

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:10 PM Anonymous Says:

My goodness, so many angry Jews!

Why are there so many people willing to take the time to attack the writer (BTW, #2, clearly identified!)and so few that aren't afraid to even identify themselves? Could it be that deep down, inside, they know they're just being silly and venting their suppressed anger here? Certainly it is valid to prefer one opinion when the rishonim offer several...

Yossi Ginzberg

67

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Puzzed Says:

The Ramban said he didn't believe a certain medrash.

So, if I had a view on that point, would I be an apikorus for rejecting the medrash, or an apikorus for disagreeing with the Ramban?

Just need to know for my peace of mind.

The Ramban said that while debating before a king and therefor should be viewed differently.

You may be right, he may not be a Kofar for not accepting a medrash as the Ramaban said, but he is an apikoras for laughing at Rashi, for poking fun at the medrash that Avaraham was 3 when he realized G-D. What the Ramban meant is that you can say you dont accept the medrash, because you are not obliged to, but when the intent is to try to modify the Torah with modern times by cherry picking , you are being cynical towards the Torah and are on the verge or one step away of being a Kofar. It usually leads towards that. The reason being, is that there are so many more things that we in modern days cannot understand. For example killing a child of only 13 years for picking a bone out of the fish while being warned by his fellow 13 year olders that it's forbidden. Well of course here again there are other views on this, but those who disagree, it's not because of the age or moral of the sin.

68

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #55  
Anonymous Says:

Hey! even i know that the same midrash that states avraham was 3 when he discovered hashem also states the opposing opinions of two other tanaim. get a life. the good rabbi only stated the opposing opion of tosafos backed by a sifrei. We have thousands of factual midrashic contradictions and we dont get bent out of shape when we encounter them. To say that tosafos's pshat sits better with common logic and sense then the pshat of rashi is no crime.

Some of you keep on repeating the same question. You are right Rishonim argue with each other, but to do so, because you say it makes no sense with the intent of sync. the Torah with todays values, yes you are an apikoras, becaus eyou are laughing at Rash, you think he was out dated.

I also would like to point out that Aachronim do not usually disgaree with Rishonim, just makes no sense, they were closer to Matan Torah and also tended to have greater minds then us. That's why we have no Rambam or R' Akiva Eiger in our generation. Do you realize that they wrote their commentery before there was a computer around or for that sake even a simple light bulb. The Ramabam was constently on the run and a working doctor.

69

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

According to the Rashi and the code of laws, an Apikores is someone who laughs at the words of Chachamim. Rabbi Billet is clearly laughing between the lines at the old fashion approach rashi has taken which makes no sense. He starts looking for new pshatim so he can explain the pshat to a gentile without having him laugh. He is clearly an Apikores.

As you failed to cite a source I assume you refer to the Gemara in Sanhedrin.

As The Ramabam clearly defines an apikoiros in הלכות תשובה פרק ג
and הלכות ממרים פרק ג,
the gemarah is obviously illustarting the "symptom of the disease" as opposed to offering a rather broad definition.

Don't you think to determine if someone rises to the level as described in the Ramabam, you want to delve a bit deeper than just 'reading between the lines'.

It appears at times that Apikoiros has become in some circles akin to what the "tzioyni" invective used to be in Satmer.

70

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:26 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #64  
at least i know where you stand Says:

You dont believe in Eilu Veilu Divrei Elokim Chayim either? that is exactly what i said, fist you question Rashi then the Gemara and then....

I didn't say that I don't believe in Eilu V'Eilu. Please don't put words in my mouth.

What I said was that it cannot apply in this situation. She could only have been three, or fourteen or some other age. She could not have physically been more than one age at a time. As a result, one of the opinions *has to be* incorrect on a purely physical, historical level.

The Wolf

71

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:24 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #62  
Anonymous Says:

well was/is it ever possible to have 12 stones come together as one..... hmmm no way well thats what happened to yaakov avinu if you like it or not or agree with that too bad this is what we have and will continue to learn your all a bunch of tzidokim....... how about is it physically possible to go without any sleep for 14 YEARS yes YEARS not seconds or minutes or hrs or days or weeks or months........ well this is what we got to accept and believe because thats our mesorah so who ever doesnt like it there are other religions that mike make more sense to you little brains

Anon,

You're not understanding my point. My point wasn't that miracles don't happen. My point was that you're positing a miracle (a three year old shlepping a ton of water) where one does not need to be posited.

The Wolf

72

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:28 PM Anonymous Says:

I once heard R' Shalom Shvadron tell a story. He had an uncle that told him, "When Chazal say that when Moshiach comes 'gluskaos' (cakes, bulkelach) will grow from trees, it does not mean literally. Only that the great Shefa Tov that will be in the world at that time will make it seem like that." R" Shalom responded, Apikorus! The uncle then said, "But it's a Rambam!" and he quoted the Rambam where he says just that. R' Shalom responded, "Du bist noch altz an apikorus". But the uncle asked, "Ay, the Rambam?" R' SHalom's response, which fits here as well, was "The Rambam has no shailos in believing Chazal. If Chazal say that bulkelach will grow, then bulkelach will grow. As it happens, The Rambam DArshans a possuk that it means something slightly different. But you, who have never seen bulkelach growing on trees and can't imagine it happening, and therefore you look for alternative pshatim that fit your small mind a little better, you are an apikorus!"

According to R' Shalom, to quote the author above, the concept of Rivka getting married at 3 is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." he is not arguing on Rashi because of the Sifri, but because it conflicts with his weltanschaaung (or however that is spelled). That is apikorusus.
(The full vort can be found in Lev Shalom on pasrshas Vayechi, on the topic of Yaakov Avinu lo mes)

73

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:37 PM rescue Says:

As I re-read the article, it just hit me what a lousy job yeshivas must be doing in educating us in reading comprehension. Rabbi Billet says: "Please do not misunderstand: there are no hard feelings against Rashi. I believe there are many ways to look at things and Rashi does not always have to be the bottom line. There is a reason why we have other commentaries and approaches which are considered valid, and we cannot continue to be satisfied with only one approach...."
NOWHERE does Rabbi Billet say Rashi is wrong, the most he says is that he likes other pshatim better. Is everyone here ready to tell me that you never preferred on pshat in the gemarah over another? I do not see how anybody can read into the dvar Torah (discounting lousy reading comprehension) as there being any attack on Rashi. Rabbi Billet didn't like Rashi's explanation so, he found others he did. It is no difference than not liking Rashba's expalnation and saying you like Ritvah's better. Just because Rabbi Billet doesn't agree to the pshat your morah told you, does not mean he is wrong.

74

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:45 PM Anonymous Says:

My dear Mr. Rescue. I suggest that YOU reread the srticle. He says that Rashi's pshat is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." THAT is what everyone is complaining about. Not the machlokes rishonim.

75

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:43 PM Anonymous Says:

shame on you how dare you speak like this about rashi which was writteb in ruach hakodesh do you think your on the same level as hin or bring him dowm like just another commentary I'm shaking while reading this article ...you are to fly to rashi's kever with a minyan and ask mechila.

76

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:42 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #62  
Anonymous Says:

well was/is it ever possible to have 12 stones come together as one..... hmmm no way well thats what happened to yaakov avinu if you like it or not or agree with that too bad this is what we have and will continue to learn your all a bunch of tzidokim....... how about is it physically possible to go without any sleep for 14 YEARS yes YEARS not seconds or minutes or hrs or days or weeks or months........ well this is what we got to accept and believe because thats our mesorah so who ever doesnt like it there are other religions that mike make more sense to you little brains

And, again, I ask if we can discuss this like adults, without the gratuitous name-calling and petty insults.

The Wolf

77

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #72  
Anonymous Says:

I once heard R' Shalom Shvadron tell a story. He had an uncle that told him, "When Chazal say that when Moshiach comes 'gluskaos' (cakes, bulkelach) will grow from trees, it does not mean literally. Only that the great Shefa Tov that will be in the world at that time will make it seem like that." R" Shalom responded, Apikorus! The uncle then said, "But it's a Rambam!" and he quoted the Rambam where he says just that. R' Shalom responded, "Du bist noch altz an apikorus". But the uncle asked, "Ay, the Rambam?" R' SHalom's response, which fits here as well, was "The Rambam has no shailos in believing Chazal. If Chazal say that bulkelach will grow, then bulkelach will grow. As it happens, The Rambam DArshans a possuk that it means something slightly different. But you, who have never seen bulkelach growing on trees and can't imagine it happening, and therefore you look for alternative pshatim that fit your small mind a little better, you are an apikorus!"

According to R' Shalom, to quote the author above, the concept of Rivka getting married at 3 is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." he is not arguing on Rashi because of the Sifri, but because it conflicts with his weltanschaaung (or however that is spelled). That is apikorusus.
(The full vort can be found in Lev Shalom on pasrshas Vayechi, on the topic of Yaakov Avinu lo mes)

Very well said.

I coudn't have explained it better, even though I tried so many times.

78

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:40 PM Eilu Says:

Reply to #70  
WolfishMusings Says:

I didn't say that I don't believe in Eilu V'Eilu. Please don't put words in my mouth.

What I said was that it cannot apply in this situation. She could only have been three, or fourteen or some other age. She could not have physically been more than one age at a time. As a result, one of the opinions *has to be* incorrect on a purely physical, historical level.

The Wolf

The Gemara clearly says Eilu Veilu even in a case of opposing views in what happened, it may be on different levels however it is definitley eilu veilu!

79

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #69  
Anonymous Says:

As you failed to cite a source I assume you refer to the Gemara in Sanhedrin.

As The Ramabam clearly defines an apikoiros in הלכות תשובה פרק ג
and הלכות ממרים פרק ג,
the gemarah is obviously illustarting the "symptom of the disease" as opposed to offering a rather broad definition.

Don't you think to determine if someone rises to the level as described in the Ramabam, you want to delve a bit deeper than just 'reading between the lines'.

It appears at times that Apikoiros has become in some circles akin to what the "tzioyni" invective used to be in Satmer.

Thanks for quoting the source, I didn't remember or have the time to look for the source.

What I meant between the lines, was because, one could always argue in such that they didn't write anyware that Rashi was wrong and old fashioned. That's why I wrote that it's between the lines, beacuse his overall approach becomes clear when he writes "A child at 3 in MY opinion is meant to be cute". He is saying my approach to Rashi is that if doesn't conform with todays society, I'll go with an alteranative view. That is in essence saying Rashi was outdated and stupid for even thinking that marrying a small child was possible. He could have explained Rashi in a different light, but chose not to because he believed Rashi and some Merashim are just old fashion. That is an Apikores.

To make you happy, I would say Rabbi Billet is an Appikores between the lines. He's not a forthcoming Apikores, he's still afraid of himself to admit that's what's bothering him.

80

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #73  
rescue Says:

As I re-read the article, it just hit me what a lousy job yeshivas must be doing in educating us in reading comprehension. Rabbi Billet says: "Please do not misunderstand: there are no hard feelings against Rashi. I believe there are many ways to look at things and Rashi does not always have to be the bottom line. There is a reason why we have other commentaries and approaches which are considered valid, and we cannot continue to be satisfied with only one approach...."
NOWHERE does Rabbi Billet say Rashi is wrong, the most he says is that he likes other pshatim better. Is everyone here ready to tell me that you never preferred on pshat in the gemarah over another? I do not see how anybody can read into the dvar Torah (discounting lousy reading comprehension) as there being any attack on Rashi. Rabbi Billet didn't like Rashi's explanation so, he found others he did. It is no difference than not liking Rashba's expalnation and saying you like Ritvah's better. Just because Rabbi Billet doesn't agree to the pshat your morah told you, does not mean he is wrong.

Appearantly you have a reading issue. Most if not all posts have said they are taking exception to Rabbi Billets artice only because of the underlying reason why he disagrees with Rashi no with the fact that he disagrees. We all know that there are machlokes in Rishonim and we can choose whichever one we like when learning Gemarah or Chimush. It's what's bothering him that is Apikorses.

81

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #53  
WolfishMusings Says:

I wasn't aware that believing in the "divinity" of Rashi's writings was one of the ikkarei emunah.

The Wolf

I guess you don't say the Ani Maamins. So let me write it for you. Ani Maamin #8 "I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses". What Rashi wrote is toras emes and if you don't believe your an apikores according to the Rambam.

82

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:45 PM sd Says:

There's nothing wrong with asking questions on Rashi or in disagreeing with him, especially when you've got other Chazals to back you up. The problem is HOW you do it. This particular article is dripping with gayva and imaturity.

83

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #63  
WolfishMusings Says:

Anon,

I'm not disputing the fact that Rivkah watered the camels. What I am saying, however, is that since there are other (valid) opinions that state that she was older, and we generally don't find three year olds who have that sort of strength, there is room to conclude that the other opinions may be more correct than Rashi.

Now, do you think we can possibly continue discussing this like adults, rather than you issuing ad hominem attacks?

The Wolf

yes we can disagree like adults but for someone that chooses to disagree with Rashi hakodesh who we cant even comprehend who he was and to say that Rivka couldnt carry the water for the cammels is just going aginst the torah and rivkah is one of our 4 matriachs and to even think to say let alone say that it cant be is truly an apikores even if there are other opinions and then to say that we should go according to the othe ropinions that say she was older just because it makes more sense has no right discussing torah your name says it all

84

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:30 PM Anonymous Says:

So what this author is saying is that Rashi is an idiot since he thinks that she was 3, which is clearly too young to get married OR that Rashi himself understood that 3 year olds are too young to get married, but since chazal said so, he will write their pshat, even though Rashi knew its bunk.


Hmmmm, why dont we just assume like everyone else who learns that pshat that 3 year olds WERE more mature then than they are now

85

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #75  
Anonymous Says:

shame on you how dare you speak like this about rashi which was writteb in ruach hakodesh do you think your on the same level as hin or bring him dowm like just another commentary I'm shaking while reading this article ...you are to fly to rashi's kever with a minyan and ask mechila.

You may be right, but Rashi's place of rest is unknown. Like Moshe Rabbeinu.

86

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:49 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #78  
Eilu Says:

The Gemara clearly says Eilu Veilu even in a case of opposing views in what happened, it may be on different levels however it is definitley eilu veilu!

That's fine. But on a purely physical level (which is what we're talking about - her physical age), only one can be right. Rivkah could only have been three, or fourteen, or some other age. She could not have been more than one.

You can say "Eilu V'Eilu" in that perhaps the other opinions have some deeper meaning that we can learn from - I'm not disputing that. But you can't say it with regard to her physical age.

The Wolf

87

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:57 PM Wolfish Musings Says:

Reply to #83  
Anonymous Says:

yes we can disagree like adults but for someone that chooses to disagree with Rashi hakodesh who we cant even comprehend who he was and to say that Rivka couldnt carry the water for the cammels is just going aginst the torah and rivkah is one of our 4 matriachs and to even think to say let alone say that it cant be is truly an apikores even if there are other opinions and then to say that we should go according to the othe ropinions that say she was older just because it makes more sense has no right discussing torah your name says it all

Sigh. So, let me ask this question, I can choose two options: 1. Rashi was right and she had miraculous super-strength, or 2. The ibn Ezra and Tosfos are right and she didn't. Why do I *have* to take Rashi's view over other Rishonim? Why can't I be somech on other perfectly held views?

Secondly, again, I asked you to stop the ad-hominem attacks. Address my point, not my name, which was given to me b'ruach hakodesh.

The Wolf

88

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #81  
Anonymous Says:

I guess you don't say the Ani Maamins. So let me write it for you. Ani Maamin #8 "I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses". What Rashi wrote is toras emes and if you don't believe your an apikores according to the Rambam.

Ey ey, I disagree with Rabbi Billet, but you're adding something to the Ani Mamin. You're adding that Rashi is the Torah that the Ramabam meant, that's not exactly true. There are others that added that Toras Habal Shem Tov is included as well. Where do you end? Can I add whomever I want?

Rabbi Billet may be a progressive Jew, but this article does not make him a Kofar in Toras Moshe. I would say more he's more like an Apikores who pokes fun at Chazal when he says that it cant be that Avraham literly realized Hashem at the age of 3 because children are meant to be cute and Avraham the father of three religions was just another cute child, nothing exceptional.

89

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Charlie Hall Says:

This may be a just matter of different manuscripts of the Seder Olam having a different age. The manuscripts that were available to Rashi said Rivkah was 3 years old. However, manuscripts from the Middle East, where Seder Olam was written, say she was 14, which is more consistent with Sifrei and also with a baraita in Talmud Bavli Yevamot 61b which says she was a "naarah" which clearly means age 12 from the discussion there. How can we simply dismiss these other opinions, which seem to be the majority? I wish the rabbi had brought forth these sources that support his point.

Source: *Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology*. Translated and with commentary by Heinrich W. Guggenheimer. Aronson Press, 1998. ( I've been told this is now out of print; I hope that is incorrect.)

Absolutely, bring down other opinions, but don't ridicule Rashi's opinion and say that you like the other opinion because it fits modern society. It just shows pure amei aratzus on this rabbi's part.

90

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:55 PM Eilu Says:

Reply to #86  
WolfishMusings Says:

That's fine. But on a purely physical level (which is what we're talking about - her physical age), only one can be right. Rivkah could only have been three, or fourteen, or some other age. She could not have been more than one.

You can say "Eilu V'Eilu" in that perhaps the other opinions have some deeper meaning that we can learn from - I'm not disputing that. But you can't say it with regard to her physical age.

The Wolf

So are we the ones to decide which one is meant literally? if both are divrei elokim, you have the audacity to say one is right because the other does not make sense to us!!!!!

91

 Nov 19, 2008 at 12:54 PM Wolfish Musings Says:

Reply to #81  
Anonymous Says:

I guess you don't say the Ani Maamins. So let me write it for you. Ani Maamin #8 "I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses". What Rashi wrote is toras emes and if you don't believe your an apikores according to the Rambam.

Now, I suggest that instead of reading the Ani Ma'amin, you go back and read the Rambam that it is based on. You'll find that the Rambam does not say what the Ani Ma'amin says.

The Wolf

92

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:03 PM rescue Says:

Reply to #74  
Anonymous Says:

My dear Mr. Rescue. I suggest that YOU reread the srticle. He says that Rashi's pshat is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." THAT is what everyone is complaining about. Not the machlokes rishonim.

exactly what is the problem of Rashi's pshat not in line with Rabbi Billet's understanding? Nowhere does he say that Rashi is wrong, he says it's not to his liking or his line of understanding, and further more he brings proof that coincides with his line of understanding. I know Rabbi Billet used a word with more than 3 syllables, but all he is saying is that to him Rashi's pshat does not make sense and hence he found a pshat that makes more sense. There is no dis on Rashi and only one pasht here can be correct in pashtus. It is impossible for Rivkah to have been both 3 and 14 at the same time. So someone is wrong.

93

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:38 PM Ahavas Briyos Says:

The hateful remarks and name-calling by those posters here is disgraceful.Only non-Torah people express themselves that way. Besides, these people write in such an immature way and with such bad grammar and spelling,which shows how unintelligent they are. Rashi is kodosh,no doubt.However,he is not T H E Torah.He is peirush and one must understand what he is hinting at. There can be other ways of understanding this as other meforshim do.Have some respect for another Jew .Have respect for a person who just might know a little more than you,just as you want the writer to respect Rashi,which he does.

94

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:34 PM Rabbi Avi Billet Says:

Rather then just attacking the auther, contact him at avbillet@gmail.com and tell him what your issues are.

95

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #88  
Anonymous Says:

Ey ey, I disagree with Rabbi Billet, but you're adding something to the Ani Mamin. You're adding that Rashi is the Torah that the Ramabam meant, that's not exactly true. There are others that added that Toras Habal Shem Tov is included as well. Where do you end? Can I add whomever I want?

Rabbi Billet may be a progressive Jew, but this article does not make him a Kofar in Toras Moshe. I would say more he's more like an Apikores who pokes fun at Chazal when he says that it cant be that Avraham literly realized Hashem at the age of 3 because children are meant to be cute and Avraham the father of three religions was just another cute child, nothing exceptional.

Yes, even Toras Habaal Shem is Toras emes and if you dont believe that your an apikores according to the Rambam. In regards to you adding to the Torah, if you mechadesh a Torah or say a pshat in a gemora and you do it lshem shomayim than according to the Rambam it is part of Toras Moshe that was given on Har Sinai.

96

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:48 PM Anonymous Says:

95 Today at 01:24 PM
Anonymous Says:

"Yes, even Toras Habaal Shem is Toras emes and if you dont believe that your an apikores according to the Rambam. In regards to you adding to the Torah, if you mechadesh a Torah or say a pshat in a gemora and you do it lshem shomayim than according to the Rambam it is part of Toras Moshe that was given on Har Sinai."

Nonsense.This is the OPPOSITE of what the Rambam says.

97

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:45 PM Anonymous Says:

81 Today at 12:46 PM
Anonymous Says: Reply to #53
WolfishMusings Says:
“ I wasn't aware that believing in the "divinity" of Rashi's writings was one of the ikkarei emunah.

The Wolf ”

I guess you don't say the Ani Maamins. So let me write it for you. Ani Maamin #8 "I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses". What Rashi wrote is toras emes and if you don't believe your an apikores according to the Rambam.



This is brilliant satire.

Mr Anonymous, see if you can find the gap in your "logic"

98

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #79  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for quoting the source, I didn't remember or have the time to look for the source.

What I meant between the lines, was because, one could always argue in such that they didn't write anyware that Rashi was wrong and old fashioned. That's why I wrote that it's between the lines, beacuse his overall approach becomes clear when he writes "A child at 3 in MY opinion is meant to be cute". He is saying my approach to Rashi is that if doesn't conform with todays society, I'll go with an alteranative view. That is in essence saying Rashi was outdated and stupid for even thinking that marrying a small child was possible. He could have explained Rashi in a different light, but chose not to because he believed Rashi and some Merashim are just old fashion. That is an Apikores.

To make you happy, I would say Rabbi Billet is an Appikores between the lines. He's not a forthcoming Apikores, he's still afraid of himself to admit that's what's bothering him.

your explanation is thoughtful but still misses the point.

one can say and even believe (foolishly) that Rashi is 'old fashioned' (whatever that means), that does not however put one in the category of apikoiros as described by the Rambam.

I don't mean to split hairs, but this tendency to demonize those with contrary views with apikoiras and kiofer and the like is contributing to the 'dumbing down' of our society, particularly those once considered to be out intelectualy elite.

99

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:16 PM MOSHE Says:

Reply to #32  
WolfishMusings Says:

How about if it doesn't fit with the world even then?

Yes, there have been child marriages in history, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of marriages did NOT happen at age three. Likewise, I'm willing to put dollars to donuts that three-year-old, even then, were generally not physically able to water ten camels.

The Wolf

Remember, the point is "what actually happened".
Strange dosent have to change a fact!
Also remember, Rashi did not just fabricate opinions based on what sounds right or even good, he had a tradition and a Rabbi, and based on that he put it into context with a simple translation on the Pasuk

100

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:12 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #90  
Eilu Says:

So are we the ones to decide which one is meant literally? if both are divrei elokim, you have the audacity to say one is right because the other does not make sense to us!!!!!

We could ask the same question to everyone here. Who are they to say that Rashi is the one that is literally right?

The bottom line is that none of us (and that includes Rashi, Tosfos, the ibn Ezra, etc.) were there when it happened. The best we can do is take the sources that we have and try to figure out what happened. Since we have two (or more) options available to us, and neither one is "better" than the other, and it doesn't impact the way we observe halacha, and only one of them can be true in the physical, literal sense, so why not pick one? Everyone else here seems to have taken license in picking one over the other, so why not me?

The Wolf

101

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #95  
Anonymous Says:

Yes, even Toras Habaal Shem is Toras emes and if you dont believe that your an apikores according to the Rambam. In regards to you adding to the Torah, if you mechadesh a Torah or say a pshat in a gemora and you do it lshem shomayim than according to the Rambam it is part of Toras Moshe that was given on Har Sinai.

The Rambam writes Torah, not Toras Ha'bal Shem Tov or even Torah She-bal Peh. Anything more then that is adding to the words of the Rambam.

Of course I believe in the Bal Shem, but I don't have to, it's my choosing to do so. I do have to believe in Torah Sh-bal Peh, but that's not what it says in that Ani Mamin.

102

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #72  
Anonymous Says:

I once heard R' Shalom Shvadron tell a story. He had an uncle that told him, "When Chazal say that when Moshiach comes 'gluskaos' (cakes, bulkelach) will grow from trees, it does not mean literally. Only that the great Shefa Tov that will be in the world at that time will make it seem like that." R" Shalom responded, Apikorus! The uncle then said, "But it's a Rambam!" and he quoted the Rambam where he says just that. R' Shalom responded, "Du bist noch altz an apikorus". But the uncle asked, "Ay, the Rambam?" R' SHalom's response, which fits here as well, was "The Rambam has no shailos in believing Chazal. If Chazal say that bulkelach will grow, then bulkelach will grow. As it happens, The Rambam DArshans a possuk that it means something slightly different. But you, who have never seen bulkelach growing on trees and can't imagine it happening, and therefore you look for alternative pshatim that fit your small mind a little better, you are an apikorus!"

According to R' Shalom, to quote the author above, the concept of Rivka getting married at 3 is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." he is not arguing on Rashi because of the Sifri, but because it conflicts with his weltanschaaung (or however that is spelled). That is apikorusus.
(The full vort can be found in Lev Shalom on pasrshas Vayechi, on the topic of Yaakov Avinu lo mes)

I find the ilogical logic of what schwadron said most revolting. What a twisted attempt to highlight the worst possible perception of others. And an uncle no less. Besides, judging by the guy who edited the stories of Schwadron I would venture to guess that neither were at the top of the game......

103

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #65  
Anonymous Says:

well i dont know about you but i have read all the posts up to this point and know has been hating him they are just giving their own opinions and sticking up to what they learned from their rebbes so i think your jumping way ahead of yourselves unless maybe i am sensing you have some sinas chinom on all the ppl that posted.... have you ever heard of machlokes lshem shomayim or that either doesnt make sense so you decide to disagree because it was only Rebbe hakodesh that wrote the mishnayos???????

You call name calling and accusations of being an apikores intelligent discussion. Soon you will call molestation love r"l.

104

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #62  
Anonymous Says:

well was/is it ever possible to have 12 stones come together as one..... hmmm no way well thats what happened to yaakov avinu if you like it or not or agree with that too bad this is what we have and will continue to learn your all a bunch of tzidokim....... how about is it physically possible to go without any sleep for 14 YEARS yes YEARS not seconds or minutes or hrs or days or weeks or months........ well this is what we got to accept and believe because thats our mesorah so who ever doesnt like it there are other religions that mike make more sense to you little brains

You made 2 points you didn't intend to:

1. The stones and the not eating were a NESS as recorded in chazal. No mention of a NESS regarding Rivka being underage.

2. Just as we have differing chazals regarding the 2 Nissim you mentioned so too has the good rabbi mentioned a second opinion of the rishonim and earlier chachomim.

105

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:07 PM Emes Says:

Furthermore, it is permitted to say that a particular Rishon or Achron made a mistake (not that that is what the author is saying, nor is it relevant to the article)

The Torah discusses what happens when ALL SEVENTY ONE members of the Sanhedrin make an erroneous psak, al achas kamo vekamo a single Rov a thousand years later.

Infallible clergy are not part of our religion.

106

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:23 PM rescue Says:

Reply to #105  
Emes Says:

Furthermore, it is permitted to say that a particular Rishon or Achron made a mistake (not that that is what the author is saying, nor is it relevant to the article)

The Torah discusses what happens when ALL SEVENTY ONE members of the Sanhedrin make an erroneous psak, al achas kamo vekamo a single Rov a thousand years later.

Infallible clergy are not part of our religion.

How can you question the Rabbi's being infallible? The Rabbi's themselves said they are. ;o)

107

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #74  
Anonymous Says:

My dear Mr. Rescue. I suggest that YOU reread the srticle. He says that Rashi's pshat is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." THAT is what everyone is complaining about. Not the machlokes rishonim.

So what is the difference between that and saying I like this answer of Rava over the answer of Abaya? One is worded in better english than the other. Nothing more nothing less. To see so many worked up over NOTHING causes me to think some of us are not much better then those who riot.

108

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #98  
Anonymous Says:

your explanation is thoughtful but still misses the point.

one can say and even believe (foolishly) that Rashi is 'old fashioned' (whatever that means), that does not however put one in the category of apikoiros as described by the Rambam.

I don't mean to split hairs, but this tendency to demonize those with contrary views with apikoiras and kiofer and the like is contributing to the 'dumbing down' of our society, particularly those once considered to be out intelectualy elite.

Let me repeat a story written in the Gemora. (I dont remember where it is written, maybe you can enlighten me I do have a very short memory when it comes to sources, names and dates.)

The Gemora says that R' (Yochanen)? once told his Talmidim that when Mashich will come the stones of the Bais Hamikdash will be made of Dimonds as big as (?). One talmid didn't questioned the accuracy of such a statement. The talmid once was traveling by boat and saw angels carrying dimonds as large as big as his rebbe said. He came back and told his R' (Yochanen) ? "I now know that you are right, because I saw it". R (Yochanen)? looked at him and said "you are guilty of laughing on the words of chachamim, if you would have not seen, you would not have believed" he gave him a look with his eyes and the Talmid died.

Now this is a Gemora, and the words used by Rabbi (Yochanen)? is the exact same as Rashi in Sanhedrin and the Rambam. The talmid didn't even say anything to the degree of disrespect, he just questioned it in his mind and this is what his Rebbe called him. Can you imagine if he would write an article in the paper questioning how it's possible? He would say since it's not related to a specific law, why cant he disagree. I'm sure he could've found sources that disagree, i.e the Rambam that nothin will be out of the ordinary when Mashiach comes.

109

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #80  
Anonymous Says:

Appearantly you have a reading issue. Most if not all posts have said they are taking exception to Rabbi Billets artice only because of the underlying reason why he disagrees with Rashi no with the fact that he disagrees. We all know that there are machlokes in Rishonim and we can choose whichever one we like when learning Gemarah or Chimush. It's what's bothering him that is Apikorses.

So now u claim most of the commentators here are like todays rebbelich who have ruach hakodesh and know everything that people think!

110

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Rashi is very hard to understand in this weeks Parsha. Sara was bas 20 kbas 7 in beauty.

111

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #58  
rest my case Says:

Does tosafos say that Rashi was wrong and makes no sense???? No he had a Different opinion.
One may want to go with tosafos but to say Rashi makes no sense???? comon. Did he learn all of the medroshim? Bavli? yershalmi? Sifri? sifru? ......
Well rashi did!!!
I rest my case

What crime is it to say it make no sense for todays day and age?

112

 Nov 19, 2008 at 01:46 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #95  
Anonymous Says:

Yes, even Toras Habaal Shem is Toras emes and if you dont believe that your an apikores according to the Rambam. In regards to you adding to the Torah, if you mechadesh a Torah or say a pshat in a gemora and you do it lshem shomayim than according to the Rambam it is part of Toras Moshe that was given on Har Sinai.

So, let me ask you a simple question -- were any of the Gemaras that mention Moshe's death given to him on Har Sinai?

The Wolf

113

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:32 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #108  
Anonymous Says:

Let me repeat a story written in the Gemora. (I dont remember where it is written, maybe you can enlighten me I do have a very short memory when it comes to sources, names and dates.)

The Gemora says that R' (Yochanen)? once told his Talmidim that when Mashich will come the stones of the Bais Hamikdash will be made of Dimonds as big as (?). One talmid didn't questioned the accuracy of such a statement. The talmid once was traveling by boat and saw angels carrying dimonds as large as big as his rebbe said. He came back and told his R' (Yochanen) ? "I now know that you are right, because I saw it". R (Yochanen)? looked at him and said "you are guilty of laughing on the words of chachamim, if you would have not seen, you would not have believed" he gave him a look with his eyes and the Talmid died.

Now this is a Gemora, and the words used by Rabbi (Yochanen)? is the exact same as Rashi in Sanhedrin and the Rambam. The talmid didn't even say anything to the degree of disrespect, he just questioned it in his mind and this is what his Rebbe called him. Can you imagine if he would write an article in the paper questioning how it's possible? He would say since it's not related to a specific law, why cant he disagree. I'm sure he could've found sources that disagree, i.e the Rambam that nothin will be out of the ordinary when Mashiach comes.

And here's the crux of the matter: We are not laughing. I may think that Tosfos' opinion on the matter is more logical than Rashi's. That doesn't mean that I'm "laughing at" Rashi (as the student in your story did WRT R. Yochanan).

I can respect someone deeply and still disagree with them at the same time. I have the utmost respect for Rashi, but, in this case, I'm forced to conclude that Tosfos' opinion if more logical.

Respect does not mean that I have to agree with everything they say.

The Wolf

114

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:34 PM Avrohom Wannabee Lamdan Says:

Look at Ramban D"H Vayovoi Avrohom - 2nd para. "VeHanireh beAkaida...veim kain loi maiso Soro beoisa zeman".

115

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:32 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #90  
Eilu Says:

So are we the ones to decide which one is meant literally? if both are divrei elokim, you have the audacity to say one is right because the other does not make sense to us!!!!!

"Rashi did not just fabricate opinions based on what sounds right or even good, he had a tradition and a Rabbi"

Correct. And in this case his manuscript of Seder Olam may have been defective. He would not have been able to travel to the Middle East to examine manuscripts that may have been more reliable. We can't blame him for giving the best explanation based on what he had in front of him.

116

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #95  
Anonymous Says:

Yes, even Toras Habaal Shem is Toras emes and if you dont believe that your an apikores according to the Rambam. In regards to you adding to the Torah, if you mechadesh a Torah or say a pshat in a gemora and you do it lshem shomayim than according to the Rambam it is part of Toras Moshe that was given on Har Sinai.

So the GRA was an apikores?

117

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:29 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #90  
Eilu Says:

So are we the ones to decide which one is meant literally? if both are divrei elokim, you have the audacity to say one is right because the other does not make sense to us!!!!!

Ramban specifically says that there is no chiyuv to accept the literal truth of any specific midrash.

118

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:27 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #81  
Anonymous Says:

I guess you don't say the Ani Maamins. So let me write it for you. Ani Maamin #8 "I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses". What Rashi wrote is toras emes and if you don't believe your an apikores according to the Rambam.

Are Ibn Ezra, Tosafot, and Ramban also apikorsim? They argue with Rashi quite a lot!

119

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #104  
Anonymous Says:

You made 2 points you didn't intend to:

1. The stones and the not eating were a NESS as recorded in chazal. No mention of a NESS regarding Rivka being underage.

2. Just as we have differing chazals regarding the 2 Nissim you mentioned so too has the good rabbi mentioned a second opinion of the rishonim and earlier chachomim.

That people lived up to a thousand years up untill the Mabil (flood) and even after that they lived very long for a while. That was not a nes, niether is having a three yr old being more mature then todays youth a nes. People were healthier and stronger those days and there kids were more mature at a younger age. That would explain Avraham and Rivkah.

120

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:45 PM Rabbi Bullet Says:

Reply to #110  
Anonymous Says:

Rashi is very hard to understand in this weeks Parsha. Sara was bas 20 kbas 7 in beauty.

I guess Rashi Is "l'sheetaso".

121

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #113  
WolfishMusings Says:

And here's the crux of the matter: We are not laughing. I may think that Tosfos' opinion on the matter is more logical than Rashi's. That doesn't mean that I'm "laughing at" Rashi (as the student in your story did WRT R. Yochanan).

I can respect someone deeply and still disagree with them at the same time. I have the utmost respect for Rashi, but, in this case, I'm forced to conclude that Tosfos' opinion if more logical.

Respect does not mean that I have to agree with everything they say.

The Wolf

Again as many have written before. You are entitled to learn Rashi and Tosfos and say that you have a question on Rashi or for whatever logical reason you disagree. However, R' Billet disagree, becuase he has a foundation that anything you cant fathom happened, you disagree with. He questions the rest of Klal Yisroel why they believe something unlikely as Avraham, a regular child in his opinion, or Rivkah being so mature at the age of three. That's not arguing logic, that's laughing at something someone, who is smarter and greather then you are, is telling you. Tosfos never says it's impossible, Tosfes says my rebbe taught me otherwise; or I have a question from another Gemora. Question Rashi's logic with a question that was clearly on his mind is considered laughing.

R ? (Yochanen's) talmid never laughed or evein disagreed loudly, he just thought to himself that is impossible. Of course in a secular world I can disagee with Einstein if my logic is better then his, but in torah we must have humility and accept it as truth even when you're inclined to disagree. You can go along with another commentary, but only if you dont add anything of your own as a premise for why the first one is wrong. Keep that question in yourself and believe that either you didn't understand well or that things were different at that time, but to write an article like this?

122

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #117  
Charlie Hall Says:

Ramban specifically says that there is no chiyuv to accept the literal truth of any specific midrash.

perhabs the rambas was an apikores too because he went to become a doctor and join kollel. he also studied astrolgy. that's science and science is apekursis.it does say v'heegessa yomam valyla. should I throw out my set of rambam?

123

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #118  
Charlie Hall Says:

Are Ibn Ezra, Tosafot, and Ramban also apikorsim? They argue with Rashi quite a lot!

They didn't disagree and start their commenatry disagreeing with Rashi with something like this
"You are a graduate of a yeshiva education and you still say three years old"
That is laughing at the words of Rashi, no question. In his opinion Rashi's words cannot possily be accepted by somene who is intelligent.

124

 Nov 19, 2008 at 02:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #109  
Anonymous Says:

So now u claim most of the commentators here are like todays rebbelich who have ruach hakodesh and know everything that people think!

No, it's very appearant what's bothering him. He says it clearly. He is bothered by the fact that Avraham relized G-D at the age of three when according to HIS understanding children at that age are meant to be cute. Avraham, according to him, was just another child. He also cant understand how a 3 year old was able to get married at such a young age, because according to him, that is too young.

He totally ignores the fact that Rashi also has known this and anyhow accepted it and the reason others disagree is not because thay feel it's just not right to marry a child at that age, even thought it was so common just one hundred years to engage them at a very young age, perhaps as young as three. Of course no one says that they had an official wedding and that she washed laundry cleaned the house and cooked.

However, if it is written by someone like Rashi that she did any of the above, I'll tip my hat and say they were more mature at a younger age. After all they lived up to a 1000 years just ten generations earlier, cant it be that they were more mature at a younger age as well.

125

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #122  
Anonymous Says:

perhabs the rambas was an apikores too because he went to become a doctor and join kollel. he also studied astrolgy. that's science and science is apekursis.it does say v'heegessa yomam valyla. should I throw out my set of rambam?

Charlie it's Ramban not Rambam. You should not throw out the Ramabam anyhow, because, you wont understand it.

The Rambam was a doctor and there are many frum doctors.

126

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:15 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #121  
Anonymous Says:

Again as many have written before. You are entitled to learn Rashi and Tosfos and say that you have a question on Rashi or for whatever logical reason you disagree. However, R' Billet disagree, becuase he has a foundation that anything you cant fathom happened, you disagree with. He questions the rest of Klal Yisroel why they believe something unlikely as Avraham, a regular child in his opinion, or Rivkah being so mature at the age of three. That's not arguing logic, that's laughing at something someone, who is smarter and greather then you are, is telling you. Tosfos never says it's impossible, Tosfes says my rebbe taught me otherwise; or I have a question from another Gemora. Question Rashi's logic with a question that was clearly on his mind is considered laughing.

R ? (Yochanen's) talmid never laughed or evein disagreed loudly, he just thought to himself that is impossible. Of course in a secular world I can disagee with Einstein if my logic is better then his, but in torah we must have humility and accept it as truth even when you're inclined to disagree. You can go along with another commentary, but only if you dont add anything of your own as a premise for why the first one is wrong. Keep that question in yourself and believe that either you didn't understand well or that things were different at that time, but to write an article like this?

"Tosfos never says it's impossible, Tosfes says my rebbe taught me otherwise; or I have a question from another Gemora."

Well, for the record, I never said it was *impossible* that Rivkah watered the camels. What I did say was that if you're going to say that, then you have to posit a miracle; and I would prefer to posit as few miracles as possible.

"R ? (Yochanen's) talmid never laughed or evein disagreed loudly, he just thought to himself that is impossible. "

R. Yochanan himself accused the person of "laughing." Perhaps he was mocking in his question or attitude. It may have been something in his body language or facial expression that was not recorded in the Gemara. Somehow, I don't think R. Yochanan would have had the student killed for an honest disagreement of opinion.

"we must have humility and accept it as truth even when you're inclined to disagree. You can go along with another commentary, but only if you dont add anything of your own as a premise for why the first one is wrong."

Why not? No Gadol is infallible. I can have reasons for choosing to accept one Rishon's interpretation over another.

Again, let me be clear on this. I'm not saying that Rashi is "wrong." Perhaps in some way he is correct. But I don't believe that he is in the literal, physical, chronological sense in this case.

The Wolf

The Wolf

127

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:15 PM Anonymous Says:

can some one please write over the all orticle in yiddish. thanks

128

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #118  
Charlie Hall Says:

Are Ibn Ezra, Tosafot, and Ramban also apikorsim? They argue with Rashi quite a lot!

Didn't anybody learn that Amaroim were not allowed to disagree with Tanoim, the Reshonim were not allowed to argue with the Gaonim and the Achronim are not allowed to argue with Reshonim. The Tosafot, the Rambam and the Ibn Ezra were all reshonim and were allowed to argue and therefore, Ali v'ali diveri Alokim Chaim. We cannot go to the end of Rashi thinking. His greatness is unfathomable and therefore all you knuckleheads who think they can argue with Rashi are simply ignorant of the ways of the Torah and the greatness of Reshonim.

129

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:46 PM WolfishMusings Says:

"Achronim are not allowed to argue with Reshonim."

Actually, that's not true. Acharonim *do* argue against Rishonim. For example, the Rishonim said Akdamus on Shavous *after* the first pasuk was lained. The Taz, however, argues on this and maintained that Akdamus should be recited before laining starts. And guess what? We hold like the Acharon.

"you knuckleheads"

Once again, is it too much to ask for civil discourse? Is it too much to ask that you act like an adult and not engage in ad-hominem attacks?

The Wolf

130

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:45 PM Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

The author is wrong for the way he presents his arguments. One is not an apikoros for suggesting that there are alternative pirushim to Rashi's view. However, this article was written in a manner that is highly disrespectful to Rashi and seems to indicate that the author believes that Rashi and he are on the same level. I don't that the author is an apikoris for writing these views, but he is a shoteh presenting it in this manner.

The author doesn't believe that Rashi and he are on the same level; the author, the way he writes, believes that he is on a higher level then Rashi! That is the problem. What he said is not apikorsus because it is permissible to differ with a Rishon on a Pshat in Chumish; but the way he does it, is very disrespectful and arrogant.

131

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:50 PM UnAnonymous Abe Schwartz Says:

* There are midrashim that Avrohom recognized God at age 40 or 48. How does that play into his being three? (Which is based on the pasuk "eikev asher shama avraham b'koli" that Avraham listened to me for the numerical value of 'eikev' which is 172 out of his 175 years)
בראשית רבא 95:3
ובן כמה שנים הכיר אברהם את בוראו? בן מ"ח שנה הכיר את בוראו. ריש לקיש אמר בן שלש שנים דכתיב עקב מנין עק"ב

* Yes, they lived to be in their nine hundreds (let's nit pick and argue vociferously against those who say they lived to be 1000 because we just want to argue nonsensically and act like three year olds. O, excuse me, three year are olds are so sophisticated), and yet they didn't have children until they were in their 120s and 130s.

* Don't raise illogical arguments from a few generations prior. If anything, their sophistication was LESS in those days, if they didn't have children until 130 years of their being on earth, when now we usually pull off this feat by the time we reach our mid-twenties, if not earlier.

* The line about "untenable" in context, is this:
"To think that Rivka is three years old and understands the idea of offering water to camels, can physically shlep water back and forth tens of times to feed 10 camels, is given respect to make her own decision whether she’ll go with Avraham’s servant, is viewed as a marriageable prospect, and is appreciated by Yitzchak, as his wife, to fill the void in his life left by his mother’s passing is, unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking."

This is NOT saying Rashi did not consider all this. This is saying that Rabbi Billet is explaining why he prefers to side with the approach of the other commentaries he quotes because, just as Tosafos had a problem with Rivkah being three for - perhaps - all these reasons, calling her three and accepting that as pshat is very difficult to understand.

I know about Yitzchak waiting for her to be "r'uayah l'biah" but, honestly. How is a three-year old, no matter how sophisticated, going to be giving comfort to Yitzchak over the loss of his mother? (unless you'll argue that years pass in the same pasuk that says ותהי לו לאשה ויאהביה וינחם יצחק אחרי אמו - in which case you're agreeing with Rabbi Billet.)

And finally I find it fascinating how many people suppose they KNOW what Rabbi Billet is thinking, and how many are so quick to call him an apikores for jumping on Tosfos' band wagon over Rashi's.

Fools. Absolute fools attack a person instead of debating the merits of ideas. And of thinking differently than you do.

132

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:42 PM Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

Reply to #112  
WolfishMusings Says:

So, let me ask you a simple question -- were any of the Gemaras that mention Moshe's death given to him on Har Sinai?

The Wolf

Better yet, not in the Gemora but in the Chumush. Moshe Rabbeinu wrote on himself "vayomos Moshe"; he wrote as he was told by HaShem.

133

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #131  
UnAnonymous Abe Schwartz Says:

* There are midrashim that Avrohom recognized God at age 40 or 48. How does that play into his being three? (Which is based on the pasuk "eikev asher shama avraham b'koli" that Avraham listened to me for the numerical value of 'eikev' which is 172 out of his 175 years)
בראשית רבא 95:3
ובן כמה שנים הכיר אברהם את בוראו? בן מ"ח שנה הכיר את בוראו. ריש לקיש אמר בן שלש שנים דכתיב עקב מנין עק"ב

* Yes, they lived to be in their nine hundreds (let's nit pick and argue vociferously against those who say they lived to be 1000 because we just want to argue nonsensically and act like three year olds. O, excuse me, three year are olds are so sophisticated), and yet they didn't have children until they were in their 120s and 130s.

* Don't raise illogical arguments from a few generations prior. If anything, their sophistication was LESS in those days, if they didn't have children until 130 years of their being on earth, when now we usually pull off this feat by the time we reach our mid-twenties, if not earlier.

* The line about "untenable" in context, is this:
"To think that Rivka is three years old and understands the idea of offering water to camels, can physically shlep water back and forth tens of times to feed 10 camels, is given respect to make her own decision whether she’ll go with Avraham’s servant, is viewed as a marriageable prospect, and is appreciated by Yitzchak, as his wife, to fill the void in his life left by his mother’s passing is, unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking."

This is NOT saying Rashi did not consider all this. This is saying that Rabbi Billet is explaining why he prefers to side with the approach of the other commentaries he quotes because, just as Tosafos had a problem with Rivkah being three for - perhaps - all these reasons, calling her three and accepting that as pshat is very difficult to understand.

I know about Yitzchak waiting for her to be "r'uayah l'biah" but, honestly. How is a three-year old, no matter how sophisticated, going to be giving comfort to Yitzchak over the loss of his mother? (unless you'll argue that years pass in the same pasuk that says ותהי לו לאשה ויאהביה וינחם יצחק אחרי אמו - in which case you're agreeing with Rabbi Billet.)

And finally I find it fascinating how many people suppose they KNOW what Rabbi Billet is thinking, and how many are so quick to call him an apikores for jumping on Tosfos' band wagon over Rashi's.

Fools. Absolute fools attack a person instead of debating the merits of ideas. And of thinking differently than you do.

Rabbi Billet was clearly mockin the Idea that Rashi may be right. He begins the article with this
"You are a graduate of a yeshiva education and you still say three years old. And you justify this by saying that “three-year-olds were more sophisticated in those days"

In his Rashi's approach even after you add the explanation that they were more sophisticated is still unintelligent.

I am not going to repeat everything that I have written before. However, I dont clearly understand why at what age they had children has to do with how mature they were at what age. All I wrote was that if they were able to live up to (close) to a thousand years, they most likely were built differently which makes it very possible that they were very mature at a very young age. At what age they had children makes no difference and does not suggest that they were less mature. I alos am not sure that they didn't have children before that date, it's just that the torah only mentioned the ones that were important for the later generations. The torah always adds thet he had boys and girls, but only mentions one or two.

The bottom line is that to accept one pshat over another because of a logic that kids are meant to be cute and not get married and busy exploring religion and say that this is the reason Tosfos said otherwise is foolish, because you are discounting Rashi as ignorant. It's obvious now and then that to marry at age 3 is way to young and to say Rashi missed that and anybody who accepts Rashi is unintelligent is Apikorses, and that is exactly what Rabbi Billet suggest in his very first Paragarph.

134

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:15 PM gsegal@amstock.com Says:

Reply to #113  
WolfishMusings Says:

And here's the crux of the matter: We are not laughing. I may think that Tosfos' opinion on the matter is more logical than Rashi's. That doesn't mean that I'm "laughing at" Rashi (as the student in your story did WRT R. Yochanan).

I can respect someone deeply and still disagree with them at the same time. I have the utmost respect for Rashi, but, in this case, I'm forced to conclude that Tosfos' opinion if more logical.

Respect does not mean that I have to agree with everything they say.

The Wolf

And here's the crux of the matter: We are not laughing. I may think that Tosfos' opinion on the matter is more logical than Rashi's. That doesn't mean that I'm "laughing at" Rashi (as the student in your story did WRT R. Yochanan).

I can respect someone deeply and still disagree with them at the same time. I have the utmost respect for Rashi, but, in this case, I'm forced to conclude that Tosfos' opinion if more logical.

Respect does not mean that I have to agree with everything they say.

The Wolf

Who are you to offer your opinion between these 'Rishonim'. These rishonim are malochim we have no 'hasogo' what Rashi and Tosfos were but the mesora handed down through all the generations from the Rishonim on is that Rash's pshat is the accepted version. Of course there are other medroshim (that Rashi knew) but the pshat is what he wrote. Somone who questions Rashi is lacking in their beliefs. We know the saying 'Im rishonim Lemalochim Onoo Kivnei odom Vim Rishonim kivnei Odom onoo kechamorim' This does not just mean thousands of years ago but a generation before us. for someone to say 'he likes this rishons opinion because it makes more sense' he is in fact saying that chas vesholom the other rishon is wrong or made a mistake, these rishonim are like malochim in human clothing they do not make mistakes it is us who are like chamorim who make the mistakes we do not understand what these rishonim are saying.

135

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #104  
Anonymous Says:

You made 2 points you didn't intend to:

1. The stones and the not eating were a NESS as recorded in chazal. No mention of a NESS regarding Rivka being underage.

2. Just as we have differing chazals regarding the 2 Nissim you mentioned so too has the good rabbi mentioned a second opinion of the rishonim and earlier chachomim.

the not eating doesnt state anywhere it was a ness so please have your facts straight before you criticize other ppl

136

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #104  
Anonymous Says:

You made 2 points you didn't intend to:

1. The stones and the not eating were a NESS as recorded in chazal. No mention of a NESS regarding Rivka being underage.

2. Just as we have differing chazals regarding the 2 Nissim you mentioned so too has the good rabbi mentioned a second opinion of the rishonim and earlier chachomim.

oh i see how you are so now those two nissim i mentioned you seem to be attacking Rashi again as to say since it cant happen these days there is no way it couldve happened i was just stating what is written in the torah if you like you can disagree but i dont recall ever learning or seeing any sefer disagree with those nissim so i think you should think before you write

137

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #103  
Anonymous Says:

You call name calling and accusations of being an apikores intelligent discussion. Soon you will call molestation love r"l.

calling someone an apikores is not insulting obviously the truth hurts and why dont you just stick to one subject.................... or are you being choshed another yid which is quite the same as insulting..... hmmmmmmm i thought so

138

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:57 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #132  
Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

Better yet, not in the Gemora but in the Chumush. Moshe Rabbeinu wrote on himself "vayomos Moshe"; he wrote as he was told by HaShem.

Yes, but my point was this. He stated that any Torah that would later be thought up was given to Moshe *at Sinai*. My question is this: was Moshe told of the drashos regarding his sin and death at Sinai?

The Wolf

139

 Nov 19, 2008 at 03:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #87  
Wolfish Musings Says:

Sigh. So, let me ask this question, I can choose two options: 1. Rashi was right and she had miraculous super-strength, or 2. The ibn Ezra and Tosfos are right and she didn't. Why do I *have* to take Rashi's view over other Rishonim? Why can't I be somech on other perfectly held views?

Secondly, again, I asked you to stop the ad-hominem attacks. Address my point, not my name, which was given to me b'ruach hakodesh.

The Wolf

firstly again just like the rabbi (so called) you will take sides or some other rishon's opinion so it fits your understanding thats apikorses i am and no one else that is disagreeing with the rabbi and u and some other apikorsim are not saying that rishonim and achronim dont argue or ppl hold like this one or that one we are saying you cant chose whats best for u or that this one makes more sense to me so i will go with this opinion that is your mistake which you keep avoiding.

secondly i chose not to go according to your opinion that your name was bruach hakodesh their are other opinions that say differently... thats the only way you understand so i will talk on your level

140

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:49 PM The Truth Says:

Thank you VIN for putting a bit of Torah up here, although the way people treat each other is still up to its usual low standards. (How we love it!)

Just my 2 cent: As far as I see it, R' Billet is just stating another opinion of the Rishonim other than Rashi that everyone pretends to know. I am not aware of anyone nowadays who is great enough to argue with either Rashi or Tosfos and I'm sure 99% of people who read & comment on VIN are no where near the level of really understanding either , but it seems that they try!

141

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:46 PM Yudi Mandel Says:

Reply to #105  
Emes Says:

Furthermore, it is permitted to say that a particular Rishon or Achron made a mistake (not that that is what the author is saying, nor is it relevant to the article)

The Torah discusses what happens when ALL SEVENTY ONE members of the Sanhedrin make an erroneous psak, al achas kamo vekamo a single Rov a thousand years later.

Infallible clergy are not part of our religion.

Exactly

142

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:41 PM Wolfish Musings Says:

Reply to #134  
gsegal@amstock.com Says:

And here's the crux of the matter: We are not laughing. I may think that Tosfos' opinion on the matter is more logical than Rashi's. That doesn't mean that I'm "laughing at" Rashi (as the student in your story did WRT R. Yochanan).

I can respect someone deeply and still disagree with them at the same time. I have the utmost respect for Rashi, but, in this case, I'm forced to conclude that Tosfos' opinion if more logical.

Respect does not mean that I have to agree with everything they say.

The Wolf

Who are you to offer your opinion between these 'Rishonim'. These rishonim are malochim we have no 'hasogo' what Rashi and Tosfos were but the mesora handed down through all the generations from the Rishonim on is that Rash's pshat is the accepted version. Of course there are other medroshim (that Rashi knew) but the pshat is what he wrote. Somone who questions Rashi is lacking in their beliefs. We know the saying 'Im rishonim Lemalochim Onoo Kivnei odom Vim Rishonim kivnei Odom onoo kechamorim' This does not just mean thousands of years ago but a generation before us. for someone to say 'he likes this rishons opinion because it makes more sense' he is in fact saying that chas vesholom the other rishon is wrong or made a mistake, these rishonim are like malochim in human clothing they do not make mistakes it is us who are like chamorim who make the mistakes we do not understand what these rishonim are saying.

"These rishonim are malochim"

No, they are people. Exceptional people to be certain, but they are people.

"Somone who questions Rashi is lacking in their beliefs."

Like Tosfos or the ibn Ezra?

The Wolf

143

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #129  
WolfishMusings Says:

"Achronim are not allowed to argue with Reshonim."

Actually, that's not true. Acharonim *do* argue against Rishonim. For example, the Rishonim said Akdamus on Shavous *after* the first pasuk was lained. The Taz, however, argues on this and maintained that Akdamus should be recited before laining starts. And guess what? We hold like the Acharon.

"you knuckleheads"

Once again, is it too much to ask for civil discourse? Is it too much to ask that you act like an adult and not engage in ad-hominem attacks?

The Wolf

I'm not familiar with the exact details of the machlokes you mention. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Achronim are not allowed to argue with Reshonim. If you find one or two instances to the contrary, that doesn't change the fact. There are many questions one may have regarding the Torah, i.e. your question regarding how is it possible that Moshe knew about his death at Har Sinai and your example of Akdamus. I at least know that I don't know everything and even though I may have questions, I know there are answers and that greater men than me questioned and answered those questions. You, however, it seems, use questions in order to contradict sound arguments.

I felt compelled to use word "Knuckleheads" when I see people arguing with Reshonim as if they could comprehend even 1/100th of 1% the knowledge and kedushah of the Reshonim. Civil discourse is good for the goyim arguing sports, not when you hear Jewish people making Rashi sound like some regular man on the street. Not when you hear people with the title "Rabbi" argue with Rashi as if he is on Rashi's level. That should make any erlicher yid blood boil with anger at the chutzpah of todays generation. Like it says in Yeshayah "Bikvusah dimshicha chutzpah Yasge" BTW, when I used the term "Knuckleheads" I was trying to be polite.

144

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #72  
Anonymous Says:

I once heard R' Shalom Shvadron tell a story. He had an uncle that told him, "When Chazal say that when Moshiach comes 'gluskaos' (cakes, bulkelach) will grow from trees, it does not mean literally. Only that the great Shefa Tov that will be in the world at that time will make it seem like that." R" Shalom responded, Apikorus! The uncle then said, "But it's a Rambam!" and he quoted the Rambam where he says just that. R' Shalom responded, "Du bist noch altz an apikorus". But the uncle asked, "Ay, the Rambam?" R' SHalom's response, which fits here as well, was "The Rambam has no shailos in believing Chazal. If Chazal say that bulkelach will grow, then bulkelach will grow. As it happens, The Rambam DArshans a possuk that it means something slightly different. But you, who have never seen bulkelach growing on trees and can't imagine it happening, and therefore you look for alternative pshatim that fit your small mind a little better, you are an apikorus!"

According to R' Shalom, to quote the author above, the concept of Rivka getting married at 3 is "unequivocally, untenable to my line of thinking." he is not arguing on Rashi because of the Sifri, but because it conflicts with his weltanschaaung (or however that is spelled). That is apikorusus.
(The full vort can be found in Lev Shalom on pasrshas Vayechi, on the topic of Yaakov Avinu lo mes)

Well said. Thanks for your contribution.

145

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:39 PM WolfishMusings Says:

Reply to #139  
Anonymous Says:

firstly again just like the rabbi (so called) you will take sides or some other rishon's opinion so it fits your understanding thats apikorses i am and no one else that is disagreeing with the rabbi and u and some other apikorsim are not saying that rishonim and achronim dont argue or ppl hold like this one or that one we are saying you cant chose whats best for u or that this one makes more sense to me so i will go with this opinion that is your mistake which you keep avoiding.

secondly i chose not to go according to your opinion that your name was bruach hakodesh their are other opinions that say differently... thats the only way you understand so i will talk on your level

"you will take sides or some other rishon's opinion so it fits your understanding thats apikorses"

Interesting... and yet, other people here can choose Rashi's version over Tosfos because it fits *their* understanding, but they aren't called apikorsim.

"secondly i chose not to go according to your opinion that your name was bruach hakodesh their are other opinions that say differently... thats the only way you understand so i will talk on your level ”"

That's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. But if that's so, then by saying that I am an apikorus because of my name (as you said, my name says it all) then you are casting aspersions on thousands of Jews worldwide.

The Wolf

146

 Nov 19, 2008 at 04:35 PM random jew Says:

Abarbanel, in his intro to one of the books of the chumash (although I can not for the life of me remember which one and as we moved recently my Abarbanel is not available) pokes fun at other commentators. He refers to Rashi as "a simple grammarian". Apikoras? No. Well known and studied torah scholar.

Now, I am not saying the author is on par with the Abarbanel or any of the other rishonim/achronim/tanoim/etc. I am saying that perhaps many of you are using "Apikoras" a little too liberally. Soemone who looks at things differently may be wrong, but he is not necessailry an apikoras!

I would be very, very careful before tossing aroun that sort of label.

147

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:01 PM Anonymous Says:

the chillul hashem that billet caaused here could have major ramifications and bring a midas hadin we must all stand up for hashem and his torah and denounce the bizayon hatorah and chilull shem shamayim.

148

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:10 PM Use Your Head Says:

Anonymous, do you know why the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed? Because Torah scholars did not treat each other respectfully. So if anyone is causing "bizayon hatorah and chillull shem shamayim", it would be you, for the way you denigrate someone is clearly more of a Torah scholar than you are.

149

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #143  
Anonymous Says:

I'm not familiar with the exact details of the machlokes you mention. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Achronim are not allowed to argue with Reshonim. If you find one or two instances to the contrary, that doesn't change the fact. There are many questions one may have regarding the Torah, i.e. your question regarding how is it possible that Moshe knew about his death at Har Sinai and your example of Akdamus. I at least know that I don't know everything and even though I may have questions, I know there are answers and that greater men than me questioned and answered those questions. You, however, it seems, use questions in order to contradict sound arguments.

I felt compelled to use word "Knuckleheads" when I see people arguing with Reshonim as if they could comprehend even 1/100th of 1% the knowledge and kedushah of the Reshonim. Civil discourse is good for the goyim arguing sports, not when you hear Jewish people making Rashi sound like some regular man on the street. Not when you hear people with the title "Rabbi" argue with Rashi as if he is on Rashi's level. That should make any erlicher yid blood boil with anger at the chutzpah of todays generation. Like it says in Yeshayah "Bikvusah dimshicha chutzpah Yasge" BTW, when I used the term "Knuckleheads" I was trying to be polite.

"You, however, it seems, use questions in order to contradict sound arguments".

In case you misunderstand what I meant... I will rephrase it. You, however, use questions you may have on a topic to contradict stated facts.

150

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #146  
random jew Says:

Abarbanel, in his intro to one of the books of the chumash (although I can not for the life of me remember which one and as we moved recently my Abarbanel is not available) pokes fun at other commentators. He refers to Rashi as "a simple grammarian". Apikoras? No. Well known and studied torah scholar.

Now, I am not saying the author is on par with the Abarbanel or any of the other rishonim/achronim/tanoim/etc. I am saying that perhaps many of you are using "Apikoras" a little too liberally. Soemone who looks at things differently may be wrong, but he is not necessailry an apikoras!

I would be very, very careful before tossing aroun that sort of label.

Rabbi Billet was clearly mockin the Idea that Rashi may be right. He begins the article with this
"You are a graduate of a yeshiva education and you still say three years old. And you justify this by saying that “three-year-olds were more sophisticated in those days"

If yiu can just dismiss Rashi's Pshat as childish and not suit for a garduate of Yseshivah, where do you stop? Can I make that same argument against a Tanna or an Amorah, their counterparts do so, so why cant I? Welcome to the reform movement. No you cannot disagree with Rashi just because you see fit to do so. You may have a question and therefor go with another pshat, but you are not entitled to disagree with him as you are not on his level. You can just say Tosfos says otherwise and I'll go with Tosfos, because of the reason tosfos states. You cant make your own logic in order to disagree with Rashi who is not on your level and say that this is what Tosfos meant. It's like trying to make an obvious argument against Einstien when your not a scientist and say Einstien didn't think about it.

151

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:07 PM Milhouse Says:

1. Rashi in chumosh gives only pshat. He does not bring medroshim that are not necessary to explain the chumosh. He says she was three because that is the only way to understand the simple meaning of the psukim. Are there other medroshim, with different ages? Sure there are. But as the author would surely agree, we are not obligated to take every medrosh literally; pshat usually trumps medrosh, and pshat is that she was 3.

2. The biggest proof is from the beginning of Toldos, when Yitzchok and Rivko prayed for children. According to the author, that she was 14 when she got married and 34 when they prayed for children and were answered, why did they wait so long? Rashi gives a simple explanation for the 20-year delay: until she was 13 they didn't expect anything to happen, because she was too young; once ten years had passed after she was able to have children, and she still hadn't had any, they decided to daven.

By the way, this Rashi proves that girls in those days were not more mature than nowadays. If Rivko didn't expect to get pregnant until 13, that means that when she was 3 she was physically the same as our 3-year-olds. And the Torah approves of her getting married at that age. There's no explaning this away.

As for how such a small girl managed to carry water for the whole family, note that nowhere is it written that she was fetching the family's water supply. My guess is the family maids went out with large pitchers to get water for the family, and Rivka tagged along with a doll-sized pitcher, being a "big girl" and "helping". The Eved Avrohom asked her for a drink of water, and that much she could reasonably have given him from her pitcher. When she offered to draw water for all the camels that was very generous of her, and showed what a big heart she had, but we're told that she was helped by a miracle - without one it may well have taken her all evening, by which time someone would have come looking for her.

152

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:44 PM Anonymous Says:

The gemara in the 7th perek of sanhedrin makes a calculation that Batsheva was 6 when she had the dead baby and 7 when she had shlomo hamelech
the gemara later also brings a story with the granddaughter of the Roman Caesar that got married at a young age and when she heard that she could get married at 6 lamented the fact that she wasted years in her fathers house
The Gemara in the former case specifically says that "Nishtanu hativim" aka "the times have changed"

153

 Nov 19, 2008 at 06:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #152  
Anonymous Says:

The gemara in the 7th perek of sanhedrin makes a calculation that Batsheva was 6 when she had the dead baby and 7 when she had shlomo hamelech
the gemara later also brings a story with the granddaughter of the Roman Caesar that got married at a young age and when she heard that she could get married at 6 lamented the fact that she wasted years in her fathers house
The Gemara in the former case specifically says that "Nishtanu hativim" aka "the times have changed"

As they say, Torah is poor in one place but rich in general. Maybe if Rabbi Billet had a Eminas Chachamim and would realize that you cannot argue or disagree with someone who is wiser then you.

There you have it a Gemora that states exactly what these people who most likely learned less the R' Billet, but had the respect they were taught to have for Rishonim.

I would also like to add that the pasuk says that Rivka took along her nurse. Can you imagine a 14 year old nursing?

154

 Nov 19, 2008 at 06:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #66  
Anonymous Says:

My goodness, so many angry Jews!

Why are there so many people willing to take the time to attack the writer (BTW, #2, clearly identified!)and so few that aren't afraid to even identify themselves? Could it be that deep down, inside, they know they're just being silly and venting their suppressed anger here? Certainly it is valid to prefer one opinion when the rishonim offer several...

Yossi Ginzberg

No, it means there are so many Jews willing to stand up for TRUTH. Of course Jewish people get angry when someone desecrates the Torah.

155

 Nov 19, 2008 at 06:36 PM Anonymous Says:

I believe after a full day of arguing Rabbi Billet was proven to be wrong. I also believe that he is an apikores or close to one.

#1 The gemora in Sanhedrin states that Bas Sheva was only 6 when she had her first child.

#2 The Gemora relates that a talmid who questioned what his Rebbe said, because he couldn't believe that it's true, died as a result.

#3 The pasuk clearly states that Rivka had a Minekes when she left her parents (a nurse that feeds babies instead of the mother).

#4 Rabbi Billet begins his article mocking that someone who graduated Yeshivah would still believe Rashi as is.

Rabbi Billet should write an official retraction in his paper and on VIN. He should be afraid of the world to come.

156

 Nov 19, 2008 at 05:50 PM Anonymous Says:

The gemara in sanhedrin is 69b
bais hillel hold "lo gamrinun m'dorot harishonim"
oh and the same gemara said haran had sara at 8

157

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:48 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #125  
Anonymous Says:

Charlie it's Ramban not Rambam. You should not throw out the Ramabam anyhow, because, you wont understand it.

The Rambam was a doctor and there are many frum doctors.

I did say it was Ramban in the original post #117.

And I do know that there are many frum doctors -- I'm married to one,and I work Albert Einstein College of Medicine with may frum colleagues, teaching many frum future doctors!

158

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:43 PM Anonymous Says:

"R' SHalom's response was "The Rambam has no shailos in believing Chazal. If Chazal say that bulkelach will grow, then bulkelach will grow. As it happens, The Rambam DArshans a possuk that it means something slightly different. But you, who have never seen bulkelach growing on trees and can't imagine it happening, and therefore you look for alternative pshatim that fit your small mind a little better, you are an apikorus!"

Actually there are plenty of occasions where Rambam disputed CHazal because he couldn't bring himself to accept what they said. Most famous is where he disputes Chazal regarding astronomy, and says that belief in it was the view of certain mistaken Amoraim. Also in Moreh Nevuchim 1:53 he writes "You must surely know the following celebrated passage in the Talmud--would that all passages in the Talmud were like that!" And there are plenty of other cases where he disputes Chazal.

And there were many Acharonim, and people today, who reject these statements of Rambam. Obviously they don't feel that it's kefirah to argue with a Rishon.

159

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:32 PM Golem Says:

Not a single day in my adult life goes by that I dont admire Rash'I Hakodosh, my Rebbe I feel as he is my father. anyone who learns gemura and rashi will tell you that rashi was written with ruach hakodesh and for a rusha to come to write like the above is so painful and so apikorsich it is really troubling that we even talk about this. he is an apikoras simple for talking down a rishon.
Yours The Golem

160

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:31 PM Anonymous Says:

There are plenty of instances where Acharonim pick and choose between Rishonim depending on what makes more sense to them. E.g. R Akiva Eiger rejecting Rashi and Tosafos' explanation of anatomy because Rambam's view has been proven correct. Or Malbim saying that all the Rishonim who believed in celestial spheres have been proven wrong. Etc., etc., the list is endless. Are they all apikorsim for disagreeing with the views of the Rishonim? Of course not, it's absurd to even raise such a possibility. We generally don't dispute halachos from an earlier period that have been canonized, but one is certainly allowed to disagree on non-halachik matters. Rav Shlomo Fisher writes this explicitly in Derashos Beis Yishai. And the notion of yeridas hadoros does not necessarily mean that earlier generations were more intelligent. Were non-Jews more intelligent too?

161

 Nov 19, 2008 at 09:23 PM Another Anon Says:

To all those quoting the Gemara about how a student was punished for disagreeing with Rav Yochanan merely because he couldn't believe it to be possible - you should know that some of the Rishonim and Acharonim understand that Gemara completely differently. And the reason why they explain it differently is that THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER. See http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%206%20Slifkin.pdf
It's really frustrating to see people calling Rabbi Billet disgusting names based on sources that they haven't even learned properly.

162

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #160  
Anonymous Says:

There are plenty of instances where Acharonim pick and choose between Rishonim depending on what makes more sense to them. E.g. R Akiva Eiger rejecting Rashi and Tosafos' explanation of anatomy because Rambam's view has been proven correct. Or Malbim saying that all the Rishonim who believed in celestial spheres have been proven wrong. Etc., etc., the list is endless. Are they all apikorsim for disagreeing with the views of the Rishonim? Of course not, it's absurd to even raise such a possibility. We generally don't dispute halachos from an earlier period that have been canonized, but one is certainly allowed to disagree on non-halachik matters. Rav Shlomo Fisher writes this explicitly in Derashos Beis Yishai. And the notion of yeridas hadoros does not necessarily mean that earlier generations were more intelligent. Were non-Jews more intelligent too?

Of course when something is said based on science according to some Rishonim you can disagree if it has been disproven. However, you cannot disagree with something they say based on a verse in the torah even though you have a better phsat. You canot disagree with something they say that they were mkabel. It also depends on intent of the person disagreeing. As the Meharsah says in sanhedrin 100b “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning.”

I am quite surprized that even after the Gemara in Sanhedrin 69b was quoted that Bas Sheva had her first child at the age of 6, the second (Shlomo Hamelech) at 7 and that Sarah the mother of Yitzchak was born to her father at the age of 8, you heretics are still arguing. Dont you realize how stupid this is to try to disagree with Rashi based on your logic about what is right and wrong moraly. It's like trying to have an argument with Einstien when your not even a scientist, it's just plain stupid. He's not saying he doesn't understand it because he has a posuk that says the otherwise, he arguing moral values with Rashi. He starts his argument by how someone who graduated Yeshivah still repeats Rashi's pshat as if Rashi was meant fot children. This is an heretic.

163

 Nov 20, 2008 at 12:09 AM Anonymous Says:

"However, you cannot disagree with something they say based on a verse in the torah even though you have a better phsat. "

Of course you can. The Rishonim themselves often disagreed with Chazal as to peshat in pesukim. And the Acharonim often take issue with the Rishonim. Rabbi Billet's reasons are perfectly legitimate.

164

 Nov 20, 2008 at 12:18 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #163  
Anonymous Says:

"However, you cannot disagree with something they say based on a verse in the torah even though you have a better phsat. "

Of course you can. The Rishonim themselves often disagreed with Chazal as to peshat in pesukim. And the Acharonim often take issue with the Rishonim. Rabbi Billet's reasons are perfectly legitimate.

The only rishonim who would ever ever disagree with a pshat in posuk that Chazal bring would be reform rabbis if they ever existed in the times of Rishonim. However this was the underlying argument between the Tsdokim and the progressive movements. Rabbi Billet insulted Rashi and was wrong as the Gemora clearly relates that Bas Sheva was married at the age of 6 and had her first child at the age of 6 and her second child, Shlomo Hamelech at the age of 7. That same Gemora says that Sarah was born to her father at the age of 8. Rabbi Billet's question are invalid and according to almost all Rishnim he is an heretic, because he fails to believe somethin the chazal said, just because it doesn't go along with line of thinking and his moral values. That is a heretic. He doesn't ask a question, he just disputes Rashi' logic, he considers Rashi his counterpart.

166

 Nov 19, 2008 at 11:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #161  
Another Anon Says:

To all those quoting the Gemara about how a student was punished for disagreeing with Rav Yochanan merely because he couldn't believe it to be possible - you should know that some of the Rishonim and Acharonim understand that Gemara completely differently. And the reason why they explain it differently is that THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER. See http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%206%20Slifkin.pdf
It's really frustrating to see people calling Rabbi Billet disgusting names based on sources that they haven't even learned properly.

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

167

 Nov 20, 2008 at 06:36 AM ilan Says:

So, I've read this article, and every comment on it, and rather than argue a point, I'd like to ask some questions from those who take issue with R' Billet. Let me state that I don't care whether you think he's an apikores (though I do not think so) or even about your opinions on the issue of Rivkah's age, because all of this seems to center on larger issues of how we approach Torah and what justifies expressing opinions about it. So, here goes:

1. Divinity of text
What was given at Sinai, what was written with ruach hakodesh, and what was derived from the (admittedly brilliant) thinking of mortal men, and how do you know which is which? If something written with ruach hakodesh, can anyone disagree with it ever? Could two contradictory opinions both be given with ruach hakodesh?

