[Avodah] Multivalent truth

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu May 9 12:30:41 PDT 2019

On Mon, May 06, 2019 at 09:51:48PM -0400, Zvi Lampel via Avodah wrote:
: On Mon, May 6, 2019 at 7:25 PM Micha Berger <micha at aishdas.org> wrote:
: > On Mon, May 06, 2019 at 02:09:19PM -0400, Zvi Lampel wrote:
: >: You have to understand what's bothering Rashi. As I described it, he is
: >: dislodging the adage from its naive reading, He's doing that for a reason.
: > Yes, but it can't be because he has a problem with a multifacted truth,
: We're not discussing multifaceted truths. We're discussing the concept of
: something and its inverse both being true in the same situation, tiime and
: place.

Which is what I means by "multifacted truth" -- a truth that has facets
that contradict, or at least, appear to contradict to intellects with
human limitations. We can't know if we're really supporting a logic in
which paradox isn't a problem, or if we're like the famous story of the
5 blind men who were asked to describe the elephant.

But in any case, saying "we're not discussing multifacted truths" indicates
a communication gap.

: We are are not discussing complementary truths.  We're discussing the
: concept of something and its inverse both being true in the same situation,
: time and place.

Something that seems weird until you realize that the truth of both
sides of a conflicting dialectic is typical of the human condition,
so why not of halakhah?

:> that doesn't mean that we need to consider all claims, nor that the
:> contradiction means that one wasn't in Moshe's Torah.

: I cannot decipher this statement.

Another communication gap.

To explain by example. When you mention eilu va'eilu on Jewish fora
that aren't specifically Orthodox, some C Jew is bound to claim that
if we're ready to accept positions other than our own, we should be
ready to accept C as a valid position, if not our own.

People need it pointed out that embracing a range of answers doesn't
imply that one is ready to embrace all answers. And that's exactly what
Rashi is talking about.

Here, reread your translation, within the context I am suggesting:

: "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.

He doesn't dislodge the proof, he explains why the description of multiple
truths places emphasis on meiro'eh echad.

: > Yes, yikhshar as usable halakhah. Which is exactly what Rashi says in
: > the last clause. Not on the level of "eiluv va'eilu divrei E-lokim Chaim",
: > multifacted truth, but on the level of "vehalakhah ke..."
: >: The phrase, "Ayzehu yichshar," is from Kohelless 11:6. "In the morning,
: >: sow your seed; and in the evening, do not let your hand rest [from doing so
: >: again], because you do not know which [attempt] yichshar, whether this or
: >: this, or if both of them are equally good."
: So you are agreeing with my point that Rashi is dislodging the adage of
: "kulan me-Adon echad" from meaning eilu va-eilu as you take it.

No. I am saying Rashi discusses multiple truths, and therefore a poseiq's
job is to figure out which is a successful strategy -- "yichshar" and
"yatziliach" (as per Yevamos 55b), not "nachon" or "emes".

: And not talking about  a notion that despite what the halacha l.maaseh is,
: there is really truth to both one thing and its inverse in the same
: situation at the same time and pace.

Both are Torah in all times and places. One emes, with facets that
contradit, or appear so to humans. What may change with the times is
which one is a better choice for halakhah lemaaseh.

: First of all, I don't know where you get the idea that the debates over
: what  an ealier Amora or Tanna said are in the minority. It seems to me to
: be otherwise. All the more so since Rashi and Tosefos' stand, that when
: there is such a debate, one of the sides is sayimg sheker, logically
: applies not only to what the previous authority said, but what he meant and
: held. ("V'ee michlalah, lama li?")

How many machloqesin in shas are "Amar Y amar X" vs "Amar Z amar X"?

Of course they are far outnumbered by machloqesin where no one name
aappears in both sides. Machloqesin between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai,
Rabbi Aqiva & Rabbi Yishmael, Rav & Shemuy, Abyaei & Rava... All those
machloqesin that aren't debates about the identity of the shitah of some
earlier member of Chazal.

: Secondly, I reiterate that Rashi explains himself that in those cases where
: the debaters are not deliberating over what former authorities held/said,
: but promoting their own sevaros, each one atamei d'nafshei, this is where
: the concept of eilu va-eilu applies...

And in contrast to aliba de- where he describes one as being sheqer.

When the contrast is one is being sheqer, eilu va'eilu means both are

: He doesn't says both sevaros are shayyach to both situations. He says one
: sevara is shayyach in one situation and the other sevara is shayyach in the
: other situation. (So "Shayach doesn't mean relevant. It means it fits that
: particluar situation.)

Both are emes, one is applicable.

I feel like when you explain a source, you repeatedly jump between
modalities -- emes vs halakhah lema'aseh -- in ways that the source

In this particular email:

Yatzliach doesn't mean true, but successful. It's a halakhah lema'aseh

Whereas his discussion of eilu va'eilu is where there is no sheqer, ie
Rashi is saying it's about emes.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 19th day, which is
micha at aishdas.org        2 weeks and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Hod sheb'Tifferes: When does harmony promote
Fax: (270) 514-1507                         withdrawal and submission?

More information about the Avodah mailing list