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05/10/2014

'DDV 7RUDK

A Jewish Sourcebook


Faith (Emuna)
Truth (Emes)
Trusting G-d (Bitachon)
Providence (Hashgacho)
Suffering (Yesurim)
Effort (Hishtadlus)
Mazel

Daniel Eidensohn
Author of Yad Moshe & Yad Yisroel



Emunah Press
Jerusalem
2005





Daas Torah

A Jewish Sourcebook

© 2005 Daniel Eidensohn

394 East 2nd Street
Brooklyn, New York 11218
e-mail yadmoshe@yahoo.com

All rights reserved including that of copying by all means including
photographic and electronic. This also applies to the translation as well as
edited Hebrew text. In other words—no Xeroxing of pages without
written permission from the author—even for good purposes. Violating
this prohibition constitutes stealing.

5HVRXUFHV XWLOL]HG
The following data bases were utilized. Bar Ilan’s Responsa Data Base, Davka’s Judaica Classics,
DBS’s Data Base, Encyclopedia Judaica. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Handbook of Jewish Thought. Rabbi
Menachem Kasher’s Torah Shleima and Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Adler’s Aspaklaria were also
indispensable. A number of English translations were useful aids in my translation. Soncino Tanach,
Talmud, Medrash and Zohar. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Living Torah. Rabbi Chavel’s Ramban. Rabbi
Eliyahu Munk’s Rabbeinu Bachye, Akeidas Yitzchok, Shaloh and Ohr HaChaim.

/LEUDU\ $VVLVWDQFH
I would like to thank the following for their pleasant and helpful library assistance. R’ Yaakov Aronson
of Bar Ilan University. Mss. Cyma Horowitz, Michelle Anish and my mother—Mrs. Esther
Eidensohn—of the Blaustein Library. Mss Jackiesue Singer, Sarah Friedman and Adina Feldstern of
the Abramov Library

ʬʠʸʹʩ ʵʸʠʡ ʱʴʣʰ
3ULQWHG LQ ,VUDHO


$FNQRZOHGJPHQWV
I would like to thank my mother—without her efforts this sefer and my previous works would never
have been produced. My family has provided the environment for my work to advance. My chavrusa
of many years—Dr. Baruch Shulem—has discussed and debated much of the material with me. This
compendium owes much to his intelligent commonsense.. Rav Meir Triebitz has contributed a great
deal to this project—not the least is the profound introduction he wrote for it. Besides the many hours
of discussion and debate, he has directed a chabura in which some of these issues have been
discussed in depth. I would like to thank the participants in the group for their help and feedback.
Rabbi Yaakov Bear has helped in many ways to clarifying the material. Even more important was his
arranging my meeting with Rav Eliyashiv. R’ Micha Berger has provided a unique internet forum
[Avoda@aishdas.org] which has been very helpful in articulating hashkofa. Rabbi Chananya
Greenwald has often forced me to reexamine fundamental assumptions and arranged the vital
meeting with Rav Moshe Shapiro. R’ Mordechai Schiller’s incisive observations and support are
greatly appreciated. R’ Daniel Soibelmann helped organize a chabura to discuss these ideas and
offered helpful comments on part of the manuscript. R’ Yisroel Liebowitz provided encouragement
when the project was just a dream. There were many others that have discussed and critiqued the
material—I apologize for not mentioning them by name.
Rabbinic Guidance
When I started thinking about this project years ago, various concerns were raised about the
appropriateness of making a sourcebook. I consulted with a number of talmidei chachomim who
validated the idea of a theological sourcebook containing a range of views. It is important to note
that none of these rabbis were involved in the actual composition of this sourcebook nor did
they see the resulting compendium prior to publication. I am solely responsible for its
contents. Rav Eliyashiv stated that making a sourcebook with a range of views was permitted.
Furthermore, the fact that conflicting views might cause confusion in some readers was not a reason
to avoid teaching them. He stated that any confusion that might result should be clarified by
consulting the reader’s rabbi or rosh yeshiva. However, he indicated there were two conditions for a
legitimate sourcebook. Firstly, that the sources needed to be accepted ones and not those from
recently discovered manuscripts of questionable validity. Secondly, the views needed to be the
authentic views of major authorities—and not the distorted assertions found in some polemical works.
While I believe I have succeeded in fulfilling these conditions—there is not universal agreement as to
which material should be classified as mainstream. For example, concerning the Ramban’s
statement of Agada, there are many—such as Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky—who asserted that it is not
the authentic view of the Ramban. However, the Chasam Sofer accepted it as valid. When faced with
this type of dispute between recognized authorities, I have brought the views from both sides. I have
not attempted to decide between positions or give my personal opinion concerning who is right. This
is in accord with the advice of Rav Moshe Shapiro. While he told me to proceed with writing this
sefer, he advised me not to present my own views or interpretations and to let the sources speak for
themselves. Rav Nachman Bulman zt”l helped me clarify what I was trying to do and provided
encouragement. Rav Moshe Heinemann spent time clarifying issues and validating the project. Rav
Joseph Elias provided valuable sources when I first started working on this project. Rav Noach
Weinberg asserted the critical importance of studying theology—especially for baalei teshuva. Rav
Yaakov Weinberg zt”l was encouraging and provided critical understanding of some of the underlying
issues. Rav Avraham Pessin reviewed some issues and provided me with unique insights. Rav
Moshe Eisemann took time to patiently explain the relevance of hashkofa. Rav Moshe Chaim
Geldtzahler has provided important help as well as profound comments on some of these issues.
Rav Yosef Rottenberg’s deep understanding and commonsense opened new vistas.





&RQWHQWV
Acknowledgments ................................................................ 3
List oI Topics in Index ........................................................... 9
Index oI Topics ..................................................................11
Introduction by Rav Meir Triebitz..............................................31
Goals oI this Sourcebook.................................................................37
Concerns and Cautionary Notes.........................................................39
Role-Model Teacher is Required........................................................44
Spirituality and Religion..................................................................48
Sinning can Occur in Spite oI Faith and Spirituality .................................55
BelieI is Required..........................................................................56
Martyrdom required to deIend belieIs..................................................58
HypocrisyōObserving Mitzvos without BelieI .......................................61
Faith is the Most Important Commandment ...........................................61
Principles oI Faith.........................................................................62
Heresy is Prohibited.......................................................................75
Causes oI Heresy ..........................................................................84
Inadvertent Heretic (0GDCEJ #RKMQTWU).................................................88
ReIuting Heresyōrequired to know How..............................................92
Tradition and SagesōSource oI BelieI and Knowledge..............................94
SagesōSource and Transmitters oI Tradition ....................................... 101
Decline oI the Generations ............................................................. 104
TruthōAbsolute, Relative and Will oI G-D......................................... 108
TruthōAlternative Viewsō'KNW 8ŏGKNW and Dispute ............................... 111
Knowledge is Clear Awareness oI Truth............................................. 117


Torah and Prophesy is Basis oI all Knowledge ..................................... 123
BelieI and Faith are DiIIerent than Knowing........................................ 124
Logic, Science and Torah .............................................................. 132
Science and logical prooIs can not reIute Sages or Torah......................... 141
Simple Faith avoids Intellectual Analysis ............................................ 145
Pure heart is the goal oI Iaith.......................................................... 150
Theological Analysis is Problematic.................................................. 155
Simple Faith is Threatened by Doubts, Sterility and Heresy...................... 161
Jewish Mind (Daas Torah) ............................................................. 168
Mature Faith requires Intellectual Analysis.......................................... 173
Questions are Essential to Understanding............................................ 189
Skepticism ................................................................................ 202
Answers................................................................................... 203
TheologyōSources...................................................................... 211
SourcesōHow to Understand.......................................................... 219
Agada and Medrash oI Talmudic Sages.............................................. 225
ProvidenceōG-D Supervises, Rewards and Punishes ............................. 236
Denying Providence..................................................................... 256
Jews have Special Providence ......................................................... 260
Providence is Proportional to Attachment to G-D.................................. 264
Israel is Directly Supervised by G-D................................................. 273
G-Dŏs Knowledge oI Manŏs Deeds ................................................... 275
Rambamŏs View oI Providence........................................................ 277
Reward and Punishment ................................................................ 282


Providence protects Irom Harm....................................................... 285
SuIIering always results Irom Sin..................................................... 289
Children Die and SuIIer because oI Sins oI Adults................................. 300
SuIIering because oI G-Dŏs LoveōEven when no Sin? ........................... 302
Reasons Ior SuIIering should be Determined........................................ 307
Reasons Ior SuIIering oI IndividualōIncomprehensible........................... 309
Trials and TestsōAcquiring Faith and Reward..................................... 314
Trials and TestsōExamples............................................................ 328
Anger is never justiIied since G-D causes everything.............................. 337
Rosh HaShannaōJudgment determines Success Ior Year?........................ 344
Ascribe all SuIIering to Punishment and Success to Reward...................... 347
Bitachon (Trust In G-D) ................................................................ 355
Levels oI Bitachon....................................................................... 360
Faith and Bitachon are diIIerent Aspects oI a single Entity ....................... 365
Protection Irom Harm by Bitachon ................................................... 367
Success is Produced by Bitachon...................................................... 375
Tzadik and Protection Irom Harm .................................................... 384
Tzadik SuIIers and Dies to Atone Ior Others........................................ 390
Serenity and Happiness Irom Bitachon............................................... 392
Fear oI Harm is Problematic........................................................... 398
Righteous sometimes lack Bitachon................................................... 403
Bad happens even with Bitachon ...................................................... 419
Time oI G-Dŏs AngerōEven Righteous SuIIer ..................................... 430
SuIIeringōMajor Issues ................................................................ 432


SuIIering is Good and should be JoyIully Accepted................................ 439
G-D SuIIers............................................................................... 450
Messianic Age and SuIIering .......................................................... 451
ContentmentōWhether Wealthy or Poor ............................................ 452
G-D alone Determines Success ........................................................ 453
EIIortōBitachon alone is not Enough Ior Success.................................. 460
EIIortōAmount Required.............................................................. 480
OccupationōImportance & Choosing ................................................ 482
EIIort BeneIits G-Dō6\QTGEJ )GXQJC ............................................... 490
Miracles and Success ................................................................... 493
Torah Study and Earning a Living.................................................... 502
MarriageōPredestined or Merit? ..................................................... 509
MedicineōEIIort versus Bitachon .................................................... 515
WarōEIIort versus Bitachon .......................................................... 531
PrayerōEIIort and Bitachon........................................................... 535
Complaining about G-Dŏs Justice ..................................................... 545
Chutzpah is Essential Aspect oI Spirituality......................................... 558
Free Will can Cause SuIIering despite Providence ................................. 562
Miracles and Nature..................................................................... 571
Chance and Nature can Cause SuIIering ............................................. 575
Mazel ...................................................................................... 584
Hebrew Endnotes........................................................................ 597
9
/LVW RI 7RSLFV LQ ,QGH[
Agada
Anger
Answers
Ascribe Suffering to Sin
Astrology
Atheist
Auerbach, Rav Shlomo Z.
Authority
Avraham
Bad Things Happen
Belief—Principles of Faith
Bitachon
Bitachon—Lack
Bitachon—Levels
Bitachon—Harm
Blessing
Chasam Sofer
Chazon Ish
Children Suffer
Chutzpah
Complaining to G-d
Concepts
Contentment
Converts
Creation
Crusades
Daas Torah
Death
Decline of Generations
Doubts
Effort
Eilu v'eilu
Elisha ben Abuyah
Eliyahu
Faith
Fear of Harm
Feinstein, Rav Moshe
Free will
Gadol
Gam zu l'tova
Gavriel
G-d
G-d Knows
G-d Suffers
G-d’s Anger
Gidon
Goal of Creation
Goals
Goals of sourcebook
Greatness
Halacha
Heresy
Heresy—Study to refute
Heretic
Hirsch, Rav S. R.
Hypocrisy
Idan Rischa
Intellect
Interest on loans
Israel
Jews
Kabbala
Kaminetsky, Rav Yaakov
Karaites
Klaussenberger Rebbe
Knowing
Knowledge
Leshem
Magic
Maharal
Maharetz Chajes
Marriage
Martyrdom
Mature Faith
Mazel
Medicine
Medrash See Agada
Meiri
Meshech Chochma
Messianic age
Metarules
Michah
Michtav M'Eliyahu
Miracles
Moshe
Nature
Noach
DAAS TORAH 10
Non-Jews
Occupation
Ohr HaChaim
Oral Law
Perfection
Philosophy
Piety
Pilpul
Poverty
Prayer
Principles of Faith
Prophesy
Prophets
Protection from Harm
Providence
Providence—Animals
Providence—Views
Providence—Israel
Providence—Jews
Providence—Harm
Questions
Rabbinic laws
Rambam
Ramchal
Rav Hai Gaon
Rebbe See Teacher
Reincarnation
Religion
Revenge
Reward and Punishment
Rosh HaShanna
Sages
Salanter, Rav Yisroel
Scholars
Science²Religion conflict
Serenity
Sickness
Silber, Rav Binyamin
Simple Faith
Sinai
Skepticism
Soloveitchik, Rav Yosef
Spirituality
Spirituality and Religion
Success
Suffering
Suffering—Good
Suffering of Love
Suffering—Sin
Suicide
Teacher
Temimos—purity
Temple—Destroyed
Theology
Theology is problematic
Tinok SheNishba—Naive
Torah
Torah Study
Torah Study & Working
Tradition
Translations
Trials and Tests
Truth
Tzadik
Tzorech Gevoha See G-d
Volozhner, Rav Chaim
War
Wolbe, Rav Shlomo
World to Come
Yaakov