2. The right to argue
How does someone know if he can disagree with someone else? Are there clear rules set down somewhere for who can argue with whom? More precisely, when does someone know that he is a gadol, able to participate in the discourse? Did Ramban, for instance, get a certification that allowed him to disagree with Rashi? If not, how did he know he could?

3. The reasons for argument
What are the criteria for disagreeing with someone in a non-halachic matter? Is common-sense observation allowed or not? If not, on what criteria do we judge between two midrashim, when trying to understand pesukim?

4. Fallibility
Could Rashi, or some other rishon, be wrong in a single matter of non-halachic Torah - not simply hard to understand or strange, but actually wrong? If so, who has the right to point out his mistake? If not, how far does this infallibility extend? Does anyone nowadays have such infallibility? How does he know that he does, and how do we?

Please, your answers are welcome.

168

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:49 AM ATR Says:

Why are we (our generations) called small minds?
Our generations have actually greater minds that those generations.

It was in the last 100 years plus that Electricity, Communication, Transportation, Physics, Space exploration and Travel, Biology, Science, DNA, Human Gnome mapping, Cloning and Technology and so on was discovered and invented not in the times of Rashi or even Shlomo Hamelech.

While they were great scholars our generations are not small minds by any means!

169

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:46 AM Zam Says:

Reply to #21  
simple jew Says:

This is not "borderline" apikursos this IS apikursos! This is what happens when small minds get all full of themselves in this day and age and chas v'shalom think they can challenge Rashi with their own reasoning as if Rashi was just one opinion and theirs is another. Shame on you VIN for reprinting such an article (even if it is not your view).

Who are you to decide what apikursus is???? Rashi did not mean for his views on Chumash to be irrefutable or even necessarily correct! Rashi's job when commenting on Chumash is not to give a bottom line fact; it's to point out what our sources have to say and allow US to figure them out. Maybe (I don't really believe this) according to your logic YOU are an apikurus for calling the author of this article an apikurus because he was fulfilling Rashi's intent to spread curiosity and Torah study!!!! (Look at how ridiculous that statement is. Think about it the next time u call someone an apikurus)

170

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

"I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time."

No, there is a big difference between 3 and 6. Also, the fact is that according to numerous Geonim and Rishonim, it would also be permitted to disagree with the Gemara's assessments in such non-halachik matters. See the long list of sources in http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%204%20Eisen.pdf

171

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

"The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin."

Good grief, do you lack basic reading comprehension? It says nothing of the sort!

"This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that"
Read the article again. What it shows is that there is a deep divide in Jewish history between rationalists and anti-rationalists, and nobody should dismiss the other as being beyond the pale or Reform.

172

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:00 AM Anonymous Says:

#166, you clearly didn't read the article properly. Rambam holds it was NOT literal.

"The only rishonim who would ever ever disagree with a pshat in posuk that Chazal bring would be reform rabbis if they ever existed in the times of Rishonim."
That's simply not true. The list is endless. For example, RAmban argues on the Mishnah's calculation about the famine in Mitzrayim. Rav CHaim Friedlander in Sifsei CHayim brings a long list of examples of Rishonim and Acharonim who argues with CHazal on pshat in pesukim. Ibn Ezra says in his hakdamah that it is fully permissible to argue on CHazal's pshat in pesukim as long as it does not affect halachah.

It's amazing how many people are condemning Rabbi Billet based on am ha'aratzus.

173

 Nov 20, 2008 at 07:52 AM Jerry Says:

"וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה"-

Does anyone think this is to be taken lierally?

So sometimes the apikores is the one who doesn't take things literally, and sometimes it's the one who does?

How are we to differentiate? By the opinion of the comments on this site?

174

 Nov 20, 2008 at 08:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

"וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה"-
"Does anyone think this is to be taken literally?"

Actually, one of the Baalei Tosafos, Rav Moshe Taku, did take this literally and believed that Hashem has a Very Big Hand!
Of course, when it comes to this, all those people above who said that it's apikorsus to disagree with a Rishon will suddenly have no problem disagreeing with him...

175

 Nov 20, 2008 at 12:04 PM Bubby! Says:

Reply to #110  
Anonymous Says:

Rashi is very hard to understand in this weeks Parsha. Sara was bas 20 kbas 7 in beauty.

While both a 20 year old woman, and a 7 year old girl can be beautiful, the beauty of a 20 year old can lead to impure thoughts much more than the beauty of a 7 year old. Rashi tells us that Sara Imainu's beauty came along with such a purity and kedusha that her beauty did not affect anyone negatively. Her beauty, at 20, was the same as the beauty of a 7 year old.

176

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #172  
Anonymous Says:

#166, you clearly didn't read the article properly. Rambam holds it was NOT literal.

"The only rishonim who would ever ever disagree with a pshat in posuk that Chazal bring would be reform rabbis if they ever existed in the times of Rishonim."
That's simply not true. The list is endless. For example, RAmban argues on the Mishnah's calculation about the famine in Mitzrayim. Rav CHaim Friedlander in Sifsei CHayim brings a long list of examples of Rishonim and Acharonim who argues with CHazal on pshat in pesukim. Ibn Ezra says in his hakdamah that it is fully permissible to argue on CHazal's pshat in pesukim as long as it does not affect halachah.

It's amazing how many people are condemning Rabbi Billet based on am ha'aratzus.

That's not true, he clearly states that the Ramabam even believs that R' Yochanon learns it from a posuk, while the Ran holds that it was Al Pe Kaballah. What he does say is that the Ramabam paskens like another Tana that there will be no difference between no to the days of moshiach only shibud malchus, but not that R' Yochanon didn't mean it litterly. The probelm is if R' Yochanens stand is enged derech hatevh which means he is in disagreement with that other Tana or that is is derech hataveh which means they are in sync. However, the ramabam doesn't say like that Talmud that he doesn't beleive it's possible, he just accepts the halacha like the the other tana, he mentions about if he these two Tanaim disagree. If he would he would be no diiferent that that talmid, which acording to all Rishonm, Rashi, Ran Rashbah and the Ramabam was an apoikores. It's clear in Rabbi lifkins article, I do urge people to read it as it covers many of the questions many asked.

177

 Nov 20, 2008 at 01:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #174  
Anonymous Says:

"וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה"-
"Does anyone think this is to be taken literally?"

Actually, one of the Baalei Tosafos, Rav Moshe Taku, did take this literally and believed that Hashem has a Very Big Hand!
Of course, when it comes to this, all those people above who said that it's apikorsus to disagree with a Rishon will suddenly have no problem disagreeing with him...

I am still waiting for someone to disagree, but you can continue waiting as no one who is against what rabbi Billet will say he disagrees with this pshat. I will say that it was not accepted by the majority of Rishonim, Rambam and Raved included, and is difficult t o understand what he meant, therefor I'll just go with the rest, but to say that I disagree with a Rishon. I just do not want to be considered a kofar which according to the Rambam I am if I accept it. It's a matter of looking what the Rishonim write and going along with the one I understand best, but no to foolishly go into an argument with a Rishon about moral values and say that this Rishon was meant for children as R' Billet suggests.

178

 Nov 20, 2008 at 02:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #170  
Anonymous Says:

"I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time."

No, there is a big difference between 3 and 6. Also, the fact is that according to numerous Geonim and Rishonim, it would also be permitted to disagree with the Gemara's assessments in such non-halachik matters. See the long list of sources in http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%204%20Eisen.pdf

#1 it is an Halachik matter, you didn't bother looking up the Gemora, because if you did you would see.

#2 How much of difference is 6 from 3, besides the fact that Bas Sheva was already married prior to he marriage with Dovid Hamelech. It is also importnat to note that the Gemora says there that not only bas sheva, but her father and grandfather were also married between the ages of 8-9. So now your getting petty over 3 and 6 just to justify a heretic. You still fail to explain why a 14 yr old would need a Mienekes, not that this would be a issue if tosfos hold so, but for rabbi Billet the would definitly be a argument.

179

 Nov 20, 2008 at 02:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

#166 and #167, your comments are incoherent.

180

 Nov 20, 2008 at 02:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #172  
Anonymous Says:

#166, you clearly didn't read the article properly. Rambam holds it was NOT literal.

"The only rishonim who would ever ever disagree with a pshat in posuk that Chazal bring would be reform rabbis if they ever existed in the times of Rishonim."
That's simply not true. The list is endless. For example, RAmban argues on the Mishnah's calculation about the famine in Mitzrayim. Rav CHaim Friedlander in Sifsei CHayim brings a long list of examples of Rishonim and Acharonim who argues with CHazal on pshat in pesukim. Ibn Ezra says in his hakdamah that it is fully permissible to argue on CHazal's pshat in pesukim as long as it does not affect halachah.

It's amazing how many people are condemning Rabbi Billet based on am ha'aratzus.

Again you are giving me homework.

#1 Even according to you if you have another pshat in posuk, but not that you're entitled to disagree just because it cant be, then you're no different then the Talmud of R' Yochanon which the Gemora says was an appikors, because he failed to believe it can be.

#2 The Iben Ezra says to the contaray, I am not going to be like the Tzedokim who didn't value the words of the chachamim. I will just say pshat in posik as I see fit, even though there may be another pshat in chaza"l as ther 70 ways to the torah, but to say Rashi's pshat does not agree with your moral values and it just cant be, that is derech Htizdokim. He also says that a lot of pshutim in pesukim are only al derech drash, nothing wrong with that, that's why Rashi wrote his chibbur, to teach us "pshat" as he saw it. The Ramban and others felt that Rashi was still too much al derech drash and went further to clarify things al derech pshat as they saw fit.

181

 Nov 20, 2008 at 02:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

"then you're no different then the Talmud of R' Yochanon which the Gemora says was an appikors, because he failed to believe it can be."

Again, that is only how some authorities explain the Gemara. Others feel that what Rav Yochanan said can definitely not be, and therefore the Gemara must mean that the student was accountable for taking it at face value.

"to say Rashi's pshat does not agree with your moral values and it just cant be, that is derech Htizdokim."
Um, first of all, that's not what Rabbi Billet said, and second of all, that's not derech Hitzdokim.

What do you think of Rav Moshe Taku's view that Hashem has a body? I'll bet that based on your religious values, you say that he was very wrong.

182

 Nov 20, 2008 at 04:08 PM Anonymous Says:

In the Artscroll Tanach, Avrohom is quoted as saying to Eliezer that the servant is to go to Avrohom's birthplace to find a wife for Yizhak, Eliezer then asks what would happen if the WOMAN is not willing to come back to Caanan with him, and Avrohom replies that if the WOMAN is not willing to come back with him, then the servant is cleared from his oath. Note, Avrohom says "WOMAN", not "little girl". Clearly, our founding Patriarch intended his 37-year-old son to marry a WOMAN of marrigable age, not a tiny girl just out of toddlerhood. And Rivka's physical ability to bring many buckts of water for the camels (a gallon of water weighs eight pounds and most buckets hold several gallons) and her sophisticated speech when she is discussing with her familily whether to go with Elizer are way beyond that of any three-year old. And don't take my word for it -- Ibn Ezra agrees, as have a number of learned rabbonim. And have a little kibbud rav before you mindlessly attack R' Billet as an apikoros and a kofer.

183

 Nov 20, 2008 at 04:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #181  
Anonymous Says:

"then you're no different then the Talmud of R' Yochanon which the Gemora says was an appikors, because he failed to believe it can be."

Again, that is only how some authorities explain the Gemara. Others feel that what Rav Yochanan said can definitely not be, and therefore the Gemara must mean that the student was accountable for taking it at face value.

"to say Rashi's pshat does not agree with your moral values and it just cant be, that is derech Htizdokim."
Um, first of all, that's not what Rabbi Billet said, and second of all, that's not derech Hitzdokim.

What do you think of Rav Moshe Taku's view that Hashem has a body? I'll bet that based on your religious values, you say that he was very wrong.

In regard to the Rishon who says that G-D has a long hand I already responded and you fail to understand true Orthdox Jews if you think I would argue with a Rishon. I wrote that the majority of Rishonim disagree and I'll just go with the majority, but I know nothing about G-D only what we were told by our Rishonim. The Ramabam says I would be an heretic and a Kofar if I accepted that point of view and it's in one of the 13 Ani Mamins that G-D has no humane features and has no limits, so I'll go along with the majority and stay on the safe side, but I would never argue against a Rishon if I know that a Rishon says so, I'll just say either I do not understand or that I'll go with the majority in such sensative issues. The Rava"d disagrees that you are a heretic because of this Rishon, howver also beleives that it's foolish to say so. It's quite possible that the Ramabam did not know that there was a Rishon who held so, but even if he did, he most likely would have held his ground, he was in his caliber.

Rabbi Billet is not in the same caliber as Rashi, he doesn't even know the Gemora in Sanhedrin 69b or he would have not written such a foolish essay. Rabbi Billet does not base his argument on pesukim, but on his moral judgement and the spirit in which he opens his article is disrespectful to Rashi, Yeshivah Graduate still reapeating Rashi, he does or doesn't hate Rashi, Children meant to be cute. All these point to an attitude. However even if it would be the most respectful Article, he still would be an heretic for disagreeing with a Rishon about something which is possible based on his disbelief, not a posuk or Kaballah when rashi does base it on pesukim and kaballah.

Abut having a debate with Rashi on Moral Values maybe it's not exactly derech htisdomkim, but it's along that line. However it's definitly foolish it's like arguing with Einstien when you're not even a scientist.

184

 Nov 20, 2008 at 04:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #181  
Anonymous Says:

"then you're no different then the Talmud of R' Yochanon which the Gemora says was an appikors, because he failed to believe it can be."

Again, that is only how some authorities explain the Gemara. Others feel that what Rav Yochanan said can definitely not be, and therefore the Gemara must mean that the student was accountable for taking it at face value.

"to say Rashi's pshat does not agree with your moral values and it just cant be, that is derech Htizdokim."
Um, first of all, that's not what Rabbi Billet said, and second of all, that's not derech Hitzdokim.

What do you think of Rav Moshe Taku's view that Hashem has a body? I'll bet that based on your religious values, you say that he was very wrong.

I went back and looked for what you calim says, but it does't. Your talking about Rabbi Shem Tov ibn Shaprut who claims that a different Gemora which talks about a diiferent Gemora from Rabbon Gamliel which states about that women will have children every day of the year and R' Avraham Ben Hramban which speaks about the Leviyatan and this is what Rabbi Shem Tov ibn Shaprut writes it's pretty similar to what R' Avraham Ben Hramaban writes.

"For what advantage would there be in such things, save for those lacking in intellect who think that the goal of man is to eat and drink and enjoy this world. Rather, the intent of their saying that women will give birth every day is that God will strengthen the natural forces such that women will not miscarry, and that there will not be infant deaths (i.e. giving birth will be an “everyday occurrence” with no risk of tragedy)… And because that tudent did not devote himself to understanding this, but rather took the words at face value in order to mock the words of Chazal, his rebbe grew angry at him"

So here you see that the issue is not that he took it literally, the issue is that he took it literally WITH THE INTENT to mock his Rebbe. No mention about the story of Reb Yochanon which the Rambam takes literal because he believes that the Pasuk does say that and is also quite possible al pe derech hateva. That is also why Rabbon Gamliel's talmud was not punished because it's a supernatural creation which his talmud had a pasuk which contradicted it based on a pasuk "there is nothing new under the sun” and was only in the form of a question and he was right according to the source you quoted and was only corrected because he should of paid more attention and therefore may have been doing it with the inention of mocking his Rebbe. However the student of R' Yochanen (like R' Billet) did not base his skepticism on any Torah source, but on his own judgement.

185

 Nov 20, 2008 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #182  
Anonymous Says:

In the Artscroll Tanach, Avrohom is quoted as saying to Eliezer that the servant is to go to Avrohom's birthplace to find a wife for Yizhak, Eliezer then asks what would happen if the WOMAN is not willing to come back to Caanan with him, and Avrohom replies that if the WOMAN is not willing to come back with him, then the servant is cleared from his oath. Note, Avrohom says "WOMAN", not "little girl". Clearly, our founding Patriarch intended his 37-year-old son to marry a WOMAN of marrigable age, not a tiny girl just out of toddlerhood. And Rivka's physical ability to bring many buckts of water for the camels (a gallon of water weighs eight pounds and most buckets hold several gallons) and her sophisticated speech when she is discussing with her familily whether to go with Elizer are way beyond that of any three-year old. And don't take my word for it -- Ibn Ezra agrees, as have a number of learned rabbonim. And have a little kibbud rav before you mindlessly attack R' Billet as an apikoros and a kofer.

How foolish of you to talk like that when Rashi clearly disagrees. The gemora in Sanhedrin states that Dovid married Bas Sheva when she was only 6. Haran gave birth to Sarah when he was only 8. Bas Sheva father and grandfather gave birth at the age of 8 or 9. WHO ARE YOU TO DISAGREE WHAT IS RIGHT?

186

 Nov 20, 2008 at 05:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #182  
Anonymous Says:

In the Artscroll Tanach, Avrohom is quoted as saying to Eliezer that the servant is to go to Avrohom's birthplace to find a wife for Yizhak, Eliezer then asks what would happen if the WOMAN is not willing to come back to Caanan with him, and Avrohom replies that if the WOMAN is not willing to come back with him, then the servant is cleared from his oath. Note, Avrohom says "WOMAN", not "little girl". Clearly, our founding Patriarch intended his 37-year-old son to marry a WOMAN of marrigable age, not a tiny girl just out of toddlerhood. And Rivka's physical ability to bring many buckts of water for the camels (a gallon of water weighs eight pounds and most buckets hold several gallons) and her sophisticated speech when she is discussing with her familily whether to go with Elizer are way beyond that of any three-year old. And don't take my word for it -- Ibn Ezra agrees, as have a number of learned rabbonim. And have a little kibbud rav before you mindlessly attack R' Billet as an apikoros and a kofer.

..And have a little kibbud rav before you mindlessly attack R' Billet as an apikoros and a kofer..

I like that last line! Let him (or her - maybe a female 'rabbi' at that!) rant whatever he wants at a Rishon, and have Klal Yisroel have 'kibud rav' for that 'thing'.

To that author: Kindly get your ugly head out from between the toes of the RISHONIM - indeed Malochim. אם הראשונים כמלאכים וכו . You have the חוצפה to be מכריע between them?!? Are you allowed to do so even to your own father? (ולא מכריעו).

עפרא לפומיה...

