web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



You Must Know What You Don’t Know

Rav Selig Starr

Rav Selig Starr

I believe it was last year when a respected Rav of the right got up on the podium of the Agudah convention and said that the Gedolei Yisroel are virtually infallible. Well, maybe he didn’t say exactly that.  I’m sure he knows that they are human and capable of mistakes. But the thrust of his address was the repetition over and over again that we must follow the Gedolim.  There was no room for disagreement. For they are the true representatives of God’s will on earth.

They are the most knowledgeable in Torah and their word cannot be challenged by the average Bal Habos. It would be like challenging God Himself. That was his message. It is the credo of Agudah: We listen to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah – even when it doesn’t make any sense to us. Because they know more than we do.

There was a time when this made sense. There was a time when Gedolei Torah knew what they knew and knew what they didn’t know. This important educational point was driven home constantly by Rav Selig Starr, one of my Rebbeim at HTC.  In order to learn Torah properly ‘you must know what you know and know what you don’t know’ was his constant refrain.

Rav Moshe Feinstein famously never Paskined a Shaila on any issue of which he had limited or no knowledge until he had consulted with experts in the field and was fully informed about them.  For example he always consulted his son in law, Rav Moshe Tendler on all medical issues. That is unfortunately not always the case today.

Many of today’s rabbinic leaders unfortunately do not know what they don’t know. And that is one of the biggest follies of our day. It is responsible for some pretty bad public policy decisions on their part. Occasionally when they learn how misinformed they are, they withdraw what they said or modify it. But not always.

Sometimes the results of bad decisions are innocuous and for the most part ignored. The wide spread use of the internet in spite of its vilification by these rabbis is an example of that.  Although ignoring edicts of rabbinic leaders cannot be considered a good result by them.

But in some cases there is great damage done by such decisions. The approach to sex abuse is one such example.

One may ask, who am I to make such assumptions or accusations? How do I know they don’t consult or give bad advice in matters which they think they know… but don’t fully know? It isn’t my own logic that compels me to say it. It is my conversations with religious professionals – some of whom are also Charedi Rabbonim – that are experts in their respective fields. It is they who have made these comments to me.

Now none of us believe for a moment that the intentions of these rabbinic leaders is bad. Quite the contrary. We believe they act in accordance with what they believe is in the best interests of Klal Yisroel. That includes decisions in matters of sexual  abuse. They want to rid the world of sexual predators – just like everyone else. Nor do they have any wish to harm a survivor.

But some of their decisions are made without  the benefit of advise by experts in the field. This is why in my view they say that one must first report suspicions of sex abuse to them before going to the police. They sincerely believe that they are protecting innocent victims of possibly false accusations. But as one Charedi professional told me recently, many rabbinic leaders  are greatly uninformed.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “You Must Know What You Don’t Know”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
A general view of the Bat Ain community at Gush Etzion.
US Pushes PA Agenda and Tells Israel to Cancel New Gush Etzion Community
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Learn about Monte Carlo-not the place but simulator forbuilding a financial plan.

paramedikit-3

“I knew that being there would allow me to protect other soldiers.”

Kerry Repeats

JoeSettler asks what could still possibly be on the negotiating table with the PA after a summer like we just had…

Kurdistan Crisis

You did not want to listen because you could not blame my Israel.

Now everyone has easy access to the culture and all of its vices, both social and intellectual.

Connect the dots, please: All of these Muslim Arab terror organizations are connected.

“…while Hamas has been weakened it has not been destroyed…”

Jewish donors bought and donated the greenhouses to the Palestinians.

This week’s podcast discusses the need for transparency in international business dealings.

The new “Begin Plan” is an impending nightmare, it rewards the Bedouins for brazen land-grabbing.

There is absolutely nothing for Israel’s security in this American document.

Is it because of corrupt values and lack of meeting opportunities that we have a shidduch crisis?

Israel is fighting the war that none of the Western world has the ability or courage to fight.

Finish the job! Sayyem et a missima!סיים את המסימה!

Life after 50? You better believe it! Tips on how to prepare and enjoy life after retirement.

While I am no fan of the two-state solution, I think I have a solution for the Gaza strip. Let me make it perfectly clear that in no way do I believe a Palestinian people, nation or Arab State ever existed in the history of the world and certainly was not occupied by Israel. If […]

More Articles from Harry Maryles
iphone

Now everyone has easy access to the culture and all of its vices, both social and intellectual.

A Jewish wedding.

Is it because of corrupt values and lack of meeting opportunities that we have a shidduch crisis?

If feminism is mentioned at all, it is usually to condemn it as an anti Torah ideal.

We all got degrees. We got married. We had families. We worked. We and were Koveih Itim

But the real culprit is William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint

Israeli’s are a religious people; even secular Jews believe that God is active in this world.

If Hamas would simply stop firing rockets into Israel, all the carnage would stop instantly.

Inevitably when tragedies like this happen there is a sudden burst of Achdus. Tragedies unite.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/you-must-know-what-you-dont-know/2014/02/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: