[Avodah] Maharal - MeValey Olam, SeVara etc.

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Feb 6 18:23:10 PST 2013

On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 09:44:32AM +1100, Meir Rabi wrote:
: I ask a simple question - Does the Maharal say that CORRECT decisions are
: not Torah [and destroy the world] when there is no Talmud  behind them?

Before I do, I want to share this quote from the MB's intro, as translated
by RMJbroyde in his recent article on the MB's methodology
    The Shulhan Arukh also with learning the Tur along with it, is an
    obscure book, since when the Bet Yosef ordered the Shulhan Arukh his
    intention was that one would first learn the essential laws and their
    sources from the Tur and the Bet Yosef, in order to understand the
    ruling, each one according to its reasoning. Since the Tur and the
    Bet Yosef bring numerous differing opinions for each law, he thus
    decided to write the Shulhan Arukh to make known the ruling in
    practice for each law. It was not his intention, however, that we
    would learn it alone, since the law is not able to sit well with a
    person unless he understands the reasoning behind it.

The article has much to say that's relevent, as RMJB gives his opinion
of how the various codes (Rif, Rambam, Tur, SA, etc...) differ, and the
how those differences reflect the philosophy and goals of their authors.
But back to the Maharal himself...

Nesivos Olam cheileq 1, Nesiv haTorah, pereq 15, I'm focusing on pg 68
<http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14202&pgnum=71> col 2, the
paragraph that starts "VE'OD sham: Hatana'im mavlei olam", through the
end of the pereq on pg 69.

The Maharal is shifting topic from who is an am ha'aretz (discussed
before the marker I just pointed to) to "hatana'im mavlei olam". He
opens by saying that although someone who was not meshameish a talmid
chakham may be an am ha'aretz, a bur, a kuti, etc... he isn't out there
destroying the world. That's reserved for someone who doesn't do shimush
and doesn't even engage in talmud. Someone who is so out of touch with
how halakhah works, they only study case law.

These people destroy the world because the world stands on Torah. 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, "ve'al zeh ha'olam omeid" -- as the Maharal
puts it, quoting (without citation) Avos 1:2, "Al shelosheh devarim
ha'olam omeid, al haTorah..."

For this reason, the Maharal rejects Rashi's explanation of this quote.
Rashi says that tana'im mavlei olam because trying to pasqen by only
knowing already decided case law is bound to be error-prone. However
the Maharal objects that if this were true, Chazal wouldn't continue
with "shemorin halakhah mitokh mishnasan", but "shemorin hora'os

(Pg 69)

It is appropriate for halakhah lemaaseh to come from Torah which is
sikhlis. (I think it is this line that RMR builds his understanding
around.) However, he does continue that WRT to pesaq, rather than neglect
of talmud Torah, case law would be sufficient because it's the reishis
letalmud vehaschalah eilav. Now that there is a gemara, the case law in
the mishnah has tinges of talmud.

Notice also we aren't speaking of the masses. He is discusing how we are
"posqin halakhah".

Then the Maharal claims that the Rambam and the Tur didn't write their
codes for people to pasqen from without using them as tools for further
study. RMJBroyde's article points out stylisticly that this is true for
the Tur. But for the Maharal to say this of the Yad requires acknowledging
that he is speaking to posqim, not people trying to figure out their own
lives. Because the Rambam is quite clear in the haqdamah that he expected
the hoi palloi to use his Mishneh Torah as their text for learning TSBP,
and if they lack more time -- their ONLY such text.

The Maharal doesn't mention the SA, but historically we know he was very
much against the popularization of the SA as *THE* legal code, a process
going on in his lifetime. And I do not think it's possible to read this
section about codes without realizing that he has polemical points to
make in that regard.

He refers back to the topic of shimush and amei ha'aretz (and all the
other negative titles), saying that clearly creating such people wasn't
the intent of the Rambam or the Tur. (Notice, though, that he thereby
limits the discussion to people who were meshamshim talmidei chakhamim.)

So, I read the conclusion differently than RMR does... LAD, he is saying
that we need talmud Torah more than we need pesaq halakah. He would still
call those errors "hora'as ta'us", not "halakhah".

And none of this touches on using the Yad when you aren't going to be
a moreh halakhah either way, or (as I put it in my first post) someone
who relies on the QSA. Just not to pasqen! Pesaq needs shimush, talmud,
because otherwise there is no halakhah-creating talmud Torah to keep
the universe up.


Micha Berger             It's never too late
micha at aishdas.org        to become the person
http://www.aishdas.org   you might have been.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      - George Elliot

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