11
,QGH[ RI 7RSLFV
Agada
Absolute statements are often relative ..... 220
Correct explanation—rest apologetics...... 234
Defined ..................................................... 225
Differing from—major topic....................... 222
Divinely given—was not............................ 230
G-d's word—must be accepted ................ 228
Halacha—not used for .............................. 236
Inspires or should be ignored ................... 235
Major topic ................................................ 225
More interesting than gemora................... 235
Poetic interpretations of verses ................ 232
Profound truths ......................................... 226
Rambam—rejected nonrational ................ 233
Ramban.................................................... 225
Rejection—major topic.............................. 231
Rejection—only minority........................... 232
Rejection—Outside of Talmud.................. 231
Rejection—possible.................................. 232
Shmuel HaNagid ...................................... 225
Theology is scattered through medrash ... 225
Anger
Assailant—G-d caused suffering .............. 338
Bitachon—shows lack .............................. 340
G-d causes everything.............................. 337
G-d's .................................... See G-d’s Anger
Moshe's anger—lack of faith .................... 339
Never justified........................................... 337
Torah scholar—inflamed by Torah ........... 341
Unjustified—issues are trivial.................... 341
Yaakov was angered with Rachel............. 339
Answers
Absolute are rare...................................... 206
Admitting not knowing—important ............ 210
Authority—false attribution ....................... 210
Commonsense or Tradition—not logic ..... 210
Distortions—true for questioner ................ 206
Don't know—cover-up ignorance.............. 210
Faith is required.......................................... 52
Faith is ultimately required........................ 203
Faith of masses & scholars differ.............. 205
Foolish questions .................... See Questions
Issues—not everyone can answer all .......207
Major topic.................................................203
Must be understandable............................204
Questions................................ See Questions
Ascribe Suffering to Sin
Bad to punishment ....................................353
Belief in chance brings punishment ..........349
Belief in chance is heresy .........................352
Belief that everything is just ......................348
Blaming suffering person—wrong.............351
Don't assume but find reason ...................354
Even if not so ............................................352
Failure is always punishment ....................349
Failure to repent ........................................347
G-d causes everything ..............................353
Ignore conflicting verses & experiences....351
Must belief sin is cause.............................348
Pray to stop suffering—don't .....................350
Reasons no longer known.........................352
Two types of calamities.............................350
Astrology
Be whole hearted with G-d........................594
Magic—not considered .............................592
Mazel..............................................See Mazel
Permitted for mitzva or study ....................593
Permitted if no prophets............................593
Permitted to use knowledge......................592
Prohibited ................................................591
Rambam rejects........................................587
Rambam's view rejected...........................588
Atheist
Worse than idol worshipper.........................58
Auerbach, Rav Shlomo Zalman
Validity of view of Rambam's son .............138
Authority
False attribution to major authority............210
DAAS TORAH 12
Avraham
Believed—promises not fulfilled................ 328
Sacrificing son .......................................... 328
Ten trials................................................... 329
Tested because of philosophical faith ...... 328
Tested G-d................................................ 328
Tests—major topic.................................... 328
Bad Things Happen
Even with bitachon—major topic .............. 419
Belief ........ See Principles of Faith
Accepting is difficult .................................. 183
Commonsense—be consistent with ......... 133
Faith.................................................See Faith
General principles critical—not details ..... 131
Kabbala & Philosophy are similar ............. 184
Knowing is different—major topic ............. 124
Knowledge is a consequence................... 127
Knowledge is different .............................. 124
Knowledge—belief is beyond ................... 128
Logic—be consistent with......................... 134
Man created to know about G-d ............... 184
Non-rational—Rambam rejected .............. 136
Obligatory ................................................... 56
Obligatory—major topic .............................. 56
Predisposition to faith needed .................. 128
Protection only from G-d........................... 373
Psychological or intuitive .......................... 126
Science—be consistent with..................... 132
Skepticism—Jews are inherently.............. 130
Tradition can not be proved...................... 127
Tradition or authority is basis.................... 125
Truth ............................................... See Truth
Bitachon
7 characteristics—Chovas HaLevavos..... 395
Alone not sufficient—major topic .............. 460
Amount depends on spiritual level............ 360
Awareness that G-d causes all ................. 356
Bad converted to good ............................. 368
Bad things happen...See Bad Things Happen
Bad things still happen—major topic ........ 419
Balance between effort & faith.................. 480
Benefit from Heaven requires................... 376
Bothering G-d ........................................... 475
Chazon Ish—nothing is chance ................368
Chazon Ish—Rav Dessler’s critique..........369
Choice—Life of bitachon or effort..............483
Clinging to G-d ..........................................356
Developing—10 stages Chov. HaLevav. ..325
Deviation from true level ...........................361
Doctors not needed—Tzadik only.............495
Effort increases bitachon...........................465
Effort not needed for Tzadik......................495
Effort required for success ........................464
Effort—major topic ..........................See Effort
Everything is good is mistake....................368
Faith increases bitachon ...........................367
Faith is foundation.....................................366
Faith—bitachon is the source....................366
Faith—higher than faith.............................367
Faith—most important aspect ...................366
Faith—single entity....................................365
Fear of G-d leads to..................................359
Fearing only G-d is basis ..........................400
Feeling that wishes were obtained............383
Foundation of serving G-d.........................358
Grace—undeserved good.........................378
Happiness results......................................396
Harm prevented ........................................367
Harm protection and wish fulfillment .........383
Harm—miraculous salvation .....................372
Harm—protection only for highest level ....385
Hope required to benefit............................359
Hope results in G-d's kindness .................383
Insurance—contradiction? ........................487
Interest on loans—reduces .......................487
Lack................................ See Bitachon—Lack
Levels.......................... See Bitachon—Levels
Levels—major topic...................................360
Luxuries provided......................................383
Martyrdom is aspect..................359, 375, 447
Martyrdom with equanimity .......................398
Merit is produced by bitachon ...................379
Merit not needed...............................372, 379
Miracles......................................See Miracles
Miracles—vinegar burn .............................383
Nothing happens by chance—Chazon Ish368
Optimism is not bitachon...........................398
Piety is consequence ................................360
Prayer is part of.........................................540
Prayer not needed.....................................535
Index of Topics 13
Prayer—harmful to assume answered ..... 357
Protection—G-d fights be silent ................ 374
Protective state......................................... 376
Protects from harm—major topic.............. 367
Providence more obvious with Bitachon... 255
Provides everything without cost .............. 381
Requests—all are done ............................ 382
Righteous lack—major topic..................... 403
Salvation reduces merit ............................ 379
Security—G-d cares more ........................ 395
Serenity ..................................... See Serenity
Serenity & Happiness produced ............... 392
Serving G-d—not getting wealthy............. 377
Shmittah teaches...................................... 323
Sin reduces benefit ................................... 381
Sinner with bitachon ................................. 360
Sinner with bitachon—superior................. 435
Sin—sinners helped by bitachon .............. 381
Spiritual level determines protection......... 370
Strengthening ........................................... 358
Success ..................................... See Success
Success—bitachon alone ......................... 493
Success—needs effort ............................. 464
Suffering in spite of bitachon .................... 351
Suffering—all that happened is good ....... 355
Suffering—compensation in WTCome ..... 583
Temimos—purity is essence..................... 357
Theft—spend more than have.................. 478
Torah—main reason for giving ................. 358
Trials.............................. See Trials and Tests
Trials implant ............................................ 318
Trusting G-d—Major topic......................... 355
War—serenity & protects from harm........ 532
War—serenity and protection ................... 374
Wishes always granted—major topic........ 381
Bitachon—Lack
Avraham................................................... 405
Dovid ........................................................ 407
Evil inclination causes .............................. 401
Fear of sin................................................. 404
Fear shows lack of bitachon ..................... 399
Patriarchs ................................................. 405
Shlomo ..................................................... 410
Shmuel ..................................................... 413
Troubling G-d—avoid ............................... 404
Tzadik doesn't trust his merit .................... 389
Tzadikim don't trust their merit ..................403
Tzadikim don't want mercy........................413
Bitachon—Levels
Bitachon depends on spiritual level...........360
Chofetz Chaim—3 levels...........................362
Chovas HaLevavos—10 levels .................363
Major topic.................................................360
Rabbeinu Bachye—8 levels......................363
Rambam's son—4 levels ..........................362
Bitachon—Protects from Harm
War....................................................See War
Blessing
Hidden miracle ..........................................573
Chasam Sofer
Agada—Ramban correct...........................232
Debate of Rashbi—Israel & work..............274
Innovation prohibited.................................209
Jewish education is different .....................159
Majority determines beliefs .........................68
Medical books & halacha ..........................132
Principles of Faith—everything ...................67
Prophecy of Sages....................................103
Upgrading mitzvos ....................................209
Wisdom is based on prophesy..................123
Chazon Ish
Authority from decline of generations........106
Bitachon—everything good is mistake......368
Heretic—not if accept Written Law..............79
Levels of faith exist....................................131
Non-observant—treat kindly........................91
Perfection—not moderation ........................43
Prophetic power—source of Sages.............78
Simple faith is best ....................................146
Tradition valid with great sages.................100
Children Suffer
Atonement—vicarious...................See Tzadik
Compensation in WTCome.......................301
Father's sin—not responsible....................301
Mamzer for parents' sin.............................301
Parents don't mourn properly....................301
DAAS TORAH 14
Parent's sins ............................................. 300
Parents' sins—major topic........................ 300
Reincarnation ........................................... 302
Sedom—children died .............................. 301
Sins of their generation............................. 300
Chutzpah
Amalek & Jews have ................................ 558
Channa spoke with Chutzpah................... 547
Choni demanded rain ............................... 551
Eliyahu...................................................... 550
Essential to spirituality .............................. 558
For sake of G-d only ................................. 560
Good and bad........................................... 559
Increase in Messianic era......................... 560
Levi became cripple.................................. 554
Noach—because of suffering ................... 557
Useful against G-d.................................... 560
Complaining to G-d
Abel's blood .............................................. 546
Adam blamed G-d for his sin .................... 546
Avraham................................................... 546
Avraham—belief in astrology.................... 547
Avraham—faith was intellectual................ 547
Chavakuk.................................................. 550
Chutzpah ................................. See Chutzpah
Destruction of Sedom............................... 546
Dovid ........................................................ 551
Eliyahu...................................................... 549
G-d said—let us determine....................... 553
G-d’s justice—Major topic......................... 545
Inherent trait of Jews ................................ 545
Job—because he was confused............... 554
Moshe....................................................... 554
Moshe claimed G-d caused rebellion ....... 555
Moshe complained about G-d's injustice.. 554
Moshe punished ....................................... 555
Moshe—food in Wilderness...................... 556
Prophets—about Jewish suffering............ 547
Prophets—claim they didn't problematic .. 548
Prophets—major topic .............................. 547
Prophets—punishment through wicked.... 549
Providence is reason for complaint........... 546
Shlomo ..................................................... 551
Splitting of Sea preceded by..................... 558
Yaakov—about bad life ............................ 558
Yeshaya ....................................................550
Concepts
Needed to understand system....................38
Contentment
Absolute necessities .................................453
Major topic.................................................452
Spending too much—theft.........................453
Wealth is contentment...............................452
Whatever G-d gives ..................................453
Converts
Love of Torah greater than FFB..................52
Oral Torah is from converts.........................52
Principles of faith required...........................70
Spirituality greater than FFB .......................51
Torah—Majority associated with them........51
Creation
Belief—foundation principle ........................72
Crusades
Martyrdom.............................. See Martyrdom
Daas Torah
Concept more important than details ........172
Context critical for inferences....................171
Dialectic thinking .......................................168
Gedolim—perceive essence .....................172
Idealization which is rare...........................169
Integrating diverse sources.......................171
Jewish thinking—major topic.....................168
Knowledge ............................ See Knowledge
Knowledge dialectics & metarules ............168
Metarules ................................ See Metarules
Metarules—rules of the system.................169
Understanding develops from questions...173
Unique way of thinking..............................168
Death
Live forever if no sin..................................522
Natural sickness causes most...................579
Negligence is usual cause ........................564
Premature .................................................578
R' Akiva's—profanation of G-d's name .....556
Index of Topics 15
Unjust ....................................................... 577
War—from free will & accident ................. 562
Decline of Generations
Earlier generations superior ..................... 104
Failure to serve teachers caused it........... 107
Intellectual decline .................................... 106
Leaders slow down decline ...................... 105
Major topic ................................................ 104
Spiritual decline ........................................ 104
Suffering is cause ..................................... 107
Talmudic authority is result ....................... 106
Torah study primary—originally................ 105
Doubts
Logic alone—causes doubts .................... 155
Theology resolves doubts......................... 160
Tradition alone doesn't resolve................. 166
Effort
Adam worked more than us...................... 480
Adam's sin—reason for effort ................... 463
Amount required—major topic.................. 480
Amount—appears natural......................... 480
Amount—excessive.................................. 481
Amount—natural....................................... 482
Amount—none if have now ...................... 480
Amount—token only ................................. 481
Appearance of natural causality—lottery.. 480
Baal teshuva—relying on miracles ........... 463
Bitachon alone for Tzadik ......................... 495
Bitachon alone unsuccessful .................... 464
Bitachon—effort required too.................... 469
Bitachon—inverse relationship ................. 481
Blessing—Effort is precondition................ 470
Bothering G-d—avoiding .......................... 475
Cause of success—punished ................... 474
Choice—Life of bitachon or effort ............. 483
Dispute—Ramban vs.Chovas HaLev. ...... 474
Distracts from sin...................................... 489
Divine intervention after effort................... 477
Fear of sin requires................................... 475
Flaying carcass......................................... 490
G-d benefits—tzorech Gevoha ................. 490
G-d feeds all creatures ............................. 475
Greater than miracles ............................... 479
Harm avoided by effort ............................. 470
Insurance policy ........................................487
Intent to serve G-d—required....................482
Involvement with world required................478
Israel requires—not outside ......................471
Job ........................................ See Occupation
Job is obligatory ........................................498
Job—before marriage ...............................470
Major topic.................................................460
Miracle—Noach made Ark ........................472
Miracles—not relying on............................467
Nature, Miracle & Beracha........................471
Occupation............................ See Occupation
Occupation—major topic...........................482
Required to get—Rosh HaShanna............476
Required—obtain what G-d gives .............476
Spiritual & mundane require......................475
Success—G-d alone .................................453
Three keys—G-d has................................475
Yaakov's labor saved his life.....................479
Eilu v'eilu
Multiple truth....................................See Truth
Elisha ben Abuyah
Heretic from suffering of righteous............552
Eliyahu
Threatened to become heretic ..................550
Faith
Accepting beliefs is difficult .......................183
Attachment to G-d.....................................149
Attachment to G-d—pure heart .................152
Attachment to G-d—Torah study ..............152
Belief .............................................. See Belief
Belief needed to not be heretic ...................56
Beliefs are intellectual & unnatural............182
Bitachon increases faith............................367
Bitachon is the source...............................366
Bitachon—foundation of bitachon .............366
Bitachon—higher than faith.......................367
Bitachon—most important aspect .............366
Bitachon—single entity..............................365
Blind isn't genuine faith .............................166
Blind without theology ...............................165
Develops from unjust suffering..................317
Errors more than theology.........................168
DAAS TORAH 16
Grateful—Jews inherently ungrateful........ 131
Gratitude is basis not reverse................... 131
Heart—constantly implanted .................... 181
Idol worship can co—exist .......................... 55
Idol worship—at Sinai ................................. 55
Importance—most important—Rambam.... 62
Inherent in Jews ....................................... 151
Knowledge is lower than belief ................. 128
Knowledge is not faith .............................. 129
Knowledge result of .................................. 151
Levels—qualitative & quantitative............. 131
Lusts can overcome faith............................ 55
Mature ................................ See Mature Faith
Mitzvos require awareness of G-d.............. 57
Most important commandment ................... 61
Must be in heart ........................................ 150
Natural is very rare ................................... 184
Originated with Avraham.......................... 212
Passionate vs. Philosophical .................... 184
Philosophic vs. passionate ....................... 184
Psychological & intuitive ........................... 126
Pure heart is goal of all faith ..................... 150
Rational—recognition of Judaism............. 186
Scholarship without intent for G-d ............ 153
Simple..................................See Simple Faith
Simple—threatened by: ............................ 161
Sinning is spite of ....................................... 55
Trials implant ............................................ 318
Tzadik—faith in tzadik leads to G-d.......... 129
Understanding—not dependent upon......... 52
World to Come obtained with faith.............. 57
Fear of Harm
Bitachon is to fear only G-d ...................... 400
Bitachon lacking—evil inclination ............. 401
Danger avoided even by tzadik ................ 403
G-d should be feared as man................... 401
Health protection for complete tzadik ....... 401
Indicates a sinful person........................... 399
Intelligent characteristic ............................ 399
Law enforcement needed for crime.......... 399
Major topic ................................................ 398
Miracles not wanted by tzadik .................. 402
Natural but must be overcome ................. 398
Protection ............. See Protection from Harm
Shortens life.............................................. 400
Sinner—even tzadik should assume ........ 401
War—is sinful ............................................400
Feinstein, Rav Moshe
Bitachon for past—job...............................355
Burn commentaries written by wicked.......213
Doctor—heretic .........................................458
Eilu v'Eilu—both true.................................116
Eilu v'Eilu—only one true ..........................112
Halacha overrules—abortion.....................299
Job is obligatory ........................................498
Kollel—must take money ..........................502
Life insurance—bitachon...........................487
Marry wrong person—prayer ....................512
Not influenced by outside sources ............214
Sages' knowledge advanced ....................102
Suffering of Love.......................................283
Summary of Igros—prohibited ..................204
Teacher is critical ........................................44
Textbooks—author not religious .................79
Torah and financial security ......................460
Translation—concerns ................................41
Free will
Avner punished—intent to embarrass.......563
Egyptians hurt more than decreed............563
Kings don't have........................................564
Lavan not killing Yaakov was miracle .......568
Mazel is not contradiction..........................589
Providence always agrees ................342, 566
Providence is subordinate.........................565
Providence overruled—major topic...........562
Sarah afraid of Pharaoh killing Avraham...568
Suffering from failure of police ..................570
Gadol
Conceputal understanding ........................170
Daas Torah .......................... See Daas Torah
Living Torah ..............................................170
Gam zu l'tova
Bad is good—major topic..........................442
Gavriel
Right to argue with G-d .............................552
Index of Topics 17
G-d
Actions should not be questioned............. 343
Benefits from man's efforts....................... 490
Communicates with man—rejecting......... 257
Complaining..............See Complaining to G-d
Omnipotent—principle of faith .................. 382
Only in Israel............................................. 273
Tzorech Gevoha....................................... 490
G-d Knows
Ein Sof only knows everything.................. 275
Everything................................................. 275
Generally but not all details ...................... 276
Heretics deny............................................ 256
Job questioned G-d awareness................ 277
Major topic ................................................ 275
Man would sin—why create him............... 276
Philosophers say He doesn't .................... 256
Sages of all generations—from Creation.. 277
Telescope refutes not knowing................. 276
G-d Suffers
Exile of Jews............................................. 450
Prayer is for sake of G-d........................... 451
When man suffers .................................... 450
G-d’s Anger
G-d gets angry everyday .......................... 430
Idan Rischa............................................... 430
Pray for wicked to reduce anger ............... 431
Prayer is avoided...................................... 542
Prayer should be avoided......................... 431
Punishment for positive commandments.. 430
Tzadik suffers also.................................... 430
Gidon
Power from defending Jews ..................... 553
Goal of Creation
Knowing and fearing G-d............................ 57
Goals
Perfection—not moderation........................ 43
Goals of sourcebook
Primary texts ...............................................37
Reference tool.............................................37
Survey of tradition .......................................38
Greatness
Proportional to desire for sin .......................56
Halacha
Agada—not used for .................................236
Heresy
Books prohibited .........................................79
Books prohibited for children.......................88