187

 Nov 20, 2008 at 08:12 PM Yankev Goldstein Says:

Reply to #151  
Milhouse Says:

1. Rashi in chumosh gives only pshat. He does not bring medroshim that are not necessary to explain the chumosh. He says she was three because that is the only way to understand the simple meaning of the psukim. Are there other medroshim, with different ages? Sure there are. But as the author would surely agree, we are not obligated to take every medrosh literally; pshat usually trumps medrosh, and pshat is that she was 3.

2. The biggest proof is from the beginning of Toldos, when Yitzchok and Rivko prayed for children. According to the author, that she was 14 when she got married and 34 when they prayed for children and were answered, why did they wait so long? Rashi gives a simple explanation for the 20-year delay: until she was 13 they didn't expect anything to happen, because she was too young; once ten years had passed after she was able to have children, and she still hadn't had any, they decided to daven.

By the way, this Rashi proves that girls in those days were not more mature than nowadays. If Rivko didn't expect to get pregnant until 13, that means that when she was 3 she was physically the same as our 3-year-olds. And the Torah approves of her getting married at that age. There's no explaning this away.

As for how such a small girl managed to carry water for the whole family, note that nowhere is it written that she was fetching the family's water supply. My guess is the family maids went out with large pitchers to get water for the family, and Rivka tagged along with a doll-sized pitcher, being a "big girl" and "helping". The Eved Avrohom asked her for a drink of water, and that much she could reasonably have given him from her pitcher. When she offered to draw water for all the camels that was very generous of her, and showed what a big heart she had, but we're told that she was helped by a miracle - without one it may well have taken her all evening, by which time someone would have come looking for her.

Milhouse, with your #2 argument, how come Soroh and Avrohom waited so long to have kids? She was at least 65 when they got married?

Who are you to decide what reasons people don't have kids? Everyone knows the Imahos were akaros and could not have kids until Hakodosh boruch hu opened their rechem. Age is irrelevant, as is the amount of time they davened.

Rivkah could have *potentially* had children for all twenty years of her marriage. It doesn't matter. She was going to have kids when HKBH wanted her to have kids. Just like Soroh Imeinu and Rochel and Leah too.

188

 Nov 20, 2008 at 08:05 PM Michoel Zylberstein Says:

I was reading what Abe Schwartz in #131 said. It would seem that anyone who argues with Reish Lakish is an apikores, according to many of the "unthinking" respondents on this list. Because Reish Lakish said Avrohom was three and the other opinion says Avrohom was 48. I guess that means Rav Yochanan in the gemara is an apikores, because he always argues with Reish Lakish.

I also wonder: whenever the gemara records a new machlokes with unidentified (AKA Anonymous) opinions, the gemara attempts to identify who the anonymous people really are so they can support these opinions with legitimate talmidei chachomim. Obviously, if an opinion is Anonymous, it is meaningless. This is why every "Stam mishneh" is Rav Meir. Because anonymous opinions are worthless.

So to all you weak-minded amaratzim who have nothing better to do than call a person about whom you know nothing "Apikores" I have one thing to say. Shame on you. You are vile and disgusting individuals who hide behind the shame of your anonymity. You embarrass every Jew on the planet with your vile vitriol as you demonstrate communist tendencies that a person who "thinks" differently than you does not have a right to an opinion.

I can only imagine that if any non-Jew (or any normal Jew for that matter, for most commenters on this article have questionable normalcy) were to come across this, they would only have horrible things to say about almost every commenter.

This is "lishmoh"? This is an argument "l'shem shomayim"? The question here has absolutely no halakhic ramification. Rabbi Billet does not disrespect Rashi. He challenges his targeted audience, not the idiot-savants of vosizneias, to ask questions that are VALID questions, and provides a VALID, AUTHORITATIVE, ALTERNATIVE answer.

I feel so sorry for all you brain-dead machines that have never been challenged by your rabbonim, and take everything spoonfed to you as if its Toirah Misinai.

Hakodoish boruch hu gave you a brain. USE IT! THINK! The minute you stop thinking and concede to become a robot (which most of you are and have already become) is the minute you cease to be a human being. Also known as a mentsh.

Most of the commenters here are not mentshen, v'ho'rayah - see above.

I am embarrassed to be linked with you people. I am filled with shame and bushah that we share the same title of "Orthodox Jew." This disgusting demonstration of lashon hora, rechilus, and everything in between is a perfect demonstration of all the things the Chofetz Chaim said were completely assur.

But you people wouldn't understand. You're pre-programmed to be robots. Hamokom yerachem Hamokom yenachem.

189

 Nov 20, 2008 at 08:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #187  
Yankev Goldstein Says:

Milhouse, with your #2 argument, how come Soroh and Avrohom waited so long to have kids? She was at least 65 when they got married?

Who are you to decide what reasons people don't have kids? Everyone knows the Imahos were akaros and could not have kids until Hakodosh boruch hu opened their rechem. Age is irrelevant, as is the amount of time they davened.

Rivkah could have *potentially* had children for all twenty years of her marriage. It doesn't matter. She was going to have kids when HKBH wanted her to have kids. Just like Soroh Imeinu and Rochel and Leah too.

"Who are you"

He was just repeating Rashi's words.

190

 Nov 21, 2008 at 03:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #188  
Michoel Zylberstein Says:

I was reading what Abe Schwartz in #131 said. It would seem that anyone who argues with Reish Lakish is an apikores, according to many of the "unthinking" respondents on this list. Because Reish Lakish said Avrohom was three and the other opinion says Avrohom was 48. I guess that means Rav Yochanan in the gemara is an apikores, because he always argues with Reish Lakish.

I also wonder: whenever the gemara records a new machlokes with unidentified (AKA Anonymous) opinions, the gemara attempts to identify who the anonymous people really are so they can support these opinions with legitimate talmidei chachomim. Obviously, if an opinion is Anonymous, it is meaningless. This is why every "Stam mishneh" is Rav Meir. Because anonymous opinions are worthless.

So to all you weak-minded amaratzim who have nothing better to do than call a person about whom you know nothing "Apikores" I have one thing to say. Shame on you. You are vile and disgusting individuals who hide behind the shame of your anonymity. You embarrass every Jew on the planet with your vile vitriol as you demonstrate communist tendencies that a person who "thinks" differently than you does not have a right to an opinion.

I can only imagine that if any non-Jew (or any normal Jew for that matter, for most commenters on this article have questionable normalcy) were to come across this, they would only have horrible things to say about almost every commenter.

This is "lishmoh"? This is an argument "l'shem shomayim"? The question here has absolutely no halakhic ramification. Rabbi Billet does not disrespect Rashi. He challenges his targeted audience, not the idiot-savants of vosizneias, to ask questions that are VALID questions, and provides a VALID, AUTHORITATIVE, ALTERNATIVE answer.

I feel so sorry for all you brain-dead machines that have never been challenged by your rabbonim, and take everything spoonfed to you as if its Toirah Misinai.

Hakodoish boruch hu gave you a brain. USE IT! THINK! The minute you stop thinking and concede to become a robot (which most of you are and have already become) is the minute you cease to be a human being. Also known as a mentsh.

Most of the commenters here are not mentshen, v'ho'rayah - see above.

I am embarrassed to be linked with you people. I am filled with shame and bushah that we share the same title of "Orthodox Jew." This disgusting demonstration of lashon hora, rechilus, and everything in between is a perfect demonstration of all the things the Chofetz Chaim said were completely assur.

But you people wouldn't understand. You're pre-programmed to be robots. Hamokom yerachem Hamokom yenachem.

If disagreeing with Rashi (as Rabbi Billet) is compatible to Tanaim having an argument, you most likely don’t think that they knew more then us. If so, why cant I make a case against a Tana even if accepted or undisputed by fellow Tanaim. The Pusik says Tefilin belongs between the eyes, take it literally, why not? The Gemora says it meant on the head, above between the eyes, according to you Rabbi Billet can disagree. I believe any non Jew would make that argument. The Torah states, you cant do work on Shabbos, doesn't say I cant do easy stuff that a non Jew would not consider work, i.e. Sochet (squeezing) or Borer (just picking the bone out of the fish, according to most poskim). According to you Rabbi Billet not only can he just disagree, he would say it makes no sense and isn't moral to even have such laws. The death penalty for a 13 year old just picking at his food when warned by his friends, can you imagine?

If you would believe that there is a structure in place how and who can disagree and Tanaim and Rishonim weren’t just regular people, then you would understand the anger being poured out. The Torah isn't just a book; it’s the word of an infinite Hashem. Tanaim and Rishomin were like angels, many of them had Eliyaho Hanavi visit them and were ascended to the heavens through mystical means. If there is a possibility that Torah can make someone so great, how can we who know so much less then Tanaim, Amaraim and Rishonim even make an argument and say we fully understand them and disagree. We try to understand as best as we could, if we don’t we try another commentary, but to disagree, who are we? You also failed to read Rabbi Billets article if you deem it respectful, especially how his very first paragraph, as if Rashi was not meant for Yeshiva graduates or if he hates or loves Rashi. Who is he that does not respect that he needs to be respected?

191

 Nov 21, 2008 at 06:04 AM Eliyahu Says:

Reply to #188  
Michoel Zylberstein Says:

I was reading what Abe Schwartz in #131 said. It would seem that anyone who argues with Reish Lakish is an apikores, according to many of the "unthinking" respondents on this list. Because Reish Lakish said Avrohom was three and the other opinion says Avrohom was 48. I guess that means Rav Yochanan in the gemara is an apikores, because he always argues with Reish Lakish.

I also wonder: whenever the gemara records a new machlokes with unidentified (AKA Anonymous) opinions, the gemara attempts to identify who the anonymous people really are so they can support these opinions with legitimate talmidei chachomim. Obviously, if an opinion is Anonymous, it is meaningless. This is why every "Stam mishneh" is Rav Meir. Because anonymous opinions are worthless.

So to all you weak-minded amaratzim who have nothing better to do than call a person about whom you know nothing "Apikores" I have one thing to say. Shame on you. You are vile and disgusting individuals who hide behind the shame of your anonymity. You embarrass every Jew on the planet with your vile vitriol as you demonstrate communist tendencies that a person who "thinks" differently than you does not have a right to an opinion.

I can only imagine that if any non-Jew (or any normal Jew for that matter, for most commenters on this article have questionable normalcy) were to come across this, they would only have horrible things to say about almost every commenter.

This is "lishmoh"? This is an argument "l'shem shomayim"? The question here has absolutely no halakhic ramification. Rabbi Billet does not disrespect Rashi. He challenges his targeted audience, not the idiot-savants of vosizneias, to ask questions that are VALID questions, and provides a VALID, AUTHORITATIVE, ALTERNATIVE answer.

I feel so sorry for all you brain-dead machines that have never been challenged by your rabbonim, and take everything spoonfed to you as if its Toirah Misinai.

Hakodoish boruch hu gave you a brain. USE IT! THINK! The minute you stop thinking and concede to become a robot (which most of you are and have already become) is the minute you cease to be a human being. Also known as a mentsh.

Most of the commenters here are not mentshen, v'ho'rayah - see above.

I am embarrassed to be linked with you people. I am filled with shame and bushah that we share the same title of "Orthodox Jew." This disgusting demonstration of lashon hora, rechilus, and everything in between is a perfect demonstration of all the things the Chofetz Chaim said were completely assur.

But you people wouldn't understand. You're pre-programmed to be robots. Hamokom yerachem Hamokom yenachem.

No. 188,Michoel Zylberstein in discussing the above says that anonymous opinions in the Gemorah are worthless and that is the reason that the Gemorah tries to link an opinion with its author.

I am not sure what he means by worthless; so let me try to give my own understanding. Before someone calls me chutpadick for doing so, let me admit that I am not a talmid chacham and would very much welcome any correction.

I think that the Gemorah is looking for the source of the quoted opinion for the following reason (among other reasons): If we know who is saying something and he has special expertise or comes from a yeshivah that specializes in a particular area of its interest, then we know that his opinion in that particular area is more reliable. In fact we know that there are klallim that are brought in the gemorah (and collected in such sefarim as the Sefer Kritos) that tell us that certain amoraim are to be generally followed over the others when there is a machlokes in a certain area of halacha. That's because he is a mumcheh in that area or his yeshiva have special interest in that area of halachah. Also, each yeshivah has certain shitos- that is certain areas of interest and focus yeshivah specializes and by understanding the focus of the particular yeshivah we can better understand the context of that amorah's statement - his statement becomes more clear.

192

 Nov 21, 2008 at 12:40 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #187  
Yankev Goldstein Says:

Milhouse, with your #2 argument, how come Soroh and Avrohom waited so long to have kids? She was at least 65 when they got married?

Who are you to decide what reasons people don't have kids? Everyone knows the Imahos were akaros and could not have kids until Hakodosh boruch hu opened their rechem. Age is irrelevant, as is the amount of time they davened.

Rivkah could have *potentially* had children for all twenty years of her marriage. It doesn't matter. She was going to have kids when HKBH wanted her to have kids. Just like Soroh Imeinu and Rochel and Leah too.

Why don't you try reading before responding, idiot? For twenty years Yitzchok and Rivkoh had no children and did not pray for them. Why not? If she was old enough to have children when she got married, then after ten years of nothing happening why didn't they pray? Ersht after twenty years it dawns on them that maybe it's time to daven? Before that the thought didn't occur to them? That's why Rashi explains that when they got married she was only 3 years old, and they weren't expecting any children. When she turned 13 they started waiting for children, and when ten more years passed and there was still nothing, that's when they prayed. But according to you, why didn't they daven ten years earlier?

As for Avrohom and Soroh, who says they didn't daven after 10 years of marriage? Probably they did. But takeh 10 years after they came to Eretz Yisroel, and they saw that even that didn't help, that's when Soroh decided to do something about it, and gave Hogor to Avrohom.

Maybe if you would read a little less blogs and crack open a chumash and rashi from time to time, you would have known all this. I'm not giving my own chiddushim here, this is Rashi, who gives only poshute pshat.

193

 Nov 21, 2008 at 07:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

I have no problem with someone prefering one commentery over another because of shaleh he has as long as he understands the the other commentary knew exactly what's bothering you and non-the-less still felt his approach was the correct one. However when the sheilah is so obvious as this and you are inclined to disagree just because you dont understand how someone can marry at age of three and look down at it as if Yitzchak was an abuser, then yes you ARE an apikores. An Apikores means one who laughs at what Chachamim tell us. You might as well believe that Moshe was on Hashish when he thought he accepted the Torah from G-D and that it's impossible that Adam Harishon was as tall as from planet earth to the sky and as long as from one end of the world to another when lying down. You may not be a Reform Jew but what's bothering you is exactly what was bothering them, they wanted to update the Bible so they can explain it to a gentile without having him say, "What".

You can ask why Rashi went along with this approach and not with the one of the Gemara and as you very well bring out relevent arguments why the other approach is more probable, and therefor go along with the other approach as long as you understand that Rashi most like new all these questions you had and you dont fully understand what his real approach is, it's called being humble. However, when you start asking questions that say that what Rashi is saying is against common sense or even more that kids are meant to be cute, that's apikorses. You're laughing at Rashi rather then asking a valid question based on the laws of how to learn torah, and one of them is not to ask how is it possible.

You'd better be off trying to explain rashi in a veru different light. Not so long ago it was very common practice to engage children very soon after they were born. Nows of course there was no validity to it because the boy can always reject the engagement, but it was symbolic. In this case it would be valid, because the groom was an adult but it was more symbolic, because it is pretty obvious that she was still a baby. she was still being nursed. That is just one example how to do it with respect, I just put a different light to Rahi's approach without just saying that I disagree with Rashi because Rash believes kids ar not meant to be cute and play at home. That is apikorses!

Still a babby??? She was unloading galllons of watter the to camels! Did you forget?

194

 Nov 21, 2008 at 09:21 AM DizzyIzzy Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is what happens when one learn Torah without remembering and internalizing that There Is A Nosen HaTorah.
Rabbi Billet, before one opens up a sefer and learns, especially before one writes a "commentary", remember we are mere mortals, dust, insignificant etc.
In Chassidic terms this is called "bittul".
Then remember that the Rishonim including Rashi had Ruach HaKodesh.
So if there is something that our minds does not comprehend, realize that the deficiency is with US.
We can definitely discuss the different Meforshei HaTorah,
just without offering our own preferences.
Please Rabbi Billet learn some Chassidus, eg. Tanya Maamorim and you will see
the Torah in a whole new light.

L'kovod Anonnymous --

Perhaps you should learn commentaries that are not rooted in Chassidus. You may see the Torah in a whole new light --- one that existed for thousands of years before Chassidus was invented.

195

 Nov 21, 2008 at 09:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #166  
Anonymous Says:

Thanks for that link, it's a beautiful article by this Rabbi Lifikin. I have no idea who he is, however I can assure you that he doesn't agree with Avi Billet.

I read the entire article and failed to find credible source who agrees with what you said. The Rambam, Rashi, Rashbah and the Ran all agree the it was a literal statement. The Mharsha writes as a result of this Gemora “it is the way of heretics to remove words from their literal meaning". The only one who interpeted differently was R' Avraham Stien who is barely an achron shbachronim and clearly writes it in a way of drash not pshat. The Ran there clearly writes that you are required to belive anything mentioned in the Gemora that is base on a pusik in the torah or that they were mekabel even if they were wrong in their final conclusion.

I also find that all other approaches about why R' Yochanen punished him were all because he failed to believe something he cant allude to. Yes you can be rational and there were those who were, but they were of the same caliber of their counterparts to do that. The mere fact that you disagree with Chazal is considered liglug (mocking) see page 211 of Rabbi Lifkin.

This article by Rabbi Lifkin really proves that the arguments that most of us who consider Avi Billet an heretic actually have 99% of Rishonim who would call him exactly that. I also find it astonishing that you are still arguing after it was already quoted the Gemora in Sanhedrin Daf 69b that Bat Sheva had her first child at 6 and her second, Shlomo Hamelech at 7. Sarah was born whrn her father was only 8. Rivkah had her surregate breast feeder sent along with her. Are'nt these enough prove that this is possible and within nature at that time. Clearly according to any inerpetation of Rabbi Lifkins article, Avi Billet is an Apikores.

"If disagreeing with Rashi (as Rabbi Billet) is compatible to Tanaim having an argument, you most likely don’t think that they knew more then us. If so, why cant I make a case against a Tana even if accepted or undisputed by fellow Tanaim."

See Kesef Mishnah in Hilchos Mamrim and Rav Shlomo FIsher in Drashos Beis Yishai. They explain that klal yisrael has accepted the halachos of the Gemara. That doesn't mean that the Tannaim were neccessarily more intelligent than us; it means that we have accepted to follow the halocho as they decided it. There was no such acceptance regarding aggadata, etc., which is several Geonim and Rishonim say that one can freely dispute Chazal in aggadata. Not everyone agrees with that view, but it is an authentic view nonetheless. But with regard to Rishonim, even many who do not subscribe to that view feel that it is perfectly legitimate to side with one Rishon over another. Hence all those who side with Ramban over Rambam regarding the existence of magic etc.

