Friday, March 09, 2007

[Fwd: Re: Tzinius and the ILG]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Tzinius and the ILG
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:32:51 -0500
From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <>
To: Micha Berger <>
CC: A High-Level Torah Discussion Group <>
References: <>

I have an ongoing debate with one of my colleagues at MTA. Were he not Jewish, he would be Catholic, and he believes that a la Catholicism, mitzvos are meant to have a salvational effect on us.

On this basis, he justifies the teaching of Gemara b'Iyun to lower-track students - viz., it has a salvific effect even if they gain little enlightenment from it.

I, OTOH, believe that mitzvos are meant to have a refining impact on us - and that applies even to the most obscure and mystical rites we possess.

As such, I have great difficulty justifying the almost pointless instruction of the lower levels in Gemara b'Iyun. Better to teach them Sefer HaChinuch.


Micha Berger wrote:

Anyone notice how many of our threads lately revolve around the question of the relationship between halakhah and aggadic moral imperatives? Not that I'm really sure they are aggadic, I think it's more the vagueness of mitzvos about being tov, yashar, and qadosh -- TYQ.  We have the discussion about slavery, the question of whether we are mechuyavim to speak up about the Sudan, or whether such interest may be assimilationism from liberal Judaisms that distracts us from more central priorities, the issue of avaq ribis being close enough to ribis to be wrong but not prohibited...    

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