Caused by contradictions—Acher...............87
Caused by doubts .......................................85
Caused by intellectual analysis...................86
Caused by limited intellect ..........................84
Caused by lust ............................................85
Caused by misunderstanding of students...87
Caused by Philosophy ................................93
Caused by secular studies..........................87
Caused by Theological analysisSee Theology
Causes—major topic...................................84
Doubts.........................................................85
Fighting—prohibit or ridicule? .....................94
Hypocrisy ....................................................61
Jewish status lost ........................................82
Labelling opposing views is problematic.....77
Learning from heretic—prohibited...............80
Learning—mature adult permitted?.............80
Major topic...................................................75
More errors in Faith than philosophy...........91
Opposing views—labeling...........................43
Punishable if Providence manifest ......82, 238
Questions—Acher became heretic ...........192
Refutation from knowledge .......................186
Refute.......................See Questions Heretical
Reject Oral Law...........................................77
Reject Oral Law—if accept Written Law......78
Repent for thoughts harder than deeds ......84
Repentance accepted?—Rambam.............83
Reward for mitzvos—none..........................83
Simple faith endanged by heretics............166
Suffering is accident....................................77
Teachers—learning from—major topic .......80
DAAS TORAH 18
World to Come is lost.................................. 75
Heresy—Study to refute
Debate only non-Jewish heretics................ 93
Major topic .................................................. 92
Obligation ................................................... 92
Protected against heretical thoughts .......... 92
Heretic
Debate only non-Jewish heretics................ 93
Inadvertent (nebach apikorus) .................... 88
Inadvertent is not a heretic ......................... 89
Inadvertent—is still a heretic ...................... 88
Inadvertent—R’ Chaim Soloveitchik ........... 90
Know to refute own heresy ......................... 94
Nebach ..................................See Inadvertent
Person raised that way—not responsible ... 91
Hirsch, Rav S. R.
Age of universe......................................... 133
Bible not science book.............................. 137
Facts validated by tradition......................... 95
Involvement with world required ............... 478
Letter on Agada........................................ 226
Nature & science both revelation.............. 110
Science conflict—must teach ................... 143
Torah not altered by wishes ..................... 111
Hypocrisy
Observance without belief .......................... 61
Idan Rischa
G-d's anger .......................... See G-d’s Anger
Intellect
Judaism is inherently intellectual .............. 182
Mature faith......................... See Mature Faith
Theology...................................See Theology
Interest on loans
Rejection of Providence............................ 258
Israel
Providence................ See Providence—Israel
Religious activity needed less .................. 274
Jews
Providence ................ See Providence—Jews
Repentance requires suffering..................432
Stiff-necked ...............................................561
Stiff-necked - Maharal .................................51
Torah given to tame aggression................561
Job........................ See Occupation
Kabbala
Dangers.....................................................218
Theology—true source............. See Theology
Kaminetsky, Rav Yaakov
Astronauts and Rambam..........................133
Avraham saved Lot vs. Halacha .................48
Effort—Ramban vs.Chovas HaLevavos....474
Ramban regarding agada .........................228
Truth—must be moral ...............................110
Karaites
Rejection of Oral Law—not heresy .............78
Klaussenberger Rebbe
Halacha fromTradition not Science...........142
Knowing
G-d—mitzva ..............................................121
Tranquility & joy required ..........................121
Knowledge
Authority—unverified is not knowledge.....120
Basis of all knowledge—Torah..................123
Belief based on convincing proofs ............117
Concept more important than details ........172
Daas Torah .......................... See Daas Torah
Faith is not knowledge ..............................129
Levels—parable of palace.................122, 185
Limits.........................................................121
Major topic.................................................117
Originated with Torah & prophets .............139
Proof or direct experience.........................118
Prophesy is basis of all .............................123
Purpose—know you don't know................119
Torah is root of all .....................................124
Index of Topics 19
Tradition or intellect .................................. 117
Training and personality needed .............. 119
Kotler, Rav Aaron
Sages—indispensable foundation ............ 101
Leshem
R' Abahu gave distorted answer............... 206
Magic
Providence can be overruled............ 252, 569
Maharal
Belief superior to knowledge .................... 129
Criticism of learning Tosfos first.................. 41
Eilu v'eilu—Shammai & Hillel.................... 113
Heresy - refute ones own ........................... 94
Heretic - not if accept Written Law.............. 78
Jews repent only with suffering .................. 51
Learn what interests him ............................ 42
Master Torah before analysis ..................... 41
Miracles - contradict logic ......................... 132
Questions—not asking—heresy ............... 190
Questions—not silencing.......................... 202
Sage is living Torah.................................. 101
Secular knowledge - learning ................... 156
Secular knowledge - permitted? ................. 92
Stiff-necked & spirituality ............................ 51
Truth is that which is appropriate.............. 110
Maharetz Chajes
Concepts are important .............................. 38
Marriage
Announced in Heaven before birth........... 509
Broken engagement is good..................... 512
Dowery predetermined ............................. 513
First & second—two types........................ 514
First is pre-ordained.................................. 513
Foreknowledge of righteousness.............. 513
Free will determines.................................. 510
Free will is overcome................................ 510
Intermarriage ............................................ 514
Job before................................................. 470
Predestined—Major topic ......................... 509
Reward & punishment .............................. 284
Reward & punishment for deeds...............512
Wrong person....................................511, 570
Martyrdom
Bitachon—aspect ......................................359
Comrade in Heaven of Baal Shem Tov.......60
Crusades.....................................................58
Equanimity with bitachon ..........................398
Halacha.......................................................58
Killing family to stop conversion..................59
Required to defend beliefs ..........................58
Secular Jew in Auschwitz............................60
Sinners........................................................60
Mature Faith
Creativity important ...................................180
Heart—constantly implanted.....................181
Intellect—only if causes fear of G-d..........173
Intellectual analysis after tradition.............174
Intellectual analysis—major topic..............173
Intellectual—Judaism is inherently............182
Rational inquiry can then be used fully .....159
Teacher—wise needed .............................182
Theology .................................. See Theology
Theology—for those capable ....................177
Theology—obligation to study...................175
Mazel
Altered by merit .........................................590
Astrology .................................. See Astrology
Blades of grass controlled.........................591
Change is harder than nature ...................596
Confusion of some Sages.........................587
Determines morality ..................................586
Free will.....................................................589
G-d's agent................................................584
Influence is disputed by Sages .................586
Influences individuals only—not people....588
Jews can overcome ..................................262
Judge influenced by mazel of litigant ........596
Judges influenced in lititgants mazel.........537
Major topic.................................................584
Non-Jews—controlls .................................590
Overcome by work and prayer ..................544
Providence can be overruled ....................586
Success & failured caused by...................584
Yaakov's success from G-d ......................589
DAAS TORAH 20
Medicine
Book of Cures concealed ......................... 518
Danger of natural view.............................. 355
G-d cures—take medicine ........................ 456
Halacha limits use .................................... 521
Major topic ................................................ 515
Natural as farming—major topic ............... 522
Natural efforts with bitachon ..................... 525
Refusing on Shabbos—stupid? ................ 528
Refusing treatment—piety ........................ 529
Refusing treatment—stupidity .................. 528
Righteous—Rambam vs. Ramban........... 526
Sickness ................................... See Sickness
Treatment for external illness only............ 519
Treatment required for everyone.............. 531
Treatment—Chazon Ish vs. Rambam...... 527
Treatment—not for righteous.................... 371
Treatment—Rambam & Ramban agree... 528
Treatment—righteous also need .............. 527
Treatment—righteous don't need ............. 526
Tzaras not natural illness.......................... 521
Unnatural—but necessary major topic...... 524
Medrash....................... See Agada
Meiri
Community leader needs to communicate . 47
Educate children—simple faith ................. 147
Faith must be based on tradition .............. 146
Live in Israel—even with non-Jews .......... 273
Non-Jew who keeps 7 mitzvos ................... 50
Torah knowledge requires role-model ........ 45
Torah should be enjoyable ......................... 40
Ultimate goal—Serving G-d........................ 61
Meshech Chochma
Creativity in spirituality.............................. 180
Judaism is intellectual and unnatural........ 182
Messianic age
2000 years................................................ 242
Desire for good only ................................. 451
Filled with knowledge of G-d .................... 123
Need to know variety of viewpoints ............ 38
No bad...................................................... 451
No beracha on evil.................................... 451
Principle of faith...........................................64
Metarules
Be holy ......................................................171
Daas Torah .......................... See Daas Torah
Do good in G-d's eyes...............................170
Examples ..................................................170
Rules of the system...................................169
Unconscious typically................................170
Michah
Threatened to become heretic ..................550
Michtav M'Eliyahu
Critique of Chazon Ish—Bitachon.............369
Kiruv only reason to differ with Sages.......224
Miracles
Avoiding ....................................................499
Beracha.....................................................471
Bitachon alone produces success.............493
Bitachon alone—success..........................493
Blessings are hidden miracles ..................573
Built into Nature.........................................571
Easier than livelihood................................501
Good and bad ...........................................575
Localized...................................................575
Logically impossible ..................................575
Mercy not justice .......................................402
Minimize change in nature ........................574
Minimize—Noach's Ark .............................472
Nature—Major topic ..................................571
New aspect of creation..............................572
Not to expect .....................................498, 499
Righteous rely on miracles........................501
Righteous—crops harvested by others.....500
Sun moved while stationary ......................575
Transcend nature......................................571
Work is greater..........................................479
Moshe
Book of Job—wrote...................................556
Complained about suffering ......................554
Complaining to G-d was only curiosity......555
Suffering concerned him deeply................556
Threatened to become heretic—Korach ...557
Index of Topics 21
Nature
Exists ........................................................ 578
Medicine is totally natural ......................... 522
Medicine is unnatural................................ 524
Nebach Apikorus
Major topic .................................................. 88
Noach
Absolute or relative Tzadik ....................... 331
Doubted Flood would happen................... 333
Lacked faith .............................................. 332
Non-Jews
Beliefs naturally stronger ............................ 49
Creation not improved by ......................... 263
Decency found in all men ........................... 48
Repent readily—Jews don't ........................ 50
Spiritual....................................................... 49
World to Come for righteous....................... 50
Occupation
Best—Businessman ................................. 490
Change—failure not reason to.................. 490
Change—from family occupation.............. 490
Choosing—Interesting and attractive........ 486
Choosing—major topic ............................. 482
Completing world—work needed.............. 485
Job is obligatory........................................ 498
Marriage—job before................................ 470
Success—symbolic or cause.................... 485
Tests person—keeps from sin.................. 488
Torah thoughts while working................... 486
Worrying about—not appropriate.............. 488
Worst—farming......................................... 490
Ohr HaChaim
All new explanations are from Sinai.......... 223
Don't reveal Yehoshua wrote verses........ 191
Oral Law
Rejection is heresy? ................................... 77
Perfection
Rather than moderation.............................. 43
Philosophy
Dangers.......................................................93
Errors in emuna are more common ............91
Originated with prophets ...........................139
Rambam believed it? ................................205
Piety
True—not among narrow scholars............161
True—not among the ignorant ..................161
Pilpul
Maharal's criticism.......................................41
Restoring halacha by using.......................123
Texual analysis—important.........................43
Poverty
Lack of effort causes.................................563
Provides wealthy chance for merit ............439
Rewarded in WTCome..............................438
Prayer
Answered—after Divine decree? ..............541
Answered—harmful belief .........................374
Answered—harmful to assume.................357
Answered—if whole hearted? ...................544
Answered—Iyun Tefila..............................536
Answered—not always for righteous.........541
Answered—not main purpose...................540
Answered—reasons why not ....................542
Answered—typically not............................543
Avoid at time of G-d's anger......................431
Bitachon eliminates need..........................535
Bitachon—Iyun Tefilah..............................536
Bitachon—part of ......................................540
Danger—rescue from................................535
For wicked—to reduce Divine anger .........431
G-d’s anger—don't pray............................542
G-d's promises require prayer...................541
Judges influenced by prayer .....................537
Major topic.................................................535
Marry wrong person—accepted................536
Natural events—not miracles....................540
Needs—don't since all is good..................537
Needs—don't since debases G-d .............538
Needs—major principle...............................75
Needs—only G-d’s....................................537
DAAS TORAH 22
Needs—required ...................................... 538
Nullifies bad decree .................................. 541
Praise of G-d—answer is secondary ........ 540
Principle of faith ........................................ 539
Recognition that perfection is from G-d.... 543
Sinner prays for success ............................ 56
Sinning more successful........................... 543
Temporal life requires............................... 540
Tzadik relies on—not merit ....................... 536
Principles of Faith.........See Belief
Acccepted views are binding ...................... 68
Belief in G-d................................................ 70
Bitachon...................................................... 72
Converts must accept ................................. 70
Creation...................................................... 72
Creation is foundation................................. 72
Creation is not foundation........................... 73
Everything is fundamental .......................... 66
Four—Rabbeinu Bachye ............................ 62
Free will ...................................................... 75
G-d can do everything .............................. 382
Intellect alone determines........................... 67
Limited number ........................................... 62
Logical proof not irrefutable........................ 69
Major topic .................................................. 62
Miraculous redemption from Egypt ............. 74
Mishna Torah.............................................. 64
Moshiach .................................................... 72
Prayer ....................................................... 539
Prayer for personal needs .......................... 75
Providence.................................................. 71
Providence according to spiritual level ..... 266
Rambam's 13.............................................. 63
Rambam's are universally accepted........... 65
Shabbos ..................................................... 73
Sinai is source .......................................... 215
Six constant commandments—Chinuch..... 62
Teaching—reasons .................................... 65
Three—Sefer HaIkkarim............................. 62
Torah from Heaven..................................... 74
Torah from Heaven—last verses.............. 191
Torah is same as Moshe's.......................... 74
World to Come is dependent on accepting. 64
Prophesy
Basis of all knowledge .............................. 123
Image not physical seeing.........................124
Sages are type of prophet.........................103
Prophets
Complained about G-d’s justice ................547
Replacement for diviners ..........................595
Protection from Harm
Bitachon .................................... See Bitachon
Bitachon—major topic...............................367
Bitachon—only highest level .....................370
Bitachon—only unexpected harm.............369
Bitachon—saves from enemies ................372
Fear.................................... See Fear of Harm
G-d alone has power.........................286, 373
Merit ..........................................................375
Mitzva done perfectly ................................375
Providence .................... 285. See Providence
Rain,birth and resurrection in G-d's hand .286
Righteous protected against sin................286
Torah fulfillment.........................................375
War....................................................See War
Wind to winnow crops is from G-d ............286
Providence
Amalek rejects...........................................258
Angels sometimes involved.......................242
Animals .................See Providence—Animals
Avraham started in year 2000...................241
Awareness—four historic stages...............238
Awareness—major topic ...........................237
Awareness—pious always aware .............239
Chance doesn't exist .................................237
Concealed—hestair ponim........................252
Creation shows Providence ......................243
Denying—major topic................................256
Egyptian redemption .................................253
Free will always agrees.............................566
Free will can overcome .............................565
G-d determines all—except fear of Him....287
G-d determines what happens..................288
G-d feeds all creatures..............................252
G-d intervenes for all creatures.................286
G-d knows............................. See G-d Knows
G-d's goodness is sole reason..................237
General—major topic ................................244
Harm is lack of Divine protection...............309
Index of Topics 23
Harm is message to repent....................... 288
Heretics deny............................................ 256
Interest on loans—rejection...................... 258
Israel ......................... See Providence—Israel
Jews ..........................See Providence—Jews
Leaf falling from tree—is not..................... 251
Magic can overrule ........................... 252, 569
Major topic ................................................ 236
Man only—individual providence...... 243, 281
Manifest only with Divine Presence.......... 237
Mazel can overrule ........................... 240, 586
Mazel is agent of G-d ............................... 253
Mazel not relevant for Jews...................... 253
Mezuza protects ....................................... 254
Miraculous manner ................................... 240
Natural manner ......................................... 240
Nature, Beracha and Miracle.................... 239
Non-Jews have general providence ......... 245
Obvious to those with Bitachon ................ 255
Philosophers claim—G-d doesn't know.... 256
Philosophers—deny communication ........ 257
Prayer shows validity................................ 255
Proportional to attachment to G-d ............ 264
Proportional to knowledge about G-d....... 279
Proportional to time thinking about G-d.... 281
Protection ............. See Protection from Harm
Protection ........See Providence protects from
Harm
Protection only from G-d........................... 373
Protection proportional to level ................. 265
Protection—reward for righteousness ...... 285
Rejecting causes extra suffering .............. 259
Reward and Punishment .......................... 236
Rosh HaShanna ........... See Rosh HaShanna
Sickness—Natural vs. Providence............ 519
Sources from Biblical verses .................... 237
Suffering caused by sin—only if believe... 581
Sukkos manifestation of providence......... 254
Supervision of G-d.................................... 236
Thief punished—doesn't believe............... 258
Tzadik ........................................... See Tzadik
Tzadik only—constant Providence ........... 267
Views—5 presented by Rambam............. 277
Years of Chaos—till year 2000................. 242
Providence protects from Harm
Harm is always lack of Providence........... 309
Major topic.................................................285
Mezuza......................................................288
Travelers,sick and prisoners .....................287
Wild animals hurt only sinners ..................288
Providence—Animals
Birds caught if G-d decrees.......................248
Fed by G-d................................................248
Fish have no Providence...........................249
Fish have Providence................................249
G-d intervenes for safe birth......................248
General providence only ...........................247
Harm only sinners .....................................251
Major topic.................................................247
Providence only with link to man...............251
Punished in Flood .....................................251
Ramban & Rambam agree .......................250
Ramban & Rambam disagree...................250
Providence—Different Views
Everything is chance.................................277
Everything is Providence...........................278
Heavens but not for earth..........................278
Justice is only in Next World .....................279
Rambam—Degree of knowledge of G-d...279
Rambam—Degree of thinking about G-d..281
World is totally just ....................................279
Providence—Israel
Israel is directly supervised by G-d...........273
Live outside—have no G-d........................273
Source for other lands...............................274
Providence—Jews
Blessing & punishment—from Jews..........262
Creation improved only through Jews.......263
Exiled—must keep mitzvos.......................262
Exiled—still punished severely..................261
G-d directly supervises..............................260
In Egypt—no individual Providence ..........252
Mazel—can overcome ..............................262
Most have only general Providence..........246
Protected not to be obliterated..................261
Punished more severely than non-Jews ...260
Sin—still G-d's children.............................262
Special Providence ...................................260
Special—started in Egypt..........................261
DAAS TORAH 24
Works against Jews as test ...................... 261
Questions
Absolute refutations are rare .................... 206
Answers.....................................See Answers
Answers must exist to ask ........................ 200
Concealing problematic material .............. 190
Concealing Yehoshua wrote verses ......... 191
Concealing—secular knowledge .............. 190
Concealling by oversimplifying ................. 191
Dialectic thinking....................................... 168
Familarity with material first ........................ 40
Fear—causes lack of understanding........ 195
Foolish should be answered..................... 189
G-d's justice—only if answers................... 545
Heresy ......................................... See Heresy
Heresy result of not asking ....................... 190
Heresy—Acher could answer ................... 192
Heretical—Influenced if no answer ........... 191
Heretical—need to be refuted................... 191
Humility required....................................... 193
Humilty & respect required ......................... 42
Important only if causes fear of G-d ......... 173
Incomprehensible issues—can ask .......... 196
Incomprehensible issues—can't ask ........ 199
Incomprehensible—work stops................. 201
Observing Teacher ................................... 195
Perfection depends on questioning ............ 43
Pure heart is more important .................... 196
Required for understanding—Major topic. 189
Respectful questions of teachers ............. 194
Silencing is wrong..................................... 202
Sin causes—mitzvos provide answers ..... 201
Understanding requires questions............ 189
Understanding—lacking if afraid to ask .... 195
Unlimited after commitment to faith.......... 159
