[Avodah] Mesorah (was Re: Mesora only through Rashi)

Kaganoff via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Tue Aug 25 18:50:52 PDT 2015

To parachute into an ongoing discussion, I have found that people use
Mesorah in four different ways:

1) Personal Mesorah from a Rebbe to a Talmid. What a scholar or layman
learns from his teacher.

2) Mesorah as the unbroken chain of Torah going back to Sinai. Rambam zt"l
has the most famous mesorah chart, though I like Micha Berger's. (Parallels
can be in Hadith transmission traditiona, Sufi traditions or the Catholic
Church's assumption of an unbroken chain back to Peter).

3) Communal norms and traditions. This is how the term is commonly used in
the Chareidi communities and also how it is being used in the ongoing
discussion. This is the idea that there are legitimate practices, norms,
values or halakhic understandings. For example different methodologies of
learning. Or, as my brothers-in-law say to me, well if that is the mesorah
of your community, then it is legitimate, even if they don't relate to this
practice. (Personally, I do not relate to such a usage. Either an approach
is valid/true or not valid/true.)

I discussed the last category in an essay that Gil was kind enough to post:

There are probably other uses of the term *mesorah*, but I cannot think of
them at the moment.

Best wishes,
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