Monday, December 1, 2014

Misunderstanding sages of the past and present


"The current generation, due to great weakness and laxity, cannot intellectually grasp the fact that one of the great authors could have made an intellectual error; they think that anything recorded in an old text cannot be questioned.

"They do not offer ideas other than to contradict their contemporaries, and regarding anything that emerges from the mouth of one [of their contemporaries], even if favour is poured upon his lips and his mouth produces gems, still, they say, 'Why is this man different from other men? We also have the language of scholarship, and a hand and name in study as he does.'"

(Rabbi Shlomo Luria, Introduction to Yam shel Shlomo on Masechet Gittin)

Have a good day,


  1. Good morning, I'm not sure I understand the implications. Who is entitled to disagree with or criticize whom? Gaonim? Rishonim? Acharonim? More contemporary Gedolim? Michael Felder

  2. Michael-
    Note that Rabbi Luria lived in the 16th century, so he would not have been dealing with Acharonim or anyone contemporary. But in any case, his point seems to relate to challenging any rabbi's writings on the basis of textual argument.
    It might be relevant to see his contemporary Rama's comments in Choshen Mishpat 25:2.