Warfare—metaphor for questioning.......... 196
Who? vs. What? ....................................... 199
Rabbinic laws
Exaggerating prohibition—problematic..... 209
Seriousness—emphasizing ...................... 207
Rambam
Letter on Astrology ..................................... 37
Non-rational rejected even in Talmud...... 136,
233
Palace parable ..........................................185
Philosophy—believed it?...........................205
Providence—5 views.................................277
Repentance—contradiction.........................83
Suffering of Love—rejects.........................307
Ramchal
Absolute statements are often relative......220
General prinipcles important .......................38
Rav Chaim Volozhner
Segula for protection—Only G-d...............373
Rav Hai Gaon
Avoid polemics............................................37
Rebbe......................... See Teacher
Reincarnation
Suffering....................................See Suffering
Suffering for previous existence................299
Religion
Positive—not just prohibitions.....................54
Revenge
Prohibited—all suffering from G-d.............341
Prohibition for money only.........................342
Reward and Punishment
Complicated chains sometimes involved ..282
G-d is not lax in punishing.........................282
Harm is message to repent .......................288
Harm—protection of righteous ..................285
Heretic no reward for mitzvos ...................282
Just—always.............................................285
Major Topic ...............................................282
Marriage is determined .....................284, 512
Mitzva—miraculous connection ................284
Mitzva—natural connection.......................284
Rosh HaShanna
Decree modified—not nullified ..................347
Determines success—why work? .............344
Effort required to get portion .....................345
Irrevocable decree for year?.....................344
Index of Topics 25
Judgement daily or Rosh HaShanna........ 346
Profits & losses for year............................ 347
Suffering not decreed—just protection ..... 345
Sages
Attatchment to Sages is way to G-d ......... 103
Commonsense criticism invalid ................ 231
Conceal information.................................. 220
Foundation of Torah understanding ... 40, 101
Knowledge is unique ................................ 102
Living Torah.............................................. 101
Prophetic power—source ........................... 78
Prophet—type of....................................... 103
Scientific knowledge ................................. 138
Source & transmitters of tradition ............. 101
Words are from G-d not intellect............... 103
Worked for living....................................... 504
Salanter, Rav Yisroel
No general rule how to serve G-d............... 38
Scholars
Blessing for Torah & secular .................... 124
Science—Religion Conflict
Age of universe—Hirsch........................... 133
Astronauts—Rambam vs.Ramban........... 133
Bible not sceince book—Hirsch................ 137
Chasam Sofer—medical books ................ 132
Commonsense contradicts both ............... 140
Hirsch—both are revelation ...................... 110
Hirsch—must teach .................................. 143
Knowledge advance—R' Sherira Gaon.... 138
Logical proofs can not refute Torah.......... 144
Major topic ................................................ 132
Miracles can contradict science & logic.... 132
R’ Soloveitchik—of no interest.................. 132
Rambam rejects irrational......................... 136
Rambam's son's views - valid................... 138
Ramban—rainbow.................................... 132
Rivash—science unreliable ...................... 143
Sages presumed to be correct ................. 144
Sages vs.Science—Pesachim 94b........... 132
Sages’ knowledge superior ...................... 144
Sages’ science—outdated........................ 137
Science not absolutely valid ..................... 142
Science—not of interest to Sages ............ 137
Scientific proofs can’t refute Torah............141
Torah validated from direct experience.....141
Torah valid—even if incomprehensible.....145
Validity of Halacha not based on science .141
Serenity
After effort .................................................393
Despite calamity........................................393
Indifference is not Bitachon.......................392
Judgment turned into mercy......................395
Occupation—not to worry..........................488
Optimisim is not Bitachon..........................392
Purity of thought to serve G-d ...................359
Rosh HaShanna determines wealth..........394
Security .....................................................394
Sickness
Desirable for the righteous........................530
Doctors obligated to cure ..........................517
Doctors permitted to cure by Torah...........516
G-d cures but treatment required..............515
Medicine....................................See Medicine
Natural is main reason ..............................520
Natural vs. Providence......................519, 579
Neglect of health—main reason................580
Negligence—not sin..................................562
Repentance required.................................522
Treatment required....................................516
Silber, Rav Binyamin
Diverse views needed.................................38
Simple Faith
Best without analysis.................................145
Blind faith if relying on Tradition................165
Children should have ................................147
Faith................................................ See Faith
Heart—constantly implanted.....................181
Heretics are dangerous.............................166
Intellectual sterility—is dangerous.............163
Intuitive not intellectual..............................148
Major topic.................................................145
Mature Faith........................ See Mature Faith
Mechanical observance—not true faith.....163
Pure heart better than analysis .................196
Spiritual environment precludes theology .152
Theology ........... See Theology is problematic
DAAS TORAH 26
Theology—should avoid ........................... 148
Wagon driver of Alshich............................ 496
Sinai
Hearts directed to idol worship ................... 55
Knowledge—not belief................................ 99
Skepticism
Inherent Jewish characteristic .................. 202
Jews are inherently................................... 130
Proof of Torah validity............................... 203
Questions ............................... See Questions
Reject truth worse than being naive ......... 203
Undesirable as accepting everything........ 203
Soloveitchik, Rav Yosef Ber
Not troubled by science—religion conflict. 132
Spirituality
Creative—prevents assimilation ............... 180
Creativity is critical .................................... 164
Crushed physically—more spiritual .......... 442
Ignorant can be spiritual ............................. 48
Non Jew—beliefs naturally stronger ........... 49
Non Jews can be spiritual........................... 49
Not automatic result of religion ................... 54
Religion—major topic.................................. 48
Sinning despite spirituality .......................... 55
Suffering is required ................................. 449
Spirituality and Religion
Commonplace becomes mechanical.......... 53
Integrity—knowledge & deed...................... 53
Spirituality not automatic result................... 54
Success
Abilities matter—but G-d gave.................. 466
Abilities required ....................................... 467
Bitachon alone—major topic..................... 493
Bitachon alone—not enough .................... 464
Bitachon alone—profanes G-d's name..... 464
Bitachon—advance reward for mitzvos ... 357,
376
Bitachon—left to what one trusts.............. 467
Bitachon—Major topic .............................. 375
Bitachon—not needed .............................. 465
Bitachon—without effort—determines.......494
Everything has source of sustenance.......470
Father's must teach son trade...................508
G-d alone deterimines...............................453
G-d feeds all creatures..............................475
G-d's kindness is reason...........................497
Interest on loans—prohibited ....................487
Mazel causes ............................................584
Medicine—G-d cures ................................456
Miracles......................................See Miracles
Prayer—necessity.....................................539
Righteousness doesn't guarantee.............462
Sinning more successful with prayer.........543
Sinning—praying for sucess .......................56
Sources.....................................................375
War—G-d determines outcome ................494
Wealth from effort—punished ...................474
Wealth—G-d determines—not effort.........494
Work & prayer overcome mazel ................544
Suffering
40 days without—problematic...................435
Accept joyfully ...........................................439
Accepting what G-d wants ........................433
Accidental—viewing gives mazel control ..585
Amount—able to handle............................436
Ascribe it always to sin..............................347
Ascribe to sin......See Ascribe Suffering to Sin
Atonement for others.................................390
Atonement—vicarious.......... See Tzadik. See
Children
Atones for WTCome..................................291
Atones—if greater than others ..................582
Bitachon—all is good ................................355
Bitachon—rewarded in WTCome..............583
Bruised finger from Heaven ......................288
Cause—G-d removes protection...............288
Cause—lack of Divine protection..............582
Chance & Nature—major topic .................575
Chance vs.Providence ..............................575
Children........................... See Children Suffer
Collective vs.Individual judgment ..............576
Contradictions to faith—ignore..................435
Criminals—from failure of police ...............582
Death..............................................See Death
Die so others don't sin...............................433
Exile is severe—not chance......................297
Index of Topics 27
Explanation—prophets offered none........ 547
G-d suffers—major topic....... See G-d Suffers
Good.............................See Suffering—Good
Good and bad........................................... 432
Harm is from lack of Providence............... 309
Individual's—unable to understand........... 309
Insignificant in this world—G-d ignores .... 582
Just—suffering always just ....................... 291
Love............. 282, 303. See Suffering of Love
Lust is weakened...................................... 305
Major topic ................................................ 432
Mamzer suffers for parent's sins............... 301
Messianic age—major topic...................... 451
Mitzva done to prevent suffering .............. 351
Mitzvos don't cause .................................. 298
Natural danger harms............................... 576
Natural—from others or self neglect ......... 567
Others—don't say deserved ..................... 439
Perfection—only if not .............................. 437
Poverty—compensation in WTCome........ 583
Poverty—rewarded in WTCome............... 323
Providence—rejecting causes extra......... 259
Questioning G-d—don't ............................ 433
Ramban's summary.................................. 310
Reason determined not assumed............. 308
Reason—deeds must be examined ......... 302
Reasons—always exist............................. 307
Reasons—bad luck—heresy .................... 309
Reasons—Incomprehensible ........... 309, 311
Reasons—obvious if G-d manifest ........... 313
Reasons—should be determined ............. 307
Reincarnation ........................................... 302
Repentance—required by Jews................ 432
Righteous—many reasons ....................... 385
Righteous—punishment more severe ...... 388
Sickness ................................... See Sickness
Sickness punishment for sin..................... 294
Sin ................................... See Suffering—Sin
Slavery only for sinners ............................ 435
Torah obtained by suffering...................... 432
Undeserved—reward in WTCome... 282, 315,
583
Unpleasant even for tzadik ....................... 428
Wild animals harm sinners only................ 297
Suffering of Love
G-d crushes those He loves ..................... 305
Major topic.................................................302
Sin always involved...................................306
Unbearable sometimes .............................307
Undeserved...............................................282
Suffering—Good
Accept bad ................................................440
Accept joyfully—major topic......................439
Accept lovingly ..........................................446
Accept—temimos......................................440
Always—major topic..................................439
Broken engagement is good .....................441
Cherishing suffering—reasons..................441
Crushed physically—more spiritual...........442
Education requires rebuke ........................447
Gam zu l'tova ............................................442
Hishtavut—good & bad equal ...................444
Martyrdom is aspect of bitachon ...............447
Pray for chance to do good.......................447
Rejoice more than for good.......................439
Rejoicing—R' Akiva at R' Eliezer ..............448
Righteous—dispute if good.......................386
Sanctification of G-d by accepting.............449
Sin—only if not from sin ............................432
Spiritual development requires suffering...449
Suffering of others—rejoice?.....................448
Surgery done by G-d.................................440
Too much to handle? ................................437
Tzadikim also? ..........................................449
Suffering—Sin
Always cause (Shabbos 55a)....................289
Always cause—Major topic.......................289
Cause—not always (Shabbos 55a)...........581
Cause—only if believe it............................581
Cause—unresolved dispute......................581
Death only result of sin..............................522
Justice—chain of events ...........................435
Merit & Promises reduced by sin ..............292
Mitzvos don’t cause suffering....................298
Natural suffering is different ......................579
Protection removed...................................292
Reincarnation—previous existence...........299
Tzadik also suffers for sin .........................298
Suicide
Murder through free will ............................567
DAAS TORAH 28
Teacher
Authority to elminate doubts ....................... 45
Authority—removes doubts ...................... 182
Fear of admitting ignorance—.................... 48
Heretic ........................................................ 80
Importance.................................................. 44
Indispensible for Torah............................... 46
Required to learn properly .......................... 44
Righteousness is required .......................... 46
Role model ................................................. 45
Spiritual parent ........................................... 45
Theological expertise is rare....................... 47
Temimos—purity
Essence of bitachon ................................. 357
Whole hearted with G-d—Major topic....... 594
Temple—Destroyed
Bitachon didn't stop it................................ 428
Halacha is only place for G-d ................... 152
Intolerance and fanaticism.......................... 53
Lacked military skills................................. 564
Letter of law caused ................................. 322
Men of faith disappreared......................... 105
Prophets ended with destruction .............. 103
Theology
Ancient books were lost............................ 216
Baal Shem's revelation reduce need for... 154
Beliefs studied analytically like halacha.... 178
Blind faith without theology....................... 165
Concealment by Sages ............................ 220
Doubts ......................................... See Doubts
Faith is not theology ................................. 149
Faith of scholar & masses differs.............. 160
Heresy refuted by knowledge ................... 186
Heresy—protection against ...................... 185
Jewish sources only ................................. 212
Kabbala is true source.............................. 217
Majority of authorities determines............. 224
Mature faith......................... See Mature Faith
Mechanical interpretations........................ 219
Medrash contains many issues ................ 225
Moshe taught G-d—sins of fathers........... 557
Not restricted to prophet & philosopher .... 219
Obligation to study.................................... 175
Problems........... See Theology is problematic
Purpose—refute heresy ............................187
Purpose—understand prophets ................187
Purpose—understand Torah & world........188
Rashi wrote with Ruach HaKodesh...........222
Reading interpretations into text ...............221
Sages differ from—peshat ........................223
Sages—differ from for confused people....224
Sages—explanations which differ .............222
Sanhedrin did not deal with it ....................214
Sources.........................................See Agada
Sources—major topic................................211
Sources—original not summaries ...............37
Sources—understanding—major topic .....219
Spiritual darkeness requires......................167
Study not relevant today ...........................154
Sytematic is recent development ..............211
Torah and prophets...................................215
Traditional faith learned first......................157
Understanding today is superficial ............179
Women also need understanding .............188
Theology is problematic
Analysis of foundations is dangerous........160
Avoid unless there are doubts...................160
Danger of exceeding intellect....................156
Dangerous to faith.....................................155
Faith of scholar & masses differs..............160
Intellect readily misleads...........................160
Major topic.................................................155
Primitive state of Jews at Sinai .................159
Relatively unimportant...............................160
Simple faith ...............................................155
Thoughts rejecting faith—prohibited .........156
Tradition must be learned first...................157
Tinok SheNishba—Naive
Heresy—exempt .........................................91
Torah
Derivable also from reason .......................138
From Heaven—required belief ....................74
Gadol is a living Torah ..............................170
Identical to Moshe's ....................................74
Truth—axiomatic like nature .....................110
Truth—not alterable for wishes .................111
Index of Topics 29
Torah Study
Attachment to G-d .................................... 152
Conceptual understanding is critical . 172, 235
Enjoyment is important ............................... 42
Faith is considered Torah......................... 175
Familiarity with material—first..................... 40
Maharal's view of Tosofos .......................... 41
Torah Study & Working
Charity is profanation of G-d's name ........ 502
Combining—Shulchan Aruch.................... 502
Early days—didn't have to work ............... 496
Earning living—major topic....................... 502
Financial security required........................ 504
Job is ideally combined with ..................... 506
Kollel—required to take money ................ 502
Minority only shouldn't work...................... 505
Minority—full time study............................ 497
Miracles only for early generations........... 505
Miracles—not for baal teshuva ................. 508
Miracles—not to expect ............................ 507
Rambam's brother supported him ............ 503
Sages worked........................................... 504
Son doesn't need job training ................... 506
Stealing is result of no job ........................ 508
Torah thoughts while working................... 486
Working interferes with study.................... 503
Working part time ..................................... 505
Tradition
Acceptance critical for every society........... 96
Alone—if incapable of understanding....... 162
Belief—basis............................................. 125
Blind faith without theology....................... 165
Faith—basis.............................................. 100
Folk practice against halacha ................... 100
Major topic .................................................. 94
Miracles are not absolute proof .................. 98
Miracles—preserving memory.................... 98
Remembering miracles of Egypt & Sinai .... 97
Sages—source and transmitters .............. 101
Sinai—knowledge not belief ....................... 99
Transmitters must be reliable ..................... 94
Unprovable ............................................... 127
Validity—major topic................................... 94
Validity—parents don't teach lies................ 95
Translations
Literal are false............................................42
Tentative understanding only......................41
Trials and Tests
Avraham....................................See Avraham
Avraham—major topic...............................328
Avraham—ten trials...................................329
Challenge vs. Examination........................321
Eliyahu at Mt. Carrmel...............................331
Everyone is tried .......................................317
Examples—major topic .............................328
Faith develops from unjust suffering.........317
Faith in self—don't have............................330
G-d tried 10 times in Wilderness...............335
Glorifies G-d..............................................326
Hinnei—accepting test ..............................331
Implant faith...............................................318
Job tested to defend Avraham..................331
Lack of fish in Wilderness .........................333
Manna trained Bitachon ............................330
Miracles.....................................................321
Noach............................................See Noach
Noach—major topic...................................331
Providence—proportional and result of.....327
Purim—70 year exile.................................333
Purim—relation to Sinai ............................334
Purpose—3 Netziv ....................................327
Requesting test leads to failure—Dovid....322
Response not always obvious...................322
Reveals person's heart—even to G-d.......323
Rewarded in WTCome..............................315
Satan has permission to test.....................323
Sea split only after entering.......................333
Sets examples for others ..........................325
Sinai—doubts............................................334
Spiritual elevation is precededed by .........317
Teaches values and beliefs.......................314
Wilderness taught need for prayer ............320
Wilderness—rebelled against mitzvos ......336
Yaakov—promised Israel ..........................335
Yitzchok—fighting for right to Israel ..........335
Yosef with Potiphar's wife .........................336
Truth
Absolute—only G-d & Torah .....................108
DAAS TORAH 30
Conflicting views—major topic.................. 111
Disputes—merely perspective.................. 116
Eilu v'eilu..................................... See Multiple
Eilu v'eilu—Shamai & Hillel only............... 113
Faith is aspect .......................................... 109
G-d's will—even if not factual ................... 110
Meaning—major topic............................... 108
Multiple—attachments to Heaven............. 114
Multiple—eilu v’eilu major topic ................ 111
Multiple—given at Sinai ............................ 115
Multiple—one side is wrong...................... 112
Multiple—only one true............................. 112
Mutiple—beyond understanding............... 115
Objective—Independent of source ........... 108
Relative—man's limited understanding .... 109
Sanhedrin—dispute .................................. 111
Torah—axiomatic like nature.................... 110
Torah—not alterable for our wishes.......... 111
Tzadik
Always afraid—doesn't trust merit ............ 389
Bitachon alone works ............................... 495
Changes G-d's decrees............................ 386
Controls G-d ............................................. 263
Danger—must avoid................................. 403
Death atones for others’ sins.................... 390
Doctors not needed .................................. 495
Faith in—leads to G-d............................... 129
Fear of judgment—for this or next world... 388
Miracles—wants justice not mercy ........... 402
Noach—absolute or relative tzadik........... 332
Poverty—can not be poor ......................... 389
Poverty—doesn't want wealth .................. 387
Poverty—never lacks food........................ 390
Protection from all harm............................ 384
Protection from all harm—bitachon .......... 385
Protection from harm—major topic........... 384
Providence according to deeds ................ 269
Providence is constant ............................. 267
Providence—major topic........................... 264
Punishment more severe.......................... 388
Serenity—denied ...................................... 386
Sin—not protected............................ 269, 270
Sin—not protected from prohibited food... 272
Sin—protected against ............................. 286
Sin—protected from prohibited food......... 271
Sin—Protected from sin............................ 269
Son—never lacks sustenance...................390
Suffering atones for others’ sins................391
Suffering unpleasant .................................428
Suffering—dispute if good.........................386
Suffering—many reasons..........................385
Suffers from G-d’s anger also ...................430
War conducted miraculously.............389, 497
Tzorech Gevoha............... See G-d
G-d benefits from man—major topic .........490
War
Bitachon protects and gives serenity ........374
Census of soldiers.....................................534
Death even with G-d's help.......................534
Death result of free will & accident............562
Figthing against wicked is required...........532
G-d determines outcome...................455, 533
Major topic.................................................531
Miraculous.....................................See Tzadik
Natural way—even if miraculous...............531
Wolbe, Rav Shlomo
General concepts required..........................39
World to Come
Accepting Rambam's 13 principles.............64
Belief is required .........................................57
Children dying—compensation .................301
Heresy causes loss.....................................75
Non-Jews who are righteous.......................50
Poverty rewarded..............................323, 438
Sickness is preferrable to health...............436
Suffering despite Bitachon ........................583
Suffering required......................................435
Trials and tests—compensated.................315
Undeserved suffering increases................282
Undeserved suffering—compensation.....303,
583
Yaakov
Bitachon—Yaakov lacked—major topic....415
Complained about bad life—punished......558
Yosef
Lacked bitachon in jail...............................418
31
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, ,, ,

G-d commands us to study the Torah twice—in Deuteronomy (11:19) and again in Deuteronomy
(4:9–11). Each verse, however, is uniquely distinguished by its own internal semantical and
syntactical form as well as the context in which it appears. Deuteronomy
1
(11:19) states, “You shall
teach the commandments to your children to speak about them, while at home, while traveling on the
road, when you lie down to go to sleep and while you rise up.” This verse appears in the description
of the reward and punishment which will result from the fulfillment For transgression of the
commandments. Consequently, this verse is generally understood to refer to the study of the
halachic obligations of the Torah—in all their variegated details. In contrast, Deuteronomy
2
(4:9)
concerns the necessity of recalling the monumental events of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Here
the Torah informs the Jewish people, “Be careful for yourself, and guard your soul greatly, not to
forget the events that your eyes beheld at Sinai. That is in order that they shouldn’t leave your heart
for the rest of your life, and you shall tell them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Ostensibly, the second verse deals with our obligation to effectively communicate the experience of
the mass revelation of the Torah at Sinai. It requires us to preserve the memory of the event which
constitutes the pivotal historical proof of the truth of the Torah and Moses’ prophecy. However, the
Talmudic Sages
3
(Kiddushin 30a) understood the verse to be a command to study the Torah.
Furthermore, Nachmanides
4
(Maimonides’ Book of the Commandments) asserts that it is specifically
a command to study the “faith of the Torah.”

Consequently, the two verses which obligate us to study the Torah actually refer to two types of
study. One refers to the study of the legal part of the Torah, and the other refers to the study of
Torah’s theology. Each form of study is deemed a separate scholarly enterprise. Given the fact that
each is based on a separate verse, it is incumbent upon us to explore the unique features of each,
what they have in common, and their differences.

In the world of Talmudic and Rabbinical epistemology, the idea itself and how we derive it from its
source in the Torah are inextricably intertwined. Therefore, one can explore the nature of a Torah
concept, even to its fine details, by careful scrutiny of the verse from which it emerges. Towards this
end, it is instructive to compare the two verses with respect to their salient contrasting features. Such
an analysis yields three notable distinctions.

1) The first verse, dealing with the commandment of the “legal” study of the Torah is expressed in the
plural, while the second verse, which deals with the commandment of “faith” study, is expressed in
the singular form. This grammatical difference between plural and singular is representative of the
more general textual context in which the two verses appear. The discussion of reward and
punishment is formulated in the plural since it addresses the nation collectively. In contrast, the whole
exhortation not to forget the experience of Sinai is formulated in the singular. In other words, the
DAAS TORAH 32
punishments and rewards enumerated in this chapter are ones of communal bounties and disasters
emphasizing collective responsibility, while the existential experience of Sinai emphasizes a unique
individual spiritual approach. This would seem paradoxical in light of the fact that performance of the
commandments usually depends solely on the individual Jew whereas the revelation at Sinai was a
national experience, upon which the Jewish nation was founded. The resolution of this paradox can
only be explained by the intrinsic interdependence of the individual and the community which forms a
dyadic unity unto itself. (This will be elaborated in a future work.)

2) The first verse uses the verb “to teach,” whereas the second verse utilizes the verb “to tell,” or “to
make known.” Teaching refers primarily to an intellectual activity, while story-telling requires a more
visceral mode of transmission. This distinction would seem to make sense in light of the fact that we
are dealing with the two very different epistemological types. One is more legal and analytic, requiring
the transmission of clearly elucidated concepts, while the other involves the transmission of an
existential state of revelation and spirituality. In other words, legal study by definition involves
scholarship, while describing transient experiences seems incompatible with an intellectual process.
How can they both be considered aspects of the commandment to study Torah? We find a possible
reconciliation of the “study” and “experience” duality in the views of the medieval commentator
Seforno. Seforno
5
(Deuteronomy 4:9) interprets the phrase “and you shall tell your children” to be
formulating the existential experience in terms of “conceptual proofs.” These intellectual proofs can
then be transmitted to those who were not actually present at Sinai to witness the revelation.

3) The final distinction I would like to note is the difference in enumeration of generations between
these two verses. The “legal” study verse only lists two generations—parents and children—while the
“faith” study verse lists three generations—parents, children and grandchildren. The profound
significance of this distinction is noted in the Talmudic discussion in tractate Kiddushin (30a).

Having discussed the salient syntactical and semantical distinctions between these two verses, we
can now proceed to the corresponding consequences of these distinctions. Knowledge of these
consequences will help us understand the distinction between the methodologies of faith-study and
legal-study.

1) The first distinction noted was between the singular formulation of faith-study as opposed to the
plural formulation of legal-study. The significance of this can best be understood in light of the fact
that the Ten Commandments spoken to the Jewish people at Sinai are all stated in the singular. This
is understood by the commentators as expressing the personal aspect of the Sinai revelation. As
explained above, the medium of conveyance of the Commandments at Sinai points to the faith study
of the Torah. Faith, it is argued, is a more intensely individual experience and as such demands a
more individualized imperative. The legal study of the Torah which has a greater legal dimension
requires a less subjective and more objective orientation and is therefore expressed in the plural. On
the basis of this, we can draw an analogy to the two verses at hand, and their respective
commandments to engage in the study of Torah. The goal of faith-study is to direct a person to a
more perfect and complete faith in G-d and is therefore expressed in the singular. In contrast, legal
study is expressed and formulated in the plural.
This idea is beautifully expressed in the Tannaic commentary to Deuteronomy (Sifrei
6
—Parshas
Eikev): “Is it your desire to recognize the One who spoke and created the world? Study Aggadah, for
Introduction by Rav Meir Triebitz 33
thereby you shall recognize Him.” The faith-study of the Torah in fact deals primarily with the Aggadic
part of the Torah. Therefore, we see that faith study is being equated with knowledge of G-d—the
very essence of the first two commandments. The language of the Sages, “your desire to recognize,”
is a beautiful expression of the highly intensive personal dimension which is intrinsic in the study of
Aggadah, and in the study of the faith of the Torah in general. A pedagogical consequence of this is
that the approach to the study of hashkofa must take into careful consideration the specific needs,
goals, and “desires,” of each individual in order that he is allowed to personally “recognize the One
who spoke and created the world”.

2) The second distinction was the distinction between the verbs “to teach” and “to tell.” The “to tell” of
faith-study is related to the methodology of converting psychological and intuitive insights into clearly
expressed language and concepts, and the inverse process of penetrating language and ideas to
their core psychological and intuitive origins and recesses. The purpose of this is to capture the inner
spiritual experience of Sinai when the Jewish people witnessed clearly G-d’s word and Moses’
prophecy. An important goal of the faith study of the Torah is that the formal intellectual process of
analysis touches the spiritual consciousness of the student so that his faith is properly “felt” as well as
thought. A Cartesian type dichotomy of mind and body undermines the faith study process, for it does
not produce true “believers.” In fact the relationship between thought and feeling, idea and intuition,
must be truly hybrid and coexistent. Just as analysis must be buttressed by feeling, intuition, and
psychological insight—they in turn must be buttressed by analysis. That is because lack of logical
clarity can produce a feeling of uncertainty and inner confusion which is dangerous to personal faith.
For this reason, the study of faith requires the harmonization of thought and feeling to attain his goal
of understanding.