196

 Nov 21, 2008 at 09:23 AM DizzyIzzy Says:

Reply to #192  
Milhouse Says:

Why don't you try reading before responding, idiot? For twenty years Yitzchok and Rivkoh had no children and did not pray for them. Why not? If she was old enough to have children when she got married, then after ten years of nothing happening why didn't they pray? Ersht after twenty years it dawns on them that maybe it's time to daven? Before that the thought didn't occur to them? That's why Rashi explains that when they got married she was only 3 years old, and they weren't expecting any children. When she turned 13 they started waiting for children, and when ten more years passed and there was still nothing, that's when they prayed. But according to you, why didn't they daven ten years earlier?

As for Avrohom and Soroh, who says they didn't daven after 10 years of marriage? Probably they did. But takeh 10 years after they came to Eretz Yisroel, and they saw that even that didn't help, that's when Soroh decided to do something about it, and gave Hogor to Avrohom.

Maybe if you would read a little less blogs and crack open a chumash and rashi from time to time, you would have known all this. I'm not giving my own chiddushim here, this is Rashi, who gives only poshute pshat.

Oy!!

Please don't call someone an idiot just because you disagree. Remember -- this a disagreement l'Kovod Torah, not baseball scores.

197

 Nov 21, 2008 at 09:25 AM DizzyIzzy Says:

Reply to #192  
Milhouse Says:

Why don't you try reading before responding, idiot? For twenty years Yitzchok and Rivkoh had no children and did not pray for them. Why not? If she was old enough to have children when she got married, then after ten years of nothing happening why didn't they pray? Ersht after twenty years it dawns on them that maybe it's time to daven? Before that the thought didn't occur to them? That's why Rashi explains that when they got married she was only 3 years old, and they weren't expecting any children. When she turned 13 they started waiting for children, and when ten more years passed and there was still nothing, that's when they prayed. But according to you, why didn't they daven ten years earlier?

As for Avrohom and Soroh, who says they didn't daven after 10 years of marriage? Probably they did. But takeh 10 years after they came to Eretz Yisroel, and they saw that even that didn't help, that's when Soroh decided to do something about it, and gave Hogor to Avrohom.

Maybe if you would read a little less blogs and crack open a chumash and rashi from time to time, you would have known all this. I'm not giving my own chiddushim here, this is Rashi, who gives only poshute pshat.

Even if it's a bit raucous at times, this comment string is a kiddush Hashem ... Almost 200 comments in a discussion about p"Shat!!! Mi k'Amcha Yisroel.

A gutten Shabbos

198

 Nov 21, 2008 at 11:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #193  
Anonymous Says:

Still a babby??? She was unloading galllons of watter the to camels! Did you forget?

Still a 14 year old being fed by a Mienekes (a nurser)??? Does that sound more probable? I'd suggest if they got married at least up until the days of Dovid Hamelech at the age of 6, 7 and 8, carried babies that may have wight 8 pounds and Avraham lived up until the age of 175, they were pretty differently built. Besides you forget she had friends that may have helped her, but was still her credit as she inspired them, but I'll go with the former.

199

 Nov 21, 2008 at 11:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #197  
DizzyIzzy Says:

Even if it's a bit raucous at times, this comment string is a kiddush Hashem ... Almost 200 comments in a discussion about p"Shat!!! Mi k'Amcha Yisroel.

A gutten Shabbos

No. It's not.

It's about Klal Yisroel standing up for the כבוד of our ראשונים.

It's about some sane people informing the public that there is a slight difference of stature between the מלאכים of previous generations and us lowly beings. And it’s about others who simply cannot grasp this notion. Their modern/secular views distorted into the Torah. I guess this was another casualty of שבעה עשר בתמוז when the Torah was translated into languages for the gentile world. Whoever wants thinks they can study some verses and become an expert to disagree with our גדולים and מסורה.

Sorry. That’s not what the Torah is about. It’s not just a חכמה like another subject. I guess some of the above (including some ‘rabbi’) missed the first day of school – the introduction to Torah. What it’s all about. How to learn it. Who gave it. Who are our גדולים and מפרשים.

Let them go back to (Yiddishkeit- oriented) Yeshiva, first grade to make up.

200

 Nov 21, 2008 at 11:37 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #195  
Anonymous Says:

"If disagreeing with Rashi (as Rabbi Billet) is compatible to Tanaim having an argument, you most likely don’t think that they knew more then us. If so, why cant I make a case against a Tana even if accepted or undisputed by fellow Tanaim."

See Kesef Mishnah in Hilchos Mamrim and Rav Shlomo FIsher in Drashos Beis Yishai. They explain that klal yisrael has accepted the halachos of the Gemara. That doesn't mean that the Tannaim were neccessarily more intelligent than us; it means that we have accepted to follow the halocho as they decided it. There was no such acceptance regarding aggadata, etc., which is several Geonim and Rishonim say that one can freely dispute Chazal in aggadata. Not everyone agrees with that view, but it is an authentic view nonetheless. But with regard to Rishonim, even many who do not subscribe to that view feel that it is perfectly legitimate to side with one Rishon over another. Hence all those who side with Ramban over Rambam regarding the existence of magic etc.

"That doesn't mean that the Tannaim were neccessarily more intelligent than us"


Wow ignorance is really bliss. You really think they were on the same level as us. Find me a Rambam a Ramban a Reb Akiva Eiger even a R' Shlomo Kliger. Last but not least find me a Rashi. Why would we pasken the halacha like people who were on the same level like us? The Gemora clearly says otherwise and that's why the Gomora seems to havea problem when a later generation Amorah seems to contradict a Tanna. Why would we be subjected to people who are on the same level like us. I also do not recall a any Rishonim that dispute Aggadata Chazal as in the Talmud, the Ramban in Havikuach, only talkes about Aggdat that are not in the Talmud. The Ran is Sanhedrin clearly says tha one is an Apikoras if he disputes a Chazal even not pertaining to Halacha if the Tanna is basing it on Kaballah or a Verse in the Torah. In regard to siding with one Rishon that is to make it easier on YOU, because you understand him better, but not that you can dispute the Rishon and say he is wrong. Rabbi Billet is suggesting that it's wrong to marry at age 3 even in those days when the Bais Hillel (Sanhedrin 69b) says things were different and bodies changed since and when it was clearly the custom in those days. He is arguing with Rashi on moral and values and facts as a child with Einstien and is also very disrespectful throughout. Also important to point out that Rivkah took along a Mienkes (a nurser) she was still nursing, a 14 yr old with a minekes? There is nothing difficult with Rashi, if you just believe that things were different and they were, he doesn't believe that's not the same as siding with a Rishon when you dont understand something..

201

 Nov 22, 2008 at 05:38 PM bibliophile02 Says:

I don't know the exact source for this, but I did hear an explanation that when Rashi says she was three years old, he is counting starting from her Bat Mitzvah- so that she is actually fifteen. That would seem to reconcile the difficulty R' Billet (and he is not alone in this!) has with Rashi's commentary.

202

 Nov 23, 2008 at 03:21 AM ilan Says:

Reply to #167  
ilan Says:

So, I've read this article, and every comment on it, and rather than argue a point, I'd like to ask some questions from those who take issue with R' Billet. Let me state that I don't care whether you think he's an apikores (though I do not think so) or even about your opinions on the issue of Rivkah's age, because all of this seems to center on larger issues of how we approach Torah and what justifies expressing opinions about it. So, here goes:

1. Divinity of text
What was given at Sinai, what was written with ruach hakodesh, and what was derived from the (admittedly brilliant) thinking of mortal men, and how do you know which is which? If something written with ruach hakodesh, can anyone disagree with it ever? Could two contradictory opinions both be given with ruach hakodesh?

2. The right to argue
How does someone know if he can disagree with someone else? Are there clear rules set down somewhere for who can argue with whom? More precisely, when does someone know that he is a gadol, able to participate in the discourse? Did Ramban, for instance, get a certification that allowed him to disagree with Rashi? If not, how did he know he could?

3. The reasons for argument
What are the criteria for disagreeing with someone in a non-halachic matter? Is common-sense observation allowed or not? If not, on what criteria do we judge between two midrashim, when trying to understand pesukim?

4. Fallibility
Could Rashi, or some other rishon, be wrong in a single matter of non-halachic Torah - not simply hard to understand or strange, but actually wrong? If so, who has the right to point out his mistake? If not, how far does this infallibility extend? Does anyone nowadays have such infallibility? How does he know that he does, and how do we?

Please, your answers are welcome.

Does no one have answers for my questions (see #167 above)?
I really am curious.

203

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:10 AM Marty Says:

Take a look at the mefarshim on Rashi where Rashi says that Rivka was 3. They are bothered by various questions (such as, the gemara states that before the age of 4 besulim come back so why does the torah state that she was a besula as she was only 3). The point being that saying Rivka was 3 is difficult.

204

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:07 AM Marty Says:

The Gemara in Yevamos 61b and 64a states explicitly that Rivka was older then 3. Take a look at Tosafos there who cites the Seder Olam and states that it is a machlokes hamidrashim. The other rishonim say the same as well (Ramban, Rashba, Meiri). Tosafos also quotes a calculation based on a Sifrei in V'Zos Habracha that Rivka was 14 when she married.

Therefore anyone who called him an apikores for disagreeing with Rashi doesn't know what they are talking about. As Tosafos (and the other rishonim) says it is a machlokes hamedrashim and there is no psak on these kinds of issues.

205

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #204  
Marty Says:

The Gemara in Yevamos 61b and 64a states explicitly that Rivka was older then 3. Take a look at Tosafos there who cites the Seder Olam and states that it is a machlokes hamidrashim. The other rishonim say the same as well (Ramban, Rashba, Meiri). Tosafos also quotes a calculation based on a Sifrei in V'Zos Habracha that Rivka was 14 when she married.

Therefore anyone who called him an apikores for disagreeing with Rashi doesn't know what they are talking about. As Tosafos (and the other rishonim) says it is a machlokes hamedrashim and there is no psak on these kinds of issues.

I just love when every now and then a moron pops in, reads non of the posts, and screams "what do you mean tosfos says so" why can rav yochnon argue with rsh lokish and rabbi billet cant". Do me a favor read even just 10 posts and read the article again and then post a comment.

206

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #202  
ilan Says:

Does no one have answers for my questions (see #167 above)?
I really am curious.

I believe I responded. The Torah was given to Moshe on Sinai word for word. The entire book is G-ds words exactly how he said it and wanted it written.

The rest is a long complicated and I am not going to get into it. In general later generations do not argue with earlier. The Talmud has the final say on Jewish law. Again, this is only in a nut shel.

207

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #203  
Marty Says:

Take a look at the mefarshim on Rashi where Rashi says that Rivka was 3. They are bothered by various questions (such as, the gemara states that before the age of 4 besulim come back so why does the torah state that she was a besula as she was only 3). The point being that saying Rivka was 3 is difficult.

So you say.

Not sure which meforshim or where the Torah calls he a Besulah. My Torah calls her a Narah without the H"A at the end, which means "al pe dikduk" a young girl who has not yet reached the age of twleve. Rashi also explains that the marriage was finalized at the the age of 13 that's when he began trying to have children.

My torah also says that they sent along a Mienekes (a nurse that B. feeds). A 14 year old that still nurses? I think a three year old having a symbolic engagement by the age of three is more probable then a 14 year old to be nursing from a mieneks.

208

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #201  
bibliophile02 Says:

I don't know the exact source for this, but I did hear an explanation that when Rashi says she was three years old, he is counting starting from her Bat Mitzvah- so that she is actually fifteen. That would seem to reconcile the difficulty R' Billet (and he is not alone in this!) has with Rashi's commentary.

Rabbi Billet is alone, because the issue is not the age. The issue is, that someone would dare to argue with Rashi on Morality and what's possible. Besides the fact that if he would have been a learned man he would have know the Gemora in Sanhedrin 69b.

209

 Nov 23, 2008 at 11:31 AM Anonymous Says:

Can't anyone entertain the notion that the Nurse that accompanied Rivkah may have been her wet nurse when she was a baby and continued to be her caretaker as she grew older. Shakespeare's Juliet was almost fourteen and she had a nurse (caretaker).

210

 Nov 23, 2008 at 01:08 PM yasher Says:

ilan Says:
“ So, I've read this article, and every comment on it, and rather than argue a point, I'd like to ask some questions

Does no one have answers for my questions (see #167 above)?

the difference between us Jewish religious people and the secular world is that we are at the bottom of the chain and we know that our for-fathers were holier and better and brighter then us however today's society really think of them self as more educated they focus on all the materialistic accomplishments that happened in the last 100 years from phones to airplanes to computers to Internet that just makes the reformed secular person look at the previous generation as primitive. the problem with this rabbi is that he acts in same fashion when he disrespectfully and in a humorous (letzunisdig) way can say that rashi may be wrong.
should he have prefaced this article with we know that our rebbes wrote torah lishmah but for our kleyen shechel ( common sense of today's generation) maybe we can learn what i found from other mefarshim so that we can have a better understanding, that would be totally different then by declaring that " there are no hard feelings against Rashi" common you low creature now you feel good that you made the snide comment ?
and yes respect means what the toire calls respect ..vain boor yira chat, the fashion or culture police do not guide us and what makes sense to them does not mean its true or humane ( i guess shechita is cruel for you too, no problom with hilchos shchta we can in your words ": there are no hard feelings against Rashi" or shilcan urich.)

i hope you get the point (its not what you disagree its how you disagree and in what way you convey it) and your questions were answered

211

 Nov 23, 2008 at 01:32 PM Yaakov Says:

"The issue is, that someone would dare to argue with Rashi on Morality and what's possible."

...right.. because there's nothing wrong with that. Rashi lived in 12th century France, he had totally different concepts of what's possible and what's not. Ramban writes that some of the Rishonim in France believed that Hashem has a guf. Raavad states that some of these people were GREATER THAN RAMBAM and they still believed that Hashem has a guf! They were great talmidei chachomim, but they had a different way of looking at the world. There's no disrespect to Rashi in politely disagreeing with his assessment that Rivkah was 3, especially when there are other Rishonim who give a different pshat, probably for the same reasons

212

 Nov 23, 2008 at 01:38 PM Anonymous Says:

"Find me a Rambam a Ramban a Reb Akiva Eiger even a R' Shlomo Kliger. Last but not least find me a Rashi."

If I were to name some great Torah scholars of our generation, you'd just say "but they're no Rambam or Rashi!" I believe that they are no less intelligent, and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

" Why would we pasken the halacha like people who were on the same level like us?"

See Rav Shlomo Fisher in Drashos Beis Yishai based on the Kesef Mishnah. Because Klal Yisrael has accepted their authority. Just as the US courts don't argue with the constitution.

"The Gemora clearly says otherwise and that's why the Gomora seems to havea problem when a later generation Amorah seems to contradict a Tanna."
The Gemora does not say otherwise, and that's why the Gemara does not have a problem when a 5th generation amora argues with a first generation amora. The only kaboloh was between the Amoraim and the Tanaim, and between the RIshonim and the Amoraim. There's no rule that each generation is less smart.

" Why would we be subjected to people who are on the same level like us. I also do not recall a any Rishonim that dispute Aggadata Chazal as in the Talmud, the Ramban in Havikuach, only talkes about Aggdat that are not in the Talmud."
Well, you haven't learned enough. Ramban himself disputes Chazal in several places.

" The Ran is Sanhedrin clearly says tha one is an Apikoras if he disputes a Chazal even not pertaining to Halacha if the Tanna is basing it on Kaballah or a Verse in the Torah."
NO HE DOES NOT. He says that ONLY if it is based on a kabalah is it forbidden to dispute them.

213

 Nov 23, 2008 at 01:52 PM Anonymous Says:

""we know that our for-fathers were holier and better and brighter then us "

How do you know that they were brighter?
I asked two very choshuve poskim who strongly disagreed with this.
Were the goyim back then also brighter? Nobody thinks so. Nor is there any reason to believe that there was some enormous intellectual gulf between Jews and non-Jews back then.
Also, it's "forefathers", not "for-fathers."

214

 Nov 23, 2008 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #211  
Yaakov Says:

"The issue is, that someone would dare to argue with Rashi on Morality and what's possible."

...right.. because there's nothing wrong with that. Rashi lived in 12th century France, he had totally different concepts of what's possible and what's not. Ramban writes that some of the Rishonim in France believed that Hashem has a guf. Raavad states that some of these people were GREATER THAN RAMBAM and they still believed that Hashem has a guf! They were great talmidei chachomim, but they had a different way of looking at the world. There's no disrespect to Rashi in politely disagreeing with his assessment that Rivkah was 3, especially when there are other Rishonim who give a different pshat, probably for the same reasons

So your suggesting that the morality in Rivkah's times were more coherent to the 21st century then that of Rshi?

No sure what proof you are bringing me from an argument the Rambam had with someone in his generation or few years before who may or may have not been in the same caliber. The Rava"d had a general disagreement with the Ramba"m and according to his opinion the Ramabam was less then that Rishon, does not mean that it was so. The Rava"d happens to agree with the Ramabam on this one, he just points out that there were few Rishonim who held and therefor the Ramabam should not consider them as heretics. Very possible that the Ramabam did not know of them (no phones, internet radio or even a press), however he most likely would have held his ground anyhow they were both Rishonim.

215

 Nov 23, 2008 at 02:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #211  
Yaakov Says:

"The issue is, that someone would dare to argue with Rashi on Morality and what's possible."

...right.. because there's nothing wrong with that. Rashi lived in 12th century France, he had totally different concepts of what's possible and what's not. Ramban writes that some of the Rishonim in France believed that Hashem has a guf. Raavad states that some of these people were GREATER THAN RAMBAM and they still believed that Hashem has a guf! They were great talmidei chachomim, but they had a different way of looking at the world. There's no disrespect to Rashi in politely disagreeing with his assessment that Rivkah was 3, especially when there are other Rishonim who give a different pshat, probably for the same reasons

According to you besides the fact that people in the era of Rashi were more laid back then in today society and that people in the Time of Rivkah were more like in today's generation, 21st century, which makes no sense, Rabbi Billet also seems to suggest that Rivka was a 14 year old nursing adult. The torah clearly states that Rivkah took along a Mienekes (someone who nurses babies). So I guess she was so advanced, more then us, and in a few years people will be nursing until age14.

I hope you realize how you make no sense and what happened is not something that changes with the years. It was very normal at that day and age to get married at a very young age. Look up the gemora Sanhedrin 69b to see what the norm was. Just a little home work, you'll be surprised.

216

 Nov 23, 2008 at 02:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #212  
Anonymous Says:

"Find me a Rambam a Ramban a Reb Akiva Eiger even a R' Shlomo Kliger. Last but not least find me a Rashi."

