More serious I think, is the attitude that insists that certain Rabbinic figures were so very great that any attempt to study and analyze their methodologies, sources, etc. is futile, or worse disrespectful.. First, nobody would protest against this mistaken notion as vehemently as these Rabbis themselves, as the Nodah B' Yehuda was fond of saying – דין (להקשות ולדון בדבריו) הניין לי ומסייע אין בו ממש. But even worse, is that the attitude that insists that great men are/were so very great that it is impossible to reach their level is the best way to stifle future greatness. See this very apt quote from G. K. Chesterton, and I once posted something similar from R Kook.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Comment to letter in recent Yerushaseinu
I was very surprised that the last letter in Yerushaseinu 3:395 was published without response. Even if we ignore the nasty swipe at Dr Berliner, about whom he admits he knows nothing at all,who by all accounts was a ת"ח עצום שיראתו היה קודמת לחכמתו – this ironically, in a letter complaining of a supposed deficiency of respect towards great Rabbis. His complaint that Rabbis and Chokrim are mentioned side by side as if equals was already leveled against R' Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann, it is quite n order that a periodical dedicated to Minhag Ashkenaz should follow the precedent of האחרון בזמן והראשון במעלה של הגאוני אשכנז. (The oft-repeated and over-inflated complaint that they follow the academic protocol of leaving of title after first mention of a name is simply nonsensical, since as ought to be obvious to anyone with a modicum of good sense is a matte of style and has nothing to do with respect.)