USC HIST 101g - 13615801-Rav-Soloveitchik-The-Common-sense-Rebellion-Against-Torah-Authority (6 pages)

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13615801-Rav-Soloveitchik-The-Common-sense-Rebellion-Against-Torah-Authority



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13615801-Rav-Soloveitchik-The-Common-sense-Rebellion-Against-Torah-Authority

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Pages:
6
School:
University of Southern California
Course:
Hist 101g - The Ancient World
The Ancient World Documents

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THE COMMON SENSE REBELLION AGAINST TORAH AUTHORITY By Rav Yosef Soloveitchik Jews defer only to recognized Torah scholars in the interpretation of Jewish Law Today many individuals claim the right to exercise their own common sense in determining the relevance and format of contemporary Judaism despite the fact that they are hardly Biblical and Talmudic scholars Synagogue ritual committees and popular magazine articles debate the continued usefulness of various religious practices and explore the possibilities of reformulating Judaism in line with modem thought These self styled poskim concede their lack of formal training in Jewish texts and sources but they insist nonetheless on their right to decide fundamental religious questions on the basis of common sense This is not a recent phenomenon It dates back to the earliest period of Jewish history To the very generation which received the Torah at Mt Sinai Not very long after that event the Torah Num Chap 16 relates Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Hazal imply that he sought to replace Moses as the teacher and leader of Israel Korah publicly challenged the halakhic competency of Moses and ridiculed his interpretations of Jewish law as being contrary to elementary reason Citing the Tanhuma Rashi records the following clever ploy of Korah What did he do He assembled two hundred and fifty distinguished men and women and he attired them in robes of pure blue wool They came and stood before Moses and said to him Does a garment that is entirely blue still require tzitzit or is it exempt Moses replied that it did require tzitzit Whereupon they began to jeer at him Is that logical A robe of any other color fulfills the tzitzit requirement merely by having one of its threads blue Surely a garment which is entirely blue should not require an additional blue thread Rashi Num 16 I Likewise the Midrash tells us of another provocation Does a house which is filled with Torah scrolls still require a mezuzah on its doorpost



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