[Avodah] Multivalent truth

Zvi Lampel zvilampel at gmail.com
Mon May 6 06:22:40 PDT 2019

On Sun, 05 May 2019 19:55:19 -0400, <avodah-request at lists.aishdas.org>  

On Wed, 1 May 2019 Micha Berger wrote:
> The Law of Contradiction -- something and its inverse cannot
> both be true at the same time -- is more relevant to eilu va'eilu divrei
> E-lokim Chaim.
... Rambam bought into Aristotilian logic, and
> (therefore?) doesn't believe both sides of a machloqes are equally
> true. To the Rambam, ... one side is indeed in error. We just do our  
> best to
> minimize the chance that we're following that side. And since Briskers so
> heavily lean on the Rambam, maybe R Chaim accepts the Rambam's position
> on this too. And so if there is a conflict between the ideas multiple
> truths and Brisker derekh, it wouldn't be a problem. Brisker derekh
> might not accept a literal eilu va'eilu anyway.

Most rishonim (Recanti may be an exception, and R. Meir ben Ezekiel ibn  
Gabbai [1480-1540, in Avodas HaKodesh] probably is) do not accept that  
eilu va'eilu means that something and its inverse can both be true in the  
same situation, at the same time and place. Look at Rashi on "All [the  
variant opinions] were given from one Shepherd, one Almighty gave them,  
one leader said them from the Adon of all maasim (Chaggigah 3b)." This  
adage is a primary source for Recanti and ibn Gabbai, but Rashi dislodges  
it from its apparent, literal sense. Rashi writes,

     "All of them--One Almighty said them": You have no one of the bnei  
hamachlokess bringing evidence from the torah of any other god besides the  
Torah of our G d.

     "One leader said them": You have none bringing evidence from a prophet  
who comes to argue against Moshe Rabbeynu.

  The legitimacy that both opinions of a machlokess have, according to  
Rashi, is not that they are both correct. The legitimacy is in the sense  
that they both are the results of sincere, loyal to Hashem and Moshe,  
attempts to correctly gauge what Hashem and Moshe meant to teach:

   "Make you ear act as a funnel": Since  all of them [the baalei  
machlokess], their hearts are to heaven (leeban la-shamayim), make your  
ear one that listens, and learn, and know the words of all of them. And  
when you will know to discriminate (le-havchin) which one of them will  
prove kosher, establish that as the halacha.

Zvi Lampel
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