Saturday, March 25, 2006

I am a Maskil

I like that GH is trying to revive the term maskil. I think the name fits me well. I can't think of calling myself Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist (which sounds like back surgery, as GH also pointed out,) but maskil sounds right. You don't need to belong to any shul or organization to be a maskil (although, you could if you want to.) All you need is a passion for spirituality and truth and to have respect for the path that our spiritual fathers set.

15 Comments:

Blogger Lucky Wolf said...

a maskil is what the apikorsim were called about a 100 years ago.
so you can maybe open an old time reform shull

1:41 AM  
Blogger David Guttmann said...

The name Maskil carries with it great responsibility. It requires one to know and analyze logically all the Jewish sources, put them in the historical and cultural perspective of their time and then explain Judaism accordingly. The great Maskillim were Moshe Mendelsohn, Zechariah Frankel, Shadal, Yashar Micandia, N.Krochmal et al and they were great Talmidei Chachomim.

I am not indicting you BS just suggesting that Spinoza knew quite a bit of Torah before he became an apostate, that legitimized his apostasy.

6:14 AM  
Blogger David Guttmann said...

I appologize for my earlier comment if it seems to imply that you are not a talmid chochom. I dont know that and i did not mean to imply anything like it. I was just relating to your definition of Maskil.

9:42 AM  
Blogger lakewoodyid said...

How is LY doing? Did he really start to have doubts?
B. Spinoza


In respect to GH's request, I'm not commenting on his site.


No. I don't have any doubts. I did once have a question. If indeed we are so reliant on science (medical, technology etc)then why do we totaly disregard science when it opposes our beliefs? I found a Rambam (Meh'eelah 8:8 - I mentioned this on GH's blog) which says that our Machshovah in Torah shouldn't be the same as in "Divrei Chol". If Torah is divine, it has its own rules of logic, and cannot be refuted by materialistic logic. After that, my emunah went up and up. And still going strong.

10:09 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

> a maskil is what the apikorsim were called about a 100 years ago.
so you can maybe open an old time reform shull

keep on smile'n, maybe some day, who knows?

In my mind, the idea is to take the best of all worlds. This includes taking the orthodox views into account also. It's hard to start shuls or organizations because then politics comes involved and you must compromise

10:22 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

David, I don't take offense. I am not a talmid chochom. But I don't think a maskil has to be a talmid chochom, he just has to have an appreciation for it and a desire to find the truth. True, the great maskillim were scholars, but that doesn't mean that all maskiilim must be great scholars.

In other words, what GH was suggesting is to replace the name skeptic with maskil, because a maskil sounds more positive. Plus, a maskil is someone who appreciates spirituality while a skeptic may not.

10:28 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

LY,

>If Torah is divine, it has its own rules of logic, and cannot be refuted by materialistic logic.

there are only one set of logic rules. Read Ramchal's book on logic, it is not much different than Aristotle's understanding. It is too complicated to get into now, but suffice to say that Rambam means something different than you think he does.

10:42 AM  
Blogger lakewoodyid said...

Lets try one example. Botul B'shishim. Scientificly, one part milk to 60 parts meat is the same Bosor V'cholov. Yet, we are allowed to eat it.

Could you logicly explain that?

11:02 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>Could you logicly explain that?

sure. Halacha is a system which was made for humans, not angels. so practically speaking you have to set a reasonable limit which people can live with. There is nothing mystical or magical about it

11:45 AM  
Blogger lakewoodyid said...

Could you logicly explain that?

Sorry.

I'll rewrite that.

Could you scientificly explain that?

Why should anything change because there is 60 parts against?

Unless we have our own set of rules.

Similiarly, when science confronts us with their findings on age of world etc... we can stick to our own set of rules.

12:20 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>Similiarly, when science confronts us with their findings on age of world etc... we can stick to our own set of rules.

You are right that science doesn't contradict religion. But it's not that there are two realities or logic. There is only one reality. Science is interested in different things than religion. Science is interested in finding out how the universe works (the physical laws of nature). While religion is interested in how people should act. The age of the universe is a science question, not a religious question because it is what science is concerned with and what it is suited for.

1:23 PM  
Blogger lakewoodyid said...

Accordingly, in YOUR opinion, whats the issue with Gedolim vs slifkin.

If all gedolim have to be concerned with, is how their people are acting, then let slifkin say whatever he wants.

P.S. I enjoy debating. If you prefer to cut it short, just say so.

6:21 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

one of the problems with the gedolim is that they treat their community like babies. Instead of leading their communities and showing them the proper way of looking at the world, they try to shelter them from the facts.

you tell me LY, is the charedi community so fragile that they can't deal with the possibility of an old world or evolution?

The main idea of the Torah is to love God and treat people with kindness. It does not teach science lessons

(by the way, when I was growing up, my Yeshiva didn't tell me about evolution either)

7:20 PM  
Blogger lakewoodyid said...

Apparently, they can't handle this issue. We definitely don't have today gedolim like R' Moshe and Chazon Ish who could have handled such issues.

BTW, did you ever see the Ramban on first posuk in Breishis? He says very clearly that one who believes in an "Olam Kadmon" is a Kofer B'ikar. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

(I'm not trying to call anyone who believes in a world older than 5766 a kofer, but if indeed the Ramban does say that, then today's gedolim have someone to rely on)

7:15 AM  
Anonymous bbs said...

>The name Maskil carries with it great responsibility. It requires one to know and analyze logically all the Jewish sources, put them in the historical and cultural perspective of their time and then explain Judaism accordingly. The great Maskillim were Moshe Mendelsohn, Zechariah Frankel, Shadal, Yashar Micandia, N.Krochmal et al and they were great Talmidei Chachomim.

I am not indicting you BS just suggesting that Spinoza knew quite a bit of Torah before he became an apostate, that legitimized his apostasy.

DH
A history check: Mendelsohn was a not a talmid chacham in the litarel sense of the word, he wasn't even brought up religious. That he knew torah probably somewhat, but he definitely wasn't in a position to attack traditional Judaism from a halachic perspective, for he certainly did not attain any significant knowledge of shas uposkim.
Spinoza dropt out before ever learning talmud, so i guess you could count him out too.

2:57 PM  

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