3) The third and final distinction involves the contrast between the dyadic father—son formulation of
legal-study with the triadic grandfather—father—grandson formulation of faith-study. This distinction
can be understood best in terms of viewing study of the Torah as an interpretation of sacred
canonical texts, with the teacher and/or father viewed as the text, and the student and/or son viewed
as the one who studies and interprets the text. This process is a central feature of all Torah study. In
terms of this model, the legal-study of the Torah is formulated in the Pentateuch as a text and an
interpretation. The faith-study of the Torah, however, is formulated as a text (grandfather), an
interpretation of the text (son), and a second, perhaps alternative, interpretation of the same text
(grandson), or even a more general interpretation which mediates between the text and its
interpretation. Where the dyadic formulation of legal-study is essentially a dialectic of text and
interpretation, effort and resistance which produces a clear legal conclusion, the triadic formulation of
faith-study produces a multiplicity of interpretation each representing an irreducible truth—“these and
these are words of the living G-d.” This expresses the very nature of Aggadic interpretation which
seeks to produce multiple interpretations which serve to express the multi-dimensional ontology of
Aggadic and hashkofic concepts. On a pedagogical level, the faith-study of the Torah is essentially
the discovery and elaboration of the spectrum of ideas which defines both the possibilities and
boundaries of acceptable positions. A consequence of this is that the student must be exposed to a
full spectrum of hashkofic thought in order to fully appreciate the issues, and then formulate his own
position. The implications of these three principles and their relevance to this volume will be
discussed in detail in the final section.
DAAS TORAH 34

,, ,, ,, ,,

Traditional Jewish historiography views the progression of time as epochal. Each epoch is
distinguished by a unique spiritual ontology which provides the tools for earmarking historical events
and developments from a Torah perspective. For example, the Talmud in tractate Avoda Zara
7
(9a)
divides up all of history into three epochs. There are also the Rabbinical divisions of the Patriarchal
pre-Sinaic epoch, the Tannaic epoch and the Amoraic epoch. These epochs are frequently
delineated by epochal compendiums which conclude the earlier epoch and provide the starting point
for the next one. Hence, the Mishnaic compendium of Rabbi Judah the Prince concludes the Tannaic
period and forms the interpretive text of the Amoraic period. The Talmudic compendium of Ravina
and Rav Ashi concludes the Amoraic era and serves as the interpretive texts of the medieval era
known as the Rishonim.

The significance of inter-epochal compendiums is more than the facility of transition between eras—it
is the device through which a veritable continuum of Tradition is preserved through the vicissitudes of
Jewish history. The commensurable dialogue between seemingly different eras is a hallmark of the
Jewish claim to authentic tradition in contradistinction to postmodernist views of irreducible
paradigms which by definition resist communication and, hence, continuity. It is important to note the
famous words of Rabbi Yosef Karo in his introduction to his commentary to the Tur: “Who will be
brazen enough to place his head between the lofty mountains to resolve their disputes based on
rational arguments…for due to our many sins, our minds are too constricted to be able to understand
them, let alone to surpass them (in halachic resolution)…”

Through the words of Rabbi Yosef Karo, who authored the authoritative Jewish code of law known as
the Shulchan Aruch, we are able to understand the very nature and purpose of inter-epochal
compendiums. That is, to create the medium through which an intra-epochal dialectic can now be
canonized and serve as the basis for the halachic decisions of the next epoch. In addition, this very
medium will serve as the textual basis for the intra-epochal dialectic of the next epoch. This
methodology is what preserves the integrity of the halachic process, and insures the continuity and
authenticity of the Torah from Moses to the present day.

The concept of inter-epochal compendiums is not only a halachic concept but also an Aggadic and
hashkofic one. Whether it is the non-legal parts of the Pentateuch itself, or the Aggadic texts of the
Tannaic and Amoraic eras, inter-epochal compendiums provide the basis through which the
faith-study of the Torah is taught and communicated across generations. While the ontological basis
of this idea is rooted in the structure of Jewish spirituality, the details of which are certainly beyond
the scope of this introduction, we clearly see the usefulness of the compendium concept in all areas
of Torah study.

In addition to the canonical compendiums discussed above, there is a utilitarian value, in my opinion,
to non-canonical compendiums as well, especially in areas where there is no central access to the
relevant ideas. The present volume which you now hold in your hands is an example of such a
Introduction by Rav Meir Triebitz 35
compendium. It is a work desperately needed in order to communicate the faith of the Torah to those
Jews who are deeply steeped in today’s post-modernist culture. It is found, unfortunately, in today’s
age, that even highly educated people who are intellectually open, have difficulty comprehending and
therefore relating to the faith-study of the Torah. To my mind, this is partly due to the lack of a
suitable compendium to facilitate the commensurable transmission from the thoughts of the most
important rabbinical thinkers and commentators to today’s Torah-hostile intellectual environment. The
present volume serves admirably to redress this egregious lack. In this impressive compendium,
Rabbi Eidensohn has provided the Torah world with an invaluable treasure. It is the fruit of many
years of arduous labor of selecting, arranging and translating thousands of citations. It places before
the reader the rich spectrum of Daas Torah in a number of crucial areas of Jewish thought.

Part of the uniqueness of this volume is that it presents the ideas in their original exposition. It avoids
the use of modern and postmodern (i.e., non-Jewish) concepts and interpretations. These non-Torah
concepts are often used to produce an apologetic “politically correct” theology. Instead, this volume
presents the pure undiluted expression of Torah-true concepts. In other words, it lets the sources
speak for themselves without distillation or interpretation. This was done in order that the teacher and
student can literally stand at Mount Sinai and relive the existential experience of the Giving of the
Torah in its most pure and direct form.

,,, ,,, ,,, ,,,

In the first section of the introduction, I presented the three basic principles which underlie the
faith-study of the Torah. In the second section, I discussed the phenomenology of the Jewish
spiritual-legal continuity across historical and cultural divides. This continuity provides the basis for
the authentic transmission of Jewish faith and thought. This volume, which you are now reading, is a
productive tool for integrating these two pillars in the construction of a pedagogical approach to the
faith study of the Torah. It involves a process constituting three steps.

1) Surveying the spectrum of opinions on each topic and organizing them into a coherent ordering
running from the more visceral, intuitive, existential positions to the more analytical and conceptual
positions. (This corresponds to principle #3 above)

2) Establishing a dialectic between the visceral-intuitive view and the rational-analytic view which will
bring out the important underlying dyadic dynamic of the issue which faces the student. (This
corresponds to principle #2 above)

3) Seeking out the individual approach of the student which comes from the visceral-analytic dyad in
order to produce a powerful personal “hashkofa” and approach to the issue involved. (This
corresponds to principle #1 above)


DAAS TORAH 36
It is important, however, to bear in mind the following precautions.
1) Someone who is not experienced in the formal study of theology will inevitably lose himself in the
myriad array of opinions and views. Consequently, meaningful benefit from this momentous volume
will be reaped only with the direction and guidance of a qualified teacher. One who is steeped in the
traditional study of Jewish texts.

2) The usage of this volume to teach the material to someone intelligent—yet uninitiated—requires a
painstaking organization of the material. In particular, it requires an eye and ear to the specific needs
and goals of each student. In this way, the sheer volume of material can be made manageable and
allow the student to absorb the material and not feel overwhelmed.

3) At every stage, it is always important to consult a proper rabbinical authority—both with regard to
methodology and content. Indeed, not every Rabbinical authority will necessarily be an expert in
every area of Hashkofa, and they may well steer questioners to higher authorities. This is crucial in
order to achieve the maximum success and avoidance of pitfalls which always arrives by attempting
to teach new material and a different way of thinking.

My advocacy of the present volume as a teaching resource is not just based upon the above theory
but also my personal experience. I have successfully utilized part of this material—some of which is
found in the present volume and some from the future volumes—in teaching a select group of
students. The results have exceeded our expectations. Despite its apparent daunting nature—in
practice it leads to spirited discussion and spiritual growth not obtainable by other means.

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Rav Meir Triebitz

I would like to acknowledge the vital help and advice I have received
from all my students at Machon Shlomo, the Moreshet and Maalot Institutes
at Neve Yerushalayim, Kollel Derech HaChaim and the “think-tank”. Most
notably Andrew Kaye, Jake Greenberg, Dan Shatzman, Prof. David Rier,
Zevy Horowitz, Gamliel Shmalo. My discussions with Rabbi Dr. Dovid
Refson have sensitized me to the challenges of kiruv. Working with Rabbi
Beryl Gershenfeld has given me the opportunity to carry them out in
practice.
Goals of this Sourcebook 37