If I were to name some great Torah scholars of our generation, you'd just say "but they're no Rambam or Rashi!" I believe that they are no less intelligent, and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

" Why would we pasken the halacha like people who were on the same level like us?"

See Rav Shlomo Fisher in Drashos Beis Yishai based on the Kesef Mishnah. Because Klal Yisrael has accepted their authority. Just as the US courts don't argue with the constitution.

"The Gemora clearly says otherwise and that's why the Gomora seems to havea problem when a later generation Amorah seems to contradict a Tanna."
The Gemora does not say otherwise, and that's why the Gemara does not have a problem when a 5th generation amora argues with a first generation amora. The only kaboloh was between the Amoraim and the Tanaim, and between the RIshonim and the Amoraim. There's no rule that each generation is less smart.

" Why would we be subjected to people who are on the same level like us. I also do not recall a any Rishonim that dispute Aggadata Chazal as in the Talmud, the Ramban in Havikuach, only talkes about Aggdat that are not in the Talmud."
Well, you haven't learned enough. Ramban himself disputes Chazal in several places.

" The Ran is Sanhedrin clearly says tha one is an Apikoras if he disputes a Chazal even not pertaining to Halacha if the Tanna is basing it on Kaballah or a Verse in the Torah."
NO HE DOES NOT. He says that ONLY if it is based on a kabalah is it forbidden to dispute them.

*You make me laugh and it's no point arguing. Just name me a Ramba"m and remember no computer, no electric, no steam, no air condition and constantly on the run. A physician, a scientist, theologian and scholar of his caliber. The Gemorah in Chagiagh speaks about Tanaim and Amorim knowing mystics that enabled them to ascend to the heavens, to learn mystics to the degree that a fire surrounded them. Being able to recite the whole talmud (mishnah and Brieasas) by heart (the talmud was later recorded). Being able to eliminate evil people people with the look of an eye and predicting the future when they wanted to (of course they could not and didn't want to do things as the simple man thinks they should be). You still want to argue with me that the intelligence from once upon is the same as today?

*You said it very well Amarim were allowed to argue with Amaraim, but not with Tanaim, same here Rabbi Billet can have make an argument against Shada"l or Rma"d and the likes of previous generations. The Achronim of today still make arguments against achronim of two hundred years ago, but not against a rishon. There are some who have, but in general it's very unaccepted to do so.

*Please state a source showing the Ramban arguing with a Chaza"l, I do learn Ramba"n and have failed to find one. It also goes against everything he says in Havakuach and in his K'savim (letters).

*No sure what Rabbi Fischer writes, but I hope and believe he doesn't compare it to the US constitution which can be amended and is always being disputed through various means by People like Rabbi Billet, called liberals. The constitution was agreed to because it's a man made document and pertains to man made basic laws and rights which everyone understood was right at the time. If it can be changed by every judge it would be a very corrupt system where everyone (judges and politicians) does whatever they please. The Torah is a document written by Hashem and cannot be compromised just because "as you say" klal yisroel wants so. It IS based on the fact that no one of the later generation will understand as well as they did, because of their intelligence and holiness (which is a condition to obtain torah, (there are 48 conditions), you cannot be a transgender teacher bagel munching professror in YU and internalize Torah in a way where you understand it to its true meaning ). Of course they were not infallible, but in general they will understand it better then later generations and therefor are required to follow as they have decided.

*About the Ra"n I'm not sure where we disagree. If your point was that when it's based on a verse you are allowed to, then you didn't understand it. He holds that EVEN if it's not based on a verse in Torah, when based on Kaballah you cannot disagree.

217

 Nov 23, 2008 at 02:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #209  
Anonymous Says:

Can't anyone entertain the notion that the Nurse that accompanied Rivkah may have been her wet nurse when she was a baby and continued to be her caretaker as she grew older. Shakespeare's Juliet was almost fourteen and she had a nurse (caretaker).

A mienekes is not a nurse, I am just writing it that way, because, I was not sure that the moderator will let it pass. A mienekes is exactly what I was suggesting it is. Someone who feeds a baby instead of the mother (exactly the same way a mother who does not give formula feeds). Of course you can twist and turn every word just to make Rabbi Billet seem right, but it's not the straight fact. The Talmud in Sanhedren 69b implies that in those days up to, at least, the age of Dovid Hamelech having children at the age of 6-8 (depending male or female) was normal. Here again call Rabbi Billet maybe he can twist this as well, just so he can be right rather then accept the Torah as is, and that times changed as the Gemorah above says.

218

 Nov 23, 2008 at 02:54 PM Anonymous Says:

"No sure what proof you are bringing me from an argument the Rambam had with someone in his generation or few years before who may or may have not been in the same caliber."

I am pointing out that it's not unthinkable for a Rishon to say something that we are entitled to strongly disagree with.

219

 Nov 23, 2008 at 03:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #218  
Anonymous Says:

"No sure what proof you are bringing me from an argument the Rambam had with someone in his generation or few years before who may or may have not been in the same caliber."

I am pointing out that it's not unthinkable for a Rishon to say something that we are entitled to strongly disagree with.

You're wasting your brain. The Ramabam is arguing with a Rishon, The Ramabam is a Rishon. Rabbi Billet is a rookie Rabbi, who judging from this article and others has a very limited knowledge of just plain simple Talmud is barely a scholar and defintly not a Rishon as Rashi was.

Go to the link on top and look for Rabbi Billets other articles, his only agenda is to give a 21st century view of the Torah which stories happened thousands of years ago. If he could he would argue that Avaraham had a computer. Of course the torah pertains to every generation, but the stories happened at a time when people did get married at the age of 3. Not so long ago in europe peopel were engaged soon after birth, of course they could have later annulled it, but this is the way it was done. Why does Rabbi Billet go out of hi way to slam Rashi?

220

 Nov 23, 2008 at 08:06 PM Anonymous Says:

"Just name me a Ramba"m and remember no computer, no electric, no steam, no air condition and constantly on the run. A physician, a scientist, theologian and scholar of his caliber."

Rambam was a genius, no question, but so was Einstein and Rav Chaim Ozer.

"The Gemorah in Chagiagh speaks about Tanaim and Amorim knowing mystics that enabled them to ascend to the heavens, to learn mystics to the degree that a fire surrounded them."
Sugyas such as that are learned differently by rationalists and mystics.

" Being able to recite the whole talmud (mishnah and Brieasas) by heart (the talmud was later recorded)."
In those days, when that was the sum total of Torah literature, that was not so difficult. Kids in the Zilberman chadorim today know most of Tanach by heart.

" Being able to eliminate evil people people with the look of an eye and predicting the future when they wanted to"
Rationalists learn those gemoras allegorically.

"You said it very well Amarim were allowed to argue with Amaraim, but not with Tanaim, same here Rabbi Billet can have make an argument against Shada"l or Rma"d and the likes of previous generations."
Amoraim are not allowed to argue HALACHAH with Tanaim. Rishonim are not allowed to argue HALACHAH with Amoraim. But you can argue parshanus. Which is why Rishonim sometimes argue with Chazal.

"Please state a source showing the Ramban arguing with a Chaza"l, I do learn Ramba"n and have failed to find one."
Ramban to BEreishis 47:18.

"The Torah is a document written by Hashem and cannot be compromised just because "as you say" klal yisroel wants so. It IS based on the fact that no one of the later generation will understand as well as they did, because of their intelligence and holiness... Of course they were not infallible, but in general they will understand it better then later generations and therefor are required to follow as they have decided."
Being closer in time is certainly an advantage, but so is being later in time and having more material to survey. You are giving an excellent presentation of the view of the Chazon Ish, but the fact is that there are other views. I urge you to look at Derashos Beis Yishai; people may disagree, but nobody would dare claim that Rav Shlomo Fisher is beyond the pale.

"About the Ra"n I'm not sure where we disagree. If your point was that when it's based on a verse you are allowed to, then you didn't understand it. He holds that EVEN if it's not based on a verse in Torah, when based on Kaballah you cannot disagree."
Right, but this case of Rashi is clearly not a kabalah, because there are those who disagree!

Look, you have to realize that Torah is not monolithic. The attitude of the Sephardic Rishonim to Torah and Chazal was very, very different than Ashkenazim. The Sephardic Rishonim would argue when they saw fit, based on their own understanding. LIkewise, the attitude of Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman was very different from that of Chassam Sofer. You are part of the charedi litvishe yeshivah world (how did I guess?) which continues a particular strain of the Ashkenazi legacy, but there's more to Judaism than just the single narrow approach to which you have been exposed. Rabbi Billet is not beyond the pale (and he's certainly not out to slam Rashi, chas v'shalom). He's just from a different - and legitimate - school of thought, which seeks to interpret Torah in light of what makes reasonable sense, something which Ibn Ezra and others in Spain stressed as being of paramount importance. Girls being betrothed at 3 makes reasonable sense, but girls watering camels, and the rest of the description, does not.

221

 Nov 23, 2008 at 09:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #84  
Anonymous Says:

So what this author is saying is that Rashi is an idiot since he thinks that she was 3, which is clearly too young to get married OR that Rashi himself understood that 3 year olds are too young to get married, but since chazal said so, he will write their pshat, even though Rashi knew its bunk.


Hmmmm, why dont we just assume like everyone else who learns that pshat that 3 year olds WERE more mature then than they are now

you have to admit that 3 is 'katnus hamochin'
although it dosnt make sense it could be. ever heard r h. paritch got maried at 12?! i go with the one who says she was bethrothed at three and married at 14

222

 Nov 23, 2008 at 11:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #221  
Anonymous Says:

you have to admit that 3 is 'katnus hamochin'
although it dosnt make sense it could be. ever heard r h. paritch got maried at 12?! i go with the one who says she was bethrothed at three and married at 14

Great Rashi, also seems to learn that he didn't try to have children until the age of 13, so what difference does it make what term you're using. However, the fact that you say it doesn't make sense, is wrong has the gemora (sanhedrin 69b) clearly states, with no one arguing to the contrary, that Bas Sheva was only 6 or 7 when she had her first child and shlomo hamelech by age of 7 or 8. Bas sheva and her father as well were born to their father at the age of 8 or 9, Sarah the wife of Avaham to her father at the age of 8. It's on this issue that the Bais Hillel argue that you can bring proof from earlier generation (As nature has changed).

223

 Nov 23, 2008 at 11:29 PM Anonymous Says:

In discussing the midrash that Rivqah was three years old in the story, the Rambam is quoted by his son as stating that he "pushed away this interpretation with both hands".

224

 Nov 24, 2008 at 01:03 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #223  
Anonymous Says:

In discussing the midrash that Rivqah was three years old in the story, the Rambam is quoted by his son as stating that he "pushed away this interpretation with both hands".

where is this quoted and why?

225

 Nov 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM Noah Stark Says:

To #205. Name calling is so unrefined. If you can not argue with an idea and need to insult the person, all it says is something bad about you. It certainly does not validate your opinion. Especially when you are anonymous and can’t stand behind your own words.

To #206. What is the halachik consequence of this entire discussion? Rivkah’s age is NOT written in the Torah and has absolutely no halachik consequence anyway.

To #217. You are entitled to your opinion regarding calling a meinekes a wet-nurse. Obviously not everyone agrees with you and prefers to say she stayed with her her whole life (She is called Meinekes Rivkah when she dies, when Rivkah was 117 years older – twenty years after her marriage plus 97 years of Yaakov’s existence – but this fact seems to be ignored. We can be sure she was no longer “nursing” Rivkah at that point – so why do we have to assume she was still “nursing” when Rivkah went to marry Yitzchak?). I would not jump to say everyone else is wrong just because they disagree with you. A little humility is in order. (I once had a teacher who was known to say “It’s not my opinion. So you’re wrong.” Let’s just say that was not a good teacher.)

#219 Regardless of your opinions – no one here is arguing that Rabbi Billet is on the level of a rishon. You choose to judge a person from one newspaper article that is limited by space and that is aimed at serving one purpose. How narrow can you be?

As far as all those saying “We’re here to defend the Rishonim” from liberals like Rabbi Billet, I have this to say. Rabbi Avi Billet is a dear friend of mine. He is not a “liberal.” But he believes the Torah speaks to each generation. If you can not reconcile the Torah within the world in which you live, you’re living in the dark ages.

There is an entire world of “kiruv rechokim” out there. They need to have the Torah make sense to them. Most of the respondents to this list are what I would call “marchikei kerovim.” On this list, there has been no respect for anyone living – only for the deceased.
It is important to respect the deceased (which I know personally that Rabbi Billet does – even though most of you might not believe it). But we’re not going to excite people about Judaism when anyone - ie a living in our lifetime teacher - who disagrees with us needs to be shot down in order to “defend Torah.”

Some people need to really think hard about true priorities.

If your entire world rests on the idea that Rivkah was three and that any opinion of any midrash or rishon that contradicts that is heresy, then you must do what you must do in order to defend that.

If your entire world rests on bringing ra’ayos from obscure gemaras which you may or may not understand – or from the argument that all of the torah must be literally true, even though there is plenty of torah which is not to be taken in its literal sense (ayin tachas ayin for example), then go ahead. Insult whoever you like (respondents, Rabbi Billet) by calling them idiots and morons.
Do it all for the sake of “Toirah” and it's excusable. Laws of Lashon Hora and just plain mentshlichkeit are irrelevant, when you, the anonymous “defender of Toirah” are doing what you are doing.

#219 writes “Of course the torah pertains to every generation, but the stories happened at a time when people did get married at the age of 3. Not so long ago in europe peopel were engaged soon after birth, of course they could have later annulled it, but this is the way it was done. Why does Rabbi Billet go out of hi way to slam Rashi?”

Just listen to yourself!

NOWHERE does THE TORAH say people were married at age 3. This is in midrashim and Chazal. I am not “Slamming” them. I am saying, FIND ME A PASUK.

Engaged, and then annulled in Europe? What is that worth? That is a faulty argument. If the engagement was meaningless, then it was worth nothing. We are not talking about engagements and arranged marriages. We are talking about a marriage – complete with all the things that come with marriage, between a man and a woman.

Rivkah is called a “Naarah.” How does the gemara define a naarah?

Rabbi Billet does not slam Rashi. He opens his readers’ eyes to different pshatim offered by other rishonim.

While I do not agree with the person who said this entire thread is a kiddish hashem, I do state that any article which has caused over 200 responses has accomplished the mission of causing discussions of Torah. Not in the form the discussions took, but nonetheless – a good thing.

Before you go on slamming me, please note I did not insult anybody, and I merely directed questions towards others with whom I disagree. I only ask for the same courtesy in return.

Noah Stark

226

 Nov 24, 2008 at 01:02 PM DizzyIzzy Says:

Reply to #199  
Anonymous Says:

No. It's not.

It's about Klal Yisroel standing up for the כבוד of our ראשונים.

It's about some sane people informing the public that there is a slight difference of stature between the מלאכים of previous generations and us lowly beings. And it’s about others who simply cannot grasp this notion. Their modern/secular views distorted into the Torah. I guess this was another casualty of שבעה עשר בתמוז when the Torah was translated into languages for the gentile world. Whoever wants thinks they can study some verses and become an expert to disagree with our גדולים and מסורה.

Sorry. That’s not what the Torah is about. It’s not just a חכמה like another subject. I guess some of the above (including some ‘rabbi’) missed the first day of school – the introduction to Torah. What it’s all about. How to learn it. Who gave it. Who are our גדולים and מפרשים.

Let them go back to (Yiddishkeit- oriented) Yeshiva, first grade to make up.

You, sir, need to work on your Ahavas Yisroel a bit.

There's a big different between an argument on p'shat and the type of argument you obviously see here. 99 percent of the commenters here -- from both sides of the issue -- are arguing Lishmah.

You're assuming that being right means the other guy must wrong. I hope that isn't what you learned on your first day in Yeshiva.

227

 Nov 24, 2008 at 03:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #226  
DizzyIzzy Says:

You, sir, need to work on your Ahavas Yisroel a bit.

There's a big different between an argument on p'shat and the type of argument you obviously see here. 99 percent of the commenters here -- from both sides of the issue -- are arguing Lishmah.

You're assuming that being right means the other guy must wrong. I hope that isn't what you learned on your first day in Yeshiva.

I'd first have אהבת השם and אהבת הצדיקים first. Seem identical to the call of the ... jews. Ahavas Yisroel, brotherly love etc. Modernize the Torah to fit. Redicule גדולי ישראל.

As the author's opening חוצפה'דיג remarks towards Rashi: I have no hard feelings towards you.

I will no longer post here - אל תוכח לץ

228

 Nov 24, 2008 at 09:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #227  
Anonymous Says:

I'd first have אהבת השם and אהבת הצדיקים first. Seem identical to the call of the ... jews. Ahavas Yisroel, brotherly love etc. Modernize the Torah to fit. Redicule גדולי ישראל.

As the author's opening חוצפה'דיג remarks towards Rashi: I have no hard feelings towards you.

I will no longer post here - אל תוכח לץ

Where in the Torah does it say to "love the gedolim" more than "Reiacha"? For the record, the original comment was not against Rashi. It was a challenge against those who "don't think."

By all means, accept what the gedoilim say without questions. But don't disparage others from thinking and using their brains, even if you have chosen a life which discourages such use of - second to life itself - the greatest gift HKBH gave us: the power to use our minds.

229

 Nov 25, 2008 at 02:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Perhaps some people have forgotten that the Ibn Ezra mentions this opinion way before Rabbi Billet.

230

 Dec 07, 2008 at 02:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #43  
DM Says:

I agree.

Apikorus is the wrong word (perhaps).

The right word, I think, is "Ba'al Gayva" because he doesn't even feel the need to bring Ibn Ezra -- or does not want to, because he wants to make this seem like his own chiddush.

(I'm speaking as someone who is well-aware of the Ibn Ezra, find it quite plausible, and have used it in my own teaching. My problem with this piece is that it's dripping with gayva.)

[The Talmud (Yevamot 61b) mentions Rivka’s marriageable status, and Tosafot quote a Sifrei (Devarim 397:7) that indicates Rivka was 14 at the time of her marriage. The Midrash puts Rivka in the category of pairs of people that lived to the same age, and she is partnered with Kehat, who lived to be 133. Working backwards, the conclusion is that Rivka was 14 on her wedding day and 34 when she gave birth to her twin sons. ]
This is from the article itself. R' Billet does not say that it is his own Hidush

231

 Dec 21, 2008 at 10:22 AM Anonymous Says:

רשב"ם בראשית פרק ל"ז:ב
"וגם רבנו שלמה אבי אמי מאיר עיני גולה שפירש תורה נביאים וכתובים נתן לב לפרש פשוטו של מקרא ואף אני שמואל ב"ר מאיר חתנו זצ"ל נתווכחתי עמו ולפניו והודה לי שאילו היה לו פנאי היה צריך לעשות פרושים אחרים לפי הפשטות המתחדשים בכל יום."
Even Rashi would have disagreed with Rashi.

232

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