Thursday, November 18, 2004

A little knowledge.....

One of the downsides of writing a blog is that there are always people who know more, are smarter, think more clearly, are more articulate, and are more polished than the blogger. At least that is true in my case. So, when faced with contrary views, I have three options: admit defeat, defend myself, or model myself after my program director, who advised us and proclaimed himself to be "frequently wrong, but never in doubt" and ignore them. I choose the second path where ever possible.

Anon has taken issue with my characterization of of Esav as greater than Ya'akov in the mitvah of kibbud av(honoring the father). With a hakarat hatov(recognition of kindess) to the encyclopedia judaica, which did my homework for me, I give you Bereshit Rabba 65:16 " R. Shimon ben Gamliel said .. I did not attain 1/100 of the attention Esav gave his father..(goes on to give examples)". This points to Esav as being a prime example of honoring one's father. obviously, the point can be made that Ya'akov also gave similar if not more attention to his father, but that is not put in writing anywhere that I know of, and certainly it is a reasonable conclusion that Eisav bested Ya'akov in this mitzvah.

We also disagreed as to how much emphasis is put on the belief that the Avot/Imahot kept 613 mitzvot. Anon did not think that it rose to the level of a basic tenet of faith. We agreed to a poll of some of my friends, and here are the unscientific results. In the group for whom mesorah publications(publishers of artscroll) provide the vast percentage, if not the exclusive source of reading materiel, a large number felt that believing the avot did not keep 613 mitzvot was sacrilege, if not apikorsus. Among those whose reading was broader), including all of the people with Rabbi before their name, this was not felt to be a tenet of faith, although it was a belief that almost all of them held to some degree. Conclusion: those who accept the Stone Chumash commentaries as Bible(all puns intended) felt much more strongly about the forefathers and mothers keeping the 613 mitzvot.

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