Thursday, November 25, 2010

The behavior of Natan Slifkin, a “Rationalist-Jew”! UPDATED

Just a short update, B"H. On November 23th Natan Slifkin published in his own blogspot the following:
“There were a number of interesting people who made it their life's work to argue for the truth of a flat earth - and were considerably successful at it. Reading the account of these events gave me an overwhelming sense of deja vu, due to the overwhelming parallels with the young-earth anti-evolutionists that I have run into on occasion (such as Dr. Isaac Betech).”
By the way, I think that Chazal did not believe that the earth is flat; of course the sources will be presented and discussed in the public debate with Natan Slifkin. Since I do not think there are “overwhelming parallels” between my life's work and the defenders of a flat earth, I tried to publish a short respectful answer in Natan Slifkin’s blogspot, the same forum where I was defamed, but Natan Slifkin decided not to publish it. Is that the proper behavior for a “Rationalist-Jew”?
Update: Rationalist Judaism (http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/) is a moderated blogspot, i.e. Natan Slifkin decides if he publishes a comment or not. NS decided to publish E-Man’s accusation against me (a 2nd time, i.e. November 28, 2010 3:05 PM), but NS refused to publicize my defense to the second accusation… Is that the proper behavior for a “Rationalist-Jew”?

8 comments:

  1. Isaac, I look forward to your posting an explanation of Pesachim 94b regarding the sun's path at night, which takes the views of the Rishonim into account (incidentally, one of your colleagues, R. Zvi Lampel, has already acknowledged that Chazal were entirely mistaken on that issue). And, since this is your website, you can post whatever you want, including an explanation of why there are no parallels between you and flat-earthers. (Of course, arguments such as that you consider your case to be scientifically well-founded are meaningless; after all, flat-earthers also considered their case to be scientifically well-founded.)

    If either of these posts are brief, well-written, and to the point, I will post them on my blog. So far, you haven't submitted either. Contrary to your claim that you "tried to publish a short respectful answer", all that you submitted was a REQUEST to publish a short respectful answer. Is misrepresenting what you did, the proper behavior for a Torah Jew?

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  2. B"H
    Natan
    I did not write: I published... I wrote: I tried to publish...
    Asking for permission to publish, is not the proper behavior for a Torah Jew?

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  3. Natan, I see you were very quick on the draw in reading my post!

    I did not write, however, that "Chazal were entirely mistaken on the matter [of the sun's path]." I would not speak in such arrogant terms. Frankly, I simply do not understand what Pesachim is saying, and I think your claim that a 6th-century monk's views prove what the 2nd-century Tannaim meant is preposterous.

    Rambam is saying that the final conclusion of Chazal is that the theory of the "Chachmei Umos HaOlom" gave way to the original theory held by the "Chachmei Yisroel." The point is that these matters--as opposed to the matter of the meta-natural production of the universe, and life, including the production of man with no ancestors--is not a matter of mesorah, and statements on such matters in the talmudic texts are tentative. The Ramchal, of course, holds that the statements regarding such matters were profound lessons expressed figuratively in the terms of the theories in vogue; and that it is possible but irrelevant that the face value of the statements--expressed as scientific views--are incorrect. But to say "Chazal were entirely mistaken" is at best a very chutzpedik thing--even if you will find a rare occurrence of that by a respected posek or commentator. The Rambam certainly never spoke in such a way.

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  4. Dr. Isaac Betech-
    Can you please stop trying to Catch Rabbi Slifkin out, it is destroying the substance of this blog. Please let go.

    Maybe you could rather explain how rabbi Lampel can write “astronomical matters were matters for which there was no mesorah, and therefore matters of debate with the gentiles.”
    When this opinion was banned by the gedolim.

    As Rav Feldman writes “Slifkin uses explicitly and implicitly in his books. This theory goes as follows. The Sages based their wisdom on the medical knowledge of their times. This would seem perfectly legitimate, for why should they not rely on the experts of their time on issues not directly addressed by the Written or the Oral Law?”

    Rav Feldman concludes “Thus, on the issue of the credibility of the Sages as well, the signatories to the ban were correct in terming Slifkin’s books as perversions of the correct approach to the Sages’ words.”

    It seems that Rabbi Lampel and rabbi Slifkin are not that different, maybe is can be a sign that the two sides can stop all the fighting and be an example of peace, harmony and forgiveness, is that not what Hashem wants?
    Every day in the “shim Shalom” I daven that all this terrible fighting will end.
    I know that the gates of heaven are never closed for tears, so it is just a matter of time.

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  5. I see that a comment was erased by its author, if he prefers, he may contact me directly to: isaacb@tovnet.com or post it again, please.

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  6. Rav Feldman writes
    “opinion which Slifkin uses explicitly and implicitly in his books. This theory goes as follows. The Sages based their wisdom on the medical knowledge of their times. This would seem perfectly legitimate, for why should they not rely on the experts of their time on issues not directly addressed by the Written or the Oral Law?”
    Rav Feldman concludes “. Thus, on the issue of the credibility of the Sages as well, the signatories to the ban were correct in terming Slifkin’s books as perversions of the correct approach to the Sages’ words.”

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  7. B”H
    Dear friends:
    As previously written, last night a blogger erased his own comment after it was published in this comment thread. Since nevertheless it arrived to many people who are subscribed for receiving it automatically in their email box, I decided to answer it even that it was erased by the author. I am just substituting his name by an “X”

    Dear “X”
    I appreciate the sincerity expressed in your post.
    I hope Hashem will listen to your (and my tefilot) and soon we will merit that (as you wrote) “this terrible fight will end” letoba.
    If you are following rationalist Judaism forum, you will see that I never posted any comment until September 13th when Natan Slifkin attacked publicly someone “like me”.
    I answered according to the rule “shetika kehodaa”.
    My recent post, where you are commenting now, is also a result of Natan Slifkin defaming me explicitly in his public forum, without giving me the opportunity of defending my ideas there.
    Of course, I am not interested in such kind of communication. I hope that a substantial, respectful interchange in the proper forum, will soon be possible, B”H, for the benefit of all klal Yisrael.
    Your second point, I think should be directed to Rabbi Zvi Lampel.
    Again thanks for your sincerity.

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