Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:49 PM
On the old site, the moderator discussed in several places that Kabbala is part of Torah (and not like the academics say that it came much later):
But in the hakdama of the Rambam he discusses what Torah Sh'baal Peh is made up of, and he does not mention kabbal/mysticism?
Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:32 AM
But you'd never think of something like this on your own.
The reason I say that is, the tremendous amount of intellectual dishonesty necessary to come up with such a misbegotten idea is not compatible with asking questions. In other words, to paraphrase Rav Chaim Brisker - such a question is not a question, it is an excuse to justify one's deviant ideas.
But if so, you'd never look for an answer to it. But you have. You're honestly looking for an answer, but someone with the amount of honesty that it takes to look for an answer would never come up with such a dishonest distortion of what the Rambam says in the first place.
So my conclusion is that you did not think of this on your own after seeing the Rambam. Instead, you must have seen this on some website of some pseudo-maskil (probably an Orthodox Jew too) not as a question but as a statement of fact - that Kabbalah is not Torah, the proof being the Rambam doesn't list it - and it put a question in your head. Now you need the answer.
OK, so here's the answer. Kabalah is not "mysticism," whatever that means. Which ignoramus first decided to translate it that way I do not know. Kabbalah is nothing other than an deep-level explanation of Torah, handed down from generation to generation (that's why it's called Kabbalah). It is what the Gemora says in Sukka (28a)
דבר גדול ודבר קטן דבר גדול מעשה מרכבה דבר קטן הויות דאביי ורבא לקיים מה שנאמר להנחיל אהבי יש ואצרתיהם אמלא
Kabbalah is Medrash. It is Agadah. Nothing more or less.But because of its nature, only people with the requisite background and Yiras Shamayim are able to understand it without distorting it.
The Rambam did not list Yeshivishe chakiras as Torah shebal peh either, nor pilpulim. But we understand that all those are tools to understand what the Torah says, and so they are exactly what the Rambam means when he says that Torah Shebal Peh is the explanation of Torah Shebiksav.
So is Kabbalah.
Here's how this works: First people use a label that really doesn't fit - "mysticism" - to describe Kabbalah. They perceive it this way because in their ignorance they see a similarity between Goyishe "mysticism" and Kabbalah so they think it is really the same thing, but Jewish mysticism, instead of Goyish mysticism.
Now that they've done that the next step is for someone to come out and say well mysticism is not Torah.
The first part, calling Kabbalah mysticism is ignorance, and the second part, applying the Rambam to exclude it form Torah is dishonesty because anyone who can read a Rambam should know better.
It's Haskalah. Let me guess - whoever told you this also believes the world is billions of years old and that people came from monkeys. Right? And that in various ways, we need to re-engineer various statements in Chazal to meet today's "reality."
So this question did not come from you. It's nothing but a fraudulent idea. And frauds don't look for answers to their fraudulent positions.
Now that we've gotten to this point, may I please be so bold as to give you a piece of advice:
Stay away form such sites. I have no idea where you got that from, but it is Assur to read such things, because of the influence they can have on you. And frankly, I can tell from many of your other posts that you frequent these kind of places. I have no problem cleaning up the nonsense that attaches to your mind when you read such sites or books or whatever, but please understand that I need to give precedence to those questions that people really need to know, as opposed to just addressing crazy stuff on crazy websites that you ferry here and ask me: What do you think of this?
Please understand I am not saying you should not be answered - you should. I am saying that when presented with a question that is really bothering someone versus addressing some random nonsense from some random website that someone throws up here and says: Hey what do you say to this? I have to give precedence to the first kind of question.
So if you read that letter from Rav Moshe that you sent me in another forum youll see he does not say what you quoted him as saying; if you read those Sefardishe Teshuvos that you sent me and if you find out who the authors are - youll see they dont say anything that diminishes what I said about Shaitlach. If you think about the Rav Ahron Kotler issue youll conclude on your own that it does not impact at all on what I said about him.
And when you ask me "Didnt some Maskil [you mentioned his name] disprove much of Kabbalah?" The answer is "No." Nobody can think such a thing seriously unless they are totally unfamiliar with what Torah is and how our Mesorah works. You are not so unfamiliar. So I know this question, too, was not yours. Someone made a statement, and you delivered it here for me to address. But I am not here to address every clown's random statements. Please understand that.
