Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hillmans attack on Qafih - 2

The next step of Hillmans attack is an appeal to authority. R' Chaim Kanievsky dosen't cite RYK in his Derech Emunah nor did the descendants of the Kaf HaChayyim in their version of Mesectas Sheviis,etc and כמובן[!] they made use of his translation .

Now I have already mentioned in an earlier post two possible precedents to avoid providing proper attribution. The first is at the end of Horiyos - in which they had stopped citing the names of R' Meir and R' Nosson because of a trick that they had attempted against Rabban Gamliel. The Gemara's Maskona - מימיהן אנו שותין ושמותיהן אין אנו מזכירין is clearly that one must provide proper attribution. The other example is Acher (Elisha bar Avuyah). I think even H. would agree that R' Qafih is not to be compared th Acher.

Why then is plagiarism all to common in certain segments of the Orthodox community. The חכם העדיף מנביא the Maharal had already foretold this in his Tiferet Yisrael - pg. 168. He writes there:

People believe that one can develop into a Torah scholar only through the mental gymnastics of pilpul, which posits theories of halakha and then analyzes these empty contrived hypotheses. They create new explanations of Torah that are unfounded, claiming that this method is necessary to sharpen the mind. How can they think like that? A person should tear his heart out over this practice of turning truth into falsehood in order to sharpen the mind! Such a thing should not be found in Israel - to sharpen the mind with falsehood or to even spend time on falsehood - for the Torah is a Torah of truth. Indeed, as a result, they become more foolish, rather than wiser. It would be better to learn carpentry or another trade, or to sharpen the mind by playing chess [1]. At least they would not engage in falsehood, which then spills over from theory and into practice.."

(Translated in D. Katz's Ph.d - A case study in the...Nodah BeYehuda)

And as the Maharal has predicted -one starts by interpreting Tosafos with a method foreign to the Tosafists ,and the Rambam in a way that the Rambam had never imagined, and truth becomes unimportant in ones eyes and eventually it spills over into practice.

To give another example, I have seen two (non-academic) recent editions of the Avot D' R' Nosson containing the second Nusach that was discovered by S. Shecter (its existence had already been divined by Maharitz Chajes in Igeret HaBikoret). One of them very properly mentions S. Z. Shecter - the other does not. This is the one containing an effusive Haskamah from R' Y. E. Weintraub (a well known Mekubbal) and was apparently produced by a Talmud of his. (The term- חכמי האמת is more properly to be taken as a לשון סגי נהור)

Hillman points out that Kappah - "automatically assumes that the Sheimos referred to in Rambam Hilchos A"Z are Kabbalistic holy names." In light of Chacham Faur's discovery cited here (That name is already mentioned in the שרשי הרמ"ז) - Can one argue that MYQ was not completely on target over here?

[1] The Maharal's friend and adversary Eliezer Ashkenazy had a job as the sultans chess playerוז"פ

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