Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Approaching Diversity

Most Talmudists and Halachists approach diverse sources with every attempt at reconciliation. Admittedly there are many scores of reconciliations that go beyond dochaq

On the other hand, what about the approach aimed at producing the highest dissonance between sources?

Or as a corollary - what kind of personality would desire to make as many sources "come out wrong"?


1 comment:

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

I presume that by advocating for a view that aims to produce the highest dissonance, you really mean a view that just reads it as it is and presents what is being said rather than some forced understanding that maintains uniformity, not the view that promotes the greatest dissonance (even if that is a bit forced). In any event, you are really highlighting an important issue within Torah. Given that Torah emerges from one source, i.e. Revlation at Sinai, the reality that there is divergence in so many ways in every day life presents somewhat of a challenge. There is of course much written upon this and responding to this challenge is most important in attenpting to understand Sinai. It reveals a Torah that is remarkeably complex and awesome. (I personally find this reality to be a further indication of Torah's Divine nature.) Yet for many this reality is bewildering with some using it as an argument for 'broken telephone'. While I don't think that concern should be a motivation for people to push for uniformity, I do think that the fact that Torah has one source at Sinai does colour our approach -- and should. Thus while I personally am a proponent of the "read it as it is" school, I understand that there is also a motivation for uniformity. The point is that we also do need the constant reminder of the one source and the One.

Rabbi Ben Hecht