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The main purpose of this work is to provide a source of relevant texts—organized for
ready access. By translating the material into English it also enables self-study for those
who wish to explore the material on their own—prior to discussion with a rabbi. It also aids
in assembling relevant material for teaching these issues. Thus, it is to be viewed primarily
as data to be discussed and presented by a knowledgeable teacher. It is thus a reference
tool—not a comprehensive exposition of Judaism.
3ULPDU\ WH[WV DUH SUHVHQWHG ZLWKRXW SROHPLFV
Rav Hai Gaon
8
(#99):.... You should know that our approach is not like that of others who study
something and then explain it differently then the intent of the author of the text. In fact, we are
committed to offer explanations from the perspective of this particular authority and the actual content
of what he wanted said and what he truly thought. It is important to remember—that despite the
accuracy of our presentation—that we don’t guarantee that these words are in fact the
unquestionably correct Halacha. There are many statements of great authorities that are not
accepted as Halacha. We are simply explaining the text from the viewpoint of the author.
Rambam
9
(Letter on Astrology): I know of course that it is possible to search and find isolated
opinions of some sages in the Talmud and Medrashim whose views contradict [what I have said.] ...
These statements should not trouble you. One simply doesn’t discard a clearly established Halacha
and revert to the initial analysis. Similarly, it is not appropriate to discard a well-validated principle and
simply rely on a minority opinion of the sages instead. That is because the sage [is not infallible and]
might have erred by overlooking some important facts or hints when he stated his views.
Alternatively, he might have stated his view only concerning a unique situation that had been
presented to him and he had not meant to state a general principle. This caution is illustrated by the
fact that many verses of the Torah are not meant to be taken literally—as has been clearly
established by impeccable proofs. Therefore, they are explained in a way that makes sense rather
than taken literally. The general rule is that a person should never easily toss aside his
well-considered views. His eyes should look unflinchingly forward and not backwards.
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Raavad
10
(Mishneh Torah—Introduction): The Rambam wrote: “I called this composition Mishneh
Torah because if a person first reads the Torah and then reads this work—he will have no need for
any other source to know the Written and the Oral Law.” The Rambam thought he was making an
improvement by only describing the final law and not describing how he arrived at it. In fact he has
not produced an improvement. That is because he has deserted the approach of all previous
authorities. They all bring proof to their words. They cite the source of their material. Knowing the
original material is very important. That is because sometimes a judge will rule based on a particular
proof. If he knew that greater authorities than he would have rejected this proof—he would alter his
position. Therefore when faced with a view stated by the Rambam—I simply don’t know how to use
the material. I don’t know the nature of the authority he is using. Consequently when I find a view that
contradicts my own traditions and learning, I don’t know whether I should reject it or accept it. If the
authorities were greater than me, I would accept it and reject my own view. But if I am a greater
authority than the one being cited—why should I change my position? Furthermore there are issues
DAAS TORAH 38
that our predecessors disagreed about. The Rambam picks one side of the dispute. Why should I rely
on his choice? Perhaps the view of the other side is correct. I simply don’t know the basis of the
Rambam’s choice and therefore have no way of knowing whether I would agree with it. He is acting
as an oracle.
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Rav Binyamin Silber
11
(Otzair Gedolei Yisroel): By means of the study and analysis of the range of
[legitimate Orthodox] approaches it will aid—G-d willing—in fulfilling the words of the prophet Malachi
(3:16), Then the religious people will speak to each other. The prophet is commanding in G-d’s name
that in the Messianic Era that the barriers be removed between the different religious factions and
their different ways of serving G-d and consequently they will communicate fully with each other. In
view of the anticipated full communication, it is not surprising that there is in this era—immediately
preceding the Messianic Era—an increased problem of internal splits and divisions between religious
Jews supposedly for the sake of Heaven. Even if we are only lacking in this ability to communicate
[without heated disputes] that itself is indicative of divisions and factionalism. Therefore, [to aid in
achieving this full communication] it is important to be aware of the variety of legitimate approaches
and therefore it is good to gather them together…. Rav Yisroel Salanter said there is no general rule
of how to serve G-d properly and this rule is also not an absolute rule. This is because the majority of
distinctions and differences are a function of the place and time and thus it cannot be said one
approach is “the approach”…[Therefore] In this generation—standing at the very end of exile—there
is a greatly increased desire to create divisions. Consequently, we must strive to minimize the
barriers to communications to fulfill the words of the prophet [Malachi (3:16), Then the religious
people will speak to each other.]
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Ramchal
12
(Introduction to Derech HaShem): Knowledge which is viewed in the context of a
systematic framework is superior to non-systematized knowledge... The perception of many details is
a heavy and unsatisfying burden. One struggles and exhausts oneself without obtaining satisfaction.
Curiosity is aroused but is not satisfied because of the absence of an overall picture. This is because
a large part of the meaning is in the interrelationships of the components rather than the thing itself.
Since he is lacking the knowledge of the interrelationships, he cannot possibly comprehend the thing
properly and is therefore doomed to failure and frustration. In contrast, one who knows the full
context sees the thing as it really is as well as all its implications. This success causes tremendous
pleasure and excitement. Therefore, it is of primary importance in the study of any subject to know its
relative place in a conceptual framework... One should be aware that since the number of possible
details is incredibly large that is ultimately incomprehensible to the human intellect. Consequently,
what is appropriate is to try to understand the underlying concepts. Each concept contains many
details and therefore the comprehension of a concept enables him to understand the multitude of
details that make up the concept. The knowledge of the details is not automatic. However, one who
knows the concept will readily understand the details when he is confronted with them and has the
ability to see how they conform to his previous knowledge. This conceptual approach is prescribed by
Chazal (Sifri Devarim 32, 2). They say: Your comprehension of Torah should always be conceptual
rather than merely a collection of details...
Maharetz Chajes
13
(Introduction to Toras Neviim): I didn’t go in the path of most authors, who
typically explain only the details of the mitzvos and how to perform them while the foundation
principles of Torah are ignored. It is obvious that the knowledge of the fundamentals of Torah is weak
among many and consequently there are an increasing number of unacceptable opinions. ...The
Concerns and Cautionary Notes 39
importance for a beginner in secular fields to have a clear introduction is obvious, but it is even more
important when studying Torah. ...This is the intent of the statement in the Medrash
14
(Shir HaShirim
2:16) ‘Originally when Torah was learned “Clall,” people wanted to learn Mishna and Gemora, but
now that it is not “Clall,” people want to learn just Tanach and Agada’. That means that when people
had the general rules (Clall) it was easy for them to listen to Mishna and Gemora. Now that they just
see the isolated details, they get lost and confused by the Talmud and they just want to hear Tanach
and Agada and they run from the Talmud. The Yerushalmi
15
(Shabbos 87a) also says, ‘that any
Torah without a Beis Av [foundation] (handle) is not Torah’. That means Torah without an
understanding of a conceptual framework....
Rav Shlomo Wolbe
16
(Alei Shor 2:1): We find concerning our Sages and the Rambam that they
searched for general principles for the commandments of the Torah. For example, Berachos (63a)
states: “What is the small principle that the entire Torah is dependent upon? In all your ways you
should know Him.” Makkos (24a): Chavakuk established Judaism on a single commandment—that
the righteous lives by his faith. Bereishis Rabbah (24:8) R’ Akiva said: Loving your fellowman as
yourself is a great principle of the Torah. Rambam (Shemonah Perakim Chapter 5)… Why do our
Sages seek general principles for the Torah? What would be lost if a person fulfilled the 613
commandments according to the details without knowing the universal concepts? This is comparable
to people saying that a person can’t see the forest because of the trees. In other words, he sees only
the details but not the overall picture. He fulfills the details of the commandments but he doesn’t see
and understand what G-d wants of him—because obviously there is a purpose to the
commandments. In learning gemora, the importance of the general rule or concept is obvious. That is
because there is an overwhelming amount of detail requires summary concepts of principles. The
Talmudic scholar determines the general principle for each discussion…the Talmudic scholar knows
how to determine the fundamental concept underlying the principles. In fact in exactly the same way
that the Talmud is analyzed so it is necessary to study the fundamental theological principles of the
Torah. This search for universal principles and concepts is not just limited to Torah study but also
applies to personality traits… Thus, we find the great masters of mussar looking for fundamental
principles underlying proper personality and behavior. Consequently, a person should strive to be a
true scholar (lamdan) in all areas—including personality and spiritual perfection. This requires many
years of devoted effort…
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The material cited in this work assumes the validity of Orthodox Judaism and is not
an attempt at proving it. For example, Orthodox theology accepts that the Torah we have
today—is the Torah that Moshe received on Sinai—without any creative input from human
beings. Therefore, I present no discussions concerning the validity of biblical criticism, the
degree of support from historical and archeological evidence, nor support from scientific or
secular philosophical evidence. There are also no discussions concerning the validity of
Judaism in relationship to religions that have claimed to have supplanted it, nor secular
philosophies that claim to be more correct. The entire effort is directed to understanding
Orthodox theology. While it is true that in earlier generations the rabbinic scholars did feel
it necessary to defend Judaism against attacks from Christianity, Islam, Science and
academic scholars—this is not typical of contemporary Orthodoxy.
DAAS TORAH 40
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There is a special status according to the rabbis of the Talmud. They are sometimes
referred to as Chazal—Sages of Blessed memory. In order to differentiate them from
post-talmudic rabbis they will be referred to as Sages with a capital “S” or Rabbis with a
capital “R.” Rabbinic legislation as well as the Talmud and medrashim are a product of the
Talmudic Sages. Therefore, the post-Talmudic periods of the Gaonim and the Rishonim—
despite their superiority to contemporary rabbis—are inferior to that of the Sages. Thus,
such post-Talmudic figures as Rashi, Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch have a lower
authority than the Sages. The different gradations and the reasons for differences in
authority—while a very critical issue—will only be addressed indirectly in the present
volume.
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Rav Aaron Kotler
17
(Osef Chidos): Rambam (Me’ila 8:8) writes: It is correct for a person to try to
understand the laws of the Holy Torah to the full limits of his intellect. However, that which he cannot
find a justification should not be viewed with contempt and not be treated as he does with secular
knowledge. We can understand this principle from the concern the Torah has for the profane use of a
physical entity which has been sanctified to G-d by our words. Even if this profanation is done by
accident, it requires atonement. So surely concerning the Divine commandments that one should not
reject them and treat them with ridicule because he doesn’t understand their reason…. G-d’s Torah is
incredibly deep and profound. When a person with his limited intellect attempts to understand and
evaluate it with his miniscule understanding, he is lowering the Torah to his level. There is no greater
profanation than this. Man has to know that just as there are limits to the senses … there are limits to
his intellect. He needs to accept the explanations of our Sages for every word and letter of the Torah.
That is because the language of the Torah is not ordinary language and is not based on our
understanding. Therefore, in order to understand it requires tremendous mental abilities, pure study
of the Torah in a sanctified manner, and a reliable direct tradition. Only by means of the traditions of
our Sages—who knew how to explain and interpret every letter in the Torah—are we able to
comprehend even a tiny part of Torah. These words of the Rambam apply to all aspects of the Torah
including Halacha and agada, laws and stories. None of them are comprehendible relying solely on
our understanding. Furthermore, one needs to take the greatest care in understanding the stories
found in the Torah since they are extremely likely to be misunderstood. The errors have great
consequence and undermine the foundation of the Jewish people. It is obvious from what we have
said that it is prohibited to say that some aspect of Torah should have been written differently or is
unnecessary. Such an attitude constitutes rejection of the Torah and causes eternal punishment and
loss of the World to Come. According to the Halacha (Rambam Teshuva 8:8), a rejecter of the Torah
is one who asserts that even a single letter was not said by G-d. It is even prohibited to say that
some words of Torah (e.g., the Ten Commandments) are more important than others… 2) It is one of
the basic principles of Torah that every letter of the Torah includes and is in fact the underpinnings of
Creation itself… Bereishis Rabbah (1:1): G-d looked into the Torah and created the world. Eiruvin
(13a): A scribe has to be very careful in writing a Torah because if he deletes or adds one letter he
destroys the world. Also included in the Torah are all events—past present and future—of the entire
universe and concerning everyone one of us...
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Meiri
18
(Avoda Zara 19a): A person should not learn except in a place which his heart desires. He
should first familiarize himself with new material and only afterwards analyze it in depth. Finally, a
Concerns and Cautionary Notes 41
person should not despair of learning even if he cannot remember what he learned and even if he
doesn’t understand what he is learning. Our sages say that if a person says: “I tried but didn’t
succeed”—he is not believed.
Maharal
19
(Avoda Zara 19a): It is not correct to learn Torah and deeply analyze only that small part
which was learned. Rather a person should learn Torah until it is fluent in his mouth and only then
analyze it. This is because a person should not be engaged in analysis and conceptualization at first
when he is not knowledgeable about Torah. Only when he has the status of having mastered Torah
then he can successfully engage in analysis. Successful analysis is a Divine gift because when a
person has mastered Torah and is lacking the analysis and conceptualization then G-d helps him
reach completion with analysis. However, a person who has not mastered Torah at all is not lacking
analysis because he is still lacking Torah. Therefore, people must first master Torah and then engage
in analysis.
Avoda Zara
20
(19a): One should first study the Torah to be familiar with it and then afterwards
analyze the material. Furthermore, he should study even if he forgets the material and even if he
doesn’t understand it…
Berachos
21
(63b): A person should always learn Torah first by rote and then afterwards analyze and
think deeply about what he has learned.
Rashi
22
(Berachos 63b): A person should be quiet and pay careful attention to the material until he is
thoroughly familiar with it even though he doesn’t understand it. Only afterwards, he should ask
questions and clarify the difficulties.
Maharal
23
(Nesivos HaTorah #5): Woe to the embarrassment and degradation that we have
changed our way of learning Torah from previous generations. It is entirely because people say they
need to sharpen themselves with subtle textual analyses (pilpul). Even there was such a need but
our sages (Berachos 63b) have said: You should first learn the text and thoroughly familiarize
yourself with it before deep analysis is done…. Therefore, even if genuine analysis is to be done on
the text—it is still a precondition that the text be learned. Surely, with the analysis that is actually
being done today for sharpness—it in fact stupefies with utter nonsense. We see what this
“sharpness” is and what it is producing. Typically, one would expect young students to be learning
and mastering many tractates before marriage. However now when a student marries he has
mastered nothing. This is because they are learning Tosfos—which was meant as a supplement to
the gemora. They should be acquiring the gemora itself first. The reason for the focus on Tosfos is
simply because it was printed on the page of the gemora. If the Rosh or other halachic commentaries
had been printed there instead, they would be learning Halacha instead… What is the need for the
young student to be involved in subtle textual analysis in the same way as the mature student? The
consequence of this misplaced focus is that the students do not achieve mastery of Halacha. If you
try explaining to the students’ fathers that they should be learning Halacha and not Tosfos, they react
as if you were trying to convince them that their children should stop learning Torah. This is because
all the father is concerned about is that their children have a reputation as a sharp mind—rather than
that he learns Torah properly…
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Rav Moshe Feinstein
24
(Igros Moshe Y. D. 4:38:5): … There is no prohibition to translate even
Mishna and Halacha. However, the most important thing is that the translator must be fully aware of
his responsibility and that even a small error can cause a major problem for those studying the
translation… Surely, those who translate from Hebrew to another language have to be concerned
about error and therefore it is best to refrain from translation…. In conclusion, I would advise not to
DAAS TORAH 42
be involved in studying from translated works and it is best to learn in the original language and this
will to lead greater success.
Rav Moshe Feinstein
25
(Igros Moshe Y. D. 4:38:6): … but concerning the writings of more recent
sages whose works are not so well known, it is necessary to bring their reasoning for two reasons. 1)
In order that their words should not be ridiculed when they are misunderstood. The reader of the
translation might not attempt to obtain the original work to try to understand it. 2) Those reading the
translation might not assume that the author had an intelligent reason for what he said. Therefore, if
the author’s words are brought without explanation the reader might simply reject them.
Kiddushin
26
(49a): A literal translation is [often] a lie while a free translation risks heresy
Tosfos
27
(Kiddushin 49a): … Rabbeinu Chananel explains that a person who translates literally e.g.,
“They saw the G-d of Israel”(Shemos 24:10)—is stating a lie because it is impossible to see G-d…
On the other hand one who translates this verse that “They saw an angel of G-d” is stating heresy
because they are attributing the praise of G-d to a mere angel. However, the correct way of
translating is that “They saw the glory of the G-d of Israel.”
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Avodah Zara
28
(19a): A person only learns Torah if he finds it interesting… Levi and R’ Shimon were
learning Torah with R’ Yehuda HaNasi. When they finished that book of the Torah, Levi requested
that they start learning Mishlei while R’ Shimon requested that they learn Tehilim and he forced Levi
to accept his decision. When they reached the verse in Tehilim (1:2): But whose desire is in the G-d’s
Law, R’ Yehuda HaNasi offered the following explanation. “One only learns Torah if he finds it
interesting.” Levi—who had been forced to learn Tehilim—commented that he now had an excuse for
leaving the study session…
Rashi
29
(Avoda Zara 19a): A student should only be taught the gemora that he is interested in. If he
is taught a different gemora, it will not be retained since attention is dependent upon interest.
Mishna Berura
30
(Biur Halacha 553): … A person only learns what he finds interesting.
Consequently, we see that many Torah scholars are negligent in learning the few topics permitted on
the fast of the Ninth of Av, because it is unpleasant learning something different than normal. I am
one of them.
Maharal
31
(Chidushei Agada Avoda Zara 19a): … The reason that a person only learns the Torah
that he finds interesting is because Torah requires a connection to the recipient. That is why it is
called “his Torah” when he accepts it. Therefore, one should only learn that which he finds interesting
because then he will relate to it and it will be “his Torah.”
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Rav Chaim Voloshner
32
(Ruach Chaim 1:4): It is prohibited to passively accept the words of ones
teachers if one has questions. Furthermore sometimes the Truth is with the student and not the
teacher.” Mishna
33
(Avos 1:4): One should sit in the dust at the feet of ones teachers and drink
with unquenchable thirst what they say. The word for sitting avek can also mean struggle or
warfare. Therefore, we have the right to question what they say and not to blindly accept their
words—but one must love the Truth. Since ascertaining the Truth is the prime concern—we must be
very careful not to be conceited and egotistical in the discussions and to imagine that we are as great
as the teacher or author with whom we are disagreeing. We should be aware in our hearts that we
might simply be misunderstanding their words—therefore we must always be very humble. We must
have the attitude—‘I am not worthy to argue but this is Torah and I must know the correct answer’.

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