[Avodah] Ghost Rabbis [in the sky]

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Tue Feb 12 18:15:12 PST 2013

On 12/02/2013 3:59 PM, Jonathan Baker wrote:
> From: Zev Sero <zev at sero.name>
>> Subject: Re: [Avodah] Is Panentheism Heresy
>> On 10/02/2013 10:33 PM, Lisa Liel wrote:
>>> On 2/8/2013 3:47 PM, Zev Sero wrote:
>>>> That's not metaphor, and it's not nevuah, it's a claim (true or
>>>> not) of an actual visitation by a neshomo, just like Rebbi used
>>>> to come home to make kiddush, or R Elozor br Shimon used
>>>> to pasken shaylos from the attic after his passing (which
>>>> you surely agree happened).
>>> Why surely?  I'm not at all convinced that this happened literally.

>> Really?  How can those two stories be read non-literally?

> Saying kiddish is already non-literal.
> How could Rebbi say kiddush for anyone, it's like a goy saying kiddush
> the dead are NIFTARIM, patur from mitzvos.

On the contrary, the Sefer Chassidim uses the fact that he was motzi them
with kiddush to demonstrate that tzadikim bemisoson keruyim chayim, and
therefore he was chayav in kiddush and could be motzi others.

> Maybe Mrs Rebbi felt her husband's presence at lichtbenchen.

That's not a possible reading of the gemara, let alone of the Sefer
Chassidim.   The gemara says that his return every Friday was the reason
why he ordered that his light be kept lit, his table be set, and his bed
be made, is that he would come home every Friday night.  If he was just
a feeling why would he need those things?  And it's not just that his
wife did these things out of sentiment, he specifically ordered it.
Also, if it was just a feeling of his presence, why did the visits have
to stop after they became known?

> In fact, that seems pretty likely, given that
> it's not the Gemara that says he made kiddush, it's the Sefer Chasidim.

How does that make it likely?  First of all, the Sefer Chassidim is not
a source?!  He didn't know what he was talking about?!  Second, how does
the version that's explicit in the gemara indicate that he wasn't really

> The Gemara just says that he visited the house on Shabbos.

Yes, and that for this reason he needed a light, a set table, and a made

>  And he was invisible to the visiting neighbor.

What are you talking about?  The gemara says no such thing.  Bepashtus,
had the maid let her in, she would have seen him just as everyone else
did, including the maid herself.  And note that the maid said Rebbi was
sitting, not just present, so he wasn't just a feeling.

> So already the kiddush story is a
> non-literal reading.  R' Reuven Margulies apparently spends som time on
> "how can the dead make kiddush" in his edition of the Sefer Hasidim, #1129.

Not much time. It's footnote 9 on this page, and carries over to the next
page.  http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=41862&pgnum=475
He just points out that RYhCh is going leshitaso that Rebbi was chayav
bemitzvos, cites a Tosfos to explain how, in that case, he could be
buried in shatnez tachrichim, and then asks a question from David Hamelech,
who is "chai vekayom", and yet the gemara says that after his life was over
he was patur min hamitzvos.  That's the extent of the discussion.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
zev at sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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