So, yes, I am paying attention to your posts. But please understand that I did not set up this site to address the endless supply of bad stuff that is found all over the web. So please - if you go to some heretical site, copy and paste some random statement or thought that you yourself would not have made or thought of on your own - nor would anyone else on this site - and just dump it here saying: What about this? Then, if it is something that does not help any of the readers on the site because they would not be bothered by it anyway - I cannot give it priority over the full-time supply of other questions I get.
You are not asking questions - you are synthetically creating confusion in your own mind by going all over the internet collecting nonsense that you would never give a second thought to if you would have thought about it on your own.
I did not create this site to debate every random Ku Klux Klan, Christian, Seducee, Haskalah, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Zionist or Modern Orthodox who posts his opinions on the internet. So if you have a question that bothers YOU, or if you want information because YOU need it - please ask. But please do not go all around the internet, copying stuff you yourself have not looked into on your own, ferry it here and ask me to respond. It's really not fair. That's not what I am here for. That's not what I want to spend my time on. I am here to answer questions of the users of the site.
If you spend a bit of time looking into or thinking about what you see on these other places, you'd see there's nothing there. Or even better - don't go to sites that you know (and it's clear you know) are full of such anti-Torah attitudes. You're not allowed to, anyway, and you'll gain nothing there but grief.
If you must go to random heretical websites, visit sites like the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazi sites.Their nonsensical statements about the Torah, though obviously total distortions and misrepresentations, are a step up from the distortions and misrepresentations about the Torah that you are seeing on wherever you are frequenting now. And the odds are you won't take them as seriously.
But that's just if you insist on reading heretical sites. What you should do is just stop going to these places. There's enough real Torah on the internet to keep you occupied 24/7.
Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:27 AM
but ye i see what the rov means by "The Rambam did not list Yeshivishe chakiras as Torah shebal peh either, nor pilpulim. But we understand that all those are tools to understand what the Torah says, and so they are exactly what the Rambam means when he says that Torah Shebal Peh is the explanation of Torah Shebiksav. "
i had this as well with a friend who misquoted a chasam sofer and a yaavets re; the zohar, i asked him to send me the mekor, he sends me a link to some random anonymous website where the blogger "learns pshat" in the seforim mentioned above.
i second the rov, to stay away from such website, (although its hard cuz its mamesh all over) if people will be honest they will actually look into the stuff they are reading and see how silly the stuff they are writing are, many of them will sometimes quote a small piece and run with it not knowing that the very next paragraph from where they are quoting from shows blatantly different from their conclusion.
people claim to have a hard time finding a good rov but when it comes to emunak, hashkafah, they find it quickly and easily, people have to be honest.
Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:02 AM
Posted 11 January 2012 - 06:21 PM
But after reading your response, I still have some questions:
1) So does this mean practically that someone who believes that Kabbalah is not part of Torah is an apikorus?
2) "Kabbalah is Medrash. It is Agadah." I thought Kabbalah was mainly the Zohar and other similar works. When we learn Medrashim on Chumash, and Agadah in gemarah, we are learning kabbalah!? I'm guessing that you mean that the deeper interpretation of these Medrashim and Aggada are based on yesodos from kabbalah seforim (like the Zohar). But how come the Rishonim, and earlier Acharonim (such as the Maharsha etc.), don't give Kabbalistic explanations to these Medrashim and Aggados? The Rambam certainly doesn't!
3) It is true that this maskilic idea (that Kabbalah comes from the goyish "mysticism" of the times) I never thought on my own (but probably read in some kefira book a long time ago), but once I heard it, it still bothers me... And I think it bothers me because it seems to historically make sense - The spread of Kabbalah in the Jewish world happened at the same time when "mysticism" seemed to be popular..... I know all the gedolim have accepted the Zohar and other Kabbalistic seforim, and that's definitely our mesorah, but I still have trouble accepting something that doesn't sit well with me.... I'm trying to be loyal to the mesorah, and at the same time I try to be intellectually honest, so this is an area where I am troubled....
[I know you can answer that the goyim got it from us, but that just doesn't seem to sit well with me....]
