[Avodah] The MaHaRal that will not go Away

Meir Rabi meirabi at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 08:18:53 PST 2013

I asked a simple question: Does the Maharal [Nesivos Olam Nesiv HaTorah,
ench Ch 15] say that CORRECT decisions are not Torah [and destroy the
world] when there is no Talmud behind them?

As best I can penetrate R Micha’s response, he seems to be answering that
the MaHaRal is not talking about Paskening Halacha LeMaAseh but is talking
about TTorah. R Micha writes, “This isn't a statement about halakhah and
how one should decide to do things lemaaseh. It's saying that someone who
doesn't engage in talmud isn't performing talmud Torah.”

I must therefore assume that R Micha’s answer to my question is in the
negative. According to R Micha, Correct decisions are Torah even when there
is no Talmud behind them. However, this is the position of Rashi with whom
the MaHaRal makes it abundantly clear that he disagrees with, in the
strongest possible terms.

I have not read but the excerpts of RMLBroyde as quoted by R Micha.

“When the Bet Yosef ordered [compiled?] the Shulhan Arukh his intention was
that one would first learn the essential laws and their sources from the
Tur and the Bet Yosef, {but since these bring} numerous differing opinions
for each law, he {compiled} the Shulhan Arukh to make known the ruling in
practice for each law. “

“It was not his intention, however, that we learn it alone, since the law
is not able to sit well with a person [what does this mean, “the law does
not sit well”?; Does it mean that one does not understand it?; that one may
come to make erroneous rulings?; that one does not like it?] unless he
understands the reasoning behind it.

>From these excerpts it appears that Rabbi Broyde disagrees with the MaHaRal
who maintains that the Tur and the RaMBaM would not have compiled their
works had they known it would lead to people abandoning the learning of the
Talmud. According to Rabbi Broyde learning the Tur and BY would be enough.
It is only the Shulchan Aruch that is too brief and cryptic.

In that case what Rabbi Broyde says has no relevance to our discussion
about the MaHaRal.

I do not know what R Micha means, I don’t know what he has added, when he
re-phrases the MaHaRal to define the MeVaLey Olam – the destroyers of the
world, those who Pasken from their Mishnah, as, “so out of touch with how
Halakhah works, they only study case law”

R Micha urges that we notice that MaHaRal’s comments are not directed to
the masses. I don’t see this at all. Please tell us where this is alluded

It also sounds as though the desperate plea and despondency of the MaHaRal
is misunderstood. MaHaRal wails that compared to what we are doing to day,
HaLeVay we would be learning the Mishnah. That way at least we would be at
the threshold of the Talmud and there might be a small chance that we may
progress to the Talmud. But as it stands today [says MaHaRal, of his times]
it is a disaster of much greater proportions because by consulting the Tur
and the RaMBaM and the ShA, we have moved even further from ever getting to
learn Talmud.

The MaHaRal certainly says nothing like, “WRT to pesaq, rather than neglect
of talmud Torah, case law would be sufficient because it's the reishis
letalmud vehaschalah eilav.” [BTW, that sentence does not make any sense to
me. What is the word -RATHER- doing in that sentence? Do Australian brains
and language operate on a different frequency or wavelength?] Please
correct me, direct me to the words of the MaHaRal that say anything
remotely like that.

RaMBaM in his intro suggests that his Mishneh Torah be used as the text for
TSBP; how does the MaHaRal in that case suggest that RaMBaM would have
preferred not to publish his Sefer had he known that it would be used to
avoid learning Talmud? That’s not a problem. Just keep in mind RaMBaMs
guidelines in Hilchos TT for how much time one must dedicate to TT. And he
is not providing guidelines for Poskim but for the entire Jewish People.


Meir G. Rabi
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