[Avodah] understanding tosafot

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Tue Oct 5 16:34:34 PDT 2021

R' Joel Rich wrote:

> At one level I certainly get the idea that not fully
> understanding Tosafot might be a "moral" failure.

I do not get that idea at ANY level.

How can an inability to fully understand something be a MORAL failure? In
what way is someone morally deficient, just because his mental abilities
aren't strong enough to comprehend what Tosafos is saying? WADR, this
doesn't make sense.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding RJR. Perhaps what RJR meant was that if a
person begins to learn a Tosafos, and finds it too difficult, so he gives
up, then the giving up is the moral failure. Perhaps he needs to keep on
working at it, until he finally and fully understands it, but if he gives
up before that, then he has failed in his obligation, and that is a moral

But if that's what RJR means, then how is Tosafos different from any other
piece of Torah that one begins to learn, and then he abandons it because of
its difficulty? If one sees a Rashi and doesn't fully understand it, so
he moves on anyway, is that a greater or lesser "moral failure" than moving
on from a difficult Tosafos?.

Akiva Miller
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