4) I always try to hear both sides of a debate. So that's why in the past I would check out what other websites have to say and then ask you about it. I understand that I probably should stop doing this. My questions is - is it assur for me to tell these other blogs how you responded? I know it says in Sanhedrin that "Apikorus Kol Shekain D'pakar tfei...", but maybe if they hear the truth they'll stop they're kefira? I seem to remember somewhere on the old site that you said that kefira is basically "MISINFORMATION" - if that's true, shouldn't one listen to all the sides, investigate, and then come to a well-thought out and logical conclusion?
Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:38 PM
1) So does this mean practically that someone who believes that Kabbalah is not part of Torah is an apikorus?
Well someone asked this to Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding the Dor-daim in Eretz Yisroel and his answer was that you cannot be metztaref them to a Minyan (quoted in a sefer called Vayichtav Mordechai written by a Rabbi Mordechai Almakes (sp?). The sefer is a collection of letters that the author received from various Rabbonim, p. 340).
Also see this sefer, about the writings of Yichye Kafach. Check out the haskomos in particular.
Two more things. First, to be sure, we can apply to such people what the Ramak says about those who believed Hashem was corporeal. He said, even if they are not Apikorsim (like the Raavad holds), they are definitely idiots.
Two, in this case, even if not believing in Kabbalah does not make you an Apikores, only an Apikores would be able to say such a thing, for consider what this means. Let's assume now that you would be correct, that Kabbalah would chas v'sholom be nothing but bogus mysticism. Can you please explain how it is that all our sages from the Arizal down - and not only from the Arizal down; Rishonim like the Ramban and Rashba as well - were unable to figure out that Kabbalah "originated" the same time as "non-Jewish mysticism" and that moreover, it is not Torah at all? Can you explain how this obvious fact - and it must have been even more obvious in those days since they were "closer" to the "origins" of this fake Kabbalah- escaped everyone, including Torah scholars like the GRA, and the only people who saw this were a small group of, admittedly, not the biggest Talmidei Chachamim in the world?
Do you understand that, according to these dordaim fools, our leading Torah sages throughout the generations were so inept at Torah scholarship that they could not even recognize what some Maskilim recognized - that this Kabaalah that they so revered was not even Torah at all but an obvious imitation of Goyishe witchcraft and stuff without any basis whatsoever? And worse - all those who claimed revelations of Eliyahu and others, or the use of Shaimos HaKedoshim - were all nothing but phonies? And nobody ever figured this out - because even though this Kabbalah stuff was clearly just Halloween-type nonsense, nobody was astute enough to realize this except for Kafach and his cabal and, of course, some Maskilim?
Do you understand that if this is true, that our entire religion falls apart? That our Rishonim and Achronim were all so unacquainted with Torah they couldn't tell the difference between it and jack-o-lanterns?
Does that make any sense to you? Kabbalah is so accepted by our Mesorah that if it is bogus, then Judaism collapses like a stack of cards.
The Vilna Gaon couldn't tell that Kabbalah is fake but Kafach could? Does that make any sense to you at all?
That sits better with you than the alternative?
And listen - please rethink the idea that Kabalah came to light the same time as Goyish mysticism, because I don't think that is true. But regardless, it is not hard to answer up such a thing even if it is true, and you don't need to say they got it from us (although ti is a fact that Kabblah had a tremendous influence on Christianity and other religions). I could sit here all night making answers without dfficulty. And even if I couldn't - the alternative makes more sense to you?
For example: The Yitav Lev explains that technology blossomed in the world when the Zohar says that an explosion of "chachmah" was supposed to come into the world. If we would have been zocheh, he says, that would have been Torah. But since we weren't, it became technology. Others say a similar thing regarding the Eitz Hadaas - that had Adam waited until Shabbos, the Chachmah he would have gotten from eating it would have been Torah Chachmah. Instead, because he at it at the wrong time, the Chachmah was corrupted.
So too, when the time that Kabbalah was revealed, זה לעומת זה - a corrupted and phony form of Nistar - also arrived among the idol-worshipers. Or, simpler, when Kabbalah came in to the world, there also developed the fake Nistar in order to create a Nisayon as well as a distraction to keep away unworthy people from the real thing. זה לעומת זה works this way.
But all that is total speculation. A guess. If it's not right then figure out something else. Or say you don't know. People don't die from questions. The alternative - that everyone was fooled, is less logical than any speculation you can think of.
[June 08, '12. I just saw the following. It is quoted in Mai HaShiloach vol. 2, Likutim:]
ספר ליקוטי אמרים - אות ח
וכמו ששמעתי כי כל חכמתו דרבי שמעון בר יוחאי בספר הזוהר ידעו גם כן סבי דבי אתונא מחכמי יון שהיו קרוב לזמנו והיו לעומתו זה לעומת זה והעשר ספירות הם עצמן העשרה מאמרות הידועים לבעלי ההגיון רק שהשיגום בלבוש אחר מצד החיצוניות ואינו דברי תורה כלל וכן כל חכמת שלמה המלך ע"ה היה יודע גם כן חירם מלך צור שהיה לעומתו זה לעומת זה וכן חכמתו של משה רבינו ע"ה ידע בלעם מצד החיצוניות [וכאומרם ז"ל (זבחים קט"ז.) דנתקבצו אומות העולם לבלעם וסיפר להם ענין מתן תורה, וזה שאמרו בספרי (סוף ברכה) באומות העולם קם ומנו בלעם] כך שמעתי ויציבא מילתא:
2) "Kabbalah is Medrash. It is Agadah." I thought Kabbalah was mainly the Zohar and other similar works. When we learn Medrashim on Chumash, and Agadah in gemarah, we are learning kabbalah!
No - that's not what I meant. I meant that Kabalah - the Medrash RSHBI - is Medrash like any other, but not that all Medrash os Kabbalah. The Kabbalistic explanations of Torah are just like any explanations of Torah. Kabalah is not its own category of Torah. it is Torah. Period. The same as any other Torah SheBal Peh. But it;s a very high level that not everybody can understand without the proper preparaiton and prerequisites.
how come the Rishonim, and earlier Acharonim (such as the Maharsha etc.), don't give Kabbalistic explanations to these Medrashim and Aggados?
The same reason the experts in Kabbalah nowadays don't do it. Did you ever see in the myriad Sefroim of the Satmar Rebbe ZTL, who was very possibly the greatest expert in Kabbalah in the world, such Kabbalistic explanations of the Medrashim? Nope. One day 500 years from now some people may say the Satmar Rebbe didn't believe in Kabbalah because he didnt give Kabbalistic explanation of Medrashim.
Kabbalah was hidden, known only to the elite of each generation. And if you have an eye for it, you will find Kabbalistic teachings dispersed throughout the writings of our Rishonim, but camouflaged, so that the simple pshat will be understood by the regular reader. Read the Ramban;s introduction to Chumash and tell me he didn't have Kabbalah.
Kabbalah was not made public until it was time for it to be revelaed. Until then, it was handed down from the elite of one generation to the next. From the elite to the elite. We have many Kabbalah Seforim written in the days of the Rishonim.
The Rambam certainly doesn't!
You sure about that? Please see the introduction to Bais Yaakov (Radzin) where you will see differently. In fact, there is a school of thought that says everything the Rambam said is perfectly correct according to Kababalah (even though the Rambam did not have the Zohar), and that many of the things the Rambam said are meant according to Kabbalah (example: his statement in Moreh Nevuchim that we for some reason cannot find the reason for the Lechem Hapanim, or his explanation for the Ketores).
More: The Rambam writes that Maaseh Bereishis not be revealed to the public. Now if the Rambam really held that Maaseh Breishis is science, why would it need to be hidden? The Ran (Drashos Haran) explains that the Rambam did not mean science like the scientists know. He meant science that can only be understood with Ruach HaKodesh. What kind of science is the Rambam taking about that you can only know with Ruach HaKodesh? This means Kabbalah.
Then there is the letter of the Rambam quoted by the Migdal Oz, about him discovering Kabbalah when he was older. Check it out.
There is a lot more to this but it is unnecessary. As I said, if the Kabbalah is fake, then there is no Mesorah to speak of, c"v.
I would suggest obtaining a Sefer that explains the entire history of the Kabalah at length and its status in each time-period, and why and when it was known to whom - Siach Yitzchok, by Rav Yitzchok Ben Zichri. He was a Talmid of Rav Elya Lopian. Please check it out. He comes to America sometimes, usually in the summer. He stays in Flatbush when he is here. You can speak to him if you like.
Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:10 PM
I always try to hear both sides of a debate. So that's why in the past I would check out what other websites have to say and then ask you about it.
Two questions: One - what determines what is a "debate"? Do you go to the KKK websites? The Jews for Yoshka? The pro-child molester sites? Pro-anorexia sites? Communist sites? Muslim sites? On what basis do you decide what is a "debate"; that makes you think there are two sides that need to be considered? What is your starting point?
Second question: What makes you think that these people you pick up on the internet represent any "side" in the debate? If you go to a random street corner and hear a bunch of kids yapping about nuclear physics, would you then deliver their enlightening opinions to your local study hall for a "rebuttal? Would that accomplish anything or would your doing so merely be an annoyance? So besides deciding what is a matter of debate you also decided, somehow, who represents the sides in the debate.
So in order to pursue the path you have chosen to pursue, you have an already-assumed set of opinions. In other words, you're already pre-judging the issues to a large extent before you obtain your information.
My questions is - is it assur for me to tell these other blogs how you responded? I know it says in Sanhedrin that "Apikorus Kol Shekain D'pakar tfei...", but maybe if they hear the truth they'll stop they're kefira? I seem to remember somewhere on the old site that you said that kefira is basically "MISINFORMATION" - if that's true, shouldn't one listen to all the sides, investigate, and then come to a well-thought out and logical conclusion?
It will not help. They will not listen. When I said Kefirah is misinformation I was saying that by definition Kefirah cannot be true. Someone asked me something to the effect of why can't we teach Kefrah - why are we afraid of information? My answer was that Kefirah is by definition not information - it is always misinformation and why would we want to teach misinformation?
But that does not mean that these people will just accept something because you show them it is so. Here is a rule where such people are concerned:
You cannot convince them of anything by merely proving it to them.
פקר טפי. That's the rule here. Plus all you will do is be Machshil them in making Letzonus of Torah. It's like the Halachah that you may not say something good about someone to his enemy, for you will merely cause him to speak Loshon Horah. Same thing here. Don't try to straighten these people out. It just makes them into bigger Leitzanim. פקר טפי.
Listen - if you want to grow, first learn. Then go fight with people if you want. Read Rabbi Miller's Rejoice O Youth. At the end of the book, which is written in the form of a story about a rabbi teaching an inquisitive teenager about Emunah, the kid says he wants to go out and teach to the world what he just learned from the rabbi. The rabbi tells him to wait a while. If you pluck an unripe apple from the tree and feed it to someone you'll just make him sick. First learn a lot, then learn a lot more. Then if you want go straighten people out.
Imagine if you were in medical school l'havdil. And imagine that in class you'd constantly raise your hand and ask the teacher "Well what about the witch doctors' opinions?" And "What do you say about what i read on the internet yesterday about magical remedies?"
If you keep yourself busy running around finding every opinion and then trying to figure out whats wrong with it before you learn biology very well, you'll just drive yourself nuts. After you learn about the human body, a lot for your questions will be answered.
So please, - I don't know you so I have no נגיעות here, and I am telling you the same thing I tell my own children, students and congregants - sit and learn a lot of Hashkafa, and learn a lot of Shas and Poskim, and then worry about "debates"; You'll be surprised how clear so many things become if you learn the topic rather than listen to what every Tom Dick and Harry have to say about it. And then trying to get them to argue with each other.
So learn, learn, and learn some more. Then go and debate with whoever you want. But I have a feeling that the more you know the less you'll be inclined to gather every opinion that is expressed on every random street corner.
Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:06 AM
Anybody who is on the level to learn Kabbalah would be sufficiently steeped in Torah knowledge that he would be able to know the answer to that question without asking me.
If he does not, then the answer is don't do it, and stick to Gemora Rashi and Tosfos.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:23 PM
Isn't the Shach over here (http://www.hebrewboo...7&st=&pgnum=138 - begiining of seif vav, the way he defines "Shaar Hachachmos") mashma that Kabbalah is not Torah?
Chas V'Sholom. That's insane.
The Rama seemed to say that all חכמות besides תנ"ך ש"ס ופוסקים should not be learned - whether they are Torah or not. For example, see Pischei Teshuva there where he explains to stay away from Kabbalah because we are not on the level to learn it. But חלילה - nobody says the Rama or Shach mean to exclude Kabbalah from being Torah.