Tuesday, August 16, 2005


In his (in)famous letter, R. Feldman argues R. Slifkin is wrong to rely on views of the Rambam and various Gaonim, as those views have been rejected by later generations.

Ignoring the fact that the view obviously hasn't been rejected (the uproar over the ban is evidence of that), I still don't buy it.

To reject something, you actually have to, well, reject it. Lack of comment, discussion or statement is not rejection, in fact, it could be construed as agreement, shtika kihoda'ah.

If the majority of poskim and rabbonim had rejected that approach, then R. Feldman's assertion would be true. Not that his argument would be correct, but it would have more weight.

But I get the feeling that most rabbonim *didn't* have an opinion on the matter. They didn't discuss it. That doesn't mean they rejected it. Yes, many did, but many did not as well.

The same holds true for the nation as a whole. The hamon am, the common folk, didn't reject the view of the Rambam, or the view of Slifkin. They just didn't comment.

It's nice to base your arguments on those of a previous generation. It makes it harder to attack, makes for good rhetoric, and lets get away without giving a reason. But lack of agreement is not rejection.