Saturday, 14 May 2011

What Should a Rabbi Know? 4 - The Ideal According to Avot 4:1


NishmaBlog: What Should a Rabbi Know? - 1 - The Rambam's List for Dayyanim

Now - Based Upon Avot 4:1 * - I submit that no subject is outside Torah or perhaps even CAN BE outside of Torah. Of course subjects such as "Avodat G'lilim" is mostly about the Negative, meaning what's WRONG with A"G. But that the Midrash Teaches us that Avraham Avinu had 400 chapters of Masechta Avodah Zarah is most instructive. Avraham Avinu, the pioneer of discovering the ONE TRUE G-D knew more about idol worship - and its shortcomings - than anyone else. Yitro had a similar Path of discovery.

Certainly Torah encompasses all of life. If Homer is outside the Pale, a Rabbi needs to know how and why. EG The Hatam Sofer knew Mendelsohnn's Beiur in sufficient detail to attack specific passages.

So which Rabbis - or other great Jewish figures - actually succeeded in transcending their own comfort zones?

Well, no one's perfect, but here are some nominees

Mosheh Rabbenu might come first, but I'm totally inadequate to addressing that task

These towering figures come to mind -

Shlomoh Hamelech
R Saadya Gaon
Vilna Gaon
RSR Hirsch
RAY Kook
RYD Soloveichik.

We will address some of them BE"H

* Text of Avot 4:1

מסכת אבות פרק ד

ד,א בן זומא אומר, איזה הוא חכם--הלמד מכל אדם, שנאמר "מכל מלמדיי, השכלתי" (תהילים קיט,צט).


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