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Periods in Jewish History


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#1 Chaim613

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 11:00 PM

Were there any practical happenings that separated the eras in Jewish history......for example

What made the era of naviim end?
Period of tannaim? Amoraim? Gaonim? Rishonim? How long will Achronim carry on?

Why is Rabbi Yosef Caro in the first generation of the Achronim and not the last of the Rishonim (for example)? What makes each period begin and end?

In the structure of the halachic system, Achronim can argue on Achronim....does that mean that someone can today argue on the Shulchan Aruch?

thank you for clarifying

#2 taon

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:56 PM

I think there were no new neviim after the bais hamikdash was destroyed, just those who were already there (although I beleive some only gave nevuos during the time of Ezra...Rav Shapiro?)

In Rejoice O Youth by Rav Avigdor Miller zt"l it says the period of Tannaim ended when Chachamim were no longer mainly in one group in Eretz Yisroel, and the Amoraim ended when those groups were further divided and scattered and we no longer had those main Torah centers. It sound slike all the divisions involve persecutions and further breakups of the Jewish communities, after the Amoraim we were no longer the majority in a land, and the Geonim had a whole system of leadership that i dont think lasted after

#3 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:28 PM

Well you're right Taon that often the border between Tekufos were marked by events that destabilized the giving over of the Mesorah, but those events weren't what made us decide there is a new Tekufah. The reason for the new Tekufah is always a recognition of an insurmountable drop in the quality of the Torah we produced. Sometimes, that drop in quality was due to national tragedies that made learning and generating the Mesorah much harder.

Chaim - none of this has anything to do with the "structure of the halachic system." There is no such structure or system as you describe. It's much simpler: The reason the Achronim don't argue on the Rishonim - or the reason any later Tekufah does not argue on the previous - is not because there is a rule that they cannot. No such "rule" exists. Rather, it is due to a simple recognition by the Torah experts of the later Tekufah that their opinions are no longer authoritative enough to oppose the authority of the sages of the earlier Tekufah.

So the Amorayim recognized, with their Torah expertise, that their opinions are simply not as weighty as those of the Tanayim. Theoretically, if you had an Amorah who was exceptionally great, he would in fact be able to argue with the Tanayim. And indeed, Rav, the great Rosh Yeshiva of Sura was an Amora, but he argued with Tanayim. And the Vilna Gaon argued with Rishonim.

Please listen to this Shiur. Ours is a religion based on the authority of its sages. Our "Bible" is not the Tanach or even Shas. It is the Mesorah handed down from generation to generation by our sages. The collective traditions of the Gedolei Yisroel of all generations is the authority of Orthodox Judaism. And part of that Mesorah - a very very important part - is a recognition of different levels of authority. It is only because of this recognition of greater authority that I cannot disagree with Chazal - because it is recognized, and handed down by Mesorah that after Chazal we are not longer qualified enough to add to the Torah Shebal Peh the way Chazal did. It is this recognition, which is the possession of those who are recipients of the Mesorah, that tells us that roughly after the Rosh, compared to our predecessors, our opinions are inferior.

The ability to recognize who is greater than who, whose opinion is more authoritative, whose opinion it would be foolish to disagree with, is a skill which is part of expertise in Torah that is handed down from generation to generation. The capability of recognizing who is a Godol and how great he is, is part of the knowledge base we receive from the Mesorah.

To know who is a greater authority than whom, is a vital part of our Torah life. Without it, we may as well close up shop, because the only reason I cannot argue with Chazal is the same reason I cannot argue with Rashi - it's just a quantitative difference. But the reason is the same: I'd be fooling myself if I thought I was qualified.

And so, no, we cannot argue with the Shuchan Aruch. Not because he was a Rishon, but because it is obvious to those who possess the ability to recognize expertise and greatness in Torah, that the Mechaber's opinion is worth way, way more than any of ours, and someone who thinks he knows enough and understands enough to disagree with him is a fool.

Imagine a kindergarten student who learns some physics. Then he reads Einstein and decides the theory of relativity is wrong, based on his great kindergarten knowledge. It's not "illegal" or "immoral" or "wrong" for a kindergarten kid to argue with Einstein. It's stupid.

And that's why we don't argue on the Bais Yosef.

If someone doesn't recognize that, well, he will be looked at like by our Torah experts like a kindergarten kid babbling that he disproved Einstein. Not only would he not be taken seriously in whatever the particular issue is, but he will be looked at in general as a clown, because, well, that's all he is.

#4 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 04:45 PM

I will answer your questions but first please clarify what you are asking. I asked you to do this int he last post.

1) What are you suggesting that Rav Hirsch is saying: That nobody is allowed to retire? That my teenage son is obligated to go out and work? That if someone inherits a fortune or wins the lottery that he has to work? That my wife has to work too? Did Rav Hirsch's wife and children work? Is that what you are saying? If not, then what?

2) And tell me - what in the world does "transforming the world's resources' have to do with working? Explain why only "working" accomplishes this? Does my wife, who does not work, not transform the world's resources? And are you saying, if working at a job is the only way to fulfill that, that when I am home and not working at my job, I am not altering the world's resources?

3) If it is true that an interpretation of an earlier authority is not authoritatively decisive, why is is that we find endless examples of Rishonim proving their points by citing Chazal? And why do we find merely a handful of such examples as you provided (even if they are examples)? Why are there not thousands? Out of countless interpretation given in the last two thousand years, you can find only a handful of examples that later authorities disagree with earlier ones? How do you explain that?

3) In addition, how do you know what has a Halachic implication? Plenty of theological issues were revealed to be relevant to Halachic questions even though on the surface the issue is anything but Halachic.

4) What makes you say that Tanayim and Amorayim are two different time periods? Why do you consider them two periods and not one big one? In general, how did you decide what is considered a new, "later" period to use as a a proof that a later period can disagree with a former?

5) Can you tell me what difference a Halachic or non-Halahchic issue makes? Why can;t I disagree with an earlier authority in a Halachic issue? Are they infallible? What makes the Ohr HaChaim an authority that I cannot disagree with on THIS VERY ISSUE? If you going to tell me because he is an earlier authority, first, that is circular reasoning, and second, we are both Achronim, he and I. Aren't we?

I do not understand why you think I cannot disagree in a HALACHIC issue with an earlier authority. Where did you get that idea?

And for the record, where did you get the idea that Amorayim frequently argue with Tammain? You have no way of knowing that. You are merely parroting what someone else wrote or told you. The Gemora I asked you to please have a little respect and verify what you write before you just copy and paste. The fact is, the Gemora itself demands an explanation as to why Rav, an Amora, disagrees with a Tana. From the fact that the Gemora demands an explanation it proves that absent any mitigating explanations, such a thing is not acceptable.

And for the record, when Amorayim disagree with Tanayim they do so in HALACHIC disputes.

Pleasclarify exactly what you are suggesting here.

#5 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for pointing out my sloppy thinking about rich people not needing to work. There will only ever be a small number of people like this. Doesn't it imply the Kollel system is only suitable for a small number of people. Those with inherited wealth are receiving communal funds. Shouldn't the onus be on them to justify receiving them eg giving Shiurim or paskaning questions?
Although an anaesthetic eases the pain of childbirth it certainly doesn't eliminate it. The difficulties of child rearing are also enormous.

Sorry, Al. You made it too obvious that you are not serious.

If working is a command then nobody would be exempt. But you know that. Nor did you answer the Q about women and capable children working. But you know that.

Kollel people also have to do some work for their check. But you know that.

I tried. I worked with you and judged you as favorably and gave you the benefit of the doubt as much as I can for as long as I can. I can do so no longer. Zeit gezunt.