Anything about JUDAISM
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philo613 Posted - 13 June 2007 14:05
(This is my third attempt at posting my question, If this is also posted elsewhere, I'm sorry for my incompetance)

I have a question about the way Jewish Hashkafa works in general. I know of the concept of “Eylu V’Eylu Divrei Elokim Chaim,” and that this concept is applied to show that, while we might hold by only one opinion in terms of Halacha, the other opinion is valid, and, indeed, both can be considered the words of Hashem. My question is: does this concept extend the Hashkafa, and if so, how? I can see why two separate opinions of Halacha are both correct, because both might be valid, albeit different approaches. Hashkafa, however, is sometimes trying to answer factual questions. I’ll give an example to make things easier—Animal Heaven. I know that The Rambam writes that the concept is ridiculous but that Rav Saadya Gaon (I think) accepts it. This seems to be a purely factual question with no wiggle room for “Eylu V’Eylu…”. Either animals do go to heaven or they don’t—irrespective of what anybody says. This question can be extended for most debates

Note: please do not try to focus on the example given. If there is something wrong with my example, ignore it and move on to a different example.

write Posted - 13 June 2007 16:37
yes, it applies to hashkafa too!!

we know it says shishim panim latorah. I forgot which commentary I saw this in too long ago (one of the more recent Gedolei Hador) sorry I can't remember his name. There really is a 'face' to the torah for every jew bc. every jew sees the Torah differently due to his or her life.

annoying, I can't remeber which sefer.
Sorry. can't refer you to anywhere.

hope this helps answer your question.

taon Posted - 13 June 2007 16:54
I believe this is discussed below.
MODERATOR Posted - 14 June 2007 2:20
philo ---
there are many answers given to thsi q. the simplest is that
eliu veilu means both opinions are torah, even if one opinion is factually incorrect, it still has the holiness of torah. like hava aminas of the gemora - theyre still torah because they were derived with torah due process. hava aminas were disproven but they are torah and holy.

there are

MODERATOR Posted - 14 June 2007 2:25
ps - your example is in fact incorrect but you said to ignore it.

write Posted - 14 June 2007 4:52
R mod, thanks i didn't think that made any sense. (i have a dog and didn't think my old dog was there either no matter how much I love him)
philo613 Posted - 20 June 2007 22:07
Rabbi Moderator, can the same answer be said about history? I mean, when the gemora has an argument about historical facts, can we say that in fact, one is true and the other is false?
Also, (I know I’m violating what I said before), but can you explain to me what is wrong with my example?
MODERATOR Posted - 20 June 2007 22:15
The simple answer is yes, we pasken history like that too. However, ther seforim mention that 2 differnt versions of history can be true, each taking place in its own "world." So for instance, the Gemroa says Yaakov avinu lo mes - Yaakov did nto die. The Gemroa asks that we see he died, and the Gemroa answers "mikra ani doresh," i.e., the posuk says that he did not die. The simple explanation fo the Gemora is that the posuk dictates reality more than our senses, but there a re seforim that say (I saw this first quoted as "well known" in Pachad Yitzchok by Rav Hutner, and then later either in Rav Tzadok, or Chidushei HaRim - I forget which) that in the "Olam HaPeshat" - Yaakov died, but in the "Olam HaDerush", Yaakov did not die. This is based on the idea that Istakel B'oraisa Ubara ALma - that the world, is just a reflection of what it says in the Torah. And if in the Torah there are parallel explanations, there must be parallel realities in thw rold as well.

So a machloke in history does not necessarily mean one is right and the other wrong, regardless of what history "says," because of the rule that, despite what history says, in order to understand reality, you still need to know what the "mikra ani doresh" says.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 June 2007 12:57
... and now that we know that 2 mutually exclusive versions of historical facts can both be true, it is then not uneasonable to assume that two seemingly nutually exclusive versions of hashkafic "facts" can be true as well. Please note that I am not aware of a proof to this, and we cannot exrtapolate this from the above about historical facts. However, we should nto be so quick to assume that the straightforward answer that I mentioned above - that eilu v'eilu means they are both Torah but not both factual - is the only correct answer.
philo613 Posted - 22 June 2007 15:19
Rabbi Moderator, what about when there is a historical machlokes about how to interpret a pasuk (or gemorah, midrash etc.)? For example In Lech Lecha, there is a dispute as to how long the 5 kings rebelled against the 4 kings. Rashi says they served for 13 and rebelled for 13 and chedarlaomer came in the 14th . Ibn Ezra explains that rebelled in the 13th year, not that they rebelled for 13 years. How can what you say about Olam HaDerush and Olam Hepshat be said here when there is a dispute about the text itself? And what of “Eilu V”Eilu? Furthermore, If it could be shown through historical records that the 5 kings rebelled for only 1 year, would that evidence be admissible to show that Rashi was wrong, and vice versa for Ibn Ezra, or do we not accept such evidence?
MODERATOR Posted - 22 June 2007 15:42
As I mentioend, there are disagreements as to how ailu v'ailu works, what it means, and its scope.

However, in so many of these cases, our seforim do apply the rule of ailu v'ailu divrei elokim chaim. In such cases, they might give explanations such as, in a certain way they rebelled for 13 years but a new, more significant stage of the rebellion happened in the 13th year; or that for 13 years they rebelled in thought, but on the 13th year they started with actions; or that the "sar" of these nations in shamayim rebelled for 13 years and the people strated after 13; or that the first 13 years oif rebellion were half-hearted and without conviction, and thats not considered a rebellion, but after 13 they were committed to the rebellion; etc etc etc etc

There are many examples of things like this in many seforim. The shelah, in particular, discusses such thgins at length.

In short, the wya ailu v'ailu works according to this approach is, when Hashem gave the Torah, it contained multiple, eveb infinite, meanings. But the Torah contains them all and means them all. Now each jew has a unique soul, which is attuned to certain specific meanings in the Torah, but not to others. Thus, each person will be able to deduce form the torah the meanings that correspond to his soul. This is what we mean when we say "vesain chelkeinu besorasecha" - every one if us has a part of torah destined to be understood by us, and we pray that we learn it.

This applies to areas of Torah that describe halachah as well as hashkafa and even metzius. Regarding Metzius thigns, such as what you mentioend, once we establish that the facts could be interpreted differnet ways, then we say that the posuk - the peshuto shel mikrah - can also be interpreted to mean any of those ways.

So when rashi and ibn Ezra disagree regarding what a posuk means, both can still eb true, in differnet ways, and the posuk, even peshuto shel mikrah, can mean both, as per the rule of shivim panim latorah.

Can a Rishon make a mistake? Of course he can. But the problem is, so can we. And so, although a Rishon can theoretically make a mistake, if we see thgins differently than the way a rishon did, then the only reasonable conclusion is that we are wrong, nto the rishon, since his words were stated b'ruach hakodesh, and siyata dishmaya, as well as with the interpretative skills possesed by a Rishon.

Compare it to a little kid who falls anddislocates his shoulder. A doctor comes and starts to snap it into place. The kid feels the pain and refuses to allwo the doctor to snap it back. The kid says, "You dont know what youre doing. I learned in 5th grade form my teacher who is reliable that pain is the bodiy's way of sayign somethgin is wrong, and if what youre doign is causing pain that memas my body says its wrong. You doctors arent infallible! I dont believe in the Christian concept of papal infallibility! Go away!"

The kid is an idiot, of course.

And so, we understand that the Rishonim saw deep and wide and far ino the Torah - and the world - in a way comnpared wo which, we are not even kids. This applies ot all generaiton differences. As chazal say: "if the early ones were like angels, then we are like men; if they were like men then we are like donkeys."

So no, if a Rishon sees somethgin in a posuk, and some historians say that their assessment of the situation is different, the only reasonable conclusion is that the Rishon is right. And if there is a disagreement among the rishonim, then its like 2 doctors disagreeing - the fact that a 5th grader says one of them is right doesnt help us much. And the posuk can still be subject to ailu v'ailu.

As a rule, thats how it works.

yaavetz Posted - 20 October 2008 15:22
R' Moderator, what you wrote above-
<So when rashi and ibn Ezra disagree regarding what a posuk means, both can still be true, in differnet ways, and the posuk, even peshuto shel mikrah, can mean both, as per the rule of shivim panim latorah.>
Can there be 2 correct pshatim in one pasuk, even in regard to historical fact?
I thought the rule of shivim panim latorah means that besides for the ONE CORRECT PSHAT there are other ways of looking at the pasuk based on drush and remez and sod.
Also don't we see that rishonim bring pshatim from others(like the ramban will many times bring ibn ezra) and say that their pshat is wrong? If there can be two correct conflicting pshatim based on shivim panim etc. and eilu v'eilu etc., how can they say that the other pshat is wrong?
Thank you

MODERATOR Posted - 20 October 2008 15:36
As I mentioned, one posuk can mean multiple things, even multiple things in pshat, and historical facts.

That does not mean, however, that every conflicting pshat is a correct one. So when A says the pshat of B is incorrect he means it's mistaken.

yaavetz Posted - 03 November 2008 11:53
Sorry, but I'm still finding myself unclear.
Two contradictory pshatim in one posuk can or cannot both be true? It simply does not make sense to me that they both can.
I can understand if you explain them so that they're not contradictory, but then what about if they are brought in rishonim as clearly arguing with each other?
MODERATOR Posted - 04 November 2008 6:33
A posuk can contain 2 contradictory explanations.

As was mentioned here in the name of the Ritva, when Moshe got the Torah on Har Sinai, all the possible Halachic positions were told to him - for the same shailah, 70 reasons for tameh and 70 more for tahor. Moshe asked Hashem which do we follow? Hashem said whichever your chachamim decide.

The same applies for explanations of pesukim - after all, halochos are derived from them. So when two sages say differing explanations of pesukim, both were said to Moshe on Har Sinai, and the posuk was designed to generate both explanations from both sages.

When two sages say each one is incorrect, and has the wrong explanation of the posuk, it is still eilu v'eilu divei elokim chaim.

Now there is a second question, namely, what about a case of disagreement in Metzius? Can we say eilu v'eilu there? How could a machlokes in metzius both be true?

The answer to that is yes, eilu v'eilu does apply, and there are different explanations of how. The Shelah, cited above, often states in such instances that both are true in different ways (example above); others give other explanations.

If your question is, why would Meforshim ever say the other is incorrect if eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim, your question should be expanded to include every case where Bais Shamai and Bais Hillel say the other are mistaken in their explanation of a posuk, or mistaken in their halachic position.

But humans were designed with different outlooks and each one submits what their Daas says is correct and rejects what it says is incorrect - sages and meforshim included - however, these opinions, as they are coming from particularly holy humans, produce intellectually positions that were among those that were explained to Moshe on Har Sinai - even if they are contradictory.

yaavetz Posted - 05 November 2008 15:07